Abergavenny (Welsh: Y
meaning Mouth of the River
Gavenny. Town on the Usk river in Monmouthshire, to the south
of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. Originally a Roman fort,
William Camden, the sixteenth-century
antiquary, said that Abergavenny Castle 'has been oftner stain'd with
the infamy of treachery, than any other castle in Wales'. In 1175
William de Braose murdered Seisyllt ap Dyfnwal, lord of Castell Arnallt,
a Welsh stronghold a few miles to the south-east, there on Christmas
Day. In retaliation Hywel ap Iorwerth burnt the castle in 1182. Later
additions include a fifteenth century gatehouse. Damaged during the
Anglesey (Welsh: Ynys Môn):
island off the coast of North Wales, supposedly
the Isle of Mona of the classical era, and the stronghold of the Druids,
whom the Roman general Suetonus Paulinus attacked there in AD 60.
Conquered by governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola in AD 78.
battle won by Robert the Bruce and his Scots
over the English on 24 June 1314, leading to the recognition of Scottish
near the Severn and Bristol, completed 1153
by Maurice Berkeley. In 1327 Edward II was murdered there by means of
the insertion into his rectum of a red hot poker. The house of Edward
Jenner, Bloomfield's patron, is nearby.
the village of Welsh Bicknor is located on a
spectacular bend of the Wye near Ross and Goodrich.
village just to the north of the Wye near
Black Mountain (Welsh: Y
a range of parallel flat-topped long hills
running south from Hay-on-Wye towards Abergavenny.
Blorenge/Blorench (Blorens in
a mountain near Abergavenny in Monmouthshire.
559 m high.
the most fashionable shopping street in
London's West End, then and now.
Brecon (Welsh: Aberhonddu):
county town of Brecknockshire, with castle and
cathedral. On the River Honddu, which meets the River Usk near the town
centre, a short distance away from where the River Tarrell enters the
Usk. In Roman times known as Cicucium (Y Gaer) a cavalry
base for the conquest of Wales.
isolated landmark south-west of Evesham,
Worcestershire. At the summit is an ancient settlement, Kemerton Camp,
and a small stone tower called Parsons Folly, built as a summer house
offering prospect views for John Parsons (1732-1805), squire of Kemerton
near Talgarth and Brecon. Late eleventh- or
early twelfth-century motte with thirteenth-century round stone keep. As
a reward for loyal service during his incursion into eastern Wales,
Bernard de Neufmarche (Newmarch), Lord of Brecon, granted his followers
areas of land to set up their own lordly manors. The lordship of Cantref
Selyf and its administrative centre at Bronllys was gained by Richard
Fitzpons and remained in the Clifford family (the surname was adopted by
Richard's son, Walter) until the early fourteenth century.
The dissenters' burial ground in the East
End of London in which the bones of John Bunyan and William Blake are
Bury St Edmunds:
market town in Suffolk, with a wide main
street adjoining an abbey, in which Bloomfield's brother George lived.
Cader Idris (Welsh: Cadair
a mountain in Gwynedd, near the Welsh coast.
893 m high. Named after the giant Idris (Idris Gawr) of Welsh mythology.
Idris is said to have been skilled in poetry, astronomy and philosophy.
near the present-day city of Newport, on the
coast of south Wales, the site of a Roman legionary fortress and an Iron
Age hill fort. Geoffrey of Monmouth makes Caerleon one of the most
important cities in Britain in his Historia Regum Britanniæ
Monmouthshire town near the mouth of the Wye,
where it joins the Severn. In Bloomfield's time the busiest port in
Wales, exporting goods produced in the Wye valley (including iron). In
medieval times important for its castle, it is the oldest surviving stone
fortress in Britain, built shortly after the Norman Conquest in an
effort to prevent the Welsh from attacking Gloucestershire.
near the Cotswold Hills, Gloucestershire, a spa
town since the discovery of mineral springs there in 1716. Fashionable
in Bloomfield's day and containing much new building, owing to the
patronage of the Prince of Wales, who visited frequently. Edward Jenner
made his medical practice there to take advantage of the wealthy who
stayed in the town in the Prince's wake.
