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The Carmarthenshire Antiquary

This article has been extracted by Gareth Hicks (July 2004) with the permission of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society from original material provided by Deric John.





1. Carmarthen County Museum.

A series of letters, 42 in number, written by the Hon. Col. George Rice Trevor (Lord Dynevor), Vice-Lieutenant of the County of Carmarthen. In most cases, they are addressed to William Chambers, Esquire, of Llanelly, at that period one of the leading men of his town. They have been laid down in chronological sequence, and bound in one volume. The first is dated 1 July, 1943, and the last 19 July, 1844.

The letters have been published with explanatory notes in the Carm. Antiq. Soc'y Trans. (See below).

2. Letters and papers loaned by Mr. Ll. Griffith, Kidwelly.

(a) Copy of an order made at a meeting of the Trustees of the Whitland Turnpike Trust on July 28th, 1842, signed by Nathl. Rowland, Wm. Richards, N. B. Swann, Rob. Morgan, Danl. P. Callen.

(b) Two letters written by William Evans, Haverfordwest, 30th Jan., 1843, and 19th Feb., 1843, to Thos. Thomas, Gwindy, Narberth, Surveyor to the Whitland Trust, asking for information concerning demolition of Toll House at St. Clears, etc.

(c) Return of Turnpike Gates and Toll Houses wholly or partly destroyed belonging to the Whitland Trust. See Appendix A.

(d) Order for repair of house at Trefaughan and erection of new gates at Roberston Wathen, 16th March, 1843, and paper giving items of expenditure.

(e) Copy of a letter written by Thos. Thomas, Surveyor to the Whitland Trust, giving information concerning re-erection of Trefaughan Gates, etc.

(f ) Two letters from R. P. Beynon, one of which is dated June 6th, 1843, to Thos. Thomas, Surveyor, to the Whitland Trust, instructing him to re-erect Pwlltrap gate.

(g) A letter written by Geo. James, Haverfordwest, 8th July, 1843, to Thos, Thomas, Surveyor, to the Whitland Trust, asking for information concerning nature of property destroyed, and copy of a letter dated 6th July, 1843, received from Edw. Jones, Clerk of the Peace of the County of Carmarthen, to whom the information is to be sent.

(h) A letter, dated Dec. 6th (year not given), written by George M. Richards, Secretary to Her Majesty's Commissioners of Enquiry, to Thos. Thomas, Surveyor to the Whitland Trust, asking for estimate of average annual cost per mile of keeping Trust road in repair.

 3. Transcripts by Alcwyn C. Evans (April 30th, 1810-Sept. 8th, 1843) loaned by his son-in-law, Mr. W. Waters, Llanstephan. The entries from Dec. 13th, 1842, onward are mainly on incidents in connection with the Rebecca movement. Most of the notes appear to have been taken from newspaper reports and articles in periodicals, and the name of the papers from which they have been taken is sometimes given, e.g. The Times, The Standard, etc. Pencil lines have been drawn through the pages describing Rebecca incidents, which may mean that these accounts were finally transcribed separately in another copy. Possibly that copy is the one in the National Library of Wales. On the inside; of the cover of this manuscript is written "Alcwyn C. Evans, Picton Terrace, Carmarthen, 1857."

4. Notes on " Rebecca Riots " written in a copy book containing 29 pages. The first entry is dated June 15th, 1839. Incidents at Efail Wen, St. Clears, Garreg, Trevychan, Llanddarog, Narberth, Kidwelly, Pen-y-clawdd, Pwll-trap, Bwlch-y-clawdd, Bwlch-y-domen, Llanfihangel Abercowin, Fishguard, and Water Street (Carmarthen), are described. Many pages have been exposed to dampness, and parts of the manuscript are difficult to read. The year 1906 is entered in pencil on the last page, which may be the year the copy was completed. The manuscript was loaned by Mr. W. Waters, Llanstephan.

