Iolo Morganwg at Taliesin Williams, 16-17 Awst 1813

(NLW 21285E, Llythyr 895)

Address: Taliesin Williams, at the Revd Mr Davies, Parade, Neath
Postmark: COWBRIDGE [7]
Source: NLW 21285E, no. 895

Cowbridge, August 16th 1813

Dear Tally,
I have been ever since last Tuesday morning from home in Monmouthshire - Lanrumney House & Tredeger, Newport, Gwern y Cleppa &c - and all turned out to be time sadly wasted in every sense, exepting what I had to do with Mr Moggridge and my visit to Gwern y Cleppa, the ruined seat of Ivor Hael, of which I made some sketches, which when finished you shall see. I had been there once before with the Revd Evan Evans, or Ieuan Brydydd Hîr, but he had no patience then to stay and trace all the ruins and vestiges of this interesting ruin. But being now alone, I indulged myself with a ride on my hobby horse through the whole of the thick wood that now covers the ground and so entirely hides the remains of this ancient and very respectable house that it is not known to exist by most of the inhabitants of the parish of Baseleg Wallice 'Maeshaleg'), and even by those born and bred within a quarter of a mile of the spot. My nag however carried me thro' the wood and thro' nearly the whole of the day. The vestiges are extensive of the house, of the courts, gardens &c. Some of the walls are still up, the masonry good and very firm. Of these I made two or three hasty sketches. There are also vestiges of fish ponds, a pigeon house half of which is fallen down, a pretty large park also without the wood, surrounded by good stone walls in better preservation than could have been expected. The situation is remarkably fine, a good and healthy soil, hence it is wonderful that the place should have been suffered to become overgrown with a large and thick wood. It is within a mile of Tredegar House. I had a letter of introduction to Sir Charles Morgan, announcing my intention of visiting Gwern y Cleppa, with a view of giving some account of this ancient seat of the Tredegar family, and informing him who I was, but no notice was taken of either the letter or its bearer. I could not procure any information with respect to the way I should go to the wood or even the park from Tredegar. It was from a different part of the country that I had formerly visited the place. So much for Tredegar and its once far-famed hospitality, which during the life of the late worthy possessor of the estate, John Morgan, Esqr., who died about 20 years ago, I had often experienced, and where my reception always was such as could have been expected only by one of a rank greatly superior to mine. Poor Sir Charles! Poor devil! Poor rotten stick! as the gentleman who favoured me with the introductory letter termed him. In Cardiff, on my return home, I was told by Mr Bird that Henry Walters (against whose goods & property an execution had been brought) had leaped out of his window last Thursday night and had ran down to Gileston, but, not finding me at home, had gone nobody knew where and was supposed to have made away with himself; that they were every where searching for him but could not find him. This induced me to take Cowbridge in my way home. It was late last night when I arrived and, going to the Eagle, was told by T. Rees that Henry had returned and that he, Mr Williams of the Freeschool, Mr Taynton, and Mr Williams the attorney, wished to see me and to consult me about making a catalogue of Mr Walters' library. I staid here and have been all this day labouring hard at this, at present, very inconvenient, employment.
August 17th

Last night your two sisters came to town to see Mr Garrats' exhibitions. I went with them. They were highly pleased, so were many others. For my own part, I was greatly disappointed. I found every thing infinitely inferior to what I had many times seen of the kind in London and elsewhere. To me, it was but little, if any thing, better than Punch and the devil. You possible saw more at Neath than what was exhibited at Cowbridge, but I cannot help thinking that Mr Garrats' philosophy corresponds well with his theology, for he is (and you probably know it) a divine of Lady Huntington's manufacture. He, as he informs me, preaches frequently. He, however, seems to be of a mild disposition and very modest, which but very seldom can be said of one who possesses only that little learning which is a dangerous thing. His lectures &c may, however, produce some good effects in places remote from the habitations of real science and profound knowledge. They will exite attention and curiosity and study, and of course put some out of their present high roads of ignorance and lead them into the paths of true knowledge, of genuine philosophy. It has been said of the great Ferguson that, in his boyish years, he conceived an ardent wish to learn the science of astrology that he might become able to calculate nativities, tell fortunes, discover and set a mark upon thieves &c, but tho' in these imaginary arts he succeeded not, yet he was thereby led into as profound and correct a knowledge of astronomy as ever any man possessed. He became the best astronomer of the age. I had a sight of him in London about 45 years ago. I shall not be disengaged from this town before tomorrow evening. Next Monday is Godfrey's club night. You know that I must attend that. Of course it will not be in my power, I fear, to come to Neath and return in time for that occasion. Should you hear that Mr Owen Rees is arrived, I should be glad if you would immediately write to me. You will hear at Mr S. Morgan. Tell I. Redwood that I last Sunday saw his father &c. They are all well excepting Elizabeth, whose state of health is not good. Respects to Mr & Mrs Davies. How is Mrs Davies now? I hope that she is better. I hope Mr & Mrs Morgan are well. Best respects to them, to Gelligron family, Cringell family &c, &c. All your friends at Cowbridge desire to be affectionately remembered to you. Your mother and sisters are well. Your mother has been very melancholy ever since you went from home. James Jones has not yet done your box, but I will be at him and, as soon as it is ready, will send you the books you want. Where is the first volume of Chatterton? I cannot find it either at Flimston or at Gileston. News has been just received here, by a bulletin dispatched by government to the post office in this town, of a very great victory obtained by Wellington over Soult. I have been sorely disappointed in not being able to come and see you. I am not sure that I shall not come next Friday, to remain at Neath Saturday and return on Sunday, or to come on Saturday, return to Bridgend on Sunday and Monday morning to return home. If it will not be so, I intend to come to Neath next Saturday, stay over Sunday, and return on Monday. I have many things more to tell you when I see you, for which I have no room here.
I am,
dear Tally,
your affectionate father,
Edward Williams

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