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TOWYN: WHERE IT IS AND WHAT…

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TOWYN: WHERE IT IS AND WHAT IT IS. Backed with an amphitheatre of purple hills, and fronted with a broad expanse of open sea, with a magnificent stretch of sands, the position of the time-old town of Towyn at once strikes all who see and know it as an ideal place of residence and holiday resort. Cardigan Bay boasts of many a pretty spot along its famed and beautiful shores, but nowhere can it boast of greater loveliness than at this home of antiquity and region of ozone. Towyn lies between Aberdovey and Barmouth, and is easily reached from all sides by a delightful journey on the Cambrian Railway. It has been well said that its charms are at once infinite and irresistible, and the truth of the assertion is borne out by every visitor who has the good fortune to sojourn a while amid its manifold beauties. As a great resort for the summer holidays it is as near perfection as one can hope to get, and as a place of residence its advantages have only to be known to be immediately recognised and appreciated. YNYSYMAENGWYN, TOWYN. I Innumerable have been the nice things said about Towyn by visitors of all classes, and the beauty of it all is that everything which has been said is perfectly true. No elaborate word-painting is needed to describe its attractiveness. The place speaks most eloquently for itself to all who come within hailing distance, and fully justifies the good name and the excellent reputation which, during the last few years especially, it has been deservelly attaining. THE ATTRACTIONS OF TOWYN. It is difficult to imagine what the quiet holiday- seeker could want which is not here obtainable. Does he wish for the sea ? Here it lies in front of him, a broad expanse of waters, stretching as far as the eye can reach, with Bardesey Island forming the north-western horizon, while in a southern direction the coast is visible for many and many a mile until the hazy promontories fade into seeming littleness. THE PROMENADE. Is it a fine promenaue uiittt. is wanted, wnece the sea breezes may be inbed m cumvvrtn the luxury of that lazy lounging which is so com- patible to many holiday-makers P baeiti a promenade is to be found at Towyn, and right well does it deserve the popularity i6 finds with visitors throughout the day, and especially in the cool of the summer evenings. It is not very far from half a mile in length, is 30 yards in breadth, and is exceedingly well made and comfortable, there being also no lack of seats facing the sea, which, at ordinary high tides, comes up to within a stone's throw of the substantial wall of the parade, 8ide by side with this ashphalted promenade runs a good broad carriage drive, as well as a footpath, and the scene here presented on a fine summer's day is a most attractive one. The view from all parts of the parade can only be described as beautiful, and, as much in years to come as now, this promenade must remain as a monument to the generosity of one who has proved a benefactor to Towyn in many ways, viz., Mr. Corbett of Ynysymaengwyn, who built it in 1890 at a cost of many thousands of pounds. THE SANDS. Is the holiday-seeKer in search of sands on which his children may disport themselves to their hearts' content-sands which also will afford safe bathing ? He gets them at Towyn to perfection. The beach at this resort is nowhere to be beaten. For six miles-three miles either way from the promenade —there is at low tide an almost unbroken stietch of hard, firm sand, on which carriages can be driven with comfort. For the benefit of lovers of sea-bathing no more need be said than that the sands are hard and firm, and siope so gradually that the deepening of the water is scarcely perceptible. Excellent van accommodation is provided. BOATING, GOLF, AND TJ&NjJiiB. Is the visitor fond of boating, golf., g, or tennis? All are to be had here. The tennis courts, which are only a few hundred yards from the beach on the way from the railway station, are well laid, well looked after, and play a fast game while with regard to golf the links in this district are con- sidered amongst the best in the kingdom. Almost parallel with the promenade and the beach there is also a splendid recreation ground, 3! acres in ex- tent, where children can romp at will and indulge in all mann of games without let or hindrance. THE SCENERY. So far we have only looked to the front of Towyn wandered down from the railway station and seen what lies before us. Now let us turn round and look upon the eternal hills, clad in a haze of purple, which surround the trim little town on three sides, forming a glorious amphitheatre within which is to be found some of the grandest scenery in all wild Wales. Immediately in front, as we gaze upon the glories of the Cader Idris range, is one noble-look- ing hill, which divides the valley, and stands, for all the world, like a sentinel guarding the picturesque treasures beyond. It is not our object just now to deal with the wealth of unsurpassed scenery. For the moment our attention is confined to Towyn, the attractions of which are as yet by no means exhausted. FISHING. Is the visitor fond of fishing ? The ardent angler can simply revel here. The excellence of the fish- ing in the neighbourhood of Towyn is no myth but a glorious reality. To make this perfectly clear we cannot do better than quote the notes of a dis- tinguished disciple of the gentle craft, who writes as follows :—" The river Dysynni, only a few minutes' walk from Towyn, affords capital sport. Salmon, sewin, and gwynidd run up the river in the latter part of May and continue to do so until the fall of the year, and, in a few days after leaving the sea, take the fly freely. Trout are also plenti- ful, especially when there'is a freshet in the river. White or sea trout, weighing as much as three to four pounds, are frequently taken." For the fishing on the Ynysmaengwyn estate tickets can be obtained from Mr. R. J. Roberts, chemist; and for the Peniarth estate from Mrs. Price, of the White Hall Hotel. There are num- bers of brooks in the immediate