Welcome to Rhayader
This small market town situated in mid-Wales is a perfect base for
exploring. The name Rhayader or Rhaeadr Gwy in Welsh means 'waterfall on
Rhayader is a busy and historic market town in the north-west of the
ancient county of Radnorshire. It is the first town on the banks of the
River Wye and has long been a vital centre for the farming community
with its flourishing livestock market serving a large rural area. The
town lies at the crossroads of important routes from south to north and
east to west through central Wales with a bridge over the River Wye. In
the 18th and 19th century, sheep and cattle drovers traversed the
Cambrian mountains destined for English market towns of Banbury,
Hereford and London. The clock tower in the middle of Rhayader acting as
the historic crossroad midway between North and South Wales and was a
mid 19th century vital staging post on the famous coach road from
Aberystwyth to London.
The surrounding countryside can be easily explored by bicycle and has a
wide range of places to stay including caravans, camping, bed and
breakfasts, self-catering cottages or Hotels. There are plenty of places
to provide good food and drink. The town has a wonderful riverside walk,
two large free car parks and the nearest Train Station is 12 miles away
at Llandrindod Wells - on the Heart of Wales line. Like the other local
communities, Rhayader and the surrounding area underwent great changes
during Queen Victoria's reign and became a popular place to visit.
The town of Rhayader back to the 5th century. Prehistoric evidence
exists of earlier Bronze age and Roman settlements The castle was built
by the Lord Rhys of Deheubarth, in 1177 at the fringes of his kingdom to
resist the Normans and Flemish. It was rebuilt by him in 1194. This
later work may have been reinforcement in the face of a threat, since
shortly afterwards the castle fell to Maelgwn and Hywel, sons of
Cadwallon ap Madog of Maelienydd, the adjoining kingdom to the east.
They almost immediately lost it to English Mortimer forces, but it was
soon regained by the Lord Rhys. "The castle of Gwrtheyrnion" (the
Rhayader area) was again regained by the Welsh in 1202, although it is
not clear how they had lost it. Overall, it lasted only fifty years
before being put under siege and destroyed by fire in 1231 by soldiers
from North Wales.
The Rebecca Riots
It was between 1839 and 1844 that the local areas were witness to
rioting. The root of this was the hard lives the poor of both town and
country were living, the perceived lack of interest by those in power
and the pressure from changes that were happening. Tenant farmers and
farm workers across Wales were finding the high toll charges a real
burden. Rhayader had no less than six toll gates on the roads into the
town making journeys and bringing animals into market expensive.
Additionally, prices of stock had fallen harvests were poor. The
increase of tithe payments to the church not helping the situation.
Those not managing had to rely on the new Poor Law Unions and the
Eventually people became so angry that they resorted to violence. Local
tollgates were a convenient target. No-one is completely sure why the
local tenant farmers and workers created Rebecca and her daughters as a
disguise, but it is thought that the idea comes from the Bible. In
Genesis Rebecca recommended that some "possess the gates of those which
The different groups of attackers were often led by a "Rebecca" and were
all dressed in women's clothing.
The Police Force
Before the creation of the Radnorshire Constabulary each parish had a
constable, held together by a chief constable for each group of
parishes. Pay and training were not provided and those willing to do
this task did so as well as their own jobs!
Normally, their tour of duty lasted one year, however, courts would not
allow them to finish their duties unless could list three men who had
not served as a constable for ten years and from which their replacement
Indeed, the job was so unpopular the Chief Constable of Knighton ran
away rather than do his duties !
All this changed in the 1840s when the government allowed counties to
set up a proper county police force or constabulary. Montgomeryshire set
up such a force, but Radnorshire didn't. It did employ Special
Constables to oversee these local parish constables, though. These were
the first paid policemen in Radnorshire.
Welsh Royal Crystal glass making
Centuries old handcrafting skills are used in the
Welsh Royal Crystal glass making workshops. All crystal pieces are
individually mouth blown and hand cut, thus capturing the clarity,
brilliance and sharpness of cut associated with quality crystal ware.
The range of shapes and decorative cuts embraces Traditional, Intaglio
and Celtic design influences, which are unique to Welsh Royal Crystal
The most stringent quality standards are applied to ensure that only the
finest quality is stamped with the Welsh Royal Crystal assay mark - the
traditional Welsh Dragon stamp represents a symbol of quality.
Farm in Rhayader
and watch the breathtaking feats of aerial piracy as Red Kites are being
fed. Take a drive down the reservoirs
of the lovely
Devil's Bridge and the seaside town of
Aberystwyth. Travel some 25 miles east to the
historic town of Presteigne and the visit