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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 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.


History of the Church in the County

Early Puritanism, 1620-1660

In the context of Puritan domination ....

"In 1643, the House of Commons pledged itself to 'endeavour the extirpation of Popery, Prelacy, that is, Church government by Archbishops, Bishops, their Chancellors and Commissaries'. ................the confiscated possessions of the bishops and cathedral clergy, and even their private estates, fell into the hands of a small committee which 'enjoyed almost complete autonomy of jurisdiction'..........So far Carmarthenshire had escaped rather well, but the Puritan Committee, succeeded in appropriating  Cenarth, Llanegwad, Llanddowror, Llangadock, Llangeler and Meidrym........."

"The Puritans tried to replace the old parochial schools which had automatically ceased to function, and the masters were paid out of the confiscated revenues of the Church. .......The ministers also were paid in a peculiar way...... Samuel Jones of Llanegwad was paid out of the confiscated tithes of Llandyfaelog...."

"Four others were directly appointed by the Upper House, which was then composed of the few lords who had refused to follow the king to the wars.............the four were................William Jones , vicar of Llanegwad  ........... William Jones died as Archdeacon of Carmarthen in 1677, the other three lay snugly in their livings until 1660 and then promptly conformed.............As far as is known all were good men but not one of them, though each had to take the Covenant and prove satisfactory to the devines of the Westminster Assembly, had the slightest claim on the name Puritan. The Lords, again, had been thoroughly deluded by the Carmarthenshire committee."

"....it is true that Anthony Jones was a prominent and prosperous citizen at this time, and father of William Jones, newly made Puritan vicar of Llanegwad; but was he not very forward and violent in promoting the king's cause in 1648 ?...."

"...to turn Carmarthenshire clergy out of their livings.... eighteen were ejected......nineteen were left unejected...among the former was William Jones of Llanegwad ......."

"The bishopric remained vacant until ...the appointment of George Bull.........the presentment of church wardens at his primary visitation in 1705 ..... supply evidence as to the state of the churches in the various parishes at the beginning of the 18th century....... At Llanegwad the church walls roof and windows were in good repair, with a fair font of stone, parchment book, and all things decently kept.  The vicar had another benefice, but he kept a curate ' to supple the cure to our contentment, and doth allow him a competent salary to our knowledge'.  There was no assembly of Dissenters but there were some persons who refused to bring their children to be baptized according to the form of the Church of England."

Nonconformity and Methodism

"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 ) ..........Samuel Jones, Llanegwad 1656 (the year of presentation to the living)....."

".......such of the clergy ejected by the Puritans who had survived up to ...1660..... were restored to their old livings...thus Samuel Jones had to surrender Llanegwad to William Jones...."

Literature and Literary Associations

William Egwad

"This was another 15th century poet of high standing in his day. His name suggests that he was connected with Llanegwad; more definite information is supplied in Iorwerth Fynglwyd's elegy, written in cywyddd metre, which speaks of him as being of 'good blood' and mentions Llanddarog as his place of burial....................."

Economic and Social Life

The Woollen Industry

"Flannel was also used at this time (during the latter part of the C18th) , not only for articles of clothing and domestic requirements, but also for the construction of coracles. It was prepared in pitch and tar as a covering for the wooden shell of the coracle........In the vestry books of the parish of Llanegwad, under date September 5th, 1798, the following entry occurs; ' that John Harry overseer do purchase flannel and other things necessary to make a coracle for John Lot'. This was obviously a kind of subsidy to a poor man, and it should be noted that a great deal of parish relief was given in the form of woollen goods at this time. "

"A perusal of local records for this period will show an increasing number of references to the distribution of the industry within the confines of the county.........during the C18th there are references to weavers at ........ Llanegwad (1799)...."

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 Cetheiniog including the parishes of Llanfynydd, Llangathen and Llanfihangel Cilfargen, with the two townships of Llanegwad, viz. Llan and Hirnin, which are on the east side of the Cothi...."

"Farthest to the west of the commotes of Cantref Mawr was Widigada, a name which refuses to yield to any analysis. It comprised the parishes of Llanpumsaint, Llanllawddog, and Abergwili, with a considerable part of the parish of Llanegwad, which lies west of the Cothi...................."

