Visiting Builth Wells


About 1-mile below the confluence of the River Wye with the Irfon, Builth opens itself at an 18-century bridge across the Wye.  The street goes from the six arches of this structure towards the church, considerably restored but keeping its ancient outline and holding Elizabethan memories intimate to the town in the effigy of a knight, Sir John Lloid of Towy, personal attendant of the Tudor Queen; he died in 1585.

It is the scenery around Builth that calls most for attention.  The River Wye towards Glasbury in one direction and Rhayader in the other, offer outstanding attractive views.  The town itself is now no older than the end of the 17-century since in 1691, just before Christmas, it was entirely destroyed by a fire that not only startled but roused consternation in England.  The Government gave permission to the house-less townsfolk to send out appeals for assistance to  the rest of Britain.  Record survives of Lincolnshire parish that was so moved by this petition that it sent "eight shilling and one fardin" donation.  For those days, this represented a worthwhile donation.  One probable survivor of the great fire of Built was the old wool market of stone set a little way up the hill above the main street.

Built seems to have been the earlier name for the place, varied by 17-century cartographers as Buelth or Bealt.  Apart from its long-established popularity as a place for medicinal waters, it has always been important as a centre for stock-sales and as a meeting ground for the two strains of cultural tradition, The English and the Welsh.