locality which at certain times of the year actually swarm with trout, neither leave nor license being required to fish in them. The bass also affords no mean sport. Indeed, bass fishing is fast becoming the favourite sport of a large number of visitors. These peculiar fish take the fly with greater eagerness in the night than in the day. There is much novelty in landing a seven or a ten pound fish when it is too dark to see the rod after a struggle often long and exciting. These fish are whimsical in their habits at times they are playful and make the river boil for hours together with their gambols. This period of playfulness is frequently followed by sultry fits, which last long enough to try the sportman's patience. The coast is a splendid field for deep sea fishing, aal a greatvariety offish are taken by lines. The gurnard, the mackerel, cod, codlings, hake, and many sorts of skate are often plentiful. The sting ray, the oil of which is particularly valuable for stiff joints, has often been killed near Bwch Causeway. Foot-netting is also a prolific source of amuses ent. Turb )t, soles, plaice, flounder, mallet, and a variety of other fish are to be taken on the shore. There is also an excellent prawning ground within an easy distance of Towyn. Baskets of prawns, shrimps, lobsters, crabs, and congereel reward' the labour of the sportsman on this ground. Shoals of mallet come to the estuary of the river Dysynai, which is in close proximity to the town. These fish, when sunounded with a ring of nets, and a number of beaters afford capital sport. As the circle of nets is drawn closer round them they begin to jump about and leap into the air; then the beaters shout and beat the water often in the vain attempt to keep the fish in the circle until they, become entangled in the meshes of the closing nets, but the wily fish, when thus hemmed in, leap over the nets like so many horses in a steeplechase going over a fence; and, out of the six or eight hundred at first in the circle, only a proportion of one to four, or even less, is taken." After this testimony, where can the angler go with better hopes and expectations of sport ? THE ANTIQUITIES OF TOWYN. Maybe the visitor is of an antiquarian turn of mind ? If so, Towyn and district can offer him attractions of the highest order. Here he may dwell in an atmosphere of antiquity for the history of the town goes far back into the remote ages, and, right through the centuries, down the ring- ing groves of change," its salubrity is linked with its prehistoric traditions. Standing out clearly from the mists of legendary lore are many well authenticated facts. THE CHURCH. Perhaps one of the chief is that which is associated with the massive old Church, founded by St. Cadvan in the sixth century. Whether or not any portions of the orignal structurejjcan yet be traced in the present restored edifice, assomeantiquarians assert, it is beyond dcubt that the architecture of the Church yet retains many evidences of great antiquity. A finer specimen of the rude early Norman style of Chuich building cannot easily be found. Its massive strength is instinct with defence, and standing within its sacred precincts, it requires no very gre-i-, stretch of the imagination to realise the lives, the oianners, the customs, and the surroundings of the generations after genera- tions of people who ha, a worshipped here in past centuries, and found a haven of rest within its walls, or peaceful burial in its historic graveyard. Mr. Godfrey Turner has thus described this vener- able edifice: The nave, with its round arches, carried on pillars of ample girth, the northern transept, the southern and northern aisles, and the clerestory, all preserve inviolate their true Norman character. Recumbent effigies are those of Gruff ydd Goch ap Adda, of Dolgocn, who was Raglor, i.e. steward under Edward III., W the commot of Ystumaner, and whose daughter by name Nest, celebrated in Welsh poetry, was buried here; and a more ancient figure, apparently female, supposed to represent Gwenddydd, mother of Cyngan, Prince of Powys in the sixth century. The first-named of these monumental sculptures portrays an armed knight, over whom is a canopy. Within the Church, but formerly external to its walls, will be seen with curious interest, a monument which is one of the most precious to students of Welsh antiquity and religion-though, indeed, it has been sadly neglected during a period of comparatively modern Philistinism, when it was put to the base use of a gate post. This is no other than St. Cadvan's pillar, bearing cross and inscription in rare char- acters, pronounced to be British, with Roman de- basements of the seventh or eighth century. These characters are not seen in their precise form else- wnere, except on a stone fixed in a wall over a fire- place in a, nouse on Bardsey Island. The inscription on uiie piiiar nas been thus interpreted :—' The uouj ot uyiigan is on the side where the marks will ue. under a similar mound is extended Cauvan; eau that it should enclose the praise of tne eartn. May he rest without blemish.' CAVE AND ST. CADVAN. There are aiso many other objects of great anti- quarian interest. About five years ago, according to the writer already quoted, an incised stone or slab was discovered near the railway station, and is now in the possession of Mr. Richard Williams, of Celynog, lNewtown. "The work, probably, of Irish iitvauers in the fifth or sixth century, this rude piece oi picture writing was oddly associated with relics of various ages, having been found amid the remains of a Roman habitation, and in proximity to objects oeionging to the time of James 1. A cave near Towyn, visited by all who make the usual couiem of sea walks, is assigned by tradition to one of the most eventful passages in the life of Owain Glyndwr. Here it was, according to the legend, that he took refuge in the depth of his adversity." The good St. Cadvan's benediction also rested upon a well in the neighbourhood of Towyn, and eminent physicians, long since his time, have confirmed its reputation for curatiye and renovating qualities, particularly in cases of rheumatism. Within a short