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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.

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

Nonconformity and Methodism

The census of 1676

"It is idle work to ask too much of the census....................Who now can write down the exact names of the nine Nonconformists of Carmarthen town, who, in all probablity, often walked out by devious ways to join the other nine in the parish of Newchurch ?...............Or, if some of them were Quakers, to Llanllwch ?........"

The Society of Friends

"It would seem that the beginnings of the congregation of Friends in Carmarthen town are to be found in a meeting at Llanllwch --- the Friends there had a Meeting House, but in 1700 were unable to pay the rent for it; Tenison's Visitation of 1710 speaks with some uncertainty on the point --'if there is not a Quakers' Meeting at this place'--- yet says nothing about a meeting at Carmarthen..........."

Economic and Social Life

Elementary Education

"With the appointment of an agent for the British and Foreign School Society in South Wales (the Rev William Roberts, Blaina, a Baptist minister known as 'Nefydd') in 1853 and the decay of the 'voluntaryist' movement, greater activity was shown in the building of British schools in the county. Already by 1860 these numbered 22............Madam Bevan's Charity Schools remained until their abolition (c 1854) when they were nine in number...............Llanllwch etc..."

History of the Church in the County

The Reformation, the Early Stuarts

"The Church in the county suffered not only from the dissolution of the monasteries but also from the suppression of the Knights Hospitallers. These warrior-monks, wearing a white cross on their cloak and banners, had acquired enormous possessions in South Wales as early as the twelfth century, and when their rivals, the Knights Templars (who wore a red cross), were suppressed in England in 1312 most of their property was transferred to the Hospitallers. Their chief commandery in South Wales was at Slebech in Pembrokeshire. ..............Their (Hospitallers) property in Carmarthenshire was considerable.....................At Llanllwch they owned a moiety of the mill of 'Landlothe' outside the walls of the town of Carmarthen........."

The Later Middle Ages

The Government of the County

"The county proper was originally the territory attached to the castle at Carmarthen for administrative and judicial purposes. Though covering only a half of the area of the Carmarthenshire of today, it was , in the eyes of its administrators, a 'double county'. The commotes of Elfed and Widigada formed the 'Welsh County' (comitatus Wallensium) with its Welsh county court. The borough and the castle of Carmarthen with its demesne lands at Llanllwch--- these were the nucleus of the 'English county of Carmarthen'......."

The English County of Carmarthen

"The Englishry within each Marcher lordship in Wales normally consisted of  ' a) the castle, b) the manor, c) the borough and  d) the subinfeuded lands , each having its own castle or residence and its demesnes '. The Englishry of the royal marcher lordship of Carmarthen consisted primarily of Carmarthen borough, the castle, and its demesne lands at Llanllwch............."

The English County Court


"At Llanllwch was the demesne of Carmarthen, forming, with the castle and borough, its Englishry. 'Ancient demesne' --- the land in possession of the arglwydd and cultivated directly by him; his 'home farm', contributing to the needs of his residence --- had in Carmarthenshire been appropriated by the conquering king or marcher lord. In this way the hamlet of Llanllwch was attached to the castle of Carmarthen. Its distance from the castle and, perhaps, the expansion of the castle into becoming the military and administrative centre of the 'principality of South Wales' led to a change; the demesne had ceased, by the end of the thirteenth century, to be worked directly from the castle. The land under cultivation in Llanllwch  was let to the unfree who had previously done direct service to the demesne. These 'customary' tenants who paid a rent for their messuage and virgates on the demesne, were called gafol-men (latinised in the accounts as gabularii) --- a class we shall meet elsewhere in Carmarthenshire. They held at the will of the lord, and could sublet only after giving him due notice; they still belonged to the castle, and they paid sixpence an acre for their holdings.

Other holdings in Llanllwch were rented at a shilling an acre or more; their tenants included the Master of Slebech, who also rented the mill there; the lepers of Tawelan had a small plot; the prior of Carmarthen held twelve acres (?Maes y Prior), which he relinquished at the time of the Black Death. The herbagium  (the uncut hay) of Rhydygors, 'Dokchoke' and other meadows 'above and below the bridge', and the grazing of the horses and cattle of the burgesses on 'Horsemoor' were sources of considerable profit; for the collection of these issues the reeve of Llanllwch was responsible. Llanllwch had its own court, held by the nominee of the Justice as constable of Carmarthen castle; the profits were collected by the reeve, who accounted directly to the chamberlain. "

Glyn Dwr and After

"To the devastation of the county in the rebellion, and to its slow recovery, the chamberlain's accounts of the fifteenth century bear testimony. Places like Llanllwch, defenceless and demesne of the borough, received particular attention from the Welsh, and could pay no dues, being 'totally destroyed and devastated' according to the account for 1407-9."

The Black Death

"The bubonic plague, the Black Death, which reached Bristol in 1348, spread thence eastwards and did not appear until the following March at Carmarthen, where the officials of the Staple were among the first victims....................At Llanllwch, eleven of the twelve gafol-men were reported to have died, and the other tenants of the hamlet abandoned their holdings......."

Castles, Boroughs and Religious Houses

Monastic Lands and Revenues

"In 1291 Edward I granted the Prior and Convent 20 acres of land known as 'The Archdeacon's Land' and twelve others lying in Kethlevor or Ketlenour (Cillefwr), for a period of 20 years at a yearly rental of 22s payable in two equal instalments at the feasts of SS Philip and James the Apostles, and at Michaelmas. The territory lay in Llanllwch. The English king had acquired the land as a result of the forfeiture of one Owen ap Gruffydd, sometimes Archdeacon of Cardigan..........."

"The friars acquired little beyond the land near their enclosure except a burgage or two in the town of Carmarthen; but to the Knights Hospitallers were given ............and parts of a mill at Llanllwch.........."


"Burgage lands were not confined to the boroughs; here and there throughout the lordship were little groups of burgesses who enjoyed much the same conditions of tenure as the townspeople. Such were to be found at .................and Llanllwch in Carmarthen. They connote the process of anglicisation that the towns did so much to expedite and, like the towns, they suffered depredation and burning in time of war. Such a fate befell Llanllwch during the period of the Glyndwr revolt."


"The churches which came into the possession of the religious houses were as follows;..............

  • Carmarthen Priory
    • '..........and the chapel of St Mary, Llanllwch.........

Gareth Hicks