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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

A Religious and Educational Movement

"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 Griffith Jones and Madam Bevan, from 1757 to 1775. He was master at Llandysilio Gogo in Cardiganshire in 1758. He served at Llangathen, Cilycwm, Llangynnor, and on three occasions at Llanfynydd, as well as in other parishes........................he died in 1779 and is buried at Llanfynydd churchyard.... Morgan Rhys was an original thinker, and not a mere translator, and his hymns are probably better known to modern congregations than those of any other hymn writer." [In the book there is a more detailed section on him under Literature and Literary Associations]

Nonconformity and Methodism

Independents, 1687-1715

".....grants for local work were the sums allowed to help poor students who were being trained for the ministry either at Brynllywarch under Samuel Jones or at the academy of Rhys Prytherch. Typical examples of such students were John Harris, son of Harry Thomas of Llanfynydd, 'a very poore man...perfecting in Loggick', ..."

Calvinistic Methodism

"Some two dozen Carmarthenshire exhorters of the early period are known to us by name, but most are mere names. We may single out three here; ..............Evan David of Ty'r Clai in Llanfynydd, a 'cordwainer', whose eccentricities are part of the lore of Carmarthenshire Methodism, but whose services must not on that account be underestimated....."

" ...a word about two Carmarthenshire Methodists who became clergymen but left the county --- William Davies of Llanfynydd (died 1787), much better known as William Davies of Gyfylchi near Neath....and....."

" the ordination at Llandeilo Fawr in 1811, four out of the thirteen ordinands were men of the county. The senior was the veteran David Rees (1751-1818) of Llanfynydd...."

"The debt of Carmarthenshire Methodism to Griffith Jones's schools is difficult to assess. Some at least of his schoolmasters in the county were demonstrably also David Williams of Llanfynydd 'exhorted' and 'kept school'......"

" .............a study of the place names in Welch Piety, confining ourselves to the period before 1761 (Griffith 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......................Ty'r Clai (or Tir Clai) in Llanfynydd....."

"Some two dozen Carmarthenshire exhorters of the early period are known to us by name, but most are mere names...........................A list of (less well known) early exhorters in Carmarthenshire includes;

  • Morris John ( Llanfynydd and Llangathen, 1743)
  • David Williams ( Llanfynydd, Llangyndeyrn, Llansaint, 1743)

"In 1744 there were 18 Methodist Societies in Carmarthenshire, ..............of these Llanfynydd had average 56 members.................the figures for 1748 are too incomplete to allow of any very trenchant conclusion, ................ but Llanfynydd (had gone down) to 36......."

The Older Dissent/Expansion and Organisation

"....with exceptions....the Carmarthenshire Baptist cause as a whole derives from the 17th century 'Teify-side church'. The other apparent exception --- the Llanfynydd and Llandyfaen area, including the churches of Waun Clyndaf, Cwm Ifor, and Cwm Du .................... is in general held to belong to the Glamorgan penetration...."

Arminianism, Arianism, Unitarianism

"A terrific war of pamplets ensued ...................... At Ferryside, at Pan Teg (where William Thomas of Llanfynydd, nicknamed 'William Bengoch' was pastor).....................the Arminians obtained possession............. Moses Williams (a blacksmith of Llanfynydd) founded a church at Pontbren doubt there were other 'Arminian' Baptist colonies; there is mention in Unitarian literature of Llanfynydd and.........."

"Wright in 1816 found at Brechfa ' Unitarian Baptists..meeting at a private house; .....B Davies, a poor man, is their minister'..............there is some evidence that B Davies came from Llanfynydd....."

Literature and Literary Associations

John Evan Davies (1850-1929)

"'Rhuddwawr' was a native of Llanfynydd; he was educated at Trevecka College and Glasgow University. He held pastoral charges at Siloh, Llanelly (1880-6), and Jewin Chapel, London (1886-1911). He won the crown prize at the Llanelly National Eisteddfod (1903) for a poem on Vicar Pritchard. His Davies Lecture had for its theme some of the results of excavation in Bible lands, the title being Y Beibl o'r Ddaear ('The Bible from the Earth'). He rendered an act of pious service in producing a memorial volume to James Hughes (Iago Trichrug), including a biographical sketch and a selection of prose and poetry (Denbigh, 1911). Two of his hymns (one a translation) are included in the the new Welsh Methodist hymn-book (1927)."

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

Prehistoric and Roman Times

Middle and Late Bronze Age

"The last object of Late Bronze Age to be recorded here reminds us not of local but of long-distance trade, and, once again, of the importance of Ireland to West Wales in prehistoric times. At Cwrt, in the parish of Llanfynydd, was found in 1876 what has been described as 'a gold ring for the arm, not joined, and with two balls at the ends'. It is said to have been found in an urn 'under a big stone' (RCAM no 419). Whatever the exact conditions of its discovery, it is representative of those gold objects that  became increasingly common as the Bronze Age advanced. The gold is certainly of Irish origin --- probably from the alluvial deposits of the Wicklow Hills ..... ........."

List of Carmarthenshire Megaliths


  • Carreg Castell y Gwynt, Llanfynydd.

Standing Stones


  • Near Crach Gelli farm, Llanfynydd
  • Carreg Bica, Llanfynydd

List of Carmarthenshire Hill Forts/Hill Forts with earthen ramparts


  • Banc -y-rhyfel, Llanfynydd

Native Sites/Topographical Index


  • Llanfynydd (Llandeilo Fawr). Cwrt Farm. Gold penannular armlet with knob terminals. Said to have been found 'inside an urn'. (RCAM,419)