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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.




The following extract is taken from a letter which appeared in The Western Mail, November 29, 1943, and written by one who signed himself "Ap Essex Rhydmir," Bridgend.

" One hundred years ago, 1843, tollgates had become a burden upon the inhabitants of this country. The storm broke, and in Carmarthenshire alone 80 were destroyed. The charges imposed upon the countryfolk were unsupportable.

" I remember as a boy hearing my father describe his father, William Phillips, Longford Farm, Clynderwen, who took part in the demolition of the tollgates at St. Clears."

T. G. J.


In the South Wales Daily News for Saturday, July 29th, 1911, there appeared a descriptive article on Edwinsford Mansion, which contained the following paragraph

" One of the most interesting pieces of furniture in the library is a long sofa covered with a sort of tapestry work in separate squares each square containing a different subject. It was worked about the year 1842 by members of Sir James Drummond's family. What gives it a special interest, however, is the fact that the subjects are topical of that period when the Rebecca Riots had caused great interest in South Wales. One of the squares depicts Rebecca herself in a green veil, and another represents an officer of the 4th Light Dragoons, a squadron of which regiment was stationed at that time at Llandovery with the object of quelling any disturbances in that part of Carmarthenshire."




The Royal Commission on Land in Wales and Monmouthshire (1896), p. 33, states that Hugh Williams died at St. Clears. He was buried, however, in the churchyard of St. Ishmael, Ferryside. His burial certificate which is at the church is dated 23 Oct. 1874. Act 79.

The inscriptions on the grave stone is as follows: [South side].

Sacred to the memory of
Hugh Peter Marcus who died on the 30th day of July, 1862, aged 6 weeks
and Hugh Peter Dafydd who died on the 2nd day of June, 1863, aged 4 weeks
Also of William Williams (brother of Hugh Williams)
A Lieutenant in the Brazilian Navy
who died on the 11th day of February, 1832, aged 37 years,

[North side].

Sacred to the memory of
Hugh Williams
Late of Cobden Villa, Ferryside,
who died on the 19th day of October, 1874
Also in loving memory of William Arthur Glanmor Williams, D.S.O., Lieutenant
2nd Battalion S. W. Borderers, youngest son of the above Hugh Williams who fell in
Action at Bothaville Oro, South Africa, born Sept. 19th, 1873, died Nov. 8th, 1900.

[West face].

Also of
wife of the said Hugh Williams
died 25th February, 1909,
aged 75 years.

In another part of the churchyard is a stone with the following inscription:

In loving memory of my dear husband
Hugh Dafydd Anthony Williams.
Born at Ferryside, May 28, 1869.
Died in London, May 15, 1905.

Hugh Williams had three sisters, one of whom married Richard Cobden. Cobden and Hugh Williams travelled together in America and saw President Lincoln.




In the County Museum's Scrap Book, Vol. 35, p. 71, is a press cutting, presumed to be from The Carmarthen Journal, dated August, 1930, which gives the Recollections of John Edwards, Porthyrhyd Farm, Tanerdy, who was then in his 92nd year.
The following account is given of his recollections of the Rebecca Riots:

" Among his most interesting recollections are those of the Rebecca Riots. He remembers how the land groaned under the persecution of the toll-gates, and how the name " Becca " began to sound in ever-increasing force, and how at last the countryfolk arose and swept on under "Rebecca " to smash the toll-gates. They discovered his father by the wayside, cutting stones and forced him, willy nilly, to join them in their attempt on the workhouse, he, then a small boy, wept at his father being taken from him. But the riots passed off fairly free from bloodshed despite a regiment of militia having been summoned from London, and the only casualty he recalls befell one Joseph Morris (who was the father of Mrs. W. Evans, 42, Priory Street). Before the Rebecca Riots there were three toll-gates near Francis Well at the two cross-ways and there was another and minor gate (Gat-fach) just above Glangwili village, which served as a precaution against those farmers who were successful in smuggling their goods by the lesser roads and avoiding the main toll-gates."

T. G. J.



In the Minute Book of the Brechfa Turnpike Trust, which is preserved in the County Museum, an account of the deliberations of the Trust is given for the period 1833-1843. The minutes of the last meeting to be recorded in the book, and dated April 24, 1843, are as follows:

At a meeting of the Trustees of the Brechfa Trust held in pursuance of notice at the Forest Arms Inn in the Village of Brechfa, on the 24th. day of April 1843, for the purpose of Renting the Tolls to arise from the Gates, Sidebars and Chains within the said Trust from the 26th. day of April 1843 to the 26th. day of April 1844 and for other purposes connected with the said Trust.

W. J. Hughes. Esq. Chairman.

W. J. HUGHES. Esq.
D. J. Lewis. Esq.
D. J. Edwards. Esq.
Jhn. Davies. Esq.
Henry Thomas. Esq. Bronyglyn.

Henry Thomas of Bronyglyn qualified as a Trustee and took the oath accordingly.

David Jones Lewis. of Gilvach qualified as a Trustee and took the oath accordingly.

Elizabeth Thomas the person appointed by the Trust to receive the Tolls of Penllwyne gate and Cwmgwyn Bar produced her account and paid the sum of .. (?)

That David Aaron the person appointed by the Trustees to receive the tolls at Brechfa gate produced his-account and paid the sum received amounting to £24 10s.

Mrs. Thomas paid 12£ on account of Penllwyne gate.

James Davies the collector of the tolls at Llansawel gate paid the Trustees the sum of Four pounds being the sum at which the gate was rented to him by Mr. Richard Morris.

Ordered that J. Lewis Carpenter be directed to paint the Pemllwyne(sic) Brechfa and Llansawel gates with two coats of White Paint, the work to be done under the direction of Mr. Richard Morris of Brechfa who will furnish him with the necessary paints and brushes.

Ordered that a tally for 50£ be granted Miss A. L. Williams the personal representative of the late Miss Annie Prytherch of Brechfa and that two years interest at the rate of four pounds per cent per ann. be paid upon such tally.

The Gates were put up but there were no Bidders and the Trustees retained the same in their hands.

The meeting was adjourned to June 6th. for the purpose of examining the Treasurer's accounts and ordering the payment of interest.

W. J. Hughes.