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Llanddewibrefi - Extract from "A Topographical Dictionary of Wales"
by Samuel Lewis 1833

"LLANDEWY-BREVI (LLAN-DDEWI-BREVI), a parish comprising the townships of Dothie-Camddwr, Dothie-Pyscottwr, Godwidd, and Prisk with Carvan, in the upper division of the hundred of PENARTH; the chapelries of Blaen-Penal and Gartheli, and the townships of Cugian, Gwynvil, and Llanio, in the lower division of the same hundred ; and the chapelry of Bettws-Leike, in the upper division of the hundred of MOYTHEN, county of CARDIGAN, SOUTH WALES; 8 miles (N. E. by N.) from Lampeter, and containing 2461 inhabitants : each of the chapelries and townships is separately assessed for the maintenance of its own poor. This parish, which is intersected by the river Teivy, and by the turnpike road from Lampeter to Tregaron appears, from some discoveries recently made on a farm called Llanio, to have contained a Roman station of some importance, supposed to have been occupied by a cohort of the second legion of Augustus. According to an inscription upon one of the stones still remaining, this cohort assisted in building the walls of the place, which most antiquaries agree in supposing to have been the Loventium of the Roman Itineraries. The parish, which derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. David, was distinguished at a very early period as the place where a memorable convocation of the fathers of the Christian church was held, for the suppression of the Pelagian heresy, which early in the sixth century was spreading rapidly through the principality. At this synod, which was held in 519, and of which many marvellous particulars have been related by Giraldus Cambrensis, St.David presided, to whom St.Dubricius, at that time archbishop of Caerlleon, who was present at the meeting , resigned his archiepiscopal see and retired to Bardsey Isle, where he spent the remainder of his days in solitude and devotion. In 1073, a sanguinary battle was fought here between the forces of Gronw and Llewelyn,sons of Cadwgan ab Bleddyn, who had excited an insurrection to avenge the murder of their grandfather, the late Prince of Powys, and the troops of Rhys ab 0wain and Rhydderch ab Caradoc, princes of' South Wales, in which the former were victorious, and Rhydderch was slain. In making their attack upon the princes of South Wales, the sons of Bleddyn crossed the river Camddwr by a ford still called Rhyd y Meirch or " the ford of the Cavalry ;" and on the western bank of that river are the remains of a military work, called Castell, which was constructed by Rhys ab Owain on this occasion. A college was founded here in 1187, by Thomas Beck, Bishop of St.David's, in honour of the patron saint of his cathedral, who had so ably confuted the Pelagian heresy at this place, in the year 519, also recommending it to the patronage of King Edward the Confessor, for a precentor and twelve prebendaries, which he amply endowed, and which continued to flourish till the dissolution, when its revenue was estimated at 40. A society formed of late years, for the promotion of Christian knowledge and Church union, in the diocese of St.David's, contemplated the foundation of a college at this place, for the education of young men intended for the ministry in the Church of England. For this purpose they had procured stone and timber for the erection of suitable buildings; but the plan was afterwards altered, and the object of the society was ultimately carried into effect at Lampeter. This parish comprises the upper part of the Vale of Teivy, the banks of which river are ornamented with some pleasingly varied scenery; but on the north and east it is environed by hills of bleak and desolate appearance, and the surrounding country, consisting of high and barren mountains, wears a dreary aspect. The village, situated about a mile from the Teivy, consists only of a few detached cottages, and is watered near its entrance by a small brook, called in Leland's time the Brevy. Fairs are annually held here on May 7th, July 24th, October 9th, and November 13th.The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Cardigan, and diocese of St. David's, endowed with 800 royal bounty, and in the alternate patronage of the Earl of Lisburne and R. Price, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. David, and erected on an eminence said to be the spot on which that saint stood, while preaching against the Pelagian heresy, was built by Thomas Beck, Bishop of St.David's, as the collegiate church of the establishment which that prelate founded here in 1187. It is a spacious and venerable structure, in the early style of English architecture, with a massive square tower, and was originally cruciform, but the north transept has been for many years a ruin, and the whole edifice has suffered materially from dilapidation. In it is preserved a very large horn, called by the inhabitants of the place " Mat-Korn ych Davydd , which is said to have been in the possession of the parishioners since the time of that saint. On a stone over the entrance to the chancel is a Latin inscription, which is noticed by Edward Lhuyd, in a communication to Bishop Gibson, and is as follows: HIC IACET ID NERT FILIVS I.........QVI  OCCISVS  FVIT PROPTER  P . . . . SANCTI . Near the west end of the church is a curious old monument, called by the natives of the place "David's Staff," on which he is said to have leaned whilst preaching in the synod. It is an upright stone, seven feet high, and about ten inches broad, bearing a mutilated inscription, which is now illegible. A similar stone, four feet five inches high, and one foot eight inches broad, inscribed only with a cross, serves as a gate-post at the western entrance into the churchyard ; and at the eastern entrance is a third, three feet ten inches in height, and one foot two inches in breadth, with an  illegible inscription : all these monuments are supposed to have been raised in the early part of the sixth century. There is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists at Blaen Penal. At Llanio, in this parish, are three ancient inscribed stones, now built up in the walls of two cottages, which probably belonged to the ancient stations at this place : one of these bears an inscription, in rude characters, which has been read Caii Artii Manibus (or memoriae) Ennius Primus; another, " Overioni ; " and the third, which now serves as a seat in the porch of one of the cottages, has the inscription " Cohors Secundae Augusta. Fecit Quinque passus." To the south-east of the farm-house is a piece of ground called Caer Castell, in which may still be traced the foundations of ancient buildings. At this place have been found, at various times, Roman coins, bricks, culinary utensils, and other relics of Roman antiquity, which strongly corroborate the opinion of its having been occupied as a Roman station. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor is 524.9."

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Gareth Hicks;  8 December 1999

 

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