on the Wye in Herefordshire. Founded by
Earl William Fitz Osbern between 1066 and 1071. Held later by the Tosny
family, but taken over in the mid-12th century by the Tosny steward,
Walter fitz Richard, who called himself Walter Clifford and married
Isabel Tosny. During the reign of King Henry II, Walter Clifford
cleverly introduced his daughter, renowned as the Fair Rosamund for her
beauty, to Henry. Soon the two became lovers and Walter's powerful
daughter ensured that he remained in control of Clifford.
cliffs that loom over a bend of the Wye,
near Symond's Yat, south Herefordshire, rising from the midst of wooded
a house near Monmouth belonging, in
Bloomfield's day, to William Michael Thomas John Vaughan (1781-1861).
According to tradition, it is the place where Henry the Fifth was
nursed, under the care of the Countess of Salisbury, from which
circumstance the original name of Grayfield is said to have been changed
to Courtfield. Bloomfield condemned Vaughan's taste because he rebuilt
the ancient house in a fashionable style.
small town on the river Usk near Abergavenny,
with a castle which was largely destroyed in the early fifteenth century
by Owain Glyndŵr's forces.
Dean, Forest of:
a royal forest since Norman times, lying
between the River Wye to the west and north, the river Severn to the
south, and the city of Gloucester to the east. In Bloomfield's time an
area of significant iron production, using furnaces fuelled by charcoal
from the forest trees.
a village near the Severn in Gloucestershire and
lying on the edge of Cotswold escarpment under Stinchcombe Hill.
Bloomfield's fellow tourist Robert Bransby Cooper had his seat, Ferney
a valley in the Black Mountains opening towards
Abergavenny, in which stand the ruins of Llanthony Priory.
a village and wooded hillside in the Forest of
Dean that was, in Bloomfield's time, the busy site of iron furnaces,
forges supplied by charcoal from the woods, and water mills supplied by
Westbury Brook. Of these the largest was Guns Mill, built by Sir John
Wintour and named after William Gunne, the owner of an earlier mill on
the site. Guns Mill was used primarily for armament production until
1743 when it became a paper mill. Flaxley Abbey was a Cistercian Abbey
founded in c 1150 which, after the dissolution of the monasteries, was
granted to Sir William Kingston. By 1692 it was in the possession of
Catharina Boevey (died 1727). After her death it passed to the
Crawley-Boevey family, owners in Bloomfield's time. They landscaped the
grounds in the late eighteenth century.
a village on the river Severn at which a ferry
linked Gloucestershire with Herefordshire and South Wales.
in south Wales, one of the thirteen historic
counties of Wales. It was an early medieval kingdom until taken over by
the Normans as a lordship.
situated on the banks of the Wye in
Herefordshire near Symond's Yat and one of the most remarked features of
the Wye tour, for its location and historical associations. Begun in the
late 11th century, by the English Godric who gave it his name. A
generation later the keep was added, probably in the time of Richard
'Strongbow' de Clare, Earl of Pembroke and Lord of Goodrich 1148-76.
During the Civil War, Goodrich was held successively by both sides. Sir
Henry Lingen's Royalists eventually surrendered in 1646 under threats of
undermining and a deadly Parliamentarian mortar. Described by Gilpin in
Observations on the River Wye as a 'grand' but not
'correctly picturesque' view.
a hill near Whitchurch on the Wye in
Herefordshire, in the woods covering which Arthur's Cave is located.
woods in the park of Hagley Hall,
Worcestershire, created by George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton
(1709-73), who landscaped the grounds in the new picturesque style, and,
between 1754 and 1760, rebuilt the hall.
Hay-on-Wye (Welsh: Y Gelli
Gandryll or Y Gelli):
a small town in the Welsh Marches on the Wye,
site of two Norman castles, an early motte and bailey near the river and
the surviving stone castle on a hill. Much fought-over during the
medieval period, with Welsh and Norman lords successively occupying it.
the county town of Herefordshire, on the river
Wye. Its main towers belong to the cathedral, which was commenced in
1079 and completed in the early sixteenth century. On Easter Monday,
1786, the west tower fell, ruining the west front and parts of the nave.
