"A Welsh Spa town" Builth Wells by uglyscot

Builth Wells Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 45 photos

We went to visit an old friend living just outside Builth Wells. The town is small but looks nice.The scenery is wonderful, being in sight of the Cambrian mountains.
The name Builth, in Welsh Buallt or perhaps Buellt, originally applied to the Cantref or Hundred, an area within the old Welsh administrative system. The Cantref of Buallt/Buellt was an area of land between the rivers Wye and Tywi covering an area of some 174 miles. It is thought that the name came from the Welsh words 'Bu' and 'Allt', and could be translated as 'The Wild Ox of the Wooded Slope'.

Some history

Although Roman remains have been found in the surrounding area (the Roman fort at Beulah, 8 miles to the west] there is no evidence yet that there was any Roman habitation in Builth Wells. The town definitely dates to Norman times with the construction of the timber Motte and Bailey castle , which commanded the ancient crossing of the Wye, and controlled the route to the south . towards Brecon, and also guarded the entrance to the Irfon valley and the west.
In 1277 it became a Borough Town and was granted a Royal Charter by Edward I. The town dropped its former name of Llanfair ym Muellt and became Buellt, then Buallt which became anglicized into Bealt and finally Builth.
It developed into a small market town with population close to 700 in 1800. In the 1350's, it is almost certain that the town experienced the Great Plague - The Black Death. Local tradition tells us that when the Plague ravaged Builth the people living in the countryside surrounding the town left food and provisions for the townspeople on the banks of a brook to the west of the town. In return, Builth's inhabitants threw money to pay for the goods into the brook in an attempt to prevent the spread of the Plague. As a result the brook became known as 'Nant Yr Arian' or 'The Money Brook' a name which remains today.
|A six arched bridge built in 1775 was widened in 1925. See photo above.

Possibly the most important drama occurred about 1690 when forty houses were destroyed by fire. Although alms were collected , only one house was rebuilt from this fund -possibly the modern-day White Horse Hotel. It is also believed that materials taken from the redundant and decaying castle were used to rebuild the town.
However, modern Builth dates largely from Victorian and Edwardian times resulting from the discovery of the health springs. Although there are records mentioning the mineral waters at Builth as far back as 1740, it was in the 1830s that the Park Wells became well known and at the latter half of the 19th century large numbers of visitors came to Builth to 'take the Waters' . This led to the building of hotels, guest houses and shops to accommodate them. In the 1860's the arrival of the railways, allowed visitors to travel to Builth with ease, from all over Wales and England. It is from this time that the word 'Wells' was added to the name Builth.

  • Last visit to Builth Wells: Jun 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (5)

Comments (3)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jun 21, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    An interesting page to read!

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Jun 30, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    Another beautiful part of Britain with luscious greenery and lots of open space. A nice place to live or holiday in. Your updates are most interesting. Never heard of the devil by the northern wall of a church.

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2012 at 5:16 AM

    I didn't realise that this was where Llewellyn Grufyd met his end - another little gem of a place (and a page)!


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