county south acres east
RADNOR, an inland county of South Wales, is situated between 52° 5' and 52° 25' N. lat. and between 2° 57' and 3° 25' W. long., and is bounded E. by Hereford and Shropshire, N. by Montgomery, W. by Cardigan, and S. by Brecknock. Its greatest length from north to south is about 30 miles, and its greatest breadth from east to west about 33 miles. The area is 276,552 acres, or 432 square miles.
The greater part of the surface of the county is hilly, and the centre is occupied by a mountainous tract called Radnor Forest, running nearly east and west, its highest summit reaching 2163 feet. Towards the south and south-east the hills are much less elevated and the valleys widen out into considerable plains, abounding with small rivulets. The hills for the most part present smooth and rounded outlines, but the valley of the Wye is famed for its beauty. The higher ranges are covered with heath, but there is good pasturage on the lower slopes. The smaller elevations are frequently clothed with wood. The prevailing strata are the Lower Silurian rocks; but in the east there is a considerable area occupied by Old Red Sandstone, and throughout the county felspathic ash and green-stone are found, while near Old Radnor there is a large patch of Silurian limestone. Lead and copper are said to exist, but not in quantities sufficient to pay the working. There are saline, sulphurous, and chalybeate wells at Llandrindod. The Wye enters the county in the north-west, 18 miles from its source in Plinlimmon, and flowing in a south-easterly direction divides it from Brecknock, until it bends north-east and reaches Hay, after which it for some distance forms the boundary with Hereford. Its principal tributary is the Ithon, which flows south-west and joins it 7 miles above Builth. The Teme, flowing southeast, forms the northern boundary of the county with Shropshire. The Llugw, rising in the northern part of the county, flows south-east into Hereford, a little below Presteigne.
Agriculture. - The climate is somewhat damp, and in the spring cold and ungenial. The greater part of the county is suitable only for pasturage, but there is some good arable land in the valleys in the southern and south-eastern districts, which produces excellent crops of turnips, oats, and Welsh barley, the soil being chiefly open shaly clay, although in the east there is an admixture of red sandstone soils. In 1884 there were 156,628 acres, or about five-ninths of the total area, under cultivation, and of these 114,242 acres, or about four-fifths, were in permanent pasture. Of the 21,356 acres under corn crops 12,245 acres, or more than half, were under oats, whilst wheat occupied 5200 acres and barley 3853. Green crops occupied only 7100 acres, of which 1107 were under potatoes and 5682 under turnips. Horses numbered 9249 (3755 used solely for agricultural purposes), cattle 30,917 (10,223 cows and heifers in milk or in calf), and sheep as many as 244,771. The inhabitants are dependent almost solely on agriculture, the manufactures being confined chiefly to coarse cloth, stockings, and flannel for home use.
Railways. - The county is intersected by several lines : the Central Wales Railway runs south-west from Knighton to Llandovery ; another line runs south-eastwards by Rhayader and Builth and joins the Hereford line, which passes by Hay and Talgarth ; while another branch line passes by Kineton to New Radnor.
Administration and Population. - Radnor comprises six hundreds, but contains no municipal borough. It has one court of quarter sessions and is divided into six petty and special sessional divisions. The ancient borough of Radnor (population 2005) is governed by the provisions of an old charter, and has a commission of the peace. The county contains sixty civil parishes with part of one other, and is partly in the diocese of St David's and partly in that of Hereford. It returns one member to the House of Commons. The population in 1871 was 25,430 and in 1881 it was 23,528, of whom 11,939 were males and 11,589 females. ,The number of inhabited houses was 4775. The average number of persons to an acre was 0.09 and of acres to a person 11.75.
History and Antiquities. - During the Roman occupation the district was included in the province of Siluria. The Roman road from Chester to Caermarthen entered the northern extremity of the county near Newtown and, following the valley of the Ithon, crossed the Wye and entered Bre-iknockshire near the town of Builth. There are remains of a Roman station at Cym near Llandrindod, and at Wapley Hill near Presteigne there is a very good example of a British camp. The district was afterwards included chiefly in Fowls, but partly in Gwent and partly in Feryllwge. It was made a county by Henry VIII. Anciently it was called Maesyfald. The name Radnor is also of very great antiquity, and occurs in the Cambrian annals as early as 1196. There are no ancient castles claiming special notice, and the only ecclesiastical ruin of importance is that of the abbey of Cwm-Hir, founded for the Cistercians in 1143, and occupying a romantic situation in the vale of Clywedog. A considerable portion of the ancient building has been used as materials for the adjoining modern mansion.