Castles, Boroughs and Religious Houses

Boroughs

"The towns and boroughs of Carmarthenshire fall naturally into two groups --- those who have sprung up around castles and others that owe their origin to churches and abbeys.......to the second group belong ...... Llanegwad......"

" In the first quarter of the C14th ..... Llanegwad had 24 burgesses, 20 burgages, and 60 virgates of burgage land in addition..............................It is in these ecclesiastical boroughs that the burgage rent reached the rather high figure of 2/-.....at  Llanegwad (there was also) 1 1/2 stangs and 1 acre"

"The ecclesiastical boroughs were semi-manorial; indeed, they are frequently termed manors in the Black Book of St David's. There we find that all tenants owed suit at court and mill and had to convey or lead beasts to Llanegwad or Llangadock and guard all prisoners not executed in the boroughs for three nights, and conduct them to Llanegwad, or, in the case of Llangadock, Llandilo. If free tenants left the borough without paying the fines, they paid double rent. There was prisage of beer, and all burgages at Abergwili and Llanegwad were subject to a relief of 13 1/2d each....."

"...the application of the term 'borough' to such places as Dryslwyn, Llanegwad and Newtown, the impressions gained from extents and the nature of the holdings confirm the view that the towns were really nothing more than agricultural villages and it was their priviliges rather than anything else that conferred burghal status upon them and distinguished them from the surrounding lordship or manor..."

"The steward who presided over the manorial court was entitled to a certain number of sheep from all tenants on the occasion of his first visit to the borough. The reeve of Llanegwad received a salary of 2s. a year....."

Monastic Lands and Revenues

"The bulk of the possessions of Talley is set out in the inspeximus charter of Edward II dated 1324, which confirms the gifts of Lord Rhys and his family. The lands are given as follows;..........................the grange of Brwnws (in Llanegwad......"

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

"In 1239 the Abbot of Talley, 'for the sake of peace', and at the bidding of the Bishop of Worcester and others, restored the churches of Llandeilo Fawr and Llanegwad Fawr and the land of Penllwyn yr hydd and Cilharddun ..........to the Bishop of St David's, who regranted their use in return for an annnual pension of 6 marks..."

Prehistoric and Roman Times

The Great Stone Monuments

"It is well known that standing stones are sometimes arranged in rows or avenues, and there is ample evidence that such rows are associated with megalithic culture. Carmarthenshire has little to show of this character. On Blaen Golau Farm, on the south-western face of Y Darren, in the parish of Llanegwad, there seems to be the remains of a small allignment. Here are four stones arranged in a line running NW to SE......................it would thus seem that we are dealing with four surviving stones of an alignment that was formerly of a much greater extent..."

List of Carmarthenshire Megaliths
Alignments

Contains

Standing Stones

Contains;

Carmarthenshire within the New Stone Age

"It is significant that with one exception all the examples (of stone artifacts) within the county are derived from parishes which abut on the rivers Towy and Taf...........in a list of examples of places where stone axes were found  is;

Carmarthenshire in the Bronze Age

Early Bronze Age

"....in 1932 a fine axe of bleached flint with slightly expanded edge was found at Pen-y-garn Farm in the parish of Llanegwad..."

List of Carmarthenshire Hill Forts.
Fortresses Utilising Promontories, Cliffs and Tongues of Land at the Confluences of Upland Streams and Defended in Part only by Artificial Works

Includes;

"............. where existing earthworks --- Roman or native --- have been utilised, there is always some detail of construction or of accomodation to indicate a new economy and novel ideas of strategy.....Take Allt-y-ferin for example. Here are British earthwork and Norman motte. The site is a spur that projects southwards from a line of low hills. On the three sides the ground slpoes precipitously , on the south and east, into the Cothi --- a fine defensive position commanding a wide expanse of country...... ( lots more not extracted)"

The Age of the Native Prince

Family Feuds

"....whilst it was greatly to the profit of Rhys (ap Gruffydd) himself that he came to power as the sole survivor of his house, the size of his own family........involved the reduction of Deheubarth from a single considerable realm to a group of weak principalities. Cantrefs and commotes went to this and that son according to the balance of power...........At the time of Lord Rhys's death........... son Gruffydd was the destined heir .........  he died in 1201.......his (own)two sons under the care of their mother who had no intention of allowing their rights to be ignored ...........one son Rhys Ieuanc in 1203 got possession of the castle of Llanegwad situated at the spot now known as Pen y Cnap......"


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