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Pigot & Co. South Wales directory for 1844

The information  below relating to Carmarthen  [with the village of Abergwilly and neighbourhoods] was extracted  by Gareth Hicks with the kind permission of the publishers from the CD of the same title as the main heading. (Archive CD Books)

Carmarthen  [with the village of Abergwilly and neighbourhoods]

Carmarthen, styled the 'County of the Borough of Carmarthen', is 217 miles w. from London (by Brecon), 106 w. from Bristol (by Brecon), and 112 (by Neath and Swansea), 83 w. by s. from Hereford, 116 s.w. from Worcester, and between 8 and 9 from the sea.

This ancient town is situated nearly in the centre of its county, and on the northern bank of the Towy--- a river long celebrated for its salmon, and other fisheries. It was formerly surrounded by a high wall, with fortified gates; and the castle, still an interesting ruin, rises in baronial pomp above the town; it surrendered in the civil wars to the parliamentary forces, under General Langhorne, and has subsequently been suffered to go to decay.

When Wales was first erected into a principality by the Crown of England, the Chancery and Exchequer for South Wales were kept at this place; and here, in ancient times, the Britons held their parliaments, or assemblies of wise men. This town gave birth to the British sage, Merlin, who flourished about the year 480. The buildings of the town are partly erected on a considerable elevation, from which extensive prospects are commanded. The principal streets contain a large proportion of good houses, and though not perfectly regular, they possess an aspect of comfort and respectability. Within a few years, spirited improvements have taken place; many dwellings have been modernised, the streets well paved, and the introduction of gas has superseded the ineffectual oil lamp. The buildings which will receive more particular notice are the county gaol, the market-cross, the church, and the guildhall. In the last-named structure is a fine full-length portrait of the late gallant General Sir Thomas Picton; and there is also a very handsome public monument, erected to his memory, at the entrance of the town from Pembroke. There are two well selected libraries, one of which, with a reading room, at Messrs White and Sons, in King-street, has been established upwards of twenty-eight years. Two newspapers are published here, viz the 'Carmarthen Journal' and the 'Welchman'; both appear every Friday, and have an extensive circulation; as does a Welsh magazine of considerable repute, entitled 'Seren Gomer', which is published on the first of each month.

Carmarthen is governed by a mayor, recorder, town clerk, six peers (who act as justices), and two sheriffs, all of whom are elected annually by the burgesses. The great sessions for the county are held twice in the year, the quarter sessions alternately here and at Llandilo,  and a mayor's court for the town and borough once a fortnight. The mayor for the time being is lord of the manor of the town. In conjunction with Llanelly, the borough returns one member to parliament, which privilege was conferred in the reign of Henry VIII.

Carmarthen-bay, on the north side, and near the entrance of the Bristol Channel, is formed by 'Caldy Island' on the west, and the Worm's Head' on the east, distant from each other about thirteen miles. In the bay lies 'Burry-bar, within which, on both sides of the river, there is a district rich in bituminous coal, stone-coal, culm, iron ore, and limestone, extending six leagues eastward into the country, and separating the county of Carmarthen from that of Glamorgan; from these mineral advantages, Carmarthen derives substantial benefit. In the vicinity of the town, an extensive tin mill is worked by Messrs Wayne and Dunn, and in the town, two iron foundries; the whole forming valuable commodities for an export trade, which is also extensively assisted by the produce of the land; while its intercourse with Bristol and other towns, in the importation of goods of various descriptions for the supply of the neighbouring country, adds another important feature to its commerce. Vessels of three hundred tons burden can float up to the town, where there is a large and convenient quay. Flannel is manufactured here to some extent; the trade in corn and malt is respectable, and the tanning and currying of leather, and rope-making, form the occupation of several individuals.

The parish church of St Peter is a large plain edifice, with a lofty square tower at the western end; the interior, which is very neat, contains a fine-toned organ, a beautiful alter-piece, and some handsome monuments; the most remarkable of the latter is that to the memory of Rhys-ap-Thomas and his lady, said to be the largest alter-tomb in Great Britain. The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Lord Bishop of St David's. The other places of worship are a chapel of ease, called Llanllwch church, and others of various denominations of dissenters.