The architect James Wyatt was called in to supervise reconstruction,
resulting in the supporting of arches by new columns.
one of the two main east-west streets of
Bloomfield's London, bustling and varied, bordered by the Inns of Court,
centre of the legal profession.
the area of the river Severn estuary, opposite
the mouth of the Bristol Avon, in which sailing ships lay at anchor.
near Monmouth, owned by the Duke of Beaufort
who, from 1794, in conjunction with the Kymin Club comprising local
gentlemen led by Philip Meakins Hardwick, built a Round Tower on the
spot with kitchens and a dining room, and with powerful telescopes
fitted on the roof to take in the views of nine counties. In 1800 the
Kymin Club erected on the site a Naval Pavilion to commemorate Nelson's
victory at the Battle of the Nile and Britain's naval prowess.
a town east of Hereford, and west of the Malvern
Hills under which it lies.
the Lickey Hills are a range of hills in
Worcestershire, eleven miles to the south-west of Birmingham. The hills
were a royal hunting reserve belonging to the Manor of Bromsgrove.
Llandoga or Llandogo:
a village on the Wye in Monmouthshire, two miles
north of Tintern. Set on a steep hillside; a port for Wye river traffic
at which flat-bottomed boats, 'trows', were built.
Llanthony Priory is a partly ruined former
Augustinian priory in the secluded Vale of Ewias, north of Abergavenny.
Founded 1118, abandoned after Welsh attacks; rebuilt 1217, but much
reduced by the success of Owain Glyndŵr's rebellion 1400-14. Closed by
Henry VIII's dissolution of the religious houses. In Bloomfield's day it
was owned by Colonel Sir Mark Wood, the owner of Piercefield. He sold
the estate in 1807 to the poet Walter Savage Landor, a friend of Robert
Southey who was later to help assist Bloomfield financially. Today, part
of the Priory functions as a pub and guest house.
a precipice overlooking the Wye near Chepstow,
Monmouthshire, usually viewed from a path leading to a viewing station
in the picturesque estate of Piercefield.
both a range of hills between Hereford and
Worcester on which an iron-age fort is located and the town that nestles
on the hillside—Great Malvern. The town has been a spa since 1622 and
has in its centre Malvern Priory, begun 1085, and since the dissolution
of the monasteries the parish church.
a tower of Chepstow castle, in which Henry
Marten (1602-80), one of those Parliamentarians who signed Charles I's
death warrant, was imprisoned from 1668 until, having choked whilst
eating supper, he died. The tower was often depicted by artists and
poets for the pathetic and romantic associations which Marten's fate
gave it. Robert Southey, for instance, wrote an inscription 'For the
apartment in Chepstow-Castle where Henry Marten the Regicide was
imprisoned thirty years' (1797) in which he imagined Marten never seeing
the sun save through the prison bars. It is now thought, however, that
Marten was well-treated: his mistress lived with him in the castle, and
he was sometimes allowed out.
a range of limestone hills that runs east-west to
the south of Bristol and Bath in Somerset.
a large village in the Forest of Dean, about
five miles east of the Wye, once a centre for the iron, cloth and
leather industries of the area.
Monmouth (Welsh: Trefynwy =
'town on the Monnow'):
a town at the confluence of the rivers Wye and
Monnow. The Normans built a castle there in 1067 to seal their borders
against the Welsh. A Benedictine priory was also founded in 1101,
supposedly where Geoffrey of Monmouth, author of the Historia
Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of
Britain), was educated. In 1387 the future King Henry V was
born in its castle.
a Cornish house and estate belonging to the
Lords Edgcumbe, noted for its fine view of Plymouth Sound. Lord North
stayed there in 1766.
a weir and lock built to control the Wye's flow,
downstream from Symond's Yat, described by Charles Heath in his
The Excursion down the Wye as sublime: 'all was
agitation and uproar; and every steep, and every rock, stared with
wildness and terror'. A nearby iron forge added to the terrific effect
by sending smoke and flames, and the din of hammers, over the river.
a small village a mile to the east of Uley,
Gloucestershire, in which stand a Tudor manor house and church.
