Byr Hanes am Blwyf Nantcwnlle


'A Short History of the Parish of Nantcwnlle'
A Rough Translation of 

By Rev. Evan Edwardes, published by 'Cambrian News' Aberystwyth, Ltd., 1930

Translated by Jenni Hyatt, July 2003

There is a name index after the book translation itself which can be used to find entries in the sections with the page numbers indicated at the top of each page below


The Parish of Nantcwnlle

Little has been written or published about this parish and the majority of what is recorded here will be that which I myself have seen and heard, but which has not been published before.

The parish is not one which is notable for being full of ancient things. It obtained its name from the patron of the parish church, as did most of the parishes in Wales. Years ago it was usually called Llancwnlle but it is now called Nantcwnlle. Baring Gould and Fisher in their 'Lives of British Saints', Vol. iii, p. 234, say that there are few examples of Llan changing to Nant, as in Llanhyfer to Nanthyfer (Nevern) - and Llancwnlle changing to Nantcwnlle can be added - there are more examples of Nant changing to Llan, like Nantcarfan to Llancarfan; Nant-honddu to Lanthony etc. The most accurate name for the parish would be Llangwynlleu, because it was Gwynlleu who founded the church of Nantcwnlle and was its patron in 590 A.D. (More will be said about Gwynlleu when discussing the history and traditions of the church later on.)

The parish stands in the lowest section of the Hundred of Penarth. It is surrounded, for the most part, by small streams. In the top part of the parish there used to be a small lake called Llynfarch, from the southern end of which arose a little stream, Gwenffrwd, which flowed south forming the eastern boundary of the parish, and joining the River Aeron near Dole Aeron. It was named Gwenffrwd by Dafydd Harris, of Penuwch, because of the large waterfall over the white rock between Llanfaelog and Henbant. Another small stream called the Arth, rose from the western corner of the lake and ran in a westerly direction for about a quarter of a mile, crossing the road which leads from Aberaeron to Tregaron, near a house which was formerly called the 'Plough and Harrow' and which was kept as a tavern, before leaving the parish boundary and running towards the sea at Llanddewi Aberarth. After the stream, Arth, crosses the road, the boundary is a narrow gutter which turns, on the left, in the direction of Twrgwyn and runs along the bottom of Moelfryn's land, as far as Melin Giachod. That is the northernmost boundary of the parish. The western boundary is a small brook which rises in the direction of Common-fynydd (which perhaps ought to be Cwm-ar-fynydd), and runs in two directions, part down towards Melin-giachod and part between Hafod-y-gors and Brynele down to Rhyd-y-groes Mill, where it is called the River Afallen; and thence past Trefilan down to the River Aeron, this is the southern boundary of the parish.


The parish is surrounded by seven other parishes, by Llangeitho and Llanbadarn Odwyn to the east, to the north-west by Llan-sant-ffraid, to the west by Llanbadarn Trefeglwys and Trefilan and to the south by Ystrad and Gartheli.

It is difficult to decide the meaning of the word 'Farch' in the name Llyn-farch. Some think it should be called Llyn-fach (little lake) and, in terms of its size, this would be a very appropriate name, because it was small to start with, and it has now closed up; and it was called Llyn-fach in 'Beauties of England and Wales' which was published in 1815. Others say that Llyn-arth is the proper name as the River Arth rises from it. But in my opinion, the word 'Farch' here has some connection with water; as we see the word in Pynfarch, Olmarch, Delfarch, Cam-March, Farch-ynys, etc., which all have a connection with water; and that, I think, is the meaning in Llyn-farch. We get the same root-word in the English marshand mere, in the Latin and French mare and in the Welsh mor, all of which refer to water.

I know that learned people say that the word 'march' means something big, but there is nothing big in the above names, particularly in Llyn-farch, which has been closed up for some years; there is only a bog there now. It is said that the bard Myrddin prophesied in the 6th century that when Llyn-farch dried up the town of Carmarthen would sink. The old people believed this implicitly in the 19th century and the old Welsh balladeers frequently recited this in their ballads. But for the prophecy to come true we can only do as Mr. Asquith advised his followers on another matter on one occasion, "Wait and see."

The Quality and Nature of the Parish

Its size is 4607 acres. It is two and a half miles wide in places and about six miles long. There is some good soil for all kinds of corn in the bottom of the parish on the banks of the River Aeron; but it's not so good when you go up to the top of Bwlchllan and from there to Penuwch. But I think it would be possible to improve the quality of the land considerably, even on the high hills, if the farmers and small-holders, particularly the freeholders, believed in striving and spending a little on planting trees. Although part of the top end of the parish is over a thousand feet above sea level, it is not too high for trees to grow on it; and it is high land that has the greatest need of shelter. The fact that Rev. David Edwardes has planted so many trees (over 60,000) on Crynfryn, and Mr Lloyd-Williams at Brynele, - two high places, - and the way in which they have grown in a short time, is proof that trees will grow on high land if only they are planted; and the big improvement which these trees have brought about is an inspiration to plant more. Trees improve the quality of the land. Much of the land in the upper part of the parish is peaty, rocky and full of rushes. A line or vein of peaty and boggy land runs through the parish from the direction of Trichrug through the land of Brynele, Corngam, Tyle and Crynfryn, in the direction of Henbant bank; and the peat from these bogs has been a valuable resource to the parishioners in days gone by. Much peat has been carried from this area down to the bottom of the parish but now little is cut except by the tenants who farm the


boggy land because the vein has practically run out. But as one thing comes to replace another, many trees have been planted during the last fifty years and these are gradually being cut to use as fuel in place of the peat. With the advent of the train which runs through the county, the parishioners also have access to coal. It is likely that there were huge forests centuries ago where boggy land is seen now. The proof of this is that wood is often found in the bog, much of which has been used as gateposts. About 1908 a tree was taken out of a bog on Crynfryn's land which was over twenty yards long. Giants of trees as well as giants of men grew in the old days.

As recently as the beginning of the nineteenth century, almost half the county was common land; and much of the land in the upper end of the parish, from Crynfryn to Llyn-farch, remained so until the middle of the century. Many houses have been built on it during the last eighty years, so that the common land is now all under ownership and, for the most part, under cultivation. Until about 1836, every smallholder in the parish had the right to cut rushes and peat from the common land for his own use and to drive his cow or his horse there to graze. But when the Tithe Commutation Act, which was a Bill to pay tithes in money rather than in goods, was passed in 1836, the whole of the common land was measured and shared out between the farmers and landowners of the parish; the more land a man owned the more of the common land he was given. "To everyone who had was given." This caused conflict between the smallholders and the legal owners of the land and the practice of building a house overnight, with walls made of clods of earth and a roof of rushes, was begun. There was a kind of unwritten law that anyone who built a house in one night and had smoke coming out of the chimney the following morning had a right to keep the house thereafter. Several houses in the top part of the parish were built in this way towards the beginning and middle of the nineteenth century and, gradually, a little land was enclosed around the house, enough to keep a cow or two. But there were many nasty quarrels between the smallholders and the farmers as a result of this. Anyone who built a 'one-night-house' had to be brave and daring because he would meet with objection and oppression: it was, "Let the strongest oppress and the weakest cry out," but the more daring and courageous the occupants of the one-night-houses were, the more land they would enclose. That is the history of some of the free-holders of the top part of the parish. The house had to be built in one night without the knowledge of the farmers and landowners who claimed the land as theirs, and this is why such a house was called 'ty unnos'. The timber for the house and the rushes to thatch it were prepared in advance; and several friends would come together with suitable tools at the beginning of the night and work diligently and purposefully throughout the night, and the following morning the occupants would have their breakfast in the new house. The occupants of the 'tai unnos' were cruelly oppressed by the farmers and landowners, particularly those who enclosed land around their homes. There was much pulling down of embankments. The writer remembers hearing of one Dafydd Morgan (alias Bitws Betty) who was caught pulling down an embankment in broad daylight and was sent to prison for a short time. Before the dispute came to an end, the majority of the smallholders had to pay something for the land that they had enclosed. After that they had peace to labour and cultivate their smallholdings as they wished, and "everyone sat under his own vine and under his fig-tree, without fear" and the surface of the common land has changed much for the better.


It is not likely that the wicked and villainous Oliver Cromwell has been in this parish taking out his anger on religion and believers: or the cunning and vengeful rebel Owain Glyn Dwr, either, who, whatever else he had in mind, wanted Wales for the Welsh, whatever the cost, as there is no trace of voluntary and deceitful destruction on houses or property anywhere, as is seen on castles and churches in many parishes. This may be attributable to the paucity of old valuable buildings in the parish and not to the gentleness and geniality of Cromwell and Glyn Dwr. There is little evidence of ancient remains here. There are no cromlechs or burial stones or meinhirs or dolmens anywhere and few weapons have been found. A cup was found in a group of stones on Ty'nrhos bank on Abermeurig estate and was kept there safely for years but, for one reason or another, it is now in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. The cup was discovered in the time of Dr. Rogers, the father of the late Mr. John Edwardes Rogers, and its like has not been seen anywhere; it is, as the English say, unique. It is thought that to be an incense cup: it is made of earthenware, is yellow in colour and similar in shape to a coffee cup without a handle and with no lid, measuring two and a quarter inches high with a diameter at the mouth of two and three quarter inches and its bottom one and three quarter inches. It is to be hoped that it will return to Abermeurig. Recently (1926) there came to light on Penglogau's land, on the other side of the River Afallen in the parish of Trefilan, two urns and sixteen graves. There was a large cairn of stones in the far end of the field which had been there for ages, and the graves and urns came to light when the stones were being carried away to repair the road. Soon the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society undertook to search and dig through the spot and they found two urns which kept the ashes of the bodies which had been burned and buried there and they are now in the museum in Aberystwyth. Many human bones were discovered underneath the cairn of stones. It was thought that the bodies were buried here about 1200 years before Christ. In the year 1920, there came to light in the bog on Twrgwyn's land, two coins slightly larger in size than a penny, with 'Amlwch, Liverpool and London' imprinted on the side of each one. These are what is known as 'token money', i.e. money minted by an individual or a group of merchants in Amlwch. They were of no value in themelves, but whoever had them in his possession could buy goods in shops which belonged to those companies in any of those three places, as payment for his work. Someone who had been working in one of those three places must have lost the token money on Twrgwyn bog. There is no trace of a cave or pit or a mine in the parish apart from a small pit on Brynele's land which looks as though someone had once started mining for ore but without success. The name Blaencastell indicates that there was some sort of castle in the neighbourhood when this house was built because there was always thought and reason behind the names chosen by the old Welsh for their houses. The house would not have been called Blaencastell were there not some building close by that was called a castle, although the name did not have the same connotations in the old days as it has today. (The castles of the Bible were not of the same stature as our castles.) Not far from Blaencastell is Pen-y-Gaer above Hafod and the name suggests that some army had been encamped there at some time; it's probable that it was a British army to keep watch on the Romans who


were encamped at Llanio and that they raised some sort of fortress here which was called a castle and that this is the reason for the name Blaencastell a little way from Pen-y-Gaer.


There are beautiful and extensive views from Pen-y-Gaer, behind Hafod, the original home of Mr Rogers before Abermeurig Mansion was built, and from Pen y Fan, above Trefilan. From the latter one can see down to the beautiful Aeron valley as far as Brynog, the home of the Vaughans for some time. One can also see from here the honourable mansion of Llanllyr, home of the Leweses, a military family, and where there was once a nunnery belonging to Strata Florida, although there is not much trace of the old building now. Some fearsome hand has destroyed it in the same way as the majority of the monasteries, convents and castles of our country have been destroyed. From here can also be seen Abermeurig mansion, the home of the late Mr John E. Rogers, who owned much land in the parish. From Pen-y-Gaer it is possible to see as far as Capel Betws, Llanio and Llangeitho and some miles of the Aeron Valley, which is full of lovely views and fertile land, and also much of Mynydd Mawr from Pumlumon to Carmarthenshire. As someone said about another place, "Here is seen the pretty in temperament and the beautiful in nature." I am tempted to copy here (with the permission of the authoress) some verses by Miss Dinah Davies, Rhoslwyn, Bwlchyllan: ( The poem follows in the book but is not extracted.)

