Machynlleth, locally referred to colloquially as 'Mach' is a market town set in the Dyfi Valley, Powys
The earliest record of Machynlleth may well be contained in the legend of 'Cantre'r Gwaelod', a mythical area of fertile farmland that enriched the local people. Since then the town has enjoyed a distinguished history. Its claims to being the ancient capital of Wales are based upon Owain Glyndwr's short lived government of 1404, which was housed in the Parliament buildings that are still open to the public today. However, it has never held any official recognition as a capital. From 1536 to 1974 it lay in the historic county of Montgomeryshire (Sir Drefaldwyn).
An unsuccessful assassination attempt on Glyndwr by Dafydd Gam was punished by imprisonment in Machynlleth's Royal House, but atoned for by Gam's courage at Agincourt for which he is remembered in Shakespeare's Henry V. The Dyfi Bridge on the outskirts of town also played host to a pivotal battle in the civil war when Sir Thomas Myddleton's Roundheads defeated the local Royalists.
There is a long history of human activity in the Machynlleth area. In the late-1990s, radiocarbon dating showed that copper mining was taking place in the Early Bronze Age (ca. 2750 years ago), within a mile of the town centre. But there are legends of a once fertile plain, the Cantre'r Gwaelod, now lost beneath the waves of Cardigan Bay.
The Romans settled in the area to an extent. They built a small Roman fort at Pennal (Cefn Caer) four miles west of Machynlleth, and are reputed to have had two look-out posts above the town at Bryn-y-gog and Wylfa. But one of the earliest written references to Machynlleth is the Royal charter granted in 1291 by Edward I to Owen de la Pole, Lord of Powys.
This gave him the right to hold "a market at Machynlleth every Wednesday for ever and two fairs every year". The Wednesday market is still a busy and popular day in Machynlleth 700 years on.