distance of the town a chalybeate spring has also recently been dis- covered, and a pump station might with advantage here be established. TOWYN FROM A HEALTH POINT OF VIEW. From a nealth point of view Towyn yields its reputation to no place in the kingdom. Its chara- r—I THE BIRD ROCK. • -••r ter in this respect is above suspicion. The fact that many distinguished medical men, from London, Birmingham, Chester, Wolverhampton, &c., are in the habit of spending their holidays here, in com- pany with their families, speaks volumes. The surgeon to the Queen's household (Dr. T. Spencer Wells) ula,ced on record his confident advice to those who are in search of a delightful sea-bathing place to seek for accommodation here-for climate and sands, and the neighbouring mountain and lake scenery render it equally useful, he says to invalids and children-to those who simply seek for rest and quiet, as well as to those who enjoy active exercise and mountain excursions. About the same time (1876), Dr. Bristowe (physician to St Thomas's Hospital) wrote in a similar strain, mentioning that he had been in the habit for seven or eight years, of spending his summer holidays at Towyn, with his wife and children, and saying that they had invariably deiived immense benefit from theii visits. All other medical opinion, is to the same effect. In the year 1884 the death-rate of the town was only 12'4, and an average for the last eleven years shows the rate to be only about 17 per 1,000. Incidentally, with regard to this matter of death- rates, it cannot but be a matter for regret that there seems to be a tendency in some places, to publish death-rates which are absolutely impossible, for some of them would make the average age of death close upon 100 years, which, when children are included, is merely contrary to fact. The figures given with regard to Towyn, however, are absolutely genuine, and it is also worth noting that the mean death-rate from zymotic diseases in Towyn for eleven years was only '42. Its situation is irreproachable. THE DRAINAGE. The town itself is flat, and great care had to be exercised in laying the sewers, but all the labour bestowed upon that was well spent. The sewerage is discharged into the sea about a mile and a half to the north of the town, at a point where the current sets from the land, and not a trace of sewerage matter has ever been found washed up by the sea. At the terminus of every drain there is an automatic flushing tank, and they are regu. lated to discharge their contents as occasion requires. The sewers themselves are thoroughly ventilated by means of shafts carried up above all the buildings. THE WATER SUPPLY. The water supply may also be considered perfect The water is drawn from the Rhydyronen stream at a point far above all cultivated land, and is brought to the town by gravitation. Even during the exceptional drought of 1893 the stream yielded ten times the quantity of water used by the town. No storage reservoir is therefore necessary. The supply is constant, and of unimpeachable purity. The analyst's reports show that it is remarkably free from solid matter, and, speaking of the samples taken, the analyst says In this respect they approach very closely to the nature of distilled water, and may be ranked side by side with the waters of Loch Katrine and Thirlmere Lake. It would be next to impossible to find purer natural water." The annual rainfall in the town of Towyn is a very low one, though there is plenty of rain "in the surrounding districts. It is not an uncommon thing in the summer time for the people round about the town to be making hay while the neigh- bouring valleys are being drenched. At Towyn there is also an abundance of sun«hine all the year round, and even during the frosty and foggy weather which was experienced inland to such an extent last winter, bright sunshine prevailed here for many hours a day. TOWYN AND ITS FUTURE. There can be little doubt that there is a prosperous future before this beautiful resort. Mr. Corbett, to whom allusion has already been made, is possessed of wealth and owns a good deal of property in Towyn and its neighbourhood, and is enthusiastic in the promotion of its develop- ment. He is the owner of several thousand acres of land with a sea frontage of about two miles in extent, with Cader Idris and other mountains in the background, and near the esplanade facing the sea, there are from 60 to 100 acres of land well adapted for buildings-land not only eminently suitable for building purposes, but also having a dry sub-soil, and the sites command a full view of Cardigan Bay, as well as of the Carnarvonshire coast and the Merionethshire and Cardiganshire mountains. This proposed part of the town has been specially designed with a view of command- ing the best possible views of sea and mountain. The beach for bathing is equal or superior to any, not only in England and Wales, but in Europe. The sands are soft and level, and a child may walk some distance in the water without being out of its depth. There are no currents. To a practical ob. server it must be evident that Towyn-on-Sea must, ere long, become one of the leading watering places in England. A few years ago Mr. Corbett offered several prizes, ranging in value from X30 to X150 for the best plan for building villas on the sea front. For the present, we believe, he proposes to build about half-a-dozen terrace houses, and two or three detached and semi-detached villas, as models of what the rest will be like. There are many other eligible sites on different parts of the estate. EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES. A notice of Towyn, as a place of residence an well as a holiday haunt, would not be complete without mention of the educational facilities which are here afforded. There is very fine Intermediate School, and those associated with it assert with pardonable pride that it is the best equipped school in North Wales, providing education (classical, commercial, scientific, industrial, and technical) to both boys and girls. The scholars at present exceed 70 in number, and the results hitherto, especially in the technical department, have been