5. National Library of Wales.

(a) A letter written by Edward Davies, Machynlleth, for publication in the Welsh Gazette, Jan. 24, 1901, to prove " the claim of Mr. Hugh Williams to the leadership of the Rebecca riot." 2114C.

(b) Miscellaneous correspondence including two " Rebecca " letters:

(1) Threatening the vicar of Penbryn for tithe exactions, June 16, 1843. (See facsimile Carm. Antiq. Soc'y Trans., Vol. XII, p. 58, and John E. Lloyd, A History of Carmarthenshire, Vol.- 11, facing p. 74).

(2) Threatening to burn the plantations of Charles Morgan, Havodneathin, Carmarthenshire, for an alleged breach of contract, Oct. 7, 1843. 3294E.

(c) Letters to [Sir] D. Lleufer Thomas containing information about Hugh Williams and his family from Richard Williams, Celynog, and the Reverend R. Morgans, St. Clears, March 3-11, 1896. 6244B.

(d) Transcripts by Alcwyn Caryni Evans (1827-1902), including accounts of " The Rising of the Welsh Rebecca-ites," 1839-44. Possibly a second copy of the transcript on loan in the Carmarthen County Museum (see above). 12368E.

(e) Miscellaneous letters including a " Rebecca " letter covering a cheque for £20 to James Hill of the Held, Herefordshire, as an expression of the recognition by " Rebecca " and her daughters of the assistance which he had rendered to the cause, May 20, 1847. 14005C.

(f) The Dillwyn Diaries : Lewis Weston Dillwyn's entries for Sept 6 and 7. 1843, relating to his sons' encounter with the rioters at Pontardulais gate, On deposit.

(g) The Aberglasney Documents: A scrap-book containing a " Rebecca '' letter commanding George Jones, Llanegwad, to " clear out the old sticks from the pound that have been carried there from Penygarn Gate," July 14, 1843. On deposit.

(h) The William Chambers, junior, Documents. (See A File of " Rebecca " Papers, pp. -). N.L.W. MS. 14590E.



Y Diwygiwr, 1843, pp. 63-4, 223-6, 257, 288-290, 323, 348-9, 379, 382; 1844, pp. 31-3, 257.
An account is given under political notes entitled " Gwleidiadaeth," indicating the main events from month to month. It is in full sympathy with the movement in its plea for justice and freedom, and inspired many of the supporters to act in accordance with their convictions, but condemns the irresponsible methods adopted by the rioters, e.g. " Mae amgylchiadau chwythig yr wythnos ddiweddaf yn Sir Gaerfyrddin, yn peri i bob gwladgarwr call ac onest, i ymofidio a thristu; ac nis dichon i Gristion synhwyrol lai na gwrido a chywilyddio wrth feddwl fod Sir Gaerfyrddin fawr ei breintiau wedi gwarthruddo ei hun mor ddwfn " (1843, p. 223). " Gydwladwyr, byddwch ddoeth a gwrol, amddiffynwch eich egwyddorion yn ngwyneb haul a llygad goleuni, gochelwch bob mesurau a'ch gosodo yn mhellach yn nghrafangau eich gorthrymwyr; penderfynwch wneyd eich rhan er cyfodi banerau rhyddid gwladol a chrefyddol yn mhob man, o fwth y cardotyn tlotaf yn Sir Gaerfyrddin, i balas Buckingham; ymeflwch yn yr arfau y byddwch yn sicr o orchfygu hwynt, eich eiddo chwi yw y moral force yn hollol, gweithiwch ef allan; ond eiddo eich gorthrymwyr yw physical force, maent yn ddigon trech na chwi ar y tir hwn; mynwch weled cleddyf rheswm yn nghalon gorthrwm " (1843, p. 257).

Y Drysorfa, Cyfrol XIII, 1843, pp. 222, 319, under " Hanesion Gwladwriaethol." The methods adopted by rioters are disapproved, though much sympathy is shewn with the farmers.

Yr Haul, 1843, pp. 128, 162-3, 250-3, 257, 319-324, 388-9. Less sympathetic with the movement; deplores the destruction caused and the consequent public expense which had to be incurred.