The principal charities are excellent schools for the education of poor children, conducted upon the national and Lancasterian plans; also two others, endowed; a Dorcus society, for clothing the poor, supported by ladies; a philanthropic society &c. A presbyterian college was founded here in 1720, for the education of young gentlemen for the ministry.

There are several mineral springs, of powerful medicinal qualities, in the immediate vicinity of the town; and about two miles from it is 'Merlin's-hill' on which is his cave. A beautiful public walk at the upper end of the town, called 'the Parade', commands an extensive view of the vale, and the picturesque scenery in the neighbourhood, including Abergwilly, the palace of the Bishop of St David's, and the beautiful meanderings of the Towy, through a fine cultivated country.

The market-days are Wednesday and Saturday , both of which are abundantly supplied with every necessary of life; the fairs, which are for cattle, are held in almost every month in the year.

The 'County of the Borough of Carmarthen' is divided into five wards, respectively named Gell-street, King-street, Lower Franchise, St Mary-street, and Priory-street and Upper Franchise; these collectively contained, in 1831, 9,995 inhabitants; and in 1841, 9,526.

Abergwili is a village and parish, in the hundred of Elvit, not quite two miles from Carmarthen. Adjoining the south side of the village is the Bishop's Palace, the chief episcopal residence belonging to the See of St David. There are two cattle fairs held here annually, viz on the 2nd and 27th of October. By the returns for 1831, this parish contained 2,675 persons; and in 1841, 2,366.

Post Office, Spilman-street, John Matthews, Post Master.

Nobility, Gentry and Clergy

Academies and Schools

Not otherwise described are Day Schools

Attorneys

Auctioneers

Bakers and Flour Dealers

Bankers

Blacksmiths

Bookbinders

(See also Booksellers & Stationers)

Booksellers & Stationrs

Boot and Shoe Makers

Braziers & Tin-Plate Workers

Brick Makers

Butchers

Cabinet Makers and Upholsterers

China, Glass &c Dealers

Chymists & Druggists

Coach Makers

Coal Dealers

Confectioners

Coopers

Corn & Butter Merchants

Curriers & Leather Sellers

Fire &c Office Agents

Fishmongers & Dealers in Game

Flannel Manufacturers

Grocers and Tea Dealers

Marked thus * are also Drapers

(See also Linen Drapers; also Shopkeepers , and also Tea Dealers)

Gunsmiths

Hair Dressers

Hat Manufacturers and Hatters

Hop and Seed Dealers

(See also Maltsters)

Horses & Gigs --- Owners of

For Hire

Inns and Hotels

(See also Taverns & Public Houses)

Iron Founders

Ironmongers & Plumbers

Joiners & Carpenters

Libraries --- Circulating

Linen & Woollen Drapers

(See also Grocers &c)

Maltsters

Millers

Milliners & Dress Makers

Newspapers

Painters & Glaziers

Physicians

Plumbers

See Ironmongers & Plumbers

Porter Dealers

(See also Spirit Dealers)

Printers --- Letter-Press

Rope Makers and Twine Spinners

Saddlers & Harness Makers

Salt Merchants

Shopkeepers & Dealrs in Groceries & Sundries

Sieve Makers

Slate Merchants

Spirit Dealers

(See also Wine & Spirit Merchants)

Stone Masons

Straw Hat Makers

Surgeons

Surveyors -- Land &c

Tailors

Tallow Chandlers

Tanners

Taverns & Public Houses

Tea Dealers

(See also Grocers and Tea Dealers)

Timber, Deal & Bark Merchants

Tin-Plate Manufactrers

Umbrella Makers

Watch & Clock Makers

Wharfingers

Wheelwrights

Whitesmiths

Wine & Spirit Merchants

(See also Spirit Dealers)

Miscellaneous

Public Buildings, Offices, &c

Ecclesiastical Court

Union Poor-House

Registrars of Births, Marriages and Deaths

Registrars of Marriages

Registrars of Births and Deaths

Coaches

Carriers

Conveyance by Water

Steam Packet

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