1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bardsey

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BARDSEY (i.e. "Bards' Island": cf. Anglesey, "Angles' Island"; Welsh, Ynys Enlli, "isle of the current"), an island at the northern extremity of Cardigan Bay. The "sound" between Aberdaron point and the island is some 4 m. wide. Bardsey is included in Carnarvonshire, North Wales (but traditionally in S. Wales). On the N.W. side it has high cliffs. It is about 2½ m. long by ¾ m. broad, with an area of some 370 acres, a third of which is hilly. Barley and oats are grown. On the S.E. side is a fairly deep harbour. On the N.E. are the ruins of the tower of St Mary's abbey (13th century). There is no Anglican church, the inhabitants being Dissenters. They are farmers and fishermen. The lighthouse, with fixed light, 140 ft. high and visible for 17 m., is locally celebrated. The rectory of Aberdaron (on the mainland, opposite Bardsey), Penmachno and Llangwnadl (Llangwynhoedl), in Lleyn (S. Carnarvonshire), belong to St John's College, Cambridge. St Dubricius made the sanctuary famous, and died here in 612. Here was the burial-place of all the monks whose friends could afford to go thither with their bodies. All the great abbeys of England sent their quota. Roads to Bardsey—with the monks' wells, found at intervals of 7 to 9 m.—run from north, east and south. The remnant of priests fled thither (after the great massacre of Bangor-is-coed in 613, by Ethelfride of Northumbria) by the road of the Rivals (Yn Eifl) hill, S. Carnarvonshire, on which Pistyll farm still gives food gratis to all pilgrims or travellers. A part of the isle is one great cemetery of about 3 to 4 acres, with rude, rough graves as close to each other as possible, with slabs upon them. Though Aberdaron rectory does not belong to the isle, the farm "Cwrt" (Court), where the abbot held his court, still goes with Bardsey, which was granted to John Wynn of Bodvel, Carnarvonshire, after the battle and partial sack of Norwich by the Puritans in the Civil War; passing through Mary Bodvel to her husband, the earl of Radnor, who sold it to Dr Wilson of York. The doctor, in turn, sold it to Sir John Wynn, of Glynllifon and Bodfean Hall, Carnarvonshire. One of the Wynns, the 3rd Baron Newborough, was, at his wish, buried here. The archaeology and history of the isle are voluminous. Lady Guest's Mabinogion translation (i. p. 115, ed. of 1838) gives an account of the (legendary) Bardsey House of Glass, into which Merlin (Myrddin) took a magic ring, originally kept at Caerleon-on-Usk.