This is a detailed description of the view from Pen y Fan and Pen y Gaer. I believe that Pen y Graig Fawr and a hillock a bit further up at the top end of the parish near Llyn Farch is the highest spot in the parish. It is over a thousand feet above sea level. From the top of this bank there is an extensive view from sea to mountain. Parts of eight Welsh counties can be seen from here with the naked eye on a clear day. It is doubtful if there is anywhere else in Wales that can beat this. An old man fell from the Graig Fawr ( Big Rock) once, early in the nineteenth century. He had set out from Cefncae one morning before dawn on some errand the nature of which is not known for certain, and in the dark he fell down over part of the rock and was seriously injured. There had been talk, in his hearing, of someone trying to devise a means of enabling him to fly, and the idea had appealed to him, so some people started to say that Ned had gone to the top of the rock to try to fly, and a poet wrote a rhyme about him:

"Ned went with two wings; we don't know of what sort,
Instead of flying like a goose he dropped like a cat."

The Quarries of the Parish

There are three quarries in the parish from which the parishioners have the right to take stones, one on Twrgwyn's land, one near Eglwys-fach and the above-named Graig Fawr ( big rock). The best stones are in the latter; the stone there is very hard; it needs a hammer, a chisel and strength to make much impression on it when dressing it. Timothy


Morgan, who lived in Pengraig, excavated many a ton there. When the pickaxe and the crow-bar failed he turned to the powder. As one poet wrote about him:

"And here's the old quarry, Tim, without any crow-bar
Ran from the powder with his hand on his shank "

The Roads of the Parish

The main roads of the parish are those which run along the bottom of the parish from Felin-fach to Talsarn; from Cilpyll to Rhyd-y-Groes and from Hafod up through Bwlchllan to the upper part of the parish; another from Melin Giachod to Twrgwyn and another from Plough and Harrow to the River Gwenffrwd. Those are the roads which were called the parish roads because they were maintained by the parish but are maintained now by the County or Divisional Council. Until about the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the road from Hafod to the top of the parish was rough and stony, being almost impossible to travel in a sprung carriage, much less a motor car, but it is much better now. The Vicar Evan Evans (1845 - 1864) spent a great deal of money on the road from Hafod up to Bwlchllan. Before his time the road was barely formed and he did much towards making it fit to travel at all. The parish took it on after that. The coming of the stone-crusher and the steamroller has transformed the road so that it is easy and pleasurable to travel along it on wheels of every sort.

The Rivers of the Parish

Apart from the rivers which form the boundary of the parish, like Gwenffrwd, Aeron and Afallen, about half a dozen small streams run into them through the parish, like the Tyle, which runs into Gwenffrwd, near Llanfaelog; another which runs past Tybecca and joins with Gwenffrwd at the bottom of Cwm Bwlch; another runs down past Cwm-Meiarth to Gwenffrwd below Pen-lan-Wnnws, and another goes through Hafod Valley to the Aeron, near Trefran. Much water runs west from Corngam Bog and the land of Brynele, Bryngalem and Pencwm, joining with a small stream to turn the mill wheel in Rhyd-y-Groes on its way to the Afallen. There is another small stream which rejoices in the majestic name of 'Thames' and runs past Llundain Fach (Little London) to join the Aeron. On 5th July 1846, there was a great flood and the River Aeron broke its banks. Dr Rogers, Abermeurig, had been visiting the sick, and, whilst riding home in a storm of thunder, lightning and heavy rain, he and his servant ventured too deep and were drowned in the village of Talsarn, which was a great loss to the whole area as Dr Rogers was a good doctor and very kind to the poor.


The Mills of the Parish

From the name Melin-y-Cwm on an old wall in the bottom of Cwm Bwlch, I should think there was a mill here at one time, although there is no-one alive today who remembers it. There was a mill in Felin-Newydd (New Mill) at the bottom of Crynfryn's land at one time, but it stopped grinding corn almost a hundred years ago. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century a mill to grind corn and a factory to make balls of wool were built at the bottom of Aberdeuddwr's land, between Crosswinter and Talwrn in the parish of Llanbadarn-Trefeglwys, and it was called Melin-giachod and it continued to grind and to make knitting wool until the beginning of the twentieth century. Rhyd-y-Groes, Felin-fach and Felin-coed mills are still working but they do not do as much work now as less corn is sown and many of the farmers grind their corn at home.

Some farmers in the olden days used to bake the corn in a kiln at home then send it to the mill to be ground. The remains of a kiln can still be seen on Tanffordd's land, within sixty yards of Llangronw Mission Church; and the writer knew one old woman who could remember feeding the fire and minding the corn on the kiln at Crynfryn many times. The field which had the kiln in its corner is called Cae'rodyn ( Kiln Field) to this day, even though there is now no trace of the kiln.

The Shops of the Parish

There have been many shops here and there throughout the parish but the only ones which remain now are Dolbwba, Bwlchllan, Penlon, Troedrhiw and the Co-operative near Penllether. Bryn, Brynhyfryd, Blaendyffryn, Pencraig, Pencraig-fach and Ty-newydd have been closed for years. About 1922 the Co-operative Stores was built in Penllether, on Frondeg's land, and this reduced the custom of the little shops; but it has been of service and a blessing to the community by fulfilling the needs of a large part of the country better than the small shops were able to do.

The Blacksmith's Shop

There was a blacksmith's shop or smithy in Cwm Meiarth in the nineteenth century. The father and two sons were excellent craftsmen but had neither the skill nor the patience to teach others so that, when the last of them died, the smithy was closed and was a great loss to the parishioners. After that a smithy was built in Bwlchllan and that is now the only smithy in the parish.

The Taverns of the Parish

There used to be three inns here; one in Llundain-fach in the bottom of the parish and two in the top part, namely Twrgwyn and the Plough and Harrow, a little below Llynfarch.


There were two other taverns a few yards outside the parish near the River Gwnffrwd in the parish of Llanbadarn Odwyn, namely the Drovers' Arms and Mountain Green; they all closed years ago and the morality of the country has greatly improved since then. There is no longer a single tavern in the parish. In the present age we look on the tavern as the source of many of the misfortunes and problems of life and doubtless it would be hard for the modern abstainer to believe that many of the old taverns were established to support temperance. The drink of the Welsh a hundred years ago and more was mead, a drink made from honey, which was very harmful to the health if drunk in excess, as many did (from the Welsh word for mead, medd, comes the Welsh word for to get drunk, meddwi) and it was to try to wean the drinkers from mead and to decrease the incidence of drunkenness in the country, that breweries were established to produce a weaker, and less alcoholic, drink from barley. Many of these old malt houses were to be found near churches. They were temperance houses to start with and were the means of bringing sobriety to much of the country. Nantcwnlle Church is one of the few rural churches that has no nearby tavern.

When the taverns brewed or made beer they fulfilled the county's need for yeast to make bread; and, after the taverns closed, many people started making what was called 'temperance yeast'. I remember one old lady from the neighbourhood of Nebo, near Cross-Inn, carrying two large pots full of yeast to the upper part of the parish to sell from house to house, and that was how she earned her living. After that, people started using German Yeast, which is not attractive either in name or in appearance, whatever its effect.


In the nineteenth century there were several pens throughout the parish, looked after by a man named Dafydd Morgan (generally known by the nickname Lefi Donc), who lived at one time in Tan'rallt-fach. Stray animals found wandering in the fields or on the roads were turned into the pens and Lefi notified and, if the owner was not found within a specified time, they were sold to defray costs and an account of the money given to the Court Leet. There was one pen on Crynfryn's land, near the road, until the beginning of the twentieth century, but the wall was pulled down to plant trees there.

The Dialect of the Parish

The dialect of the parish is not particularly distinctive; it is fairly scriptural. The late Rev. H. M. Williams, vicar of Lledrod (the son of Gwynionydd, schoolmaster in Llangeitho at one time), who had paid a great deal of attention to the dialect of the county, in a paper which he read to the Ceredigion Antiquarians Society, divided the dialect of the county into three parts. He called the northern part the dialect of the 'oes', the middle part the 'ôs' and the southern part the 'wes'. ( 'Oes' means 'is' or 'are' or 'yes' and is pronounced in the three different ways described above.)Nantcwnlle Parish belongs to the 'ôs' department. Monosyllabic words which contain 'oe' are pronounced as if there were no 'e' in them, this


'coed' (wood) becomes 'côd', 'coes' (leg) becomes 'côs', 'oen' (lamb) becomes 'ôn', 'troed' (foot) becomes 'trôd' and so on. Also 'au' in some words is pronounced 'ou', so 'dau' (two) becomes 'dou', 'haul' (sun) becomes 'houl', 'lleuad' (moon) becomes 'llouad' etc. One strange aspect of the dialect of this part of the county is that so many English words are used with a Welsh ending, such as acto, handlo, specto, watro etc., by monoglot Welsh people who have had little contact with the English.

Some strange expressions were sometimes used in ordinary conversation, such as:

'Roedd e'n sobor o feddw.      He was soberly (very) drunk
'D oes dim shâr rhynddy nhw.    They don't speak to one another
Rwy'n ffaelu a'i dinco fe.       I can't find it
Mae e'n dweud ei oed wrth bawb.     He tells everyone his age
'D oes gen i ddim golwg arno fe.     I don't think much of him
Tipyn o whit what yw e.       He's rather scatty / he speaks foolishly
Whare cwat a whiw.       To play hide and seek
Mae nhw yn ei ben e.      He can't tear his mind away (from a certain thing or things)
D'wy haring ohono fe.     I can't stand him
Gwasgu ei glust wrth ei ben.    Meditating
Roedd e yn ei golchi hi.      He was furious
Troi'r gath yn y badell.      Stirring things up
Dyw e ddim fel ni i gyd.     He's not like the rest of us
Fe gwnaeth hi'n galch.      He made a mess of it
Mae e'n gneyd ei giewc.     He's pulling faces
Fe aeth yn gebyst.        He went over the top, went mad

Words used to call animals

To call a cow: 'trwdi fach'; a horse: 'outshi bach'; hens: 'chico bach'; ducks: 'bil, bil'; a cat: jitw; pigs: 'whit, whit'; calves: 'swc, swc'; the dog would be called by his name. To send a dog after horses the words 'tshw-hwtshi' would be used; after cattle: 'tshw-ho'; after sheep: 'tshw-hyrri'; and 'hyrri dal e'; after pigs: 'hys-sw'; after hens: 'whish-hw'; after geese: 'whilac'; after ducks: 'whish bil'; after crows: 'gwr-i-ha'; after a hare: 'how'.

'Trwdi', 'outshi', 'whilac' and 'jitw' are Irish words and this is one piece of evidence that Irish people lived at one time in this part of the country.


Old Customs

In the olden days, even until the latter half of the nineteenth century, every marriage took place in the parish church because the chapels were not licensed for marriages until 1836, when the Marriage Act was passed. (Penuwch Chapel was licensed for marriages in 1860 and the first couple to be married there were Mary Jones, Tangarn and Joshuah Davies, New Quay. I know this to be inaccurate; the first woman to be married there was, indeed, Mary Jones of Tangarn but she married Josiah Thomas, of Maenygroes, near New Quay.Bwlchllan Chapel was licensed to perform marriages in 1865.) As a rule, every one who could afford it went to a wedding on horseback and many an accident occurred whilst driving madly to be the first to reach the home of one of the bridal pair (if they had no house of their own prepared), where the neithior(reception) would be held in the afternoon, that which was called ystafell(literally, 'room') having taken place the previous day. Goods such as bread, cheese, butter, flour, tea and sugar were taken to the room, and money to the reception. This was done to give the young couple a start in life. Some two to three weeks before the wedding a man was sent around the parish to invite people to it and to ask for gifts. The 'inviter's' speech was often very entertaining and the exchange which took place between the groomsmen, who were called wisi-gout(we seek out), who were sent to the bride's home to bring her to church on the morning of the wedding, and the bride's family, was even more so. Often the exchange took place in rhyme, the girl's family pretending that she was not willing to go to church, and hiding her, so that much amusement was derived from searching for her. In the nineteenth century tailors and seamstresses went from house to house to make clothes. Everyone who owned sheep made more use of the wool than is made now.

