Llandysul - Extract from 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' by Samuel Lewis 1833
"LLANDYSSIL (LLAN-DYSUL), a parish, partly in the hundred of TROEDYRAUR, and partly in that of MOYTHEN, county of CARDIGAN, SOUTH WALES, 8 miles (E) from Newcastle Emlyn, on the road to Lampeter, containing 2724 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Tysilio, an eminent British saint who flourished during the earlier part of the sixth century. It is situated in the southern part of the county, bordering upon Carmarthenshire, and comprises nearly twenty-five thousand acres of land, forming two principal divisions, called respectively Llandyssil Is Cerdin and Llandyssil Uwch Cerdin, of which the former is in the hundred of Troedyraur, and the latter in that of Moythen. The parish is bounded on the south by the river Teivy, which separates it from the parish of Llanvihangel-ar-Arth, in the county of Carmarthen, and is intersected by the Clettwr stream, which falls into that river, and likewise by several smaller streams, which are tributary to both. It is divided into seven hamlets, which, however, maintain their poor collectively, and in each of which, with the exception only of that in which the parish church is situated, was formerly a chapel of ease, all of which have fallen to ruins. The surface is what is usually termed, in this part of the country, mountainous, the ground in some instances rising into conical hills of considerable elevation, and is intersected by numerous narrow valleys : the soil is in general stony and shallow, but is well adapted for the culture of barley and oats, which are the principal kinds of grain raised here : near Waun Ivor are some large bogs. The village, which is of considerable extent and of interesting appearance, is pleasantly situated on a beautiful reach of the river Teivy, the vale bordering upon which is here enclosed by a succession of bold and richly wooded eminences, alternating with obtruding masses of barren rock, and lofty precipices of rugged character, forming scenery of great beauty and grandeur: the views from the higher grounds embrace some pleasing and extensive prospects over the surrounding country and the fine Vale of the Teivy. Among the numerous interesting objects which enrich the scenery in this part of the vale are, a venerable bridge over the Teivy, the tower of the church rising above the trees in which it is embosomed, an elegant little mansion on the right bank of the river, and GilvâchWen, in the midst of luxuriant plantations, backed by hanging woods, which reach to the summit of the impending heights. Alltyrodin, the seat of John Lloyd, Esq., is an elegant modern mansion, built on the declivity of a steep hill rising from the bank of the river Clettwr, and sheltered from the keen winds, which at times rush through the dingle, by the thriving plantations in which it is enclosed : the library is enriched with a valuable collection of Welsh genealogical manuscripts. The grounds on the opposite bank of the river are tastefully and judiciously laid out. The family of Lloyd were originally of Castle Hywel, an ancient mansion which has been for some time deserted by its proprietor, and is now a farm-house. Waun Ivor, the residenceof the Rev. D. Bowen, is a genteel house, delightfully situated on the bank of the river Teivy, and cornmanding from its park-like grounds a beautiful and picturesque view of the bridge of Llanvihangel-ar-Arth, and the church of that parish, situated on the summit of a richly wooded height overhanging the river. Gilvâch Wen, the seat of the Rev. Thomas Lloyd, is a small but elegant mansion, forming one of the most pleasing objects on the banks of the Teivy: it is beautifully situated in the midst of thick groves, and backed by luxuriant and extensive woods; but from the judicious disposition of the trees, the house, with the river winding beneath it, forms a conspicuous and beautiful feature in the landscape. A weekly market is held on Thursday ; and the fairs are on February 11 th, the Thursday before Palm-Sunday, June 21st, September 19th, and November 11th. The living consists of a rectory and a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Cardigan, and diocese of St. David's: the rectory, which is a sinecure annexed to the headship of Jesus' College, Oxford, is rated in the king's books at £ 12.16. 8.; the vicarage, which is discharged, is rated at £ 10, endowed with £ 2000 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's. The church, dedicated to St. Tysilio, is an ancient structure, displaying portions in the successive styles of English architecture, with a square tower at the west end : it consists of a nave and aisles, and from its situation forms an interesting feature in the village. On a stone forming the entrance into the churchyard is an ancient inscription. There are places of worship for Independents, Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists, and Unitarians. Thirty shillings per annum, charged on a farm called Cwmoidw are annually distributed among the poor of this parish, at the discretion of the proprietor of Gilvâch Wen. There are many interesting remains of antiquity within the parish, among which are several carneddau, or sepulchral heaps of stones : four of these are nearly contiguous, and on opening one of them, , within the last few years, three rude earthen vases and the ashes of human bones were found. A Welsh manuscript of the sixteenth century contains the following notice, which may perhaps throw some light upon the origin of these remains: "A. D. 1131, 5th of April, a desperate battle was fought in this parish, between Llewelyn ab Iorwerth and Davydd ab Owain, in which the former was successful, who buried the slain below the road, where the marks appear to this day." According to the same manuscript, another battle was fought here, in 1250, between the men of Bangor, in North Wales, and Davydd ab Cadivor : the former passed the ford of Rhyd Owain at day-break on the 8th of March, and encountered Einon, who had come to the assistance of Davydd, with between six and seven thousand infantry and six hundred cavalry: these two chieftains caused a deep trench to be dug for their defence; but the abrupt termination of the manuscript in this place leaves the issue of the battle unknown. There are, in various parts of the parish, several artificial mounds, which appear to have been anciently crowned with small forts : one of these, at a place Cîl y graig is said to mark the site of Castell Abereinon noticed in the Welsh annals, and said to have been erected by Maelgwyn, about the year 1205. Another, near the river Clettwr, is supposed to point out the site of a castle called Humphrey's Castle, probably from some Norman adventurer, who had obtained possession of the territory, and built the fortress, which was afterwards strengthened and improved, in 1150, by Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd, from whom it subsequently derived the name of Castell Hywel. A little below the Alltyrodin Arms, in the village, is the ford called Rhyd Owain, which, according to the tradition of the country, derived that name from Owain Gwynedd's having forded the river at this place, in one of his invasions of South Wales ; and near it is a barrow, called Tommen Rhyd Owain, where probably some chieftain of celebrity was interred. On a hill above the church are some small remains of an ancient castle, with a moated tumulus, on which probably stood the keep : this castle, of which no account is preserved either in history or tradition, is supposed to have been the baronial residence of the lords of Gwynionydd, and to have been the head of that lordship. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor of the whole parish amounts to £993.14., of which sum, £476.2. is raised on the Is Cerdin portion of it."
[Gareth Hicks: 8 December 1999]