Surrounded by the amphitheatre of hills of the Owlpen valley.
on the Wye near Ross; according to
Bloomfield's guidebook, Charles Heath's The Excursion down the Wye, 'no
part of the kingdom affords more delightful views than those which
present themselves at Pen-craig and the Coppet Hill'.
on the coast of north Wales, the last of a
range of craggy hills descending from the Snowdon mountains.
the principal peak of the Brecon Beacons mountain
range, 886 m high.
an eighteenth-century estate bordering the Wye
near Chepstow, Monmouthshire, from 1753 improved by Valentine Morris,
who designed serpentine paths through woodland that opened onto
prospects of the Wye below steep cliffs. Morris built a grotto, druid's
temple, bathing house and giant's cave. He opened the park to visitors.
In Bloomfield's time, Piercefield belonged to Nathaniel Wells, owner of
plantations on St Kitts.
Plynlimon (Welsh: Pumlumon
752 m high. A mountain in mid-Wales, from which
the rivers Severn, Wye and Rheidol rise to flow in different directions.
According to Welsh legend, the home of a sleeping giant.
a wooded walk along the river Honddu in Brecon,
dating from the seventeenth century, and open for public amusement.
Owned in Bloomfield's time by John Jeffreys (Pratt), 2nd Earl of Camden
(1759-1840). The Grove is celebrated in the poem 'Priory Grove, his
Usual Retirement' (1646) by metaphysical poet Henry Vaughan.
Welsh county on the border with England, through
which runs the upper Wye, although Bloomfield did not travel far enough
upstream to explore it.
the fifteenth-century castle near
Abergavenny, built by Sir William ap Thomas and his son William Herbert,
remodelled by William Somerset, third earl of Worcester, 1549-89.
Despite demolition attempts during the Civil War, much of the
hexagonal-shaped Great Tower (the 'Yellow Tower of Gwent') and lavish
suites of state apartments still survive.
a Herefordshire market town on the Wye, home of
John Kyrle and, from the mid-eighteenth century, the start of the Wye
tour. From 1745, the town's rector, Dr John Egerton, began taking
parties of friends downstream on his river boat to admire the scenery.
In the wake of Gilpin's Observations on the Wye, the
practice gave rise to a commercial tourist trade. By the time of
Bloomfield's tour, there were eight boats making regular excursions,
most of them hired from inns in the town.
a village in the Forest of Dean near the Wye.
Situated on a hillside with views west towards the mountains of South
Wales. A centre in the eighteenth century for iron smelters, forges and
coal mines. The Norman castle commanded the shortest route from
Gloucester Castle to the Welsh Marches and the Wye Valley.
the longest river in Britain, rising on Plynlimon
(as does the Wye, which flows into the Severn two miles south of
Chepstow). The Severn takes a more easterly course than the Wye, and is
mostly an English river. Bloomfield's route from Hereford to Uley took
him over the Severn at Upton Bridge.
the Bedfordshire village to which Bloomfield, in
an attempt to reduce his expenses, moved, from London, in 1812. He lived
there until his death in 1823.
Skirrid (Welsh: Ysgyryd
the most easterly of the Black Mountains near
Abergavenny. Also known as Holy Mountain or Sacred
Hill. 486 m high.
Snowdon (Welsh: Yr Wyddfa):
the highest peak in England and Wales, at 1085 m.
Near the north Welsh coast.
near the seat of Bloomfield's fellow
tourists the Coopers at Dursley, Stinchcombe is located on the western
edge of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire. It commands spectacular views
across the Severn Vale to the Forest of Dean, the Black Mountains, the
Malvern Hills, the Bristol Channel and North Devon.
Sugar Loaf (Welsh: Mynydd
Pen-y-Fal or Y Fâl):
so called because it resembles a heap of sugar
in shape, a mountain situated 2 miles north-west of Abergavenny in
Monmouthshire. 598 m high. One of the Black Mountain range.
spectacular gorge on the Wye in south
Herefordshire, at which tourists disembarked so as to climb the hill and
see the view.
