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Passage about Aberthaw taken from
VOYAGE ROUND GREAT BRITAIN
UNDERTAKEN IN THE SUMMER OF 1815,
AND COMMENCING FROM LANDS-END CORNWALL
BY RICHARD AYTON
Being informed that we should meet with nothing deserving of observation on this side of the Bristol channel beyond Minehead, we determined to pass over from this port to Cardiff, on the opposite coast, and from thence commence our voyage round the Welsh coast. A foul wind prevented our proceeding so far to the eastward, and we landed nearly opposite to Minehead, at Aberthaw. The word Aber, in Welsh, means the confluence of a river, and all places in Wales with this addition have the same signification as Exmouth. Plymouth and others in England. The stream which meets the sea at Aberthaw is very small, and so lazy in its current that it has not scooped out a channel, but forms a swamp, which received us from our up to the knees. A quarter of a mile inland is the village of Aberthaw, where we were welcomed by the custom-house officer, the only person in the place who could speak to us in our own language. With all our home feelings fresh about us, and not at all corned by the sea air during a passage of three hours, it seemed quite strange to be asked if we had arrived from England, and to see English faces about us with foreign tongues. Our friend of the excise communicated to us the history of his neighbourhood, which combines few particulars that are generally known, or indeed worthy to be so. The coast about Aberthaw is composed of a peculiar kind of limestone, which furnished a most valuable cement. When burnt into lime and placed under water it immediately assumes the hardness of the original rock, and even when pulverised and scattered over the land it is converted into a hard grit by the first shower of rain. In the construction of bridges, piers, and all stonework that is exposed to water, this lime is in the highest estimation. The greater part of the coast of Wales is composed of limestone, but none is found of this peculiar quality but at Aberthaw. All the roofs and walls in the village are defended by a coat of this eternal cement; and when a roof admits the rain, it is conceived quite time to pull the house down.