CAERNARVON CASTLE

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――”Rifled towers
That, beetling o’er the rock, rear the grey crest
Embattled.”

The first royal charter granted in the Principality of Wales was that conferred
on the town of Caernarvon by Edward the First. It is a place of great historical interest
and importance, and, in connexion with its magnificent castle, presents one of the
most imposing features on the British coast. The town is not large; but the recent
improvements — public and private — which have been carried into effect have
materially contributed to its internal convenience and outward embellishment. Of
these the Baths demand especial notice, as one of the principal recommendations to
strangers and invalids who resort to this part of the Cambrian shore either for health
or relaxation. The building in itself is a good specimen of classical taste — combining
elegance of design with excellent workmanship, and presenting, in the distribution of
its apartments, every convenience for the reception of visitors and invalids, a choice of
hot and cold sea-water baths, with the appendage of comfortable dressing-rooms. For
those who have the pleasure in the “cold plunge,” as the means of bracing the relaxed
system by the exercise of swimming, there is excellent accommodation in a capacious
bath, appropriated to that salutary purpose, which is refreshed by a constant supply of
water drawn by a steam-engine from the sea through iron pipes, and received into large
reservoirs of the same metal. This edifice, which combines in an eminent degree the
useful and ornamental, was built at the expense of the Marquess of Anglesey, and is
said to have cost upwards of ten thousand pounds.

Within the walls this ancient town is intersected by ten streets, crossing each
other at right-angles, which, at various points, fix the stranger’s attention by those
features and recollections of ” other times” with which they are so closely associated.
Of these, the main or high street runs from the land to the Water gate and is a very
fair specimen of that architecture which characterizes almost all town buildings of the
feudal period. Beyond the walls the town assumes a very different character; elegance,
taste, and comfort, and those features which mark the progress of art and refinement,
are brought into immediate view; while numerous cottages, and several villas of
handsome design and finely situated, throw an air of luxury and domestic comfort over
the rural suburbs, the natural character of which is highly favorable to buildings of this

description. The town is well paved, lighted with gas, and abundantly supplied with
water.
The Port of Caernarvon has accommodation for shipping not exceeding four
hundred tons burden, and is frequented by a great number of vessels in the coasting-
trade, as well as by others in connexion with London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Dublin, Cork,
Bristol, and various port-towns in the United Kingdom. The principal exports consist of
slate and copper-ore, the inland transport of which has been greatly facilitated since the
construction of the railway. The imports are chiefly colonial produce, Birmingham and
Manchester goods, and various articles of home-consumption from the London
markets. The quay and harbour of Caernarvon, which formerly presented serious
obstacles to the shipping interest on account of the bar at the entrance, have been so
improved that the danger, if not entirely removed, is at least so far diminished as to
excite little apprehension for the safety of the ordinary craft in connexion with this port.
To defray the expense of these public works, Government has levied additional port-
dues; and it is much to be wished that, in all other harbours of difficult or dangerous
access, the same advantages could be obtained on similar conditions.

The town is now, agreeably to the Municipal Act, divided into two wards,
and governed by a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councilors. In addition to the
picturesque civic retreats already alluded to, as giving so much animation to the native
scenery, the neighbourhood is embellished with the baronial seats of the Marquess
of Anglesey, Lord Boston, and Lord Newborough. The ruins of Segontium, several
Roman stations, part of a military road, and a considerable number of primitive domestic
edifices, are among the chief objects of antiquity which deserve the attention of visitors
to this neighbourhood.

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