Table Mountain near Crickhowel, on which is the
iron-age fort Crug Hywel.
a market town in Gloucestershire on the rivers
Severn and Avon, site of one of the bloodiest battles fought in England,
on 4 May 1471, when Edward IV's Yorkist forces defeated the Lancastrians
and, it is thought, pursued them to the abbey where they killed them.
The abbey, begun in 1120 and completed in the mid-fifteenth century, is
one of the largest Norman churches in Britain.
a village on the Gloucestershire side of the
river Severn, twelve miles north of Bristol. Its castle is a Tudor
building commenced in 1511 as the seat of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of
Tintern Abbey (Welsh: Abaty
a Cistercian abbey near Monmouth founded by
Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow, in 1131, and ruined after Henry
VIII's dissolution of the monasteries in 1536. Its location on the banks
of the river made it the central sight of the Wye tour. According to
Gilpin's Observations on the Wye, which popularised it as a
ruin to be visited, it offered 'the most beautiful and picturesque view
on the river' but nevertheless would have benefited from a mallet
'judiciously used' to break the gable-ends, so making it more
romantically ruinous than it already appeared.
north of Abergavenny. A 12th century stone
keep, destroyed by the Welsh in 1233 and was rebuilt in 1240. It is
sited next to a medieval manor house, owned for centuries by the Vaughan
family, which replaced the castle as a home in the fourteenth century.
one of the seats of the Earls of Worcester and,
after 1682, of the Dukes of Beaufort, by the river Trothy, a mile from
projecting crags at the cliffs near
Piercefield, on the Wye near Chepstow.
Uley is the village near Gloucester in which
Bloomfield's hosts and fellow tourists the Lloyd Bakers had their seat,
Stout's Hill. It lies under Uley Bury, a long, flat-topped hill, on top
of which is located an Iron Age hill fort, in use c. 300 BC-100 AD. At
235 m high, it commands spectacular prospects over the Severn.
a bridge, near present-day Upton-upon-Severn
between Malvern and Worcester, which Bloomfield saw from afar and then
crossed. First a wooden and then, from the sixteenth century, a
stone-arched structure. Of great strategic importance during the Civil
War, when it was taken first by royalist Scots and then by the
parliamentary army that went on to attack Worcester. It was washed away
Usk (Welsh: Afon Wysg):
the Usk river rises in the Carmarthen Fan mountains or
Fan Brycheiniog of mid-Wales, then flows south-east through Brecon,
Crickhowell, Abergavenny, past the Roman legionary fortress of Caerleon,
and into the Severn at Uskmouth beyond Newport. The Banks of Wye
featured an engraving of the Usk seen through the castle gateway at
originally an earthwork motte and bailey
fort, founded by the Norman Hugo de Longchamp. The stone castle was
built in the fourteenth century by Roger de Grey, with a keep, gatehouse
and curtain wall. In the sixteenth century, Charles Brydges built an
Elizabethan mansion on the site of the keep and gatehouse but this was
attacked and burnt during the Civil War.
a precipice commanding a fine view of the Wye
near Chepstow, Monmouthshire.
an isolated hill in east Shropshire. 407 m high and
visible for many miles. Local legends suggest it was made by a giant
dumping his shovelful of earth, a legend Bloomfield seems to have
incorporated into his manuscript beginning of The Banks of
Wye, in which 'Giant Scoop' shovels earth to form the hills
Roman fortress near present-day Brecon. According to
the Clywd-Powys Archaeological Trust: 'Brecon Gaer, also known as Y
Gaer, is situated . . . near Aberyscir just north of the river Usk. The
earliest fort was built about AD 75 with defensive banks of clay which
rested upon a cobbled surface. A wooden palisade would have protected
the defenders. The buildings inside, one of which may have been
stabling, were also constructed in wood. At this time the troops at Y
Gaer included Vettonian cavalry from Spain. The tombstone of a young
cavalryman, Candidus, has been found a mile north of the fort and is now
in the Brecknock Museum, Brecon.'