8vo., pp. iv, 147, , with heraldic plate and facing explanation of the ‘Arms of the Principality’ and a large folding plate, the engraved ‘Map of North Wales’; foxing to endleaves but a very good copy in contemporary speckled calf, rebacked preserving original spine; armorial bookplate of Sir John Ingilby.
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First edition of this travel narrative and history of Wales, dedicated to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn ‘who possesses so considerable a part of that Country’.
Cradock set out from Shrewsbury in the autumn of 1776, visiting various towns and monuments, including: Powis castle, ‘or red castle, from the colour of the stones of which it is built’, Cader Idris, the salmon-leap at Pont Aberglaslyn, Carnarvon ‘built by the command of Edward the First, out of the ruins of the ancient city of Segontium’, the isle of Anglesea ‘the well-known seat of the Druids’, Bangor, Penmaen Mawr, Conway, and St. Asaph. The narrative of his travels is followed by a history of Wales and her people, and the whole offers a detailed insight into Welsh life during the eighteenth century.
Although principally historical in outlook, Cradock describes contemporary developments in infrastructure, and makes some prophetic comments on the survival of the Welsh tongue: ‘the ancient language is spoken the nearest to its original purity in the uncultivated parts of North Wales, but the Welsh in general still retain so high a veneration for it, that I am confident they will never readily suffer the English to be entirely made use of in their Churches, or taught solely in their Schools’.
Cradock’s poetic prose reveals his fondness for the country and its legends: ‘though Mona is destroyed, and her Altars abolished, ___ though Fires have consumed her Groves, and Priests have perished by the Sword … like the Phoenix she rises most glorious from Decay; her ashes have given birth to Caractacus of Mason, and the fate of her Bards to the Inspiration of Gray’.
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