The History of the Parish of Llandyssul
(Hanes Plwyf Llandyssul)
By Rev. W J Davies 1896
Translated by Ivor Griffiths
[NB., the translator excluded chapters he considered of little interest to genealogists]
With the kind permission of the translator, here are sundry snippets from the book extracted by Gareth Hicks.
Table of notable events in the parish
The following were evicted from their farms because they voted for E Mathew Richards, the Liberal candidate, in the 1868 election ;
The village obtains its water from Ffynon Tyssul which is by the highway, north of the village. Up until 1892 the spring was open but in that year the villagers subscribed £51.6.2d to buy a pump and water tank, and set up a building over the spring. The tank held 1300 gallons of water.
Including Pontwely, there are 7 religious causes and 12 taverns here.
Llandyssul church belongs to the first class.
It was founded in the 600s by Tyssul, so it was called Llan or church of Tyssul . St Tyssul was the son of Corun ap Ceredig ap Cunedda, a brother of Caranog, founder of Llangranog church, and a cousin on his father's side , to St David.
During the C17, the parish church, as the mother church, had six chapels [chapelries?] in the parish, Llanfraed, Llandyssulfed, Faerdref, Llanfair, Capel Dewi, and Capel Borthin.
In one of the books of the 'Diocesan Registry at Carmarthen [I] came across an entry by David Davies 'licensed curate' dated Sept 3 1785, it reads as follows
There are the remains of five ruinated chapels within the parish. No service is performed at any of them.
A fair was held every March in the field near the graveyard but it was moved to Llanarth because ' the beer made with water from Ffynon Dewi was intoxicating'. The belief was that the water of the spring "washed" through the graveyard and was therefore impure.
The first christening entered in the parish records is the following;
The first marriage;
The first burial ;
Nonconformist chapels in the parish
Calvinistic Methodists ;
Llwynrhydowen Unitarian Chapel
Something happened in 1876 to the minister and congregation of this Unitarian chapel in Llandyssul parish which can't have happened to too many churches in the world, they were evicted form the chapel and graveyard.
Back in 1781, Mr David Lloyd of Alltyrhodyn Estate, gave a lease of 99 years over the land to Llwynrhydowen church for a rent of 12 pence a year.The Alltyrhodyn Estate passed down through several generations until in 1876 the heir became John Davies Lloyd. The first sign of trouble was in October 1876 when a letter was received from London solicitors acting for John Davies Lloyd claiming immediate possession of the chapel/land despite there being 3 years to run on the lease. The ground being 1) no trustees had been appointed to succeed the ones named in the original lease and who were by then deceased, and 2) If trustees had been appointed they would still be dispossessed because the the chapel had been used for purposes other than the worship of God.
The general belief was that the true cause of the eviction was the several meetings held in the chapel during the memorable election contest of 1868 between Mr E Matthew Richards and Captain Vaughan, and again in 1871 when a great number of Llandyssul parishioners tried to set Mr Forster's Education Act in force.
The congregation and their minister tried their best to get John Davies Lloyd to let them keep their chapel and graveyard but to no avail and they decided it would be unwise to go to law. They then rented a small piece of land near Rhydowen Bridge. A fund was opened to buy land and build a new chapel and money poured in from far and wide and a new chapel on Gelliaur land was opened after 3 years in 1879.
A sad sequel to the events was that matters effected Mr Thomas the minister so badly that he died in 1879. Captain John Davies Lloyd also died in this period, he was feeble minded and left all his possessions to his agent, ignoring his sister Mrs Massey. She successfully contested the will and the upshot of it all was that she subsequently went to Llandyssul and in handing back the keys of the old chapel to the trustees on the original terms of the lease received the most splendid welcome.
The chapel stands on Wesley hill in Llandyssul village.