The farmers in the olden days were glad of a pair of clothes made from the wool of mountain sheep. Those who did not own sheep bought material to make clothes in a town or village and they were made into garments at home. The writer remembers when the tailor was willing to work for a shilling a day and his food, and the seamstress for six or eight pence. Over the summer, from the beginning of May to the end of September, the farmers sent their sheep to Mynydd-Mawr ( the Big Mountain), behind Tregaron and Llanddewi, and about a dozen of them would be kept there for what it would cost now to keep one mountain sheep in the country during the winter. Some of the women used to go wool-gathering in midsummer, collecting the wool that the sheep used to leave behind on the mountain. They would come home with ten or twelve pounds of wool, enough to last them for a year to make into balls and knit into socks / stockings to sell to the hosiers who would sell them to the miners in the counties of Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire. There were also some women who went up to London every spring or early summer to weed gardens for a few weeks in order to earn two or three pounds, and they used to walk there and back. The last I know of who did this was called 'Mary Penuwch' who, after that, kept the Drovers' Arms for years. Some of her grandchildren still live in the neighbourhood. It took about a week or more to reach the end of their journey. It was very different from what can be done today in an hour and a half in an aeroplane. Several of them used to set off and travel together for company and safety and, when they reached


London, James Hughes (Iago Trichrug), the (Biblical?) Commentator, would be there to meet them and direct them to convenient and comfortable lodgings. Daniel Ddu (Black Daniel) wrote thus:

"Oh that I were like a pigeon
On top of St Paul's in the middle of London,
So that I could see the girls of Wales
On their knees weeding gardens."

Years ago many of the men of the parish used to go to the harvest in Herefordshire and Shropshire every summer to reap and to bind wheat but this came to an end when the reaping machine came into general use. About half a dozen got together to work. They worked very hard there from dawn until dusk, sleeping in sacks on straw in a barn or a loft. They usually tried to ensure that one of the company could speak some English, a language which was unknown to most of the parishioners at that time. About half a century ago, several men used to go from the upper part of the parish to Herefordshire with a horse and cart to fetch a load of apples to sell in the fairs. They must have made some profit even though they sold seven or eight apples for a penny. Oh the difference between that time and the present, when apples are often a shilling a pound!

Manservants and maidservants were usually hired for a year at Hallowe'en in fairs which were held in Llangeitho and Talsarn, but the hiring fairs have long since finished. Fifty years ago there were several bacon, egg and butter merchants living in the parish who used to take a cartful of their wares every other week, to Glamorganshire, usually, to sell to the miners. Many of them prospered but the train and motor vehicles have put an end to that kind of merchandise. Years ago every farmer used to fatten a cow every autumn, usually the oldest in the herd and, if they did not have a sufficiently old one, they would go to Penuwch or Talsarn Fair to buy one, as Cerngoch wrote:

"I went this morning
Away from home on purpose,
To go up to Penuwch Fair
To buy a cow to fatten"

The old cow would be fattened up for about two months then killed, about Hallowe'en time, (usually after it had gone dark, between teatime and supper time), and the meat would be salted for about three weeks, then hung from the kitchen ceiling, and that meat, with a pig or two, depending on the size of the family, would be the only meat eaten by the family during the coming year. Few people would be willing to live on such fare in this day and age.

Before the train came through the county and brought lime conveniently (the Manchester and Milford Railway was opened in 1867 and the Lampeter and Aberaeron in 1911), much lime used to be carried from Aberaeron and Llanddewi Aberarth, and after that


from Llanwrda and the Black Mountain. When carrying lime from Carmarthenshire the cart boys used to set out in the evening, so that they reached Lampeter a few minutes after the clock struck twelve, in order to avoid having to pay the 'gate' twice on the same journey. (The charge was a groat for a cart with one horse and sixpence for one with two horses.) Some tollkeepers charged more than this, which was illegal and caused bad feeling in the country. Round about 1843, Becca and her children terrorised the country, destroying turnpike gates and houses in all directions, because the toll for passing though them was so heavy, but, as there was not a single turnpike gate in Nantcwnlle Parish we have not heard that any one of Becca's children caused any kind of damage here.

After the train brought lime to Tregaron and Pont Llanio, and, after that, to Talsarn Halt, carrying lime from Carmarthenshire stopped and the kilns in Aberaeron and Llanddewi were closed. There was more whitewashing of houses in the nineteenth century than there is now, perhaps because houses are now built of better stone and brick so that whitewashing will not enhance them. Whitewashing the houses in this country began in 1831, when cholera broke out for the first time in Britain and it was thought that whitewashing the houses would help to keep the disease away.

The lives of the farmers and workers in days gone by were very different from what they are today. Travelling to a fair or a market was very different: a cart without springs was almost the only vehicle in the parish. From Hafod up to the top of the parish, nobody owned a carriage except Dr Morgan, Frongoch and Mr Jones, Bwlch. Almost every small farmer owns a carriage now and several have cars. Some rode horses bareback because there was a tax on a horse with a saddle on its back. There is a big difference now. It can be said, as Cybi wrote:

"When my grandfather was a young lad,
And my grandmother a lively young girl,
No one had a car except the lord of the manor;
Everyone was so plain and fit,
But a rough change occurred
Now we all travel by charabanc."

The food eaten in the old days was very different from ours. Curds and flummery and gruel and barley bread or unleavened bread formed much of the fare, with milk and water to drink. Tea was a little known drink at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The midday stew was a very tasty dish, similar to the English lobscouse, consisting of water and a little oat flour, bacon, cabbage, leeks, potatoes, and carrot and turnip, boiled together in a saucepan. The soup was drunk from a wooden bowl and the food eaten off a wooden plate called a trencher. There was no talk of a snack between breakfast and lunch as there is today and the workers were fit and healthy with fewer meals. A doctor was rarely seen in the parish; his visits were very rare, as the English say, "few and far between." The food was rough and the clothes were very simple.Young lads in the olden days wore ribbed trousers and a velvet cloak which can no longer be found in any shop. We can quote Cybi here again:


"We are indeed so 'nice',
Everything today is new;
Porridge, of course, has become rice pudding,
And milk everlasting tea.
In such a smart age, who soils his hands?
There is nothing to be done but travel by charabanc."

The women and girls were pleased to have a betgwn ( part of the traditional Welsh costume, from the English 'bedgown') and a high hat, like a sugar loaf or the pyramids of Egypt. Modern women or girls would not care to be seen dressed like that. The sugar-loaf hats were in fashion towards the last quarter of the eighteenth century. In the year 1778 a little pamphlet was published in Trefriw referring to the wearing of these hats as a recent custom and calling them 'ugly' but they remained in fashion for over a hundred years. Fashions in hats, nowadays, last barely three months. Work was very scarce and wages very low here at the beginning of the nineteenth century. One could get a male servant capable of doing any work on a farm for £4 to £5 a year and a female servant for £2 to £4. Many parents were happy for their 12 to 14 year old boys to go into service for their food. The workers, and even the farmers, had, of necessity, to live frugally in terms of food and clothes in order to make ends meet when cattle and horses and their products, such as cheese and butter etc., were very low in price. I remember eggs being sold at tuppence for five, whereas lately they have been sixpence each, and the prices of most other country products have also risen. When one compares the past with the present, it is difficult to understand how people were able to live on such low incomes. The fate of the farm worker has improved considerably since the time of Dewi Wyn of Eifion who described the workers' conditions in the two lines below:

"Complaining, he takes his penny,
What would suffice for one has to be shared among nine."

Girls in the olden days required more fabric to make a dress than they do now, when ladies' clothes barely reach the knee. It used to be said that it needed two sheep to clothe one girl; now that can be done by the silkworm. Years ago the material for a girl's dress made a big bundle; now it could be sent through the post in an envelope. As Eilir said,

"The old Welsh got the material for clothes
For all their children from the sheep's back."

Both the men and the women were very industrious, noted for rising early and going to bed late. People worked, in the old days, from morning to night and often later, without grumbling or expecting extra pay for the additional hours, as the eight-hour-day worker does today. Most people did not wear shoes on working days; shoes were a type of treasure to be kept for going to (church/chapel) services or to market. It was more usual to see clogs than shoes and many went about barefoot. Women and girls used to work more in the fields than they do now. The main ambition of a young girl in her leisure time was


to make a sampler, and, when it was finished, to hang it in a prominent position in the parlour, so that her mother could show it proudly to the neighbours.

Many of the old people were against anything new. If a young man happened to part his hair and raise a U.P (?) and wear a watch chain on his chest, it was considered a great sin by some and, if a preacher dared to ascend the pulpit with a white chest and wrists ( wearing a mock shirt front and cuffs) he would get a strict lecture from some of his listeners before he left. It seems that they were conservatives in everything except their politics.

Several institutions which were in full swing in the nineteenth century have now disappeared into oblivion. Although the custom of collecting New Year's gifts remains, the number and age of the collectors has changed. Half a century ago many of the poor of the parish, old men and women, went around the parish every New Year's Day with bags on their backs to collect bread, cheese, flour or any other food and, by nightfall they had a bagful or two of food that would last them for weeks. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, some people used to make tobacco boxes or snuff boxes from the horn of a sheep or cow. I don't know of anyone in the parish who did this, but there was a man named Thomas Phillips, who lived in Ffynnon-goch, near Penuwch Chapel ( probably in Llangeitho parish) who made many of them, and there are still some people living who, when they were in school near Ffynnon-goch, used to turn the wheel during their lunch-hour to help Phillips, but the craft is not heard of today and we do not know anything about the tool that was used to do the work.

Spinning and making wool (?)

Spinning and making wool (?) was very common work in the nineteenth century for the women and girls during the winter, but not many young girls now know how to turn the spinning wheel and the wheel, the winder and the candle holder have become scarce objects, exhibited in meetings of the Antiquarians. As Llwyd Llundain wrote:

"Little combs to treat and roll,
Are not familiar to modern children."

Shoeing Cattle and Geese

Before the age of the train, when cattle were driven to England, to Barnet Fair and many other fairs, they were always shoed, but nothing is known about the craft now. Geese were also shoed at one time when they were walked to England, but I do not know of anyone in the parish who did this. The method of shoeing the geese was to put their feet in tar, then in sand, and it was then left to dry hard, so that they could then walk without damaging their feet.


Threshing with a Flail

Threshing with a flail is very uncommon now. Sixty years ago there were very few threshing machines in the parish. The men rose hours before daylight in the winter to thresh, before breakfast, enough straw for the animals for the day. During the autumn many could be seen threshing in the field to obtain enough corn to take to the mill but, by now, every farmer has his machine and the sound of the flail is seldom heard. Only a few farms had a winnowing machine; the method of winnowing the corn after threshing it was for two men to hold a sheet, one each end, and shake it to make a breeze, while another man gradually released the corn so that the chaff was blown away and the corn fell on the threshing floor or onto a sheet on the ground. That was the old way of winnowing.

Cutting Hay

Using scythes to cut hay has become very uncommon and the strickle the sack and the sand have become relics of a bygone age. It was a beautiful sight to see half a dozen or more reapers in the hayfield and the sound of their scythes cutting the hay was music to the ears of all those who love rural life, but the advent of the machine has destroyed this.

Churning was much more difficult in the old days than it is now. The implement used by many was a knocking churn and using this was hard and tiring work; sometimes in the winter it was hours before any butter was produced. Now, however, there are churns which are easier to work and a horse is the churner on many a farm.


Some industries have disappeared from the parish. Making beaver hats was profitable work at one time. I knew two brothers at the top of the parish who were successful at the craft. There was an abundance of beavers in the River Teifi at one time and they were caught and their skins sold to the hatters. The hats were made at home and taken, in large boxes on their backs, throughout the country to be sold, but the craft has died out now. Some of the tools which were used are still in the possession of the family.


