Cilcennin - Extract from 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' by Samuel Lewis 1833

"KÎLKENNIN (CÎL-CENIN), a parish in the lower division of the hundred of ILAR, county of CARDIGAN, SOUTH WALES, 9 1/4miles (N. W. by N.) from Lampeter, comprising the Upper and Lower hamlets, each of which maintains its own poor, and containing 695 inhabitants. This place is remarkable in history as the scene of a slaughter committed, in 1210 by Rhys and Owain ab Grufydd, at the head of a chosen band of three hundred men, on a superior body of English and Welsh troops, under the command of their uncle Maelgwyn, whom John King of England had reinforced with a body of auxiliaries, to aid him in recovering possession of the estates wrested from him by Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, the reigning prince of North Wales, and by him given to Maelgwyn's nephews, who, unable to meet in open combat the force under their uncle's command, here approached his camp secretly by night, and, furiously rushing upon his unarmed soldiers, slew many of them, and compelled the rest, among whom was Maelgwyn himself, to seek safety by flight. The parish is computed to contain about one thousand acres, mostly arable, in some parts rocky and hilly, and in others flat, of which about forty are subject to inundation: the only river is the Ayron, which skirts a part of it. The living is vicarial, being consolidated with the vicarage of Llanbadarn-Trêveglwys, in the archdeaconry of Cardigan, and diocese of St.David's. The church, dedicated to St. Cannen has recently been rebuilt, in the later style of English architecture, the expense of which was defrayed by public contributions. There is a place of worship for Independents. On the summit of an eminence, in this parish, are the remains of an ancient castle, called Bwlch y Castell, of the foundation and history of which no particulars have been recorded. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor amounts to £126.18."

"Index to Ceredigion"

"The book "Index to Ceredigion" has thirty references to Cilcennin. When looking at the population figures one cannot help but notice the leap between 1821 and 1831. "Index to Ceredigion" Volume VIII has a long article[pp72-99] on the effect of enclosures in Cardiganshire, in Cilcennin and other parishes, which contributed to this increase, whilst emigration, which lead to an eventual decline in the population is considered in Volumes II and X. The following item appeared in "Bye-Gones", dated November 17, 1880,

POVERTY AND PIETY. Under this heading some of the newspapers of Feb. 1821 introduced the following petition from "the Poor Parish of Cilcennin, in the County of Cardigan, and diocese of St. David's" ,this petition sheweth "That the parish church of Cilcennin having fallen down, a new church is become indispensably necessary; that owing to the scarcity which has prevailed of late years, and the badness of the times, there is a total inability to build a new church. The parish is barren and hilly, having that well-known barren mountain, Tri Chrug, within its boundaries, and no less than 15 farmers have failed in the course of a year, and not 40 farms are assessed to the poor rates. The population is great in proportion to the extent of cultivated land, having above 700 inhabitants, the cottagers, who are numerous, are generally maintained by parochial aid, whilst the parish is reckoned the poorest in the neighbourhood, and per-haps in the country. They are therefore constrained to adopt this humble method of petitioning for the assistance of their opulent and charitable neighbours, and all other their fellow-Christians, to enable them to erect a decent House for the worship of their common Redeemer. That the parishioners are well-attached to the Church of England, their constant attendance at Church affording the best proof, having had to boast of a regularly crowded congregation;consequently they are highly distressed to see their place of worship fallen into ruin, without the means to rebuild it."

Gareth Hicks 17 December 1999