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GLAMORGANSHIRE

“Here British hearts the arms of Rome withstood.

Repulsed her cohorts with their native blood;

Till Caradoc and independence fell.

And freedom shrieked in CARDIFF’s citadel—

And Cambria’s heroes, rushing on the glave,

Died gloriously for her they could not save!”

THE county of Glamorgan, of which the principal town is represented in the

accompanying plate, abounds in historical sites well adapted for the pencil, and

furnishing the reader with many interesting facts and traditions. The southern portion

of the country is remarkably fertile, highly cultivated, and presents to the stranger a

long succession of luxuriant corn-fields, verdant pastures, and animated pictures of

rural happiness and independence. It would be difficult to find any tract of land in Great

Britain that can surpass the Vale of Glamorgan in richness of soil, or in soft and graceful

scenery. This favoured region extends the whole length of the county — from the base

of the mountains on the north to the shore of the Bristol Channel on the south-west. It

presents throughout a most gratifying proof of what may be accomplished by judicious

management, when soil and climate are both in favour of agricultural operations.

As a fair proof of the mild and salubrious nature of the atmosphere, we need

only observe that the magnolia, the myrtle, and other delicate exotics, not only live

but flourish in this auspicious climate. Equally favourable to health and longevity, this

district has numerous living testimonies in the vigorous health and protracted age of its

inhabitants, who are fully sensible of the blessings they enjoy. The valley, at its greatest

breadth, measures about eighteen miles; in various places, however, it is contracted

into less than the half of this space, and presents in its outline a constant variety of

picturesque and graceful windings.

The town of Cardiff is built on the eastern bank of the river Taff, over which

there is a handsome bridge of five arches, leading to Swansea. It is a thriving town,

possessing considerable trade; and, by means of a canal from Pennarth to Merthyr-

Tydvil, has become the connecting medium between these extensive iron-works and

the English market, and is, in fact, the port of the latter. The Taff, which falls into the

sea at Cardiff, forms a principal outlet for the mining districts of Glamorganshire, the

produce of which has hitherto found its way to market through the Glamorganshire

canal; but its sea-lock, constructed about fifty years ago, has long been found

inadequate to the demands for increased accommodation, in consequence of the great

prosperity of trade since the canal was opened.

The Marquess of Bute, possessing lands in this neighbourhood, obtained, in

1830, an act for constructing a new harbour, to be called the Bute ship canal, and

completed the work at his own expense. The great advantages of this enterprise are

— a straight, open channel from Cardiff-roads to the new sea-gates, which are forty-

five feet wide, with a depth of seventeen feet at neap, and thirty feet at spring-tide. On

passing the sea-gate, vessels enter a capacious basin, having an area of about an acre

and a half, sufficient to accommodate large trading-vessels and steamers. Quays are

erected along the side of the canal, finished with strong granite coping, and comprising

more than a mile of wharfs, with ample space for warehouses, exclusive of the wharfs at

the outer basin. This great work was finished in the summer of 1839, at an expense to

the proprietor of three hundred thousand pounds.

Cardiff Castle, which stands insulated on a high mound of earth, was partially

restored and modernized by the late Marquess of Bute. This ancient fortress is

connected with several interesting events in history. In one of its towers, or dungeons,

Robert Duke of Normandy was twenty-five years imprisoned by his younger brother,

Henry the First, who had previously usurped the throne and deprived him of his

eyesight. In the reign of Charles the First it was bombarded by the Parliamentary forces

during three successive days, and only surrendered in consequence of treachery on the

part of the garrison.

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