BALA, a market-town and urban district of Merionethshire, N. Wales, at the north end of Bala Lake, 17 m. N.E. of Dolgelley (Dolgellau). Pop. (1901) 1554. It is little more than one wide street. Its manufactures are flannel, stockings, gloves and hosiery (for which it was well known in the 18th century). The Tower of Bala (some 30 ft. high by 50 diameter) is a tumulus or "moat-hill," formerly thought to mark the site of a Roman camp. The theological college of the Calvinistic Methodists and the grammar school (endowed), which was founded in 1712, are the chief features, together with the statue of the Rev. Thomas Charles, the distinguished theological writer, to whom was largely due the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Bala Lake, the largest in Wales (4 m. long by some 4 m. wide), is subject to sudden and dangerous floods, deep and clear, and full of pike, perch, trout, eel and gwyniad. The gwyniad (Caregonus) is peculiar to certain waters, as those of Bala Lake, and is fully described by Thomas Pennant in his Zoology (1776).
The lake (Llyn Tegid) is crossed by the Dee, local tradition having it that the waters of the two never mix, like those of Alpheus and the sea.
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