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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.


Economic and Social Life

The Coal Industry in Carmarthenshire

"The 'Llanelly Coalfield', the bituminous region, occupies the area around Llanelly, and extends north-eastwards to, and includes, Llangennech..."

Minor Industries, Railways, Docks and Shipping

"With the opening up of the collieries in the Llangennech and St David's area, the St David's tramroad was built in 1828, and the New Dock or Llangennech Dock was opened in 1836, which was later taken over by the GWR......."

The Copper Industry

"Four copper-smelting works were erected in the Llanelly district after 1804, at Llanelly (two), Burry Port, and Spitty (Llangennech). These represented an expansion westwards from Swansea ...."

"Not far off from the Llanelly Copperworks, about four miles to the west, another copper-smelting house was erected at Spitty in 1809, by Messrs Rees and Morris. The land here is merely a continuation of the Llanelly Marsh at the side of the Loughor estuary. It is known as Spitty Bank, where a tramroad came down from the Genwen and Ffosfach pits, and the coal was exported to London. After 1804, Warde sold large quantities to the Llanelly Copperworks....."

The Tinplate and Steel Industries

" In addition to the tinworks mentioned in the previous section, the following were also erected in south-east Carmarthenshire between 1866 and 1890 ............... includes;

"The geographical distribution of the tinplate works in South-east Carmarthenshire in 1880 shows three well-marked concentrations;

The complete list (in 1880) included 14 works with a total of 65 mills ...............includes;

The Woollen Industry

"The 17th century saw a further consolidation and steady growth of the industry, but it could in no way be compared with the increasing prosperity of the trade in Western and Eastern England, for the Welsh woollen manufacturers lacked the enterprise shown across the border. At this period, the local records, church registers, and borough records yield the first glimpse of the distribution of the industry in the countryside beyond the confines of the boroughs. In a list of the king's mills in England and Wales drawn up in 1608, there is a reference to ........... a tucker at Llangennech in 1614....."

"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 18th century there are references to nine weavers at Llanelly between 1745 and 1800, to weavers at ...................... Llangennech (1757)......."

Agriculture/The Sixteenth Century

"In the Kidwelly survey of  1609, there are numerous references to enclosures of common land.........In the manors of Llanedi, Llannon, and Llangennech, several enclosures had been made by the tenants on the common of Mynydd Bach, where one of them had erected a cottage on the two acres which he occupied........"

Political Affairs from 1536 to 1900

1832-1900

"The long campaign reached its climax in the general election of 1868..................................in the county there were four candidates for the two seats, and Nonconformists were urged to plump for E J Sartoris of Llangennech Park.......finally Sartoris topped the poll with 3,280 votes........."

High Sheriffs of Carmarthenshire, 1541-1900

Includes;

Nonconformity and Methodism

1620-60/Baptists

"Long before 1660, the strict Baptist doctrine of John Miles...........had crept from its home in Gower along both banks of the Loughor, before turning definitely westward to Llangennech etc.......... When the church book of Ilston --- the mother church ----was closed just after the Restoration, it was found that eleven of its members came from Llangennech .........In Miles they  had as their leader one of the foremost organisers bred of Welsh Puritanism ........ in 1657 he decided that the Llangennech group was strong enough, to all intents and purposes, to form a church by itself............"

1650-87/Baptists

"Very probably, on account of the frowning opposition of the Vaughans of Llanelly, near kinsmen of the Vaughans of Derwydd, they moved their conventicles from the coast to the uplands of Llannon --- Llangennech and Llannon were to be for close on 50 years the objects of Robert Morgan's particular pastoral care.........In 1672 he is found taking out three licences from Whitehall, one for the house of Joshua Franklin in Llangennech, another at the house of Edward Williams in the same district...........the first entry proves that the Baptists still enjoyed the hearty good-will , if not the active support, of the Jenkin Franklin of Gower who had not only been one of Cromwell's efficient servants in South Wales, but had been baptised at Ilston in 1653, and in one of whose houses the Llangennech Baptist meetings were held from 1657-1660. In 1672, he had a house at  Llangennech, probably the same house, for which he paid a tax for seven hearths......"

"The unusually long report of 1684, written Anglicans when the days were darkest for Dissent, unconsciously illustrates the continuity of the Baptist tradition at Llangennech, its rather irresponsible virility, and the support accorded to it by two families of considerable social prestige. "

"...no doubt the coming of toleration was a great time for this earliest colony of John Miles which had at Llangennech in 1684 become a source of great anxiety to the wardens.....they celebrated the new liberty by applying for 5 certificates under the Act --- distributed over houses at Llannon, Llanelly at Llangennech ........the ranks of these Baptists were also sadly thinned by emigration; ........  seven went from Llangennech ( in 1710 ?), all settling in the Welsh Tract in Pennsylvania...."

The Census of 1676

This census was ordered in 1676 by Archbishop Sheldon who wanted to know the most accurate numbers available of the inhabitants, Popish recusants, and other Dissenters respectively in every parish in his province...............................Seven is the actual number of Dissenters in Llangennech in 1684 --- the rest of the crowd of thirty who never came to church and refused to pay their share for church repairs must have been men of the world and mere makers of mischief --- six in 1676 (indeed the seven of 1684 are made up by counting in the wife of Morris David Thomas)..........................Nor should the census-makers be expected answer questions that were never put to them, William Fleming of Llwyn Ifan was not in the Llangennech total because he was an occasional conformist....."

History of the Church in the County

Puritan Domination: a Period of Depression

"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................. Llangennech had no chalice and no flagon, and 'we do want decent seats in our church'. The windows wanted glazing, and the 'churchyard walles' were out of repair. 'A Welsh Great Bible, an English Common Prayer, Homily Books and Books to keep ye Wardens' Accounts and Briefs etc are wanted'. There were two acres of glebe land adjacent to the churchyard which belonged to the vicar. These were withheld from him by the farmers of the tithe. The same offenders had not paid towards his stipend the sum of twenty nobles ' for two years last past'....."

Medieval divisions

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.......................In addition to these two cantrefs Ystrad Tywi was generally assigned a third (mentioned in the Mabinogion)........with the doubtful name of Cantref Eginog..............the names of the commotes into which this cantref was divided were undoubtedly well known..........hence it would appear as if Cydweli, Carnwyllion, and Gower had been at some time or other combined to make up a cantref which was not an ancient and recognised division of the country...............the names Gwyr (Gower) and Cydweli (Kidwelly) are to be found in Nennius and other ancient authorities, so that there can be no doubt that they go back to a remote past as descriptive of the tract between Carmarthen and Swansea......................the commote (of Carnwyllion) included the parishes of Llanedy, Llanelly, Llangennech, and Llannon, and was clearly marked off from Gower by the river Loughor...""

Dialects

"A peculiar phenomenon of the dialect of Llanelly, and the neighbouring villages of Llwynhendy, Llangennech and Hendy, is the use of the third person in familiar conversation........."

The Later Middle Ages

The Lordships/Carnwyllion

"Mills were many and a source of substantial profit for the Duchy....The mill at Tal-y-clyn (near Hendy), which was working in the 15th century, had been superseded before 1610 by a new grist mill 'upon the forest of Cefngorach', to which the men of Llanedy parish and of Llangennech parish east of Morlais brook owed suit; there was a mill at Llangennech for the other half of the parish..."

"...two fairs were held in the commote, at Llangennech and Llanedy..."

"The small beginnings of the future industrial activity of the district are recorded in the survey of 1610, which notes that there were 'cole-workes' at Allt Llangennech, 'Gwerngradog', and near Llwynhendy..."


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