Seren Gomer, 1843, pp. 57, 89, 122, 156, 185, 214, 250-3, 281-6, 312-7, 144-150, 353-363,381-2.
An account appears in some detail in each number from February to December under " Hanesion Gwladol." The methods adopted by the rioters are deplored and the wanton destruction disapproved. The December issue contains a long article on " Hanes Plant yn Nghaerdyf, am dori Tollborth Pontardulais," (pp. 353-363).

Special articles and reports were published in the following newspapers, magazines, etc.: --- The Carmarthen journal, The Welshman, The Swansea Cambrian, Yr Amserau, The Times, Illustrated London News, The Patriot, The Nonconformist.

The Times had a special correspondent in South Wales. From June 22nd to December 16th, 1843, there was scarcely an issue that did not contain some contribution dealing with the general conditions of farmers and peasantry.

Johnes, John (Dolau Cothi) : An Address to the Inhabitants of Conwil-Gaio in the County of Carmarthen and the Adjacent Parishes. Dated August 16th, 1843. Published later in Tobit Evans " Rebecca and her daughters " (pp. 134-9).

Johnes, John (Dolau Cothi) : Anerchiad at Drigolion Plwyf Conwil-Gaio, 1843. Welsh version of Address in English.

Address to the Rebeccaites with their appeal for pardon, in verse. " Spes Melioris Aevi." Llanelly: John Thomas, 1848, 11 pp. See Appendices B.

Rebeccayddiaeth: Can Newydd yn rhoddi ychydig o hanes y terfysgoedd diweddar yn achos y tollbyrth. Caerfyrddin: J. T. Jones, 4 pp. See Appendices E.

" Lover of Peace ": To the Farmers of Carmarthenshire [1843]. Copy in Cardiff Free Library. Probably a reprint from The Carmarthen journal.

Hanes Gyflawn o'r Ddirprwyaeth Neillduol . . . i brofi y bobl a elwir yn gyffredin, Becca a'i Merched. [Issued as a free supplement to " Y Gwir Fedyddiwr "], 8 pp. Cardiff: Ll. Jenkins, 1843.

Can Newydd, sef Hanes Bywyd Becca a'i Merched, by Levi Gibbon, Cwmfelin. A ballad containing twenty-five stanzas. See Appendices D.



Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry for South Wales, 1843-4. (1844).

An Act to consolidate and amend the Laws relating to Turnpike Trusts in South Wales. (9th August, 1844).

Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales, (1847), pp. 243-5. Notes on St. Clears.

Royal Commission on Land in Wales and Monmouthshire: Bibliographical, Statistical, and other Miscellaneous Memoranda, being appendices to the Report of the Royal Commission on Land in Wales and Monmouthshire. (1896).



The Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies.--- Notes on Hugh Williams and the Rebecca Riots, Vol. XI. Pts. 3 and 4, pp. 160-7.

Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society and Field Club Transactions.--- Vol. II, p. 189 (Diaries of Mr. Griffith Harris) ; Vol. XI I, p. 58 (A facsimile of a " Rebecca letter," dated 16 Mehefin, 1843) ; Vol. XV, p. 39 (Note on an old deed handed to N.L.W. from the library of Dr. Henry Owen of Poyston), pp. 47-8; Vol. XXIII, pp. 50-1, Note on items of interest (broadsides, posters, etc.) in connection with Rebecca Riots, at N.L.W.; Vol. XXIII, pp. 60-77 (Unpublished letters on Rebecca Riots, 1843-44, edited with explanatory notes). See ref. to MSS. in Carmarthen County Museum (1).

Evans, Henry Tobit.--- Rebecca and her daughters: being a history of the agrarian disturbances in Wales known as " The Rebecca Riots." Cardiff, 1910; pp. viii-267.

Jenkins, R. T.--- Hanes Cymru yn y Bedwaredd Ganrif ar Bymtheg: y gyfrol gyntaf (1789-1843). Caerdydd, 1933; pp. 139-156.

