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A History of Carmarthenshire

Lloyd, Sir John E., (Ed.). 2 vols., Cardiff, London Carmarthenshire Society (1935, 1939).

With the kind permission of the publishers sundry extracts from this book have been extracted by Gareth Hicks onto some parish pages, these snippets below are in random order.

Here is a list of the book's contents and contributors..


Medieval divisions

In early medieval terms Carmarthenshire was made up of  Ystrad Tywi [without Gower], Emlyn Uch Cuch and Y Cantref Gwarthaf[without Efelffre]. At some point pre the Norman conquest  Ystrad Tywi itself was divided into Y Cantref Mawr and Y Cantref Bychan.
About the time of the Norman conquest, Cantref Bychan was divided into three commotes, Hirfryn, Perfedd and Is Cennen. The latter stretched along the south  bank of the Towy and was made up of the parishes of Llanddarog, Llanarthney, Llanfihangel Aberbythych, Llandybie and Betws, with the townships of Glyn Aman, Bryn y Beirdd, Pentre Cwn, Trecastell and Tregib, in the parish of Llandilo


In 1607 one William Davies of Bettws was High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire.


On Kitchin's maps of the county[mid C18] are shown inter alia "lime kilns at Bettws".


The parish church at Betws [Welsh for  beadhouse], dedicated to St. David , stands on a hillside above the River Aman. It was one of the churches dedicated to the saint  which bears witness to the activity and prestige of Dewi in the  general region of the Towy.


In 1252, Robert Waleran  as part of his duties of reinforcing the royal position at Carmarthen was commissioned to hear and determine a dispute between Rhys Fychan and William de Breos of Gower . The lands of theses two Lords  bordered near the Aman and it may be that the dispute involved the manor of Betws which later became known as "Stryveland".


The Later Middle Ages

Iscennen---The Commote

"Near the castle of Carregcennen were the demesne lands of the maerdref of its former arglwydd.........the commote west and south of the demesne and forest lands was divided into maenors. Maenors Vouwen and Gryngar, bordering on Kidwelly commote, corresponded roughly to the ancient ecclesiastical parishes of Llanarthney and Llanddarog;  Maenors Llys and Methennich to Llanfihangel Aberbythych and Llandybie; and, 'between Amman River and the lordship of Gower, bounded by Cathau brook and Lle'r Castell' was Maenor Bettws or Stryveland."

"............the gwestfa paying areas were peopled by descendents of the Welsh freemen. They also paid dofraeth; this was regarded as an imposition ' against the liberty of the men of Iscennen'..............there was also the tribute of the equivalent of forty cows paid triennially..............and the freemen 'beyond Amman' (that is of Maenor Bettws) paid a separate 'rent of assize'............."


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Gareth Hicks  

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