In the top part of the parish much sheep minding took place in the summer before the advent of wire and when the hedges were not sufficiently high to keep the animals safe. Many children, boys and girls aged from ten to fifteen, had to be out in all kinds of


weathers minding sheep. To amuse themselves many of them made what was called a 'lapwing cap' out of young rushes in the form of a sugar loaf. It got its name from its resemblance in shape to a lapwing's cap, but it wilted quickly, like the corrupt crown of the former runners in Corinth. Boys would often amuse themselves by building a little house to shelter them from the rain and the heat as they minded the sheep, and the occasional boy showed considerable skill as a builder. Some shepherds were promised a feast in the little house if all the cattle were put to the bull before August but it is unlikely that this promise was often fulfilled. Present-day children between the ages of eight and fourteen should be grateful for the 1870 law which compels them to go to school rather than to be out in all sorts of weather minding sheep.


About half a century ago very few houses in the parish had a barometer. The chief weather predictor was a thin-necked empty bottle with its head down inside another bottle containing coloured water. If the weather was going to be dry, the water would rise into the empty bottle but it would not do so if wet weather was on the way.

Another weather prophet of the old people was a 'Shân and Shân', a sort of cabin with two doors, Shân inside one and Shân inside the other. The following englyn describes their method of forecasting the weather:

"If the weather is going to be wet, in a sullen way,
Shân will take a little turn;
But if it is going to be dry, Shân will come
To stare out through the door."

Birds and Animals

Some birds which were once very numerous in the meadows of the parish have become very scarce if they have not disappeared altogether. I am thinking particularly of the lapwing and the snipe or Spring goat; both are rarely seen now. The lapwing was a great loss as it was considered to be a great friend to the farmer as it hunted and ate insects which damaged the corn. I don't know of any bird which has come here to replace it.

The animals of the parish have changed and improved greatly. Until about the middle of the nineteenth century most of the cows in the parish were black; a red or a white cow was rarely seen. I remember people talking about short horns as a new thing in the parish but now they are in the majority in most herds. There was a time when bullocks and even cows had to plough, but the plough was made of wood in those days.

The sheep which are usually seen here are small, particularly in the upper part of the parish. It was rare to see a sheep with two lambs, but the breeds are bigger now and twin


lambs quite common. I don't think there is much difference in the breeds of horses but, about fifty years ago a fast horse for trotting commanded a good price. There was a horse in Bryncipyll called 'Comet' which was in great demand in the parish. He was a very fast trotter and his offspring had the same characteristics, but, by now, there is not so much call for fast horses as they have been superseded by the motorcar. It can be said that many of the horses of the parish were afraid of asses and it was difficult to get them to pass an ass on the road, because they were not often seen. I don't think there is an ass in the parish now. When the motorcar first came to the country, the horses feared it more than they feared the ass, but motor cars are so common now that horses will pass them without a problem.


The parishioners now live in much more comfortable circumstances than their ancestors did. Housing, for themselves and their animals, is superior. Many houses were previously built of earth, clay and ? about five foot in height the length of the square with the same door leading to the living quarters and the cowshed. Most houses were roofed with straw or rushes; only a few craftsmen were good roofers and it is a craft which is no longer in demand in this age of zinc and slates. Many improvements have occurred in the parish during the last sixty years such as free schooling for every child; every schoolroom heated and made comfortable at the parishioners' expense instead of the children carrying a piece of turf or two each to school every morning in order to have a fire, as was done during the writer's schooldays, and I could add, in parentheses, as it were, that it was those who brought least material towards it who were most often beside the fire warming themselves. The roads have become fit for motor vehicles, letters are brought to every house almost every day, whilst there was not one post office in the parish until the last quarter of the nineteenth century, letters took a long time to reach the end of their journey and a newspaper was unknown to most of the inhabitants. Until almost the end of the nineteenth century, every voter had to go down to Ystrad to vote for a parliamentary candidate but now we have a polling-booth in Bwlchllan, which saves the inhabitants of the top end of the parish many miles of walking on Election Day.

The circumstances of the poor of the parish are better than they were in the 19th century. In the days of the monasteries the monks and hermits of the religious houses cared for the poor but, when they were dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539, the circumstances of the poor deteriorated. They became dependent, for their sustenance and seasonal comforts, on the gifts and charity of the gentry. For a while collections were made in the churches towards the poor, but the situation was not satisfactory and, in the time of Elizabeth I (1558 - 1603), a law was passed to appoint overseers in every parish to provide work for those who were able to work and to raise a tax to support the old and weak. That was the basis of the present Poor Law Act. That system lasted for 200 years. In 1834 the work of the overseers in caring for the poor was transferred to the Board of Guardians and many are


not pleased to hear that the voluntary and philanthropic work of the Guardians is to be curtailed, if not abolished, in the near future and put into the hands of the County Council. The scale of the Guardians' contribution to the poor was very low for a long time; a widow was expected to live on a shilling a week and an old couple on eighteen pence. By now most people over the age of 65 receive a pension of ten shillings every Friday so, barring accident, there is no need for anyone to suffer poverty. Many of the parishioners are also members of the Oddfellows Club in Llangeitho, thereby making provision against ill-health.

It is sometimes asked who formed the various parishes. They were a division of the work of church dignitaries in the beginning. From the time when the Archbishop Theodore cane to Canterbury (669 A.D.) he encouraged landowners to build churches and to fulfil the spiritual needs of the inhabitants by promising that they could choose their own priests if they built churches on their estates; many agreed at once and built churches and that is why parishes vary so much in size because of the inequality in size of the estates of various squires. By the 10th century and the beginning of the 11th the country was, generally, divided into ecclesiastical parishes and, in time, the government adopted this division and made them civil parishes as they are today. Although we are not certain in the case of Nantcwnlle, the likelihood is that it all belonged at one t me to the same landowner who built a church on his estate to cater for the spiritual needs of his tenants and who, when letting his farms, appointed that one part in ten should be used to maintain the church in the parish. Thus were the parish churches built and endowed, not through compulsion or public cost but through the patriotism and generosity of the landowners, and the country has enjoyed the fruits of their valuable gifts for centuries.

The Church

Since the church registers go back only as far as 1768, little can be said about the church before that date. Rev. David Edwardes says, in an article in 'Yr Haul', May and June 1913, that Nantcwnlle Church was established about 590 A.D. by Gwynlleu (and Baring Gould and Fisher in their 'Lives of the British Saints' say that Gwynlleu was the son of St. Cyngar Ab Arthog Ab Ceredig Ab Cunedda Wledig) and that the church was burned by some English rogues in 860 and, in 1070, by a band of Danes and Normans and destroyed after that by the sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys in 1150. Their reason for carrying out such an atrocity is not known. There existed in that period people like the Kensitites and Suffragettes of our age who thought that the world could be put to rights by burning and destroying valuable houses and property.

According to an old Deed in the NLW there was some connection between Nantcwnlle Parish and the parish of Llanddewi Brefi, but it is difficult to say what the connection is. It says that the Manor of Llanddewi contains six tithe towns, all in the parish of Llanddewi Brefi and that it also contains two independent parishes, Blaenpenal and Nantcwnlle, but it is not known what the connection was, since there is none now.


When Thomas Beck was the Archbishop of St David's (1280 - 1293), he established two colleges, one in Abergwili in 1283 and the other in Llanddewi in 1287 and it was appointed that two-thirds of the Nantcwnlle tithe should go towards the college in Abergwili, which was moved in 1542 to Brecon, and the Nantcwnlle tithe was returned to the Church Deputies in 1840 and part of it to the parish vicar in 1868. Thus the parish was deprived of two-thirds of the tithe for nearly six hundred years and it is said that St David's College, Lampeter, which celebrated its centenary in October 1927, is a development of Llanddewi Brefi College. After 1283, little is known about the history of Nantcwnlle Church for 350 years. During the rule of the tyrant, Oliver Cromwell, every ecclesiastical document that he and his deputies could get their hands on was burned and no value was placed on any work that had been done previously. During Cromwell's time some churches were turned into Nonconformist Chapels and the sacred churches were desecrated to such an extent that some of them were turned into stables for his horses.

According to the Episcopal Register of St David's (1917) Sir Phylip ap Rice was appointed Vicar of Nantcwnlle on June 15th 1490, after the resignation of Sir David, the former Vicar. On June 10th 1496, Sir David ap Ieuan was appointed Vicar on the resignation of Sir Phylip ap Rees.

After this, the earliest history of Nantcwnlle on which we can depend is that Edward Herbert was appointed Vicar in 1637 and that he was turned out of his living in 1650 by Oliver Cromwell's deputies. In 1661, Griffin Evans came here as Vicar, but there is no mention of him after the day of his appointment to the living: "We have his name and that is all." There is no mention of another Vicar for 47 years and it is unlikely that Griffin Evans lived, as Vicar, for that length of time. As this was the time of Cromwell's rule, we think he either burned the records or forbade services to be held in the church as he did in many parishes. In this period, or at least part of it, Nantcwnlle and Ystrad went together as one living, which was called Llanfihangel Ystrad Nantcwnlle and both parishes, together with Trefilan, were under the care of the same Rector, Rev. Hugh Lloyd. In 1697 the priest of every parish was given several questions to answer and some of the answers, in the case of Nantcwnlle, were as follows: "Name of the parish: Llanfihangel Ystrad Nantcwnlle. The feast of the parish's patron saint was the first Sunday after Michaelmas; from this we can gather that Ystrad was considered the more important. (The feast of the patron saint was held to remember the dedication of the parish church to religious service. It began as a Christian celebration but by this time had become rather corrupt.) The other answers concerned the games played in the parish, the produce of the land and the different animals which were kept, and that the three parishes, Nantcwnlle, Trefilan and Ystrad were under the care of Hugh Lloyd, Rector. The next event which is recorded after Griffin Evans's appointment to the living is the death of Thomas Evans, Vicar, in 1708 and the appointment as Vicar of Daniel Rowlands, the father of the Revivalist, who was here until his death in 1731. He had two sons, John and Daniel. John was ordained in 1726 and worked as his father's curate serving in Llangeitho and Nantcwnlle; on his father's death in 1731, he was appointed to the living. At that time it was not necessary for young men to have a degree or go to college at all before being ordained. Several pupils of the grammar schools in Ystrad Meurig and Lampeter were ordained before St


David's Theological College, Lampeter, was established. Some say that Daniel Rowland was born in Llangeitho Rectory but it is more likely that he was born in Pant-y-beudy (Nantcwnlle) in 1713, the youngest of six children, two sons and four daughters. Daniel received his early education in Pany-y-Gido, near Llanarth and, after that, in Hereford Grammar School. (Many Welsh priests were educated in Hereford.) From there he was ordained by Bishop Clagget of St David's, in March 1733 in London, when he was only twenty years old, three years before the usual time for ordination, and there must have been something exceptional in his learning and character before the Bishop would have broken the rule and ordained him so young because the Bishop refused to ordain Howell Harris until he reached the age of twenty-three. Daniel Rowland was ordained curate to his brother, John, in Llangeitho and Nantcwnlle, for £10 a year. John drowned accidentally in Aberystwyth in 1860, after being the Vicar of Nantcwnlle for twenty-nine years. It is likely that Llangeitho and Nantcwnlle until that time went together as one living under the same Vicar because, when John Rowland died in 1760, they were separated and Rev. Isaac Williams was appointed Vicar of Nantcwnlle. As Isaac Williams did not need a curate it was expected that Daniel Rowland would be appointed Rector of Llangeitho after his brother, John, but his son, John, was appointed in his place, and it is likely that he was none too pleased about this, although he continued as curate to his son. Before long he began to kick against the traces and went to preach wherever he was asked to do so and, before long, Capel Gwynfil was built for him, where he preached with great conviction. Some say that he was expelled from Nantcwnlle Church but there is no truth in that because, when Rev. Isaac Williams came here as Vicar he did not want a curate, so that was the end of Daniel Rowland's curacy in Nantcwnlle, but that does not mean he was turned out. It is claimed by many that he was forbidden to preach and to serve the Sacraments in the church by Bishop Samuel Squire in 1763 but that is not true either, because the Nantcwnlle Register records Daniel Rowland christening Esther, the daughter of John Morgan, Cilpyll, on March 10th 1770, seven years after it is claimed he was expelled, and he would not have dared do this if he had been stripped of his priesthood. It is interesting to note here that Rev. Hugh Lloyd, Cilpyll, married the above Esther on November 19th 1796 and, as Mrs Lloyd, Cilpyll, she was well-known throughout the parish as a kind and generous gentlewoman.

