Place:Radnorshire, Wales

Alt namesRadnorsource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Sir Faesyfedsource: Wikipedia
TypeHistoric county
Located inWales     ( - 1974)
See alsoPowys, Walescounty to which it was transferred 1974
Contained Places
Civil parish
Presteign ( 1866 - 1974 )
Cefnllys Hundred
Colwyn Hundred
Cwmwd Deuddwr Commute
Elfael Is Mynydd Commute
Elfael Uwch Mynydd Commute
Gwrtheyrnion Commute
Knighton Hundred
Llythyfnwg Commute
Maelienydd Hundred
Painscastle Hundred
Radnor Hundred
Inhabited place
Abbey Cwmhir ( 1000 - )
Knighton ( - 1974 )
Llanbadarn Fawr
Llandrindod Wells ( - 1974 )
New Radnor
Old Radnor
Presteign ( 1866 - 1974 )
St Harmon
Parish (ancient)
Presteign ( 1866 - 1974 )
Registration district
Kington Registration District (2) ( 1870 - 1870 )
Kington Registration District (3) ( 1870 - 1870 )
Knighton Registration District ( 1837 - 1933 )
Presteigne Registration District ( 1837 - 1877 )
Radnorshire East Registration District ( 1933 - 1974 )
Radnorshire West Registration District ( 1933 - 1974 )
Rural district
Colwyn Rural ( 1894 - 1974 )
Knighton Rural ( 1894 - 1974 )
New Radnor Rural ( 1894 - 1974 )
Painscastle Rural ( 1894 - 1974 )
Rhayader Rural ( 1894 - 1974 )
Betws Diserth
Diserth and Tre-goed
Elan Village
Litton and Cascob
Llanbadarn Fynydd
Llanbedr Painscastle
Llanddewi Fach
Llanddewi Ystradenni
Llandeilo Graban
Llanfihangel Helygen
Llanfihangel Nant Melan
Llanfihangel Rhydieithon
Llansanffraid Cwmteuddwr
Tre-wern and Gwaethla
Upper Harpton
Walton and Womaston
Urban district
Knighton ( - 1974 )
Llandrindod Wells ( - 1974 )
Presteign ( 1866 - 1974 )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
Image:WalesRadnorshireTrad.png :the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Radnorshire (Welsh: Sir Faesyfed), sometimes called "Radnor", is a sparsely populated area, one of thirteen historic and former administrative counties of Wales. It is now represented by the Radnorshire area of Powys which, according to the 2011 census, had a population of 25,821. The historic county was bounded to the north by Montgomeryshire and Shropshire, to the east by Herefordshire, to the south by Breconshire and to the west, for a short distance, by Cardiganshire (now Ceredigion).

In mediavel times the county was covered by the cantrefs of Maelienydd and Elfael and the commotes of Gwrtheyrnion and Deuddwr (the area formerly known as Rhwng Gwy a Hafren). It was converted into Radnorshire by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542. New Radnor was the original county town, although the Assizes sat at Presteigne. Ultimately the County Council formed in 1889 met at Presteigne as well. Some administrative functions and, later, the District Council, were based at the larger and more central Llandrindod Wells, which is currently the largest settlement.

Under the Local Government Act 1888, an elected county council was set up to take over the functions of the Radnorshire Quarter Sessions. The county was then divided into a series of urban and rural districts, an organization of local government which lasted from 1894 until 1974.

In 1974 this administration was abolished by the Local Government Act 1972, with its area being transferred to the newly-created county of Powys. Powys was divided into three districts, one of which (named the Radnor District) was coterminous with Radnorshire. The district was renamed Radnorshire in 1989. Since Powys became a unitary authority in 1996, Radnorshire has been one of three areas formed under a decentralisation scheme. A "shire committee" consisting of councillors elected for electoral divisions within the former district of Radnorshire exercises functions delegated by Powys County Council.

Urban and rural districts

The Local Government Act 1894 created urban districts (UDs) and rural districts (RDs) in place of the sanitary districts which had operated over the previous fifty or so years. Directly elected urban and rural district councils became the governing bodies. The new districts were identical in area to the sanitary districts, with the exception that where a RSD was divided by a county boundary it was split into separate rural district in each county. Radnorshire was divided into eight UDs and RDs, which were unchanged until their abolition in 1974:

(a) Llandrindod Wells UD
(b) Knighton UD
(c) Presteigne UD
(1) Rhayader RD
(2) Knighton RD
(3) New Radnor RD (from Kington RSD in Herefordshire)
(4) Colwyn RD (from Builth RSD in Breconshire)
(5) Painscastle RD (from Hay RSD in Breconshire)
Image:Radnorshire RDs and UDs.png

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Radnorshire.

Research Tips

  • The National Library of Wales has just uploaded (Feb 2018) a website covering the tithe maps of Wales with accompanying apportionment documents using original and present-day maps. There are over 300,000 entries. Landowners and small villages are included. The presentation looks very good.
  • A 1900 Ordnance Survey map of the historic county of Radnorshire is available on the A Vision of Britain through Time website. This shows all the old parishes within their urban and rural districts. Large farms and estates are also marked.
  • GENUKI has a page on each of the old counties of Wales and, under these counties, pages for each of the ecclesiastical parishes within the county. Information is gathered under a number of headings and the amount of information varies from parish to parish. Parish descriptions are based on a gazetteer dated 1835 and thus the emphasis is on ecclesiastical parishes. (Civil parishes were not yet established.) The submitter is very firm about his copyright. This should not stop anyone from reading the material.
  • The GENUKI Pembrokeshire pages include, under Description and Travel close to the bottom of the page, a link "parish map" to a map website showing boundaries and settlements before 1850. On the linked page will be maps of several parishes located close to each other.
  • GENUKI also provides references to other organizations who hold genealogical information for the local area, but there is no guarantee that the website has been kept up to date for every county.
  • FreeBMD provides a link to a list of the civil registration districts for each Welsh county from 1837 to 1996. Civil registration districts changed with varying densities of population and improvements in communication. Most counties and unitary authorities now have only one district. The list helps with providing names for the registration districts listed in the FreeBMD index and also as a guide for where to look for census entries.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki has a series of pages similar to those provided by GENUKI and these have been prepared at a later date. The Wiki may look like Wikipedia but the information has been provided for family historians. There are tables of links between the parishes in the historic counties of Wales and their post-1996 counterparts. This is the only genealogical website found that provides this information universally; others are not as thorough.
  • Some words in Welsh come up time and time again and you may want to know what they mean or how to pronounce them. For example,
    "Eglwys" is a church and the prefix "Llan" is a parish.
    "w" and "y" are used as vowels in Welsh.
    "Ll" is pronounced either "cl" or "hl" or somewhere in between. "dd" sounds like "th".
    The single letter "Y" is "the" and "Yn" means "in".
    "uwch" means "above"; "isod" is "below" or "under";
    "gwch" is "great", "ychydig" is "little";
    "cwm" is a "valley".
In both Welsh and English all these words are commonly used in place names in the UK. Place names are often hyphenated, or two words are combined into one. Entering your problem phrase into Google Search, including the term "meaning in Welsh", will lead you to Google's quick translation guide. I'm no authority; these are just things I have picked up while building up this gazetteer for WeRelate.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Radnorshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.