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A History of Carmarthenshire

With the kind permission of the publishers sundry extracts from this book have been extracted by Gareth Hicks onto some parish pages, these snippets below are in random order.

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

Nonconformity and Methodism

The Propagation of the Gospel

"The three years' Propagation Act expired in 1653 and was not re-enacted......early in 1654 the Commissioners for Approbation of Public Preachers came into force (fortunately known for short as Triers......who had the fullest powers to to review and revise all previous Puritan appointments...............the Triers also made a bold attempt to fill some of the vacant parishes by approving new ministers...........(the following name is in the list of the Trier nominees )

  • David Jones, Llandysilio, 1657

"It must be at once admitted that, with four exceptions, these new nominees of the Triers were obscure and mediocre men, who have left but little impress on the records of the time....................the four exceptions were ...........David Jones at Llandysilio............David Jones was given an increase (upon the natural revenue of the living) of £48 derived from the profits of the prebend of Llandysilio, an increase which he secured by the direct petition of his friend Stephen Hughes, but which he enjoyed for a short two years before the restoration came....They both bear honoured names in the history of Welsh Puritanism, what with their preaching zeal and their literary labours................."


" the very teeth of the penal code began secret preaching, and an uncannily persistent propaganda across the parishes of the West Carmarthenshire border right up to the banks of the Teifi, and beyond it into South the end of 1669 the members had mounted up to 1689 they were 113. These members ranged from Amroth by the sea to the wilds of Llanllwni and Pencarreg........Socially they did not stand high........In the Lay Subsidies they are usually found taxed for one hearth, some few for two; one is classed as a pauper; Llewelyn John of Llandysilio  was a tailor..............."

The Baptists, like the Independents, had begun to see the expediency of having one church with its members spread over thirty parishes.........the process of decentralisation coincided in time with the passing away of many of the old 1700 or thereabouts died the old leader William Jones; also George John, who, in 1684, with his wife Gaynor, was harbouring a conventicle in Llandysilio."

"It becomes apparent, from an examination of the list of baptisms, that at the juncture of the two centuries the strength of Rhydwilym begins to gravitate more and more towards Pembrokeshire (especially under the new leader John Jenkins); at the Visitation of 1710................only four entire families (were reported) at Llandysilio (in the parish where Rhydwilym itself stood), which was a smaller number than was reported by the churchwardens in 1678 and 1684, and one family less than the number stated on the chapel register in 1689. "


"The reception given to Fox at Carmarthen (1657) was significant of the attitude of the whole county; there was none of the ranting enthusiasm of Radnor, no quasi-official welcome as in South Pembroke..................................... (but) these dynamic qualities of Fox never left a land quite unmoved..........Quaker converts surged up along the Llanddewi--- Llandysilio border. Even Stephen Hughes, when on a visit to his friend David Jones at Llandyslio early in 1659, was tempted to beat and strike a Quaker who had crossed over from Pembrokeshire; in a book he published about this time, he alludes in the preface to the 'havoc wrought on the true faith by Ranters and Quakers'."

"The storm and stress was so severe that a few Quakers from Carmarthenshire joined with those from other counties in emigrating to North America. The ink was hardly dry on the churchwardens' report of 1684, that Francis Howell of Llandyslio was a schismatic Quaker, before he and his wife, Margaret Mortimer, decided to leave their native land. No doubt, the decision was helped forward by the distress laid upon him in this year for the non-payment of tithe amounting to £1.19s.4d. At least a dozen others, with wife and family, emigrated before 1715."

The Census of 1676

This was commissioned by Archbishop Sheldon 'who wanted to know the numbers of inhabitants, Popish recusants and other every parish in his province'. The section dealing with the numbers of Dissenters includes the sentence ;- 'In Llandysilio there were Baptists, Quakers, and presumably Independents; the census supplies the bare number ten to cover all three'.

Independents (1687-1715)

"The Indulgences of 1687 and 1688.....had opened doors that were never to be closed again..........................the Dissenters of the county reacted to this new world in a wonderfully dramatic manner...............of the ministers ejected at the Restoration, only two were left --- David Jones of Llandyslio, who seems to have early left his old field for Swansea, and who is almost certain to be the David Jones 'of Swansea' found preaching at Bristol conventicles in 1682..........."


Castles, Boroughs and Religious Houses

Monastic Lands & Revenues

"The lands that fell into the possession of the monastic houses were carved into manors and vills and were administered precisely as any other lordship. On them were established granges or farms where conversi tilled the land, and, if they were situated at some distance from the abbey, were housed..............Whitland possessed......................Llwynyrebol in the parishes of Clydey, Cilrhedyn, Ludchurch, Llangolman and Llandysilio............"


The Age of the Native Princes

The Early Church; Rise of the Kingdom of Deheubarth

"Shadowy figures move across the stage in these early years, of which it may be said that their connection with what is now Carmarthenshire belongs to folklore and legend, and not to history. Arthur can have had no business hereabouts......but he is nevertheless commemorated in two places.......and the prehistoric circle in the extreme west, in the parish of Llandysilio East, bears the name of Buarth Arthur. These are but examples of the tendency throughout western Britain to associate remarkable relics of antiquity with the great British chief."


Prehistoric and Roman Times

The Great Stone Monuments; the list of Carmarthenshire Megaliths includes;-

Dolmens (mostly ruined)

---Parc Sarnau, Llandysilio East,  No 1 and No 2

Stone Circles (destroyed)

---Meini Gwyr, Llandysilio East

Standing Stones

---Maen Pica, Llandysilio East

Distribution of Forts in the Early Iron Age; the list of Carmarthenshire Hill Forts includes;-

Hill Forts with Earthen Ramparts

---Portis Parc Earthworks, Llandysilio.


Boundaries and Local Divisions

Amgoed and Peuliniog were combined to form the Norman lordship of St Clears. The situation of the former is clear from the name Henllan Amgoed, given to a Dewi church in this region, in order to distinguish it from another Dewi church, also called Henllan, and situated on the Teifi..........Peuliniog (a name which appears under various dusguises) is an obvious derivative of the personal name Peulin, the Latin Paulinus, but the person intended cannot be identified, though it is a reasonable conjecture that he was the Paulinus of the early inscription found at Llandysilio. "