Berriew (Aber-Rhiw) - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
BERRIEW (ABER-RHIW), a village and parish, in the union of Forden, partly in the hundred of Cawrse, liberties of the borough of Welshpool, but chiefly in the lower division of the hundred of Newtown, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 5 miles (S. S. W.) from Welshpool; containing 2259 inhabitants. This village derives its name from being situated near the junction of the river Rhiw with the Severn, from which point it is distant about three quarters of a mile, on the banks of the Rhiw, on the road between Welshpool and Newtown. The parish consists of about 12,000 acres, and is wholly inclosed, the waste lands, amounting to some thousands of acres, in the manor of Cedewain, having been allotted pursuant to an act obtained in 1796. Flannel is manufactured to a limited extent. The Montgomeryshire canal passes through the parish, and is carried over the Rhiw, near the village, by an aqueduct of four arches. The high grounds, especially the Byrwydd, about three miles north-west of the village, command very extensive and richly-diversified prospects of the fertile vales of Severn, Montgomery, Salop, and Manavon, studded with numerous villages and mansions; and of the principal mountains in North Wales, Salop, &c.
The village presents a cheerful and pleasing appearance, containing several good houses and neat white-washed cottages: a daily mail to and from London passes through it. The ancient mansion of Vaenor occupies an elevated situation in a park tolerably well wooded. It formerly belonged to the family of Price, an heiress of which being married to George Devereux, Esq., in the seventeenth century, it became the property of the Viscounts Hereford: the estate is now in the possession of John Lyon Winder, Esq., nephew of the late John Winder, Esq., who has rebuilt the house in the most magnificent manner, preserving the old Elizabethan style of architecture. The gardens, and particularly the terrace, are much admired. There are several other genteel residences in the parish, namely, Gl�n Severn, a handsome stone edifice, situated in grounds beautifully laid out, through which the river Severn pursues a winding course; B�d Heilin, occupying a romantic situation on the slope, and near the summit, of a well-wooded hill, which commands a delightful view of the vales of Severn and Montgomery; the house of Rhiwport; Garthmael Hall; Pennant; Bryncwmysir; Brithdir Hall; and Rhiwbank, or Lower Vaenor. The petty sessions for the lower division of the hundred are held at Berriew on the first Saturday in every month.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at �13. 6. 8.; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph; impropriator, Lord Sudeley. The great tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of �793, and the vicarial for one of �445, with a glebe of 1� acre, and a glebe-house; the tithes of the parish-clerk produce �12 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Beuno, is a neat modern structure, with a square tower surmounted with pinnacles. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyan Methodists. Humphrey Jones, Esq., of Garthmael, by will dated February 26th, 1652, devised to trustees, for the foundation and endowment of a free school at Berriew, the rectory of Bettws, and certain lands and tenements, called Cwm Madoc Ucheldre, in the parish of Tr�gynon, which he held as a security for the sum of �400 advanced on mortgage. In the event of the mortgage being redeemed, the testator directed that the sum should be invested in the mortgage of other premises. This having taken place, the sum of �400 was expended in 1754, together with �50 arising from a bequest by Rees Evans and belonging to the poor, in the purchase of an estate called Penarth, in the parish of Llanvair, now consisting of nearly 146 acres, 15� of which are woodland, and an allotment of 43� acres subsequently added under an inclosure act; the whole producing �72 per annum to the charity. The old school-house, being in a dilapidated state, was pulled down in 1819, and a neat and substantial stone structure was erected as a National school, at an expense of �1580, defrayed partly from the funds of the charity, which had accumulated during a suspension of the school, and partly by subscription. Both boys and girls are taught, but the mistress derives her salary from subscriptions, and not from the endowment, which appears to be exclusively applied towards the support of the boys' department. The master receives a salary of �40, and is allowed to take private scholars; the mistress receives �20, and they have a house and garden rent-free. The children pay a small sum weekly, to form a fund for fuel and repairs. Several Sunday schools are supported by the dissenters.
Various bequests have been made for the benefit of the poor, to be applied in the distribution of bread and clothes, and in apprenticing children. The most considerable of these, are, a gift of �200 by the above-mentioned Humphrey Jones for apprenticing poor children, the proceeds of which, �9, are so employed, in premiums not exceeding �5 each; an annual sum of �6. 5. 7. for the poor, received from Hannah Lloyd's charity at Castle Caer-Einion; and the interest of �86. 17. 7., being the proportion of this parish for timber cut on the property of the charity, applied to the above fund for putting out apprentices. With Mrs. Lloyd's charity for the poor are placed a charge of �2 by Anne Morris, another of 10s. by Morris Thomas, a gift of �50 by Viscount Hereford, and one of �20 by Ann Higgins; producing, with the �6. 5. 7., a total sum of �11. 15. 7. for distribution among the poor at Easter and Christmas. Besides these, a rent-charge of �1 by Oliver Rees, and one of �3 by Edward Edwards, are appropriated in clothing; and the poor receive from the parties on whose properties they are charged, a rent-charge of �3 by Mrs. Margaret Corbet, and another of �2 by Rees Jones. A benefaction of �2. 12. per annum, the rent of a tenement bequeathed by Mrs. Bridget Devereux, is distributed in bread on every second Sunday: a few other small charities have been lost. This is one of the parishes incorporated, by an act passed in the 32nd of George III., for the maintenance of their poor in a house of industry at Forden.
In the township of Allt, between the canal and the road leading to Welshpool, is a tumulus; and on the top of Cevn-yr-Allt are the remains of a British encampment: there is also an encampment in the township of Frith, near the road from Berriew to Castle Caer-Einion. Maen Beuno, a stone pillar bearing the name of the patron saint of the church, is still standing in the township of Berriew, between the Welshpool road and the river Severn.