Lloyd, Sir John E. ed.--- A history of Carmarthenshire, Vol. II. Cardiff, 1939; pp. 66, 73-6, 85, 354, 404-5.

The National Library of Wales Journal.--- The Centenary of the " Rebecca " Riots, Vol. III, 2; p. 47.

Williams, David. --- John Frost: a Study in Chartism. Cardiff, 1939; pp. 338-9.



Beale, Annie.--- A modern Rebecca, Temple Bar, Aug., 1874.

Davies, David.--- Rebecca and her daughters, The Red Dragon, Vol. XI, pp. 239-248, 325-338.

Davies, W. [Ll.].--- Rebeccasism: I The Movement, Wales, February, 1913, pp. 105-7; 2 The Story, Wales, March, 1913, pp. 143-5.

Green, Francis.--- Rebecca in West Wales, West Wales Historical Records, Vol. II, 1917-18, pp. 27-40.

Hamer, Bowen.--- The Romantic origin of Welsh " Rebeccaism," Wales, October, 1912, pp. 553-5.

Price, R. D. Green.--- Rebeccaism, Nineteenth Century, April, 1881.

Anon.--- Lloffion o hanes y " Beccas," Llanelly Mercury, March 15, 1935.



Davies, T.--- Bywyd ac Ysgrifeniadau y diweddar Barch. D. Rees, Llanelli, Llanelli, 1.871. The attitude of Rev. David Rees to the Movement is given in pp. lii.-liv.

Evans, D. Tyssil.---- Cofiant a detholiad o bregethau y Parch. Caleb Morris, Caerdydd, 1900.

Evans, D. Tyssil.--- The Life and Ministry of the Rev. Caleb Morris, London, 1902. This is an English version of the Welsh edition. Chapter xvi, pp. 228-246 gives an account of Morris's visit to Wales in 1843, when the revolt broke out in parts of Pembrokeshire. He disapproved the method adopted by agitators, though wholeheartedly supported their aims, as can be seen from the following extract taken from his diary:

" The mental and moral activity of the Welsh people is in advance of their material condition. Their spiritual happiness is greater than their temporal comforts . . . Beccasism, bad though it be, is an expression of inward development. It is a sign that the reign of immobility is passing away. Numbness and inactivity in civil matters are gone. Beccaism had made people of all classes think of their individual and social interests, and a new era has begun. There is a power at work --- may it be wisely guided and decided to noble ends. There is great need for reform; let us work and pray for our fatherland."

Thomas, John.--- Gwaith John Thomas, Ab Owen [1905]. (Cyfres y Fil), pp. 91-6. An account of his ministry at Bwlchnewydd at the time of the Riots.

Thomas, Owen a J. Machreth Rees.--- Cofiant y Parchedig John Thomas, D.D., Liverpool, Llundain, 1898, pp. 96-7, reference to the attack on Carmarthen, and the attitude of John Thomas to rioters.



Dillwyn, E. A.--- The Rebecca Rioter: a story of Killay life, in two volumes London, 1880.
The story is related by one who is in sympathy with the movement. P. 155 et seq. an account is given of a secret meeting held in Carmarthen on a fair day and addressed by one " who travelled from place to place to excite people against the turnpikes and to make arrangements to have a general rising against them as nearly as possible at the same time throughout the country." The attacks and burning of gate and tollgate house in Pontardulais are also described.

Jacob, Violet (Mrs. Arthur Jacob).--- The Sheep-stealers, London, 1902.
A romance of Herefordshire and Brecknockshire in the early forties, giving a faithful account of rural life at that time in a remote district. Rebeccaism, as it affects the village of Crishowell, and the counter measures of the suppressors of the movement are described on pp. 44-5.

Montgomery, K. L.--- The gate-openers, London, 1912.
Romance of the forties woven around the turmoil of the Rebecca movement. The setting of much of the story is in the County of Carmarthen and " Sion Scybor Fawr " and " Dai the Singer " are among the characters.

