The data below has been extracted by Gareth Hicks (February 2004) with the kind permission of the publishers from the CD of the same title as the main heading. (Archive CD Books)
Place names are as written unless clearly misleading.
Yspytty Ystradmeurig is a parish in the county of Cardigan, 1 mile north from Strata Florida station, and 6 north from Tregaron station, both on the Manchester and Milford railway, and 13 south-east from Aberystwyth, in the hundred of Ilar, petty sessional division of Ilar Upper, county court district of Lampeter and union of Tregaron, and in the rural deanery of Ultra Aeron, archdeaconry of Cardigan and diocese of St. David's.
The church of St. John the Baptist is an ancient building of stone, in the Early English style, consisting only of chancel, nave, and a western bell-gable with one bell, recovered in 1875 from a peat bog near the church of Gwnnws; it is at present (1895) disused, and divine service is held in the Grammar school; several of the tombstones and memorials in the churchyard are of particular interest. The registers of baptisms and marriages date from the year 1798; burials, 1799. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Yspytty Ystwyth, joint gross yearly value £110, net £100, with residence, in the gift of the Earl of Lisburne, and held since 1870 by the Rev. John Jones M.A. of Jesus College, Oxford, who is also head master of the Grammar school.
The Earl of Lisburne is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The castle of Ystradmeurig was certainly existing at an early period, but the actual date of its foundation is unknown: in 1136 it was partly destroyed by Owain Gwynnedd, but was repaired in 1150: in 1158 it was beseiged and taken by Roger de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford, who is also said to have borne the title of Earl of Clare, and who, under license from Henry II ravaged Cardiganshire with a great force, and captured and strengthened several of its fortresses: in 1189 the castle was again attacked and taken, and eventually, after other vicissitudes, it was razed in 1207 by Maelgwyn ap Rhys, and does not appear to have been afterwards rebuilt: portions of the structure remained down to a comparatively modern date, but little now exists except the site.
The chief crops are barley and oats, but the land is mostly under pasture. The area is 956 acres; rateable value £429; the population in 1891 was 126.
Parish Clerk, Isaac Edwards.
Post Office, Ystradmeurig (Railway Sub-Office. Letters should, have R.S.O. Cardiganshire added).---David Davies, sub-postmaster. Letters are received from Aberystwyth at 9.45 a.m. & from: Carmarthen at 11.30 a.m. being dispatched at 3 p.m. & 5 p,m. respectively. Postal orders are issued here, but not paid. The nearest money order office is at Tregaron & telegraph office at Strata Florida station
The children of this parish attend the school at Lwyddffynon Lledrod.
The Grammar School here was founded by Edward Richard esq. a native of Ystradmeurig, by deed dated 1 October, 1757, & the foundation was subsequently enlarged & augmented by the founder by further indentures executed in 1771 & 1774, by which provision was eventually made for the education of 32 poor boys of this parish or of the county of Cardigan: Mr.Richard also in 1759 founded a library for the use of the school, to which considerable additions have been made from time to time, & especially by the Rev. John Howell M.A. sometime vicar of Llanarth, & it comprises several valuable editions of the Fathers. The founder, who died about 1780, was buried within the church, on the north side, & after his death, the Grammar school of Lledrod, of which he was the first master, was annexed by the trustees to that of Ystradmeurig, & the united foundations are now carried on as one school. The school here was at first & for some time held in the church, but afterwards a schoolroom & attached library were built on the north side of the churchyard: this is a plain rectangular structure, with pointed windows & whitewashed walls; it has a raised platform at one end, & a gallery at the other, & the desks & trestle forms are ranged longitudinally down it. One or two exhibitions of £15 a year, tenable by natives of Cardiganshire, are vacant annually. The school, though remotely situated, & primitive in its character, has always been remarkable, for the thoroughness of the teaching given in it, & many prominent clergy have been ordained from the school without any intermediate instruction: among its alumni may be mentioned the Ven. John Jennings, Canon residentiary of Westminster Abbey, & archdeacon of Westminster, 1868-83; the Rev. Owen Evans M.A. of Jesus College, Oxford, warden & head master of Llandovery College, & V. Stanley Jones esq. K.S of Eton, & Scholar of King's College, Cambridge. There are now (1895) 32 boys; the value of the united endowments is about £300 a year, & the school is managed by a body of 14 trustees, consisting of clergy & gentry, the lord lieutenant of Cardiganshire, Herbert Davies-Evans esq. D.L., J.P. being chairman; but a new scheme for its administration is now being prepared, & a sum of £1,500 has been promised towards new buildings, of which William Jones esq. of Ashted row, Birmingham, & Ffoshalog hall, Tregaron, munificently contributed £1,000. Head master Rev. John Jones M.A.
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[Gareth Hicks: 29 March 2004]
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