" . . . The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Carmarthen, and diocese of St. David's, rated in the king's books at £7.14. 4 1/2., endowed with £200 private benefaction, £200 royal bounty, and £800 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of Sir John Morris, Bart., who is the lay impropriator : the tithes formerly belonged to the hospital of St. David's, in this town, but in the reign of Edward VI. they were, together with the other possessions of that establishment, after its dissolution, granted to Sir George Herbert, and are now divided between the impropriator and the vicar, of whom the former has two-thirds, and the latter one-third.
The church, dedicated to St. Mary, from which circumstance the parish derives its Welsh name of " Eglwys Vair Aber-Tawy," having become greatly dilapidated, fell down in the year 1739, and was then almost entirely rebuilt. The present is a plain neat structure, in the later style of English architecture : the interior is well arranged and appropriately embellished : in the chancel, which is the only remaining portion of the old edifice, is an east window in the decorated style : the altar is ornamented with a valuable Madonna, presented to the parish by the late Thomas Bowdler, Esq., editor of the Family Shakspeare, and, according to a tablet recording the gift, supposed by the donor to have been an original painting by Sassaferat, the companion picture of which was sold for £750; some connoisseurs, however, ascribe it to Ludovico Caracci. The internal arrangement is well adapted to the reception of a numerous congregation ; but since the amazing increase in the population of the town, which has been progressive for some years, it is quite inadequate to the accommodation of the parishioners.
The parish church of St. John juxta Swansea is also situated within the town, and, from the service being performed in it in the Welsh, as well as in the English, language, affords considerable accommodation to the inhabitants of this part of the town, who are mostly of the poorer class, and speak only the Welsh language, and also in a great degree compensates for the deficiency of accommodation in the parish church of St. Mary. . . ." [A Topographical Dictionary of Wales by Samuel Lewis 1833 © Mel Lockie 2016]