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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 snippets from this book have been extracted by Gareth Hicks onto some parish pages, these below are in random order.

Hereis a list of the book's contents and contributors.


Morgan Rhys

"It is certain that Morgan Rhys, probably the greatest of the early hymn writers and second only to Williams of Pantycelyn, served as a schoolmaster under Griffiths Jones and Madam Bevan, from 1757 to 1775. He was master at Llandyslio Gogo in Cardiganshire in 1758. He served at Llangathen, Cilycwm, Llangynnor, and on three occasions at Llanfynydd, as well as other parishes."


Independents

"It was the Toleration Act of 1689 that lighted up the ancient beacons of Nonconformity and discovered its new pastures......................................The immensely important MS containing these reports ( made when a Common Fund was established to support weak causes and needy ministers) which covers the period 1690-1.....................The situation described in the MS did not long remain static...............Rhys Prytherch gravitated more and more to the Brecknock side of his long-extended church.............though he still retained his interest in North-East Carmarthenshire , as witness the certificate he held for the house of Aber Rhaeadr in the parish of Cilycwm....................."


High Sheriffs of Carmarthenshire, 1541-1900

Includes the entry ;........ 1758, Rees Prydderch of Cilycwm


Baptists  

1620-1660

"A more innocuous body of Baptists had begun to make their way in the north-eastern angle of the county, along the old road from Llywel to Llandovery, into the parishes of Cilycwm and Llanfair ar y Bryn. They were the disciples of Jenkin Jones of Llanthetty in Brecknock, local squire of Ty Mawr, Roundhead captain, and Propagation approver....."

1687-1715

"And there is no way to account satisfactorily for the Baptists of Bwlchyrhiw, on the slopes of Mynydd Mallaen, except through the missionary enterprise of the Baptists of Llanllwni and Pencarreg, unless we are to believe that straggling free communionists climbed up to this lofty divide from the western glens of Cilycwm, (indeed Bwlchyrhiw chapel is itself in that parish, within two yards of the Caeo boundary)."


The Anglican church

After the restoration......Bishop Lucy became bishop of St David's in 1660.............from the replies to this bishop's enquiries...................in 1672........." everything was out of repair at ......Cilycwm............."

"A considerable number of churches in the county are dedicated to St Michael; in addition to the six which are styled Llanfihangel, this is also the dedication of Cilycwm, Talley, Myddfai and Egremont. It has generally been assumed that these foundations are of later date than those which are associated with native saints..........................."


Nonconformity and Methodism

"............... A study of the place names in Welch Piety, confining ourselves to the period before 1761 (the date of Griffiths Jones's death), yields many instances of Methodist homes being used by Griffith Jones as school-houses, some of them very well known, such as...............................and at least two Methodist Meeting Houses which were so used--- ......... and Ty Newydd (Cil y Cwm)................"

"Two Carmarthenshire Methodist chapels --- Cil y Cwm and Llansawel --- are among the three which contend for the honour of having been the first Methodist Meeting Houses in Wales...."

"Two of these chapels go back to the period before the Disruption; Ty Newydd in Cil y Cwm,  and Llansawel. It is still not absolutely clear which is the older. On a priori grounds, one would say Cil y Cwm; and, indeed, an inscription on the building itself claims that it was built in 1740, but that is hardly conclusive. A statement, made in much later times, that Daniel Rowland in 1740 'purchased' (leased ?) the ground for building the chapel, from Isaac Prydderch of Dol Gynon, at the 'price' (rent?) of three peppercorns, is in itself of no authority; but the particularity of detail suggests that someone at some time may have seen a document to that effect. Llansawel's claim is based on a monthly Methodist meeting in Abergorlech in 1744 when it was agreed " that a House should be built at Llansawel for religious purposes such as preaching, teaching school etc ."

Calvinistic Methodism

"The movement reached the county from the north.........in a block of eight parishes stretching from Llan y Crwys to Llanddeusant.......the number of Methodist communicants rose to nearly 43% of the Nonconformist total of membership..............In four of the eight (Caeo, Cil y Cwm, Llandingad, Llanddeusant) the Methodists (in respect of the number of communicants) were the largest Nonconformist body; in Cil y Cwm and Llanddeusant they were in an absolute majority."

A list of  'early [Methodist) exhorters' in Carmarthenshire includes ; "John Thomas (Caeo and Cil y Cwm), 1743"


The Lists of Dr John Evans

Dissenters at the start of the reign of George I ......drew up lists of the Nonconformist churches throughout the country, with their ministers, hearers and voters....the compiler being Dr John Evans, successor to Dr Daniel Williams in the leading London Presbyterian Church.....these lists were continually revised and updated from c 1714......................(there follows several paragraphs questioning the accuracy of these lists)........(for example) ..........."if there were 300 hearers at Cilycwm in 1715, how is it that no Independent chapel was built there before 1860 ?"

".........Roger Williams of Cefnarthen (d 1730), who, though the pupil and successor of Rhys Prytherch, lost all sympathy with Calvinism and left the Independents of Cilycwm to the more orthodox ministrations of Christmas Samuel and his friends. "

"........Of the new names, first place easily belongs to Christmas Samuel (d 1764), who not only organised the new Panteg congregation in the old Cruglas neighbourhood, but travelled to distant Cilycwm either up the Towy, or along the Cothi past Crugybar, besides figuring amongst the first in all ordinations over a wide area. "


The Moravians

The characteristic 'cell' of Moravianism was the 'settlement', an economically self-sufficing colony of Brethren; there were in 18th century England several examples of this............proposals were made at various times to establish such 'settlements' in Wales.......one such project in 1768-71 contemplated a 'settlement' in the county of Carmarthen.............the Brethren were found negotiating for the purchase of lands at................. and Cil y Cwm...............


Quakers

Puritan Domination, a period of depression

From the Subscription book of Bishop Watson (1690s ?);

" At Cilycwm there was a Quakers' meeting....."

The census of 1676;

"...equally cogent evidence tells of Quakers at Cilycwm....."


Medieval Boundaries

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 Mawr was divided into 7 commotes; .....one of which was Mallaen............the easternmost of the 7.....and corresponded to the present parishes of Cilycwm and Llanwrda, together with the township of Ystrad............


Prehistoric and Roman Times

List of Carmarthenshire Megaliths

A schedule of Standing Stones includes ;  


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