It was established c 1806 by the Rev Edward Jones of Bathafarn who usually preached on the horse block by the "King's Head". One day he was accused of being drunk, and in reply to that accusation he gave the following verse at the end of the sermon ;
"Maent yn dweyd dros fryn a bro,
Fy mod yn feddw a ma's o ngho'
Dwy'n amheu dim na' meddwod yw
Ar felus win o seler Duw"
[They say where hills and valleys wind,
That I am drunk and out of mind;
I'll not deny I'm drunk and odd
But on sweet wine from the cellar of God]
Walter Davies kept a school in Efail-y-gof in 1834, near the King's Head hotel. Believed to be the last of the old Welsh style of school in the village of Llandyssul.
The "Welsh Not" was in force here.
The "Blackboard" had not been born at that time, and each pupil went before the master alone to receive a lesson, and each one received four lessons a day. Every Friday there was a "poso" in which the children formed two lines and the pupil in the front of one line would put a question to the pupil in the front of the other line. If he answered correctly, he would keep his place. If he failed, the one that could answer would take his place. The one that answered the greatest number of questions accurately was considered the winner, and would receive an "Ysnoden"[a ribbon] to put in his hat or cap to take home.
An old pupil claimed that the birch was often used for speaking Welsh.
The Rev Daniel Davies of Talcoed was ordained as minister of Penybont in 1795. A strange event is described in an old document about this church ;
"Excommunication, September 1810 ; Ann Davies of Talgod[wife of Daniel Davies]; William Owen, farmhand, Talgod ; Two maidservants , do ; Thomas Davies, Penrhyddfa, and his wife ; Mary Thomas, once of Pwllybawle,--for binding bundles of hay on the night of the Sabbath between nine and ten o'clock.......And the brother Daniel Davies, for failing to stop them when he came home, and he knew that they were at the work, not that he had a hand in the work, but only for failing to stop them. Some of the church showed unfriendly feelings towards the brother Daniel Davies at this time, but it is possible that he gave room for many to speak against him because of some speech he made on the Sunday following his excommunication, but anyway, it is now all over , and let us hope that this incident will be of benefit to him, and also to others---J Davies"
The next entry but one reads as follow;
"The brother Daniel Davies was completely restored to his place as a member and minister ; also Nelly the maidservant, and the other maidservant, as well as William Owen, farmhand at Talgod. Ann Davies also restored. "
After this incident Daniel Davies lived in peace with his church and served them until his death in 1843.
[No further mention of the Thomas Davies and wife of Penrhyddfa who presumably remained excommunicated]
Examples of patronymics at work ?
The Rev David Davis, Castell Hywel[1745-1827]
As a politician, he felt fervently about national and religious freedom. he had a favourable regard for the French revolution, and came under the government's suspicion. Mr Pitt, the prime minister, authorised one named Johnson, a tax inspector, to watch him, and open every letter from and to Mr David Davis. The priest , the Rev Griffiths, testified that there was no call for this, and the surveillance ceased.
Rev E W Humphreys[1816-1884]--why he left Wales for America
Born at Penlon Esger, district of Llwynrhydowen, Llandyssul parish, his parents were poor, his father a weaver. He went to America in 1842, graduated at Meadville College in 1848 and was installed the following year as minister at Dayton, Ohio.The book has a lot more information concerning him and his family.
The real point of this extraction is that in a letter he wrote from America in 1852 to the "Ymofynydd" he stated;
"Between 15 and 18 years ago I can once remember asking "T" [ a neighbour of my father]-a wise man and as diligent a worker as anyone in the neighbourhood--how much of a wage he received ; and his reply was, 4 pence a day. I was young at that time, and although thoughtless about all ordinary things, I decided I was not going to stay in Wales. I have not been able to discover to this day how "T" managed to survive--seven or eight children living at home on 4 pence a day and a shilling a week from the poor rate, with "T" often losing a day to go and fetch that shilling. The price of barley at that time was 5s; wheat 8s; butter 1s; Cardiganshire cheese 4 pence ; bacon 6 pence ; beef 4 pence a lb. Who would wonder if they saw "T" and many others throwing their hoe over the hedge and crying, " No use, no use ! Truly not a bit of use !".
