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From Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1844)

"BEGELLY (BUGELI), a parish, in the union of and hundred of NARBERTH, county of PEMBROKE, SOUTH WALES, 5 miles (S. by E.) from Narberth, on the road to Tenby; containing, with the chapelry of Williamston, which supports its own poor, 1159 inhabitants. The substratum of the soil in this parish is coal, of excellent quality, and in great request for the drying of malt and hops by the proprietors of breweries and distilleries: it is chiefly procured by a company under Sir R.B.P. Philipps, Bart., and J.M. Childe, Esq., who are the chief proprietors of the soil, and receive one-sixth part, as their share of the produce: there are also some smaller proprietors, who exact one-fifth, and even one-fourth, part from those who work only on a limited scale. A railway leads over King's Moor to Saundersfoot, in the parish of St. Issels, and greatly contributes to promote the interests of the surrounding neighbourhood. Iron-ore is also found, both above and below the strata of coal, and during the existence of the Pembrey Iron Company, was procured in great quantities and with considerable benefit to the proprietors; but, since the stoppage of those works, the search for it has been discontinued. The shale which is found with the coal exhibits many interesting specimens of the fern and reed plants, and pyrites of iron have also been discovered. The rateable annual value of the whole parish has been returned at £1770. 10. 2., but the portion exclusively of the chapelry of Williamston, at £1104. 12. 5. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £12. 19. 2.; present net income, £216; patron, Sir R.B.P. Philipps. The church is an ancient structure, in the early style of English architecture, with a lofty tower, and is pleasantly situated near Begelly Hall, by the trees surrounding which it is partly concealed. The chapel of Williamston is a rude structure without a tower, standing in the hamlet of that name. The parsonage-house is situated on part of a stratum of coal, which has been wrought all round it, and, if the excavation had been continued, it would have endangered the stability of the building. There is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists. Here is a day school, in which from 20 to 30 children are instructed at the expense of their parents; and there are two Sunday schools conducted gratuitously, and in one of which, in connection with the Established Church, are about 220 children; and in the other, which belongs to the Calvinistic Methodists, are about 25. Near the parsonage-house are the remains of a cromlech, which has been thrown down; and in its vicinity is a tumulus, supposed to have been raised to the memory of some unknown chieftain."

Gareth Hicks, 16 Dec 1999

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