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CAERMARTHEN is esteemed one of the most important towns in Wales: rising above the river Towey, it commands a delightful view of the most beautiful vale in the principality. The construction of the town is not so advantageous as its situation would admit: the streets are irregularly built and deformed, with the contrasted glare of whitened houses and red brick chimnies. There are, however, many good private houses, which belong to the neighbouring gentry, who resort hither during the winter. Here is a handsome town-hall, built of freestone, and adorned with collonades, of the Ionic order, besides other public buildings. In the chancel of the church is a monument, ascribed, by tradition, to be that of Rice ap Thomas, who is represented in chain armour, attended by two recumbent figures.

The remains of Caermarthen castle, which are very considerable, have been converted into a gaol. Of the walls that surrounded the town, scarcely any vestige is now existing.

This place gave birth to the famous Merlin, in the year 480. He appears to have been a man of extraordi


age, drew upon him the imputation of magical practices. Monkish writers have handed down the accusation to posterity, jealous of every acquirement possessed by those without the pale of their church.

Near Caermarthen is an eminence, called Merlin's Hill; near the summit of which is a rock, named Merlin's Chair. On this, according to tradition, sat Merlin, uttering his astonishing prophecies.

The last retreat of sir Richard Steele was a small estate in the vale of Towey: here he lived some time, under very limited circumstances. The farm he possessed is within a quarter of a mile of the town of Caermarthen, and is called Ty Gwyn. The house which formerly bore the sign of the Ivy Bush, was sir Richard's residence. He died here September 1, 1729.

On the north side of the town is the site of an extensive Roman camp: the ditches and embankments are in good preservation.


Engraved by T.Storer for the Antiquarian &Topographical Cabinet from a Drwing by G. Harley.

Blue Boar Inn Leicester.

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