Davies, Lewis.--- Y Geilwad bach, Llanelli, 1929.
The two characters, " Shoni Sgubor Fawr " and " Dai'r Cantwr " enter into the story. The tale has its setting in Glamorgan, and in the early days of iron melting.

Jenkins, John, " Gwili."--- Rybeca: drama Gymraeg mewn pedair act, Cardiff, n.d.
The play is based on incidents which took place between the end of August, 1843, and the middle of January, 1844--- at Tyisha, Llannon, Gelliwernen, Ysgubor yr Allt Fawr, Llandilo Fach Fair, Penllergaer and Pontardulais Tollgate. The characters in the play include such figures as " Dai'r Cantwr " and "Shoni Sgubor Fawr. "

Jones, Brinley.--- Marchogion y Nos: drama mewn pedair act, Merthyr Tydfil.
The action takes place at a farmhouse near Talog and at the Toll-house " Minke," in July, 1843, and March, 1844, and the scenes describe the movements and attitude of the followers of Rebecca in these and other places in the county.



Ballinger, John.--- Gleanings from a printer's file, Aberystwyth, 1928, pp. 15-18. (First published in West Wales Historical Records, Vol. ffl, 1924, pp. 160-4).

Borrow, George.--- Wild Wales: its people, language and scenery, Chapter xvi.

Evans, Daniel.--- The life and work of William Williams, M.P. for Coventry, 1835-1847; M.P. for Lambeth, 1850-1865; Llandyssul [1940], pp. 64, 168.

Mee, Arthur ed.--- Carmarthenshire Notes: antiquarian, topographical and curious; Vol. 1, 1889, pp. 65-16(?), 77-8, 85-7, 103, 110-1, 153, 157-9.

Roberts, Gomer Morgan.--- Hanes Plwyf Llandybie , Caerdydd, 1939, pp. 189-192.

Spurrell, William.--- Carmarthen and its neighbourhood: notes topographical and historical, Carmarthen, 1879 (2nd edition), pp. 148-9.

Vaughan, Herbert M.--- The South Wales Squires: a Welsh picture of Social Life; London, 1926, pp. 16-7.



Return of Turnpike Gates and Toll Houses wholly or partly destroyed belonging to the Whitland Trust.
[List posted to Wm. Evans, Esq., 2nd Nov, 1843].

Name of Gate. 

Whether wholly or partially destroyed.

When broken. 

When re-erected.

Pwlltrap,  St. Clears

Windows broken and Gate wholly destroyed

Nov. 19, 1842

Dec. 30


Gate wholly destroyed

Apl. 7, 1843

Apl. 19, 1843


Two gates wholly destroyed

Nov. 23, 1842 

Jany 12, 1843

Lampeter Velfrey 

House partially unroofed and Gates destroyed

Jany 16, 1843

Jany 27, 1843


House and two cranes wholly destroyed

Feby 13, 1843

Cham Feby 22 House repaired Apl. 12, and bars erected


House and Bars wholly destroyed

Apl. 22, 1843


Commercial Landewy Velfry

Side Bar wholly destroyed   

Dec. 12, 1842 



Window broken Gate and Bar destroyed 

Jany 23, 1843


Narberth East

Two gates wholly destroyed 

Mar. 9, 1843

Mar. 20, 1843


Two gates wholly destroyed

Mar. 29

Apl. 19 a Bar

Penblewin  Landewy Velfry

Two cranes destroyed

Aug. 12, 1842 



4 Post rails wholly destroyed

July 1st, 1843



Windows broken and 1 Gate wholly destroyed

Mar. 6, 1843

Mar. 20, 1843


One gate wholly destroyed    

Mar. 29 ---

Apl. 19 a Bar


House and Bar wholly destroyed

Jun. 17 



1 Gate wholly destroyed

Mar. 6

Mar. 20


1 Gate wholly destroyed

--- 29 

Apl. 19 a Bar


House and Bar wholly destroyed

Jun. 24 


N.B. The original table is slightly confusing as to which events line up against which place, this layout is my best guess.