Daniel Rowland had three sons, two of whom became priests: this is proof that he had not turned against the Church despite having been passed over by some of the Church authorities.

The first entry in the Nantcwnlle Registers is John Williams, curate, publishing marriage banns in April, 1764. In 1765, John Thomas is appointed to the living on the resignation of Isaac Williams, but nothing more is known about him; one John Evans, curate, signs the church register until 1770. From this we gather that John Thomas was an absentee Vicar. In 1770 - 1771, John Lewis signs the registers and, during the above years there is much uncertainty concerning the vicars as several priests signed the registers apart from those whose appointment to the living is recorded, so it is difficult to know whether they were curates, or what. From 1773 to 1777 (the year of the three mattocks), Griffith Davies was here as Curate. (More will be said about him under the heading 'Sunday School.) It is


not known what became of John Thomas, whether he died when he was Vicar, or gave up the post, or was promoted to another. In 1776, John Parry was made Vicar. He was probably another absentee, since two curates, Griffith Davies and Rees Williams, signed the registers until the death of the Vicar in 1788. After that, Rees Williams was appointed Vicar and was here until he left in 1795. His successor was John Evans, Trefrân, who had been educated in Ystrad Meurig School, and who was here for half a century, until his death in 1845. He usually kept a curate. He was neither a great scholar nor much of a preacher and it was probably because he was aware of his own shortcomings that he kept a curate. During John Evans's incumbency several curates signed the registers, such as John Jones, John Hughes, Richard Richards, Hugh Lloyd, Thomas Edwardes, Stephen Jones, Evan Evans, Daniel Jones, Thomas Thomas and David Jones. John Jones came here first as a schoolmaster in 1793. He was ordained in 1806 and, in 1808 he signed the registers as 'John Jones, perpetual curate of Betws and Gartheli'. He had excellent handwriting and he taught many of the parishioners to write. He was buried in Nantcwnlle churchyard and his grave is to be seen on the southern side of the church. It is likely that this is the John Jones who became Vicar of Tregaron and who was buried in Nantcwnlle in 1839. (More will be said about John Jones under 'Day School'.) After John Jones, Richard Richards came here as curate. He was educated in Ystrad Meurig and ordained in 1808 as curate of Llanddeiniol and Nantcwnlle, for which he received £25 a year. That, he said, was enough to pay for his food and lodge and for a horse to take him to Llanddeiniol on a Sunday morning. He kept a school during the week in a rather poor house close to the church and this, he said, brought in enough money to pay for his clothes. In time a rich relative of his died leaving him a considerable amount of money but, forty years later he said that the happiest time of his life was when he was in Nantcwnlle having to struggle to make ends meet. He was here from 1808 to 1814.

In 1813 John Hughes signs the registers and calls himself the 'curate of Nantcwnlle'. It is not known why both he and Richard Richards were here until 1814, unless the latter gave up his curacy after inheriting property from his rich relation and stayed in the parish for a year before moving to the North. He was one of the five sons of Mr. Richards, the Rector of Darowen, near Machynlleth. All five were respectable and able clergymen who gained honourable and dignified reputations in the Diocese of St Asaph. Richard was a serious and charming preacher when he was in Nantcwnlle and, after he went to Caerwys (?) he became extremely popular as a preacher. Nothing is known about him from the time when he left Nantcwnlle in 1814 until he became the Vicar of Caerwys in 1826. He was there until 1849, when he moved to Meifod and he was there until 1860. He wrote a considerable amount for the monthly publication 'Yr Eglwysydd' (The Churchman) in the years 1847 - 1849 under the name Pererin (Pilgrim) where he gives much interesting information about himself. His picture is to be seen today on the wall of the library of St Asaph Cathedral.

In 1786 one John Hughes came here from Blaenporth parish and married Letitia Grey, Sychbant, where they lived throughout their lives. They had a son, William Grey Hughes, who was Vicar of Llandysul and Rector of Mathry and one of the best preachers and


orators of his period. It is likely that the above John Hughes signed the register in January 1813 and was buried on April 3rd , within three months.

The next curate was Thomas Edwardes. He was the son of David Edwardes, Bryncethin, Llangeitho. He was educated in Ystrad Meurig and there is an interesting story about him and his brother, who was also preparing for the ministry. They and others were lodging in a house where the food was pretty bad; their breakfast was sop and whey - more whey than sop - and, one morning when those two, along with one or two others, had sat down at the table and started eating, the man of the house said he was surprised at them, young men intending to become priests, because they hadn't asked a blessing on the food. At once one of the two brothers rose on his feet and said:

'Tasteless whey, to God be the glory,
I can see right to the bottom;
It once had a good bottom (good sediment)
But that was destroyed before it came here'.

That blessing served its purpose; they had better breakfasts after that. Thomas Edwardes was ordained in 1813 by Bishop Burgess and he signed the registers consistently from 1813 to 1820. After that he was curate in Silian and Gartheli; he was appointed Rector of Llangeitho in 1839 by Bishop Jenkinson and remained there until his death in 1852. He married one of the daughters of Dr. Lewis, Meidrin, Llangeitho, and they had several children but they all died young. The last surviving child was Mary, the wife of Rev. David Edwardes (Crynfryn) and she died in 1871, in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, aged 32.

In 1831, one Thomas Thomas signs the registers. He was one of the first students to enter Lampeter College, when it was established in 1827 and he came out in the first class in 1830. The college had not, at this stage, been given the authority to award degrees to its students. He was the curate of Nantcwnlle for three years, then he went to Llanelwedd near Builth Wells, where he stayed until 1838, when he was appointed Vicar of Cregina and Llanbadarn-y-Gareg, where he remained for fifty years. Several clergymen signed the registers during the incumbency of Vicar Evans, Trefrân, who was often incapable of performing his church duties. Three of the rectors of Llangeitho signed the registers, all of whom lived in Nantcwnlle Parish, namely Hugh Lloyd, in Cilpyll; Thomas Edwardes in Troedrhiw and Evan Evans in Hafod, the two former in the time of Vicar Evans. After fifty years as Vicar, he died in 1845, aged 88, and Evan Evans, the curate of Gartheli, was appointed as his successor. He lived in Llaethliw, near Aberaeron, about eight miles from the church, and it is easy to believe what is said about him, which is that he did not visit his parishioners very often, and he was never seen in the upper part of the parish, but he was very kind and generous. It can be said of him, as Daniel Ddu said of someone:

'He gave quietly from his hand and from his court,
What he could out of true willingness'.


He used to send several blankets every year to be shared amongst the poor of the parish. When he became Vicar of the Parish he was a relatively wealthy man but, because his generous heart was bigger than his pocket, he died a poor man.

In 1864, Bishop Thirlwall appointed Rev. Evan Williams, the Vicar of Silian, to the living. He had been the curate here from 1857 to 1864, and in Beaufort before that. He was educated in Lampeter College. The stipend was very small at that time. Two-thirds of the tithe went to Brecon every year. According to the Diocesan Report for 1809 the yearly value of the living was £79 19s 8d (it had been less than that), and, according to the report for 1835, the year before the passing of the Tithe Commutation Act, - that the tithe was to be paid in money and not in property, - it was worth £90 with a house, but a very unsuitable house for a clergyman to live in. But, despite the small salary, Mr Williams and his wife raised a large family of six sons and three daughters, all of whom received a good education; one gaining a B.A. from Lampeter, one an Oxford M.A. and two Cambridge M.A.s. Three became clergymen, one a schoolteacher and two Bank Managers. The two youngest sons are still alive (1930); Walter is the Vicar of Bodelwyddan and James, the youngest, who was the Vicar of Gresford, has been appointed a Canon in St Asaphs. Vicar Williams was a quiet, peaceful and hard-working character. As soon as he became Vicar he started to build a new vicarage, on land in the Aeron Valley which had been bought by the Governors of the Q.A.B. in 1760, and the house was finished in 1868. Until then only a morning service was held in the church but, as soon as he and his family went to live in the vicarage, he began holding an evening service, and a Sunday School in his house, where it remained for nearly three years, when it was moved to the church and was very successful, numbering about seventy pupils.

Mr Williams, however, was not happy to have the Sunday school in the church so, in 1876, he built a schoolroom near the church for the Sunday School and other meetings such as concerts, lectures etc. He was in his element, ' as happy as a Spring swallow', when handling bricks and mortar. After finishing the schoolroom it was not long before he began to repair and enlarge the church, which was in a pretty poor condition at the time. While he was rebuilding the church the services were held in the schoolroom. The pulpit from the church was taken there to be used and it is still there. The church was re-opened on November 24th 1887 and Bishop Basil Jones preached here on that day. The renovation cost £1,000. The building of a new vicarage, a useful schoolroom and the renovation and extension of a church by one vicar is praiseworthy work. Vicar Williams liked everything to be decent and orderly and had the talent to achieve it. It can be said of him as someone said of Caradog, the conductor of the Welsh choir in the Crystal Palace, "He did not swell up with pride in good times and he did not lose heart in adversity." He died in 1911 aged 83. He was a Rural Dean for over twenty years. Towards the end he had been forced, because of old age and ill-health, to have a curate to help him, and Rev. Fred Jones was here for some months, then, after him, and, from the day of the Vicar's death in May until his successor arrived in the autumn, Rev. David Edwardes, Crynfryn, took over the care of the parish and the church services.


In 1911 Bishop John Owen appointed Rev. Daniel Morgan Davies, the Vicar of Tregaron, to succeed Mr. Williams in Nantcwnlle. He was the first graduate vicar to be appointed to this church. He was educated in Lampeter School and College; he graduated with a B.A. in 1884 and was ordained the following year. With his agreement Rev. David Edwardes and his brothers built a Mission Church on church land near Twrgwyn in the upper part of the parish. It was opened on June 17th 1913 by the Bishop of Swansea, John Lloyd, who p-reached in the afternoon, with Canon William Williams of Letterston (the present Dean of St. David's) preaching in the afternoon. The sermons were delivered in the open air, since the church could not accommodate even a tenth of the congregation. The church was dedicated to St. Gronw, who, according to tradition, was martyred because of his faith in a field on Crynfryn's land, some half a mile from the church. With the Vicar's co-operation, Mr. Edwardes served this church diligently while his health lasted and his death was a great loss to it; its success was very close to his heart. The Bishop appointed Mr. John Jones, Oakhill, as a lay reader to hold the Sunday evening service and to run the Sunday School when Mr. Edwardes' health broke down. The church owned the land on which the Mission Church had been built. When the mountain land, which had been common land, was shared out about 1836, this field was set aside for the use of the parish church. Owing to ill-health, Vicar Davies had to give up the living early in 1928 and he went to live in Aberystwyth but he died in November and was buried in Tregaron. Soon after he came to Nantcwnlle from Tregaron he started a club for the young people, - Urdd St. Gwynlleu in the schoolroom of Nantcwnlle Church and Urdd St. Gronw in the Mission Church. Both were a great success and brought together young people who had literary tendencies and a thirst for knowledge. Generally speaking the parishioners supported Mr. Davies in this project.

His successor in Nantcwnlle is Rev. Thomas Tudor Davies who came here from Llandygwydd and was appointed to the living on June 21st 1928.

The Value of the Living

At the end of the 13th century, the living was worth £13. By 1809, it had risen to £71 19s 8d. According to the Diocesan Report for 1835 it was worth £90, together with a house which was unsuitable for a clergyman to live in. I have said before that two-thirds of the parish tithe went to Brecon College but, in 1868, £67 a year came back to Nantcwnlle through the Church Deputies, thereby increasing the value of the living so that, by 1906, it was worth £287 19s 10d and is now worth £318.