Rev Enoch James, priest, Llandyssul [1793-1849]--innovator
During his time as vicar Mr James introduced one great improvement to the parish;
On the morning of "Calan Hen"-the 12 th January, it was the custom to give a "breakfast" to the harvesters as an acknowledgement for their labours during the harvest. The breakfast took place very early in the morning, because by 9 o'clock a great deal of beer and intoxicating licquor would have been drunk so that people became too merry; the rest of the day was spent in "kinging[?] the black ball", and by the evening, drunkenness, fighting, and broken limbs were commonplace.
In 1833, Mr James introduced a "Calan Hen" of a new nature by gathering together the Sunday schools within an area of ten to twelve miles of Llandyssul, and holding a sort of "Quiz" in the church, followed by songs of praise. At the beginning the schools were disturbed by the players , who onced kicked the ball in through one door of the church and out through the other . But this conduct gradually disappeared and the present form of keeping "Gwyl Calan Hen " in Mr James style is in its glory, while "Gwyl Cicio's Bel" has disappeared from the land.
Rev Edward Jones[16??-1744], Vicar of Llandyssul.
He came from Builth, Bre and received the living at Llandyssul in 1716.
He married a wealthy Jewish lady and they had 24 children, 12 of whom they raised in their home at Dol-llan, the other 12 they placed with various mothers in the village.
Baptisms from the parish records;
The book's author was told about the following additional children;
Travellers to England
Years ago men went every year to Herefordshire and Worcestershire to reap, and in the letters of Mr Lloyd, the second minister of Llwynrhydowen, I read that about 150 years ago[=mid C18] , the women of Llandyssul would go to Oxfordshire and other places in England to sell stockings, and it appears that he had news through them regarding his brother, Posthumus Lloyd, who lived at that time in Thame in Oxfordshire.
Ceffyl Pren , whipping post and stocks
When someone would commit a grave offence--like beating up his wife---he would be forced to ride the Ceffyl Pren [Wooden Horse] and carried publicly through part of the parish . The last time the Ceffyl Pren was used [in Llandyssul parish] was about 1866 when it seems that Davy Evans of Pensingrig, and John James of Tynewydd, Tregroes, were jailed for doing so.
Another form of punishment for offenders was for the constable to put them in the stocks. The stocks were the type that the feet and hands were placed through holes with the man standing or sitting down. There were stocks behind Ty Pwt which was behind the old 'Borth', and therefore near the parish graveyard. There were also stocks between the 'Alltyrodyn Arms', and Rhydowen shop.
There was also a 'whipping post' in the parish because in the register dated Dec 11th 1776, one reads;
"Allowed to David Evans for glazing, mending the shutters and making Stocks and Whipping Post out of heart of oak for 2 guineas."
Dai Cai was the last in the village to be in the stocks
Partial excerpt from first page of Vestry records
" A Review of all and singular of houses, buildings, glebe lands, dues and profits wtsover of and belonging to ye Vicarage of Llandyssul in ye county of Cardigan and Diocese of St David's, made 29th of October in ye year of our Lord God 1720"..................
..........Item. Twenty five pounds yearly salary due from ye Principle of Jesus College in Oxon. as Rector of Llandyssul & paid quarterly by farmers of ye tieths of ye said parish.
..........Item. Five shillings or ye best weather sheep in ye possession of any inhabitant of ye sd. Parish at ye time of his decease for drawing a will if desired freeholders in dispute if not desired, & one shilling for reading over ye corpse at ye day of burying, sixpence for churching of a woman, sixpence for marrying when both parties are Inhabitants within ye sd. Parish, one shilling sixpence if by Banns. If by License five shillings. If either of ye parties be inhabitants of another Parish two shillings six pence tho by Banns. If any female Inhabitant of ye Parish be married else where by License five shillings, for publishing Banns of Matrimony sixpence, for drawing a certificate four pence.
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