The Vicar of Nantcwnlle received his stipend from various sources, such as part from the tithe, part from the Church Representatives and the Q.A.B. and the rent from church land in the parish and, between everything, the salary was often quite a problem. But things have improved for Welsh clergymen in this respect. Some things which initially appear to be harmful turn out to be a blessing. The passing of the Disestablishment and Disendowment Bill in 1914 was not done out of the kindness of the Church's heart but it


did not turn out as badly as was feared; rather it has been a temporal blessing to the clergy, whatever its spiritual effects, because they now receive their salary in one sum every three months on the appointed day without any trouble or expense or cross words. And, since 1919, when the Act came into power, every Vicar receives his stipend in full and on time and the parishioners have the pleasure of paying the tithe as before but now it is paid to the County Council's Representatives and no-one dare ask for anything back. The living is in the Archdeaconry of Cardigan and has been, until the Disestablishment, a gift from the Bishop, but is now the gift of the Patrons' Board.

Sunday School

Robert Raikes of Gloucester has immortalised himself as the founder of the Sunday School in England, and Thomas Charles of Bala in Wales, but a school had been held in Twrgwyn some years before them. It was in 1784 that Robert Raikes started the Sunday School in England and in 1789 that Thomas Charles started one in Wales but, from 1773 to 1777, there was a curate in Nantcwnlle by the name of Griffith Davies and he was very hard-working. He took the service in Nantcwnlle on Sunday morning and in Llangeitho in the afternoon; on Sunday evenings he held a school in Twrgwyn. It is not known whether or not he started this school but he was there between 1773 and 1777. The school remained in Twrgwyn until it was turned into a tavern about 1815, then it was moved to Bwlch-di-wyrgam on the invitation of Mr John Williams, the grandfather of the late Mr John Jones. One of the teachers in Twrgwyn was Thomas Williams, Felin-newydd, and there are some people alive today who can remember hearing Thomas say that this was the first Sunday School in Wales. He was a teacher in Twrgwyn, the superintendent in Bwlch and he was made a deacon in Penuwch when the Methodists built a chapel there. He also used to hold a night school in the evenings. Thomas Williams was considered not only to be a religious man but a godly one. He died in 1855 (Perl y Plant - The Children's Pearl, 1912). The first Sunday School in Penuwch was held in Pencraig-fach, near Lluest-debra, about 1814; when the house became too small a small schoolroom was built on the site of the present chapel. A bigger one was built in 1839 and that was turned into a chapel in 1844. This was extended in 1867 to its present size. The Sunday School was in Twrgwyn for 40 years and in Bwlch for 29. A Sunday School was started in Pant-y-Beudy in 1819. This was called a united school because everyone attended it, established church and Methodists. The school was held in Pant-y-beudy in the winter and in Nantcwnlle Church in the summer. The first superintendent of the united school was Jack y Gaer and its secretary was Ben the Carpenter, Goitre Uchaf, two characters who were much loved in the neighbourhood. In 1836 a school was built in Bwlchllan and, after that, the Sunday School was held there. After five years this building was pulled down and the Methodists built a chapel in its place, with a schoolroom at the gable end, on land which Dr. Morgan, Frongoch, had leased to them. Eight years after the school was built, Bwlch School joined with Bwlchllan School. By 1844 the school had increased to 120 pupils and fifteen teachers. Whoever started the Sunday School it is likely that the idea came from the excellent effect of the circulating schools of the Rev. Griffith Jones, Llanddowror. Thomas Charles of Bala said it was easy to establish schools in places where the Griffith


Jones's circulating schools had been because there were suitable teachers there who were willing to help. Before the school was moved from Bwlch to join Bwlchllan, Mr. Lloyd, Cilpyll, the Rector of Llangeitho, had started a Sunday School in Penuwch to meet the increase in the population and many of the Bwlch scholars, who lived in the upper part of the parish, went to Penuwch.

Generally speaking it can be said that there were and are only Churchgoers and Methodists in the parish, with the exception of a few Independents (Welsh Congregationalists) in the bottom of the parish. An excellent union lasted between Church and Chapel in connection with the Sunday School until 1868, when there was an election for a Member of Parliament for the County, the two sides became divided and many unkind things were said about the Church. The Churchgoers decided it was time they stood on their own feet to defend the Church and its doctrines and they decided they wanted a Sunday School of their own, where they could train the pupils in the teaching of the Book of Common Prayer, although the united school had been so dear to them until that time. By this time a new vicarage had been built and the Sunday School was started there, where it was very successful for nearly three years, when it was moved to the Church and then to the schoolroom after that was built. Until then Bwlchllan started its Sunday morning service at 9.30 in order to enable people to attend the Church service at 11.00, which many did, but, after this, they started their meeting at 10 o'clock. The first Chapel was built in Bwlchllan in 1841; this was renovated and extended in 1876.

Years ago it was mainly the Clergyman and the sexton who took the service; the congregation played little part in the service - the sermon was everything. Many of the old churches had what was called 'three deckers' which was a seat for the sexton on the floor with a place behind him and above his head for the clergyman to read the Service and a pulpit above that. This idea had been carried out in the old Nantcwnlle Church except that the reading place (lectern?) was not above the sexton's seat but was a sort of platform to one side of it and, from that platform, there was a stair or two ascending to the pulpit. Very few of these 'three deckers' can be seen now. The old church had two doors, one in the western end and the other on the south side, where now it leads into the Vestry. The old church did not have a vestry but the clergyman put on his vestments in the church and there was nothing to mark the difference between the chancel and the body of the church. There were two big pews in the chancel, one each side of the altar, - the one on the right belonging to the family of Abermeurig and the other one to the vicarage but this was done away with when the church was renovated. There are three stained glass windows in the present church, one above the altar placed there by Mr. John Edwardes Rogers in 1911, in memory of his parents; another was placed in the western end in 1913 by the children of Rev. E. Williams, in memory of their parents and their sister Mary Anne Williams; and another on the southern side by members of the church in memory of Rev. E. Williams, who was the Vicar of the Parish from 1864 to 1911. Also in 1911, to celebrate their father's 50-year connection with the parish and his eightieth birthday, Mr Williams's sons and daughters presented the church with a set of silver communion dishes.


The Churchyard

The churchyard, which is 1 acre, 1 rod and 1 perch in size, which is more or less an acre and a half, is almost round, as are the majority of old graveyards. The Ancient Druids worshipped in a circle in the open air as this, to them, represented eternity, a circle having no end. When the Druids were driven out of our country and Druidism was replaced by Christianity, the Christians built churches in these circles and set aside the land for burying the dead; that is why so many of the old churchyards, including Nantcwnlle, are round. Early in the history of Christianity it was usual to place a large cross near the entrance to the graveyard and the ground was not usually consecrated unless a cross had been placed there. If a fair or market was held in the parish it would be held in the churchyard around the cross. We would now see this as desecrating holy ground but the old Welsh people were not lacking in respect towards holy things; it is possible that they chose the consecrated ground around the church for their market in order to place their worldly business under the patronage and protection of the Church. After the hot-headed Puritans gained the upper hand in the control of the Church at the beginning of the Protestant Revival, they rejected, in their ignorance, many of the Church's old customs, including having a cross in the churchyard, so many of them were destroyed. It is difficult to imagine what reason they had for destroying the Cross, when they claimed to worship the Man who had suffered on it. It is possible that there was a big cross in Nantcwnlle churchyard, although there is no trace of one now, and that it was cast down by some uncivilised and cruel hand, as was the fate of so many others. After the destruction of these large crosses, people started placing a small cross at the head of the graves, and that was how this custom started.

It is not usual for many to be buried at the northern end of a church, but in Nantcwnlle there are more people buried at the northern end than there are in the southern end. That may be because it is drier. Looking at the northern end of this church and seeing the brow of the hill so full of graves, brings to mind a couplet by Cernyw Williams:

'In a graveyard on the edge of a mountain
Rests the dust of saints.'

Under the gate at the entrance to the churchyard there is an iron grating to prevent sheep and pigs from entering. It has been traditional to plant yew trees in every churchyard, - there are seven in several, - seven being a scriptural number - and there is one yew in this graveyard which has possibly challenged the storms for years and another which is not so old. After the church was renovated about a dozen yew trees and arbor vitae were planted on either side of the path which leads from the gateway to the Church door. Yew trees are planted in preference to other types of tree because the yew is evergreen, which symbolises the eternity of the soul. In addition to this, the wood is harder than that of most trees, and the branches were used to make arrows in the old days, which could be shot from a bow as a defence against enemies. From the earliest times the parishioners had to pay a tax towards the upkeep of the Church building and the graveyard and, in the


14th century, a law was passed that compelled every landowner who owned land in the parish to pay this tax, whether he lived in the parish or not. The Quakers were the first to object to paying it. There were many proposals in Parliament to pass a Bill to abolish the tax and this was done in 1868, but 'church tax' is still paid in some parishes in England. Until about the end of the nineteenth century, the churchyard was the only burial ground in the parish. (Some think that there had been burials in one of Hafod's fields, near Goitre.) It was in 1895 that burials started in Bwlchllan Chapel graveyard and David Jones, Meiarth, was the first to be buried there on January 9th 1895, aged 73. (Burials had taken place in Penuwch Chapel graveyard before the middle of the nineteenth century and this took in many from the upper end of the parish; the first to be buried there was Daniel Williams, Lluest-y-pwdel, December 1844.)

It was the custom in the old Nantcwnlle Church in the nineteenth century to remove the plates bearing the name and age of the deceased from the coffin before burial and to hang them on the wall in the Church. Eventually they would be put in a chest and buried but this practice was discontinued when the Church was repaired in 1887. (Although I have discussed this with many old clergyman, very few have heard of this practice occurring outside of Nantcwnlle.)

Clergymen buried in Nantcwnlle

  • 1813  John Hughes, Sychbant. He signed the register on January 23rd and was buried on April 3rd the same year, aged 53.
  • 1824  March 20th . W. Grey Hughes, aged 32, the son of the above J. Hughes. He was the Vicar of Llandysul and Rector of Mathry.
  • 1836  January 7th , aged 69, Hugh Lloyd (Cilpyll), Rector of Llangeitho.
  • 1839  October 31st , aged 63, John Jones, Vicar of Tregaron. (It's probable that he was the J. Jones who was a curate here in 1808.)
  • 1845  April 8th , aged 88, John Evans (Trefrân), Vicar of the Parish.
  • 1889  April 20th , aged 70, Evan Evans (Hafod), Rector of Llangeitho.
  • 1911  May 18th , aged 83, Evan Williams, Vicar of the Parish.
  • 1916  November 1st , aged 80, David Edwardes, M.A., Crynfryn, Headmaster of Denstone College, Staffordshire from 1878 - 1903.
  • 1916  December 22nd , aged 75, David Jones, M.A., Penlanwnnws, Vicar of Gorsedd.

Clergyman raised in the parish

It is not certain where John Rowland, the son of Daniel Rowland, the Vicar of Nantcwnlle, and brother to Daniel Rowland the Revivalist, was born, but it is likely that he was born and brought up in Pant-y-beudy. He was ordained in 1726 as curate to his father, to serve in Llangeitho and Nantcwnlle and he was appointed Vicar on his father's death in 1731. He died by accidental drowning in Aberystwyth in 1760, after he had been Nantcwnlle's Vicar for 29 years.


In 1713, Daniel Rowlands the Revivalist was born in Pant-y-beudy and he died in Llangeitho Parsonage in 1790, aged 77. His character is well-known to most people so there is no need to say more about him here. One of his chairs is in Tyle and Thomas Jones, Brynglas, in his essay on the history of Penuwch, says that Thomas Phillips had another in Ffynon-goch, which is probably now in Lluestwen, where the son of Thomas Phillips' old servant lives.

In 1792 William Grey Hughes was born in Sychbant; he became Vicar of Llandysul then Rector of Mathry, where he died, and he was buried in Nantcwnlle on March 20th 1824, aged 32. He had made a name for himself as a popular speaker and preacher.

John Jones, M.A., was born in Penlan-wnnws; he was a Vicar in Oswestry from 1842 to 1851 and in Llanarmon-yn-Yâl (?) from 1851 to 1868. His nephew was David Jones, M.A., Penlan-wnnws: he was born in 1841, graduated with a B.A. from Jesus College, Oxford, in 1866 and obtained his M.A. in 1899. He was ordained as a curate in Bala in 1868. He was the Vicar of Llan-sant-fraid - Glyn Ceiriog, Llangernyw, Abergele, and of Gorsedd, where he died in 1916, aged 75. He was buried in Nantcwnlle on December 22nd 1916. He was a Rural Dean from 1896 to 1904. He was elected Proctor in Convocation in 1895.

Rees Jones, Pencareg, was educated in Ystradmeurig and S. Bees: he was ordained in 1864: he was a curate in Bryn Eglwys, Llanarmon, Newmarket, Abergele and Llangystenyn, and Rector of Llan-Sant-ffraid - Glyn Dyfrdwy, from 1884 to 1913, when he gave up his living, and died in 1917, aged 78.

David Edwardes, Crynfryn, was in school in Llandovery, he graduated with a B.A. from Jesus College, Cambridge in 1865 and M.A. in 1869. He was ordained in 1866. He was Mathematics Master in Hurstpierpoint from 1866 to 1873 and occupied the same post in Denstone College from 1873 to 1878, when he was made Headmaster, remaining in that post until 1903. He was the Vicar of Bradley-le-Moors from 1887 to 1905. In 1903 he came to live in Crynfryn, his old home which he had bought from Mr. Bonsall in 1892. He was made a Justice of the Peace in 1904; he died in October, 1916, aged 80, and was buried in Nantcwnlle.

David Jenkins, Tyncelyn, was ordained in 1871, after being in school and college in Lampeter. He was a curate in Llanllwni, 1871 - 1872; S. Anne, Carmarthen, 1872 - 1877; Vicar of Llanychaiarn, 1877 - 1887; Llangwyryfon, 1887 - 1920. He died in Llangwyryfon aged 78. A son of his graduated from Keble College, Oxford, and is now Head of the Department of Greek in U.C.W., Aberystwyth. He was badly wounded in the Great War.

John Scandrett Edwardes was the son of Rev. Thomas Edwardes, the rector of Llangeitho, by his second wife. He was born in Troedrhiw but, after the death of his father, the family moved to Llanilar to live and, after attending Hurstpierpoint School, John went to college in Lampeter, where he graduated with a B.A. in 1875. He was


ordained the same year as curate of Lampeter; he was the Headmaster of the Grammar school there until 1879, when he went as a curate to Aylesbury, and Brecon; after that he became a chaplain in the army and was stationed in Ireland, Newfoundland, Bermuda and Malta, where he died in 1892, aged 40.

Herbert Jones, (Ty Patch) graduated with a B.A. in Lampeter in 1877, was ordained the same year, was curate of Edeyrn from 1877 - 1879, and Menai Bridge from 1879 - 1888, Vicar of Pentir and Glasinfryn from 1888 to 1926, when he retired and went to Pwllheli to live.

Henry Williams, Vicarage, was educated in Hurstpierpoint and Lampeter College; he obtained his B.A. in 1878 and was ordained the same year; he was a curate in Llanfair Careinion, Rhosllanerchrugog, Eglwys - Rhos, Buckley, Marchwiel and Kerry; he was appointed Rector of Pont-fadog in 1897 and died in Aberystwyth in 1908, aged 53.

John Lewis Williams, (Parcau), after being at school in Ystradmeurig, went to Durham, where he obtained his L.Th. and was ordained in 1879. He was curate in Marly Hill and Staindrop and Rector of Billingsley and Sidbury from 1894 until he died in 1928, aged 74.

Joseph Jenkins Davies, (Perthneuadd) was educated in Ystradmeurig, Llandovery and Durham, where he graduated with a B.A. in 1881 and M.A. in 1887. He was ordained in 1882, was curate in several parishes in England, was Vicar of Lilbourne from 1901 - 1906, when he resigned and went to live in Aberystwyth.

Evan Edwardes, Crynfryn ( the author of this book) began his studies in UCW, Aberystwyth, then went to Denstone, and graduated with a B.A. from St. Catherine's College, Cambridge, in 1882 and with an M.A. in 1886. He was ordained in 1883 to the curacy of Conway, went from there to Porthmadog in 1884, and became Vicar of Trefeglwys, Montgomeryshire, in 1887. In 1902 he became Vicar of Caerdeon and Bontddu (?) and, in 1908, he went to Sutton Maddock, Shropshire. He gave up his living in 1912 and came to live in Aberystwyth.

John Edwardes Evans, (Hafod) was in school in Bangor and Brecon, he graduated with a B.A. in Jesus College, Oxford, in 1882, and M.A. in 1887. He was ordained curate in Conway in 1884 and remained there until 1889, was Headmaster of Conway College from 1886 to 1889, and of Lymm Grammar School from 1889 to 1906, when he was appointed Vicar of Ringway, near Manchester, in the diocese of Chester.

Evan Jones, (Lôn) was in school in Lampeter where he gained his B.A. in the college in 1887, and in Christ College, Cambridge, in 1895, gaining his M.A. there in 1908. He was ordained curate in Llanfair Caereinion in 1888; after that he was in Rhyl, Cambridge, Nutfield and Mold. In 1902 he was appointed Vicar of Llanfair Caereinion, and of Mold in 1907 and Llandrillo-yn-Rhos in 1919.


Walter David Williams, (Vicarage) was educated in Brecon, when Daniel Lewis Lloyd, who was afterwards the Bishop of Bangor, was Headmaster. He took his B.A. in Christ College, Cambridge, in 1890, and his M.A. in 1920. He was ordained in 1893, was an assistant teacher in Oswestry Grammar School from 1893 - 1896, curate of Oswestry from 1896 to 1901, Choral Vicar (?) of St Asaph from 1901 to 1904, when he was appointed Rector of Trefnant, and he became Vicar of Bodelwyddan in 1925.

James Evan Williams, (Vicarage) went from Leatherhead School and Lampeter to Christ College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a B.A. in 1890 and M.A. in 1900. He was ordained curate in Caernarfon in 1891; he became Vicar of Caerdeon and Bontddu in 1897, Porthmadog in 1902 and Gresford (St. Asaph) in 1916. He was made Canon of St. Asaph in 1926.

David Bankes Evans, (Llety'rpwll) was in school in Ystradmeurig and obtained his L.D. in Lampeter in 1899. He was ordained curate in Mardy in 1900 and was in Llywel and Cardigan after that. He was appointed Vicar of St. Nicholas and Granston in 1911, where he died in 1920, aged 51.

Evan Williams, (Oakhill) graduated with a B.A. from Wadham College, Oxford, in 1906, and an M.A. in 1908. He was ordained curate of St. Mark, Swansea, in 1906; he moved to St. Michael, Aberystwyth, in 1909 and to Hopwas, Tamworth, in 1916. He was appointed Rector of Angle, Pembrokeshire, in 1921 and Vicar of Llan-saint-ffraed in 1924.

John Daniel Hughes, (College) took his B.A. in Lampeter in 1907 and in Hertford College, Oxford, in 1912. He obtained his M.A. there in 1917. He was ordained curate of Llandough in 1908; he went after that to Chepstow and Maerdy; he was appointed Vicar of Porth in 1920, Ystradyfodwg in1922 and St. Andrew, Cardiff, in 1927.

James Thomson Davies, (Llwynlleuci) graduated with a B.A. from U.C.W., Aberystwyth in 1914 after being at school in Bwlchllan and Tregaron. Between 1915 and 1918 he filled in as a teacher in Pontypool, Bushey and Coalbrookdale during the war; from 1918 to 1924 he was an assistant teacher in Llandysul School; he was ordained curate in Criccieth in 1924 and, in 1928, he moved to Maesteilo, Carmarthenshire.

The above is a good number to produce in one period in such a rural area with so few educational facilities and such little wealth to help them to achieve their ambition to serve the church; only an unshakeable resolution enabled them to realise that ambition successfully. The Archdeacon D. Evans, St. Asaph, has said that if every parish in Wales were to follow the example of Nantcwnlle, less would be heard about the shortage of young people to supply the ranks of the clergy and lighten the pressure on the older men who are working in God's vineyard. 


Preachers raised in the Parish

According to 'Cymru', June 1893, John Thomas of Nantcwnlle was preaching in Mallwyd in 1787. We don't know where he came from but Rev. John Evans of Abermeurig says in his Third Short Biography that he had seen the following on a gravestone in Denbigh: "Here lies the body of John Evans, who was born in Cardiganshire and who died in the town of Denbigh, October 2nd 1807." Methodism in Wales says that he was known as John Thomas, Llangwnlle (Nantcwnlle) from Holyhead to Cardiff. He started preaching in 1745.

The first preacher I remember was David William Jones (Pencareg). After keeping school for some years in Llansawel, he began to preach when he was thirty years old. About five years after that he left Carmarthenshire and, after spending some time in Maesffynnon, where he married a wealthy girl, he bought a smallholding in Penuwch, close to his old home, and built a house there, which he called 'Dyffryn'. This is where he died in 1894, aged 64. He sent his only son to Cambridge, where he graduated with an M.A. He was subsequently ordained as a curate in New Quay, where he died young but greatly respected.

Howell Lloyd, (Pantcyfyng) began to preach when he was getting on in years, having had very little schooling when he was young. He was at U.C.W., Aberystwyth for a while after starting to preach and also spent a period in Trefecca. He lived in the neighbourhood throughout his life. After his marriage he went to live in Aeron Villa, where he died in 1926, aged 85. His mother was a niece to Rev. James Hughes (Iago Trichrug), the (Biblical) commentator.

Thomas Lewis, (Felin Giachod) started preaching when he was 34 years old. He received few of the benefits of education but was a great reader from his youth and had gained considerable knowledge, despite being in charge of the factory and the mill. He died in 1910 aged 74.

David Rees, (Pencraig-fach) began preaching in Bethania then went to Glamorganshire, where he joined the Welsh Congregationalists (Annibynwyr) and became a popular preacher. He died in 1923 aged 70.

Edward Davies, (Pencwm) began preaching rather young. He was in school in Bwlchllan when he was a lad; he then went to Holt for a spell and, after being in U.C.W. Aberystwyth and Trefecca for a while, he went as minister to Llanpumpsaint, where he spent 37 years. He died in December 1927, at his daughter's house in Llanrhaiadr, aged 75.

Stephen Jones, (Pant-yr-ychen) began preaching when he was 23. He was in college in Aberystwyth and won the Cynddelw Scholarship. He died, having earned a name for himself as a promising young man, in January 1908, aged 33, in Ty Nant, the old home of his grandfather, whose namesake he was. His brother is Richard Jones, Chief Constable of Merionethshire.


Evan Moses Evans, (Y Gaer) was in the Lady Bevan's School in Nantcwnlle Church, which was kept by a Mr. Morgan of Aberaeron; he was also in Trefilan, Gartheli and Bwlchllan. When he was a young man he went to Newport and started preaching there, and he went to the grammar school in Llandysul which was kept by Rev. Thomas James, and, after that, to Trefecca College. He went from there to Aberaman as a minister, and from there to Blaengarw, Glamorganshire. He rose to fame and eminence and was called upon to fill important positions in the Methodist Church.

Evan Evans, (Ty Newydd) started preaching when young; went to school in Llandysul and, from there, to Trefecca College. He went to Gorwydd, Breconshire, as a minister, where he has remained for years. He developed into a mellifluous preacher, well respected by his contemporaries, and, in addition to his good name as an evangelist, it is said that he is an authority on the habits of bees. He, like Howell Lloyd, is of the same lineage as Iago Trichrug. He published a book, 'The Biography of John Thomas, Llanwrtyd', in 1926.

Thomas Jones, (Frongoch) was one of the first scholars of the Board School in Bwlchllan. In 1880 he went to Llandysul where he began preaching in 1884; he went to Trefecca College in 1885 and was there until 1889, when he received a call to be the minister of Gelli Church in the Rhondda Valley. In 1892 he moved to Rhostyllen Church in Wrexham, where he remained for thirty years. Since 1922 he has had the care of the Welsh Church in New Brighton.

John Pumpsaint Jones, (Sarnau Duon) was in school in Llansawel and Llandysul and in Trefecca College. At the end of his time there he became the minister of Bethania, Treharris, where he has remained for almost forty years, holding various offices in the East Glamorgan Monthly Methodist Meeting.

Daniel Davies, (Dolbwba) started preaching in Abermeurig in 1896 and went to Aberaeron School until the summer of 1900, then to U.C.W., Aberystwyth for two years. In 1902 he went to Trefecca College, where he remained for three years, becoming the minister of Salem Church, Cwmafon, in 1905, and of Nazareth, Pentre Rhondda, from 1907 to 1917. From then until 1923 he was the minister of Webster Road Church in Liverpool, going from there to Bala, where he remained until 1928, when he moved to Ebenezer, Newport.

Evan Morgan, (Y Gaer) was in school in Aberaeron and Llandysul, then in U.C.W., Cardiff, where he gained his B.A., then he went to Trefecca to pursue the normal course. He was a minister in Fochriw and the Deri, Carmel Blaenllechau, Hopkinstown, Penant and Pontsaeson. He died in Penant in April 1927, aged 63.

John D. Evans, (Soar) began preaching in Abermeurig, attended the Old College School in Carmarthen and U.C.W. Aberystwyth. He then became the minister of Esgairnant, Talley, where he remains to this day (1930).


Daniel E. Jones, (Hendre) was in Aberaeron Grammar School for a term after leaving Bwlchllan Board School. He started preaching in 1901 and went to Newcastle Emlyn School, and, in 1903, to U.C.W. Aberystwyth, where he took his B.A. with Honours in Welsh. He was in the Theological College for two years after it moved from Trefecca ( to Aberystwyth?) and passed the first B.D. examination. Towards the end of 1908 he became the minister of Llansawel and Rhydcymerau and, in 1913, he moved to Pembrey.

Evan Jenkin Evans, (Ty'ncelyn) received his elementary school education in Bwlchllan; after that he attended the grammar schools in Pencader and Newcastle ( Emlyn?) In 1904 he went to the University College in Aberystwyth and to the College of Divinity in 1907. Then he became the minister of Cross Inn Church, Carmarthenshire.

David Tudor Jones, (Frongoch) was educated in Bwlchllan School and in the County School in Tregaron. He began preaching in 1924, went to U.C.W., Aberystwyth in 1925 and gained his B.A. in 1928, attending the College of Divinity after that.

In addition to clergymen and Nonconformist ministers, the parish has produced a number of schoolmasters who have been successful in their profession. Of the graduates among them, the first who is known to me is David Edwardes, Crynfryn. When he was 21 he went to school in Kington for a while and afterwards to Llandovery and Cambridge, where he obtained his B.A. in 1865 and his M.A. in 1869. He was a mathematics and science teacher in Hurstpierpoint and Denstone for thirty-eight years. (See also under clergyman raised in the parish.)

Also his brother John Edwardes, who, after attending Ardwyn School, U.C.W. Aberystwyth and Denstone, obtained his B.A. in St. Catherine's College, Cambridge, in 1891 and his M.A. in 1894. He was an assistant teacher in Denstone for fifteen years, secretary for five years, Head of the Preparatory School for twelve years and Headmaster of Darley Abbey School from 1917 to 1926, after which he had to give up the school because of ill-health and he went to Denstone to live.

William Arthur Edwardes, (Crynfryn) attended school in Penuwch and Tregaron, took his B.Sc. in U.C.W. Aberystwyth in 1920 and was a teacher in Darley Abbey with his uncle while the school was open. He is now an assistant teacher in Sandy Cove, Dublin.

John Edwardes, (Tanffynnon) was in school in Penuwch and Tregaron, graduating with a B.Sc. from U.C.W., Aberystwyth in 1919. He went out to the Malay States as a Rubber Chemist and remained there for five years. He has now (1930) crossed the Atlantic Ocean to seek his fortune in America. He won the M.C. in the Great War.

John Jordan Lloyd-Williams, (Vicarage) after being in school in Bangor and Brecon, under the tuition of Rev. Daniel Lewis Lloyd (who was afterwards Bishop of Bangor), obtained his B.A. in Jesus College, Oxford, in 1881 and his M.A. in 1884. He was the Headmaster of Lampeter College School and after that of Carmarthen, Oswestry and


Ruthin, where his health broke down. He went to live in Brynele, where he had built a house on land bought from Mrs Griffiths, Gelli. He died in 1916, aged 57.

Joseph Thomas Jones, (Cerrygllwydion) was in school in Penuwch and Tregaron; graduated with a B.Sc. in Cardiff in 1910, spent a little time in Barmouth County School and is now an assistant master in Dudley Boys' Grammar School.

John Lewis Lloyd, (Aeron Villa) was educated in Bwlchllan and Tregaron; graduated with a B.Sc. from Aberystwyth in 1913; obtained his M.Sc. in 1925; spent some time during the war in the Munition Factory in Penrhyndeudraeth, where arms were manufactured. He is now the Principal of Pibwrlwyd Farm Institute, Carmarthen.

David Arthur Davies, (Lôn) was educated in Bwlchllan and Tregaron, gained his B.Sc. in Aberystwyth in 1924 and his C.M. after that. He is now (1930) an assistant master in Louth, Lincolnshire.

Gordon Davies, (Vicarage) was in school in Ystradmeurig and Shrewsbury. He took his B.A. in Downing College, Cambridge and was, for a time, an assistant master in the County School in Haverfordwest. During his time in Cambridge he distinguished himself as a fast runner, gaining his 'Blue' in two successive years, 1913 and 1914.

James Thomson Davies was an assistant teacher for about nine years after obtaining his B.A. in 1914. (See clergymen raised in the parish.)

Evangeline Sarah Grace Lloyd Williams was educated in Princess Helena College, Ealing, and in U.C.W., Bangor, where she obtained her B.A. in 1907. She was an assistant mistress in Wycombe Abbey, 1907 - 1910; Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Barnet, 1911 - 1912 and has been, since then, Headmistress of Moreton Hall, Oswestry.

Mary Lloyd-Williams was educated in Upland School, St. Leonard, took her L.R.A.M. in 1915 and has been the music mistress in Moreton Hall since 1913.

Elizabeth Wynne Vincent Brett (née Lloyd-Williams) was at school in Denbigh, Ruthin and Bedford College; she graduated with a B.A. in London in 1918. She was an assistant mistress in Denstone College from 1915 to 1917 and in Hitchin from 1918 to 1926, when she married. She is now in India.

Bronwen Agnes Lloyd-Williams was educated in Moreton Hall and Bedford Physical Training College, where she obtained her C.S.S.M.G. in 1920. Since 1921 she has been the Gymnastics and dancing mistress in Moreton Hall.

Dorothy Sylvia Lloyd-Williams was educated in Moreton Hall and Bedford College. She obtained her B.A. in Girton College, Cambridge, in 1924 and, in the same year, became an assistant mistress in Walsall High School. She moved in 1926 to Belvidere School, Liverpool and is now (1930) at Roedean School, Brighton.


Ellen Augusta Crawley Lloyd-Williams was educated at Upland School, St. Leonard, and at Oswestry; she took her B.A. in U.C.W., Bangor, in 1911; she served in the Navy during the war; after that she worked in the British Embassy in Madrid and she is still there (1930) with the Standard Electrical Company.

Letitia Margaret Lloyd-Williams was educated in Wycombe Abbey, qualified as a nurse in Queen Alexandra Hospital, Rhyl, and in Derby Royal Infirmary. She is now the Matron in Moreton Hall, Oswestry.

Those are all the graduate teachers I am aware of; the following are certificated teachers who attended teacher-training colleges:

Daniel Jenkins, Pentrefelin, attended Bangor Normal College 1876 - 1877, kept school in Cilcennin for a little while in 1878, Llanfair Clydogau 1878 - 1897 and Llancrwys 1898 - 1920, when he retired having earned his pension and went to live in Pentrefelin, his old home.

William Thomas, Cwmpistyll, attended Penuwch Elementary School and the County School in Tregaron and became an assistant teacher in the Council School in Lledrod for eight years. He went to Carmarthen Training College in 1913 and qualified in 1915; he also gained the Archbishop's first class certificate. He was appointed Headmaster of Gartheli Council School in 1915, going from there to Penuwch in 1918 and to Tangareg (Talgarreg?) in 1921.

John Thomas Williams, Bwlchllan, attended the County School in Tregaron and Caerleon Training College. He was badly wounded in the war; went as an assistant master to Newbridge, then became Headmaster of the National School in Brook.

John Thomas Jones, Goitre Villa was at school in Bwlchllan, then in the U.C.W. Training Department, where he obtained his C.M. in 1901. He went to Mountain Ash as a Master of Wood ( Woodwork Master?)

Rhys Jones, Oakhill, went to Ystradmeurig School for a while after returning from the war, then to Aberystwyth College for two years, where he obtained his C.M. He was an assistant master in Gloucester for a year, was appointed Headmaster of the Church School in Elerch in 1924 and of Penrhyncoch in 1927.

Sarah Anne Davies, Brynhyfryd, was educated in the County Council School in Tregaron and in Higher Grade School and the Technical Training College, Cardiff. She was an assistant teacher in London; under the County Council from 1903 - 1905 and in Bala from 1905 to 1915.

Margaret Jenkins, Felin-coed, was a pupil teacher in Ciliau Park and Athen, was at the U.C.W., Aberystwyth from 1894 to 1896, was a pupil teacher in Llanelli from 1896 to


1898, headmistress of the County School, Eleanor Street, Cardiff, from 1898 to 1908 and of Albany Road from 1908 to 1930.

Mary Jenkins was an assistant teacher in Moorland Road from 1899 to 1904, in Roath Park from 1904 to 1930 and is now on the short-list for the Headship of a girls' school in Cardiff.

Anne Jenkins was educated in Exeter College, was an assistant teacher in Bargoed from 1909 to 1911, headmistress in Gabalfa from 1911 to 1926, when she married Mr. E.T. Richards, B.Sc., F.R.G.S.

Kate Jenkins was educated in Exeter College, was an assistant mistress in Adamstown from 1905 to 1926 and headmistress in Gabalfa from 1926 to 1930.

Gwladys Elizabeth Jenkins was educated in U.C.W., Cardiff and has been an assistant teacher in Wood Street from 1911 to 1930.

The above five are the daughters of Mr. (Aeronian) and Mrs. Jenkins, Felin-coed, who received their elementary education in the Board School in Bwlchllan. Four of them became headmistresses in Cardiff and it is an exceptional and praiseworthy fact that so many children of the same parents have grown up and developed in the same direction.


Few boys of the parish have been attracted to the Law as a profession but I can name two who were born here: John Jones, Ystrad, near Carmarthen, who was born in Crynfryn; it is not known when he left the parish. He became a barrister and had a good reputation as a man of law. He was the M.P. for the town and county of Carmarthen for years and earned a good reputation as their representative. He died in 1842, aged 65.

Tom Lloyd-Edwardes was born in Troedrhiw and was the son of the Rector of Llangeitho. He and his brother, John Scandrett, were educated in Hurstpierpoint, and Tom went to Queen's College, Oxford, where he obtained his B.A. in 1873. He practised as a lawyer in Lampeter, where he died on November 10th 1891, a young man of 40.


Dr. Rogers was born in Hafod, although he spent most of his life in Abermeurig, retaining a close connection with the parish as an extensive landowner and a skilled and kind doctor. He was educated initially in Ystradmeurig, was a student in Guy's Hospital and in Edinburgh, where he obtained his M.D. He and his servant drowned on 5th July 1846 in Talsarn Village when the Aeron had overflowed its banks after a storm of thunder and rain. His death was a great loss to the parish as he was very kind to the poor.


One of the most promising sons of the parish and the surrounding areas was John B. Davies, Brynhyfryd. When he was a student in Edinburgh he won two bronze, one silver and one gold medal. In his final examination he was one of two students who came out equal, and, as there was only one medal, the two students had to sit another examination, and John came out victorious. He came home for a break before starting his work as a doctor but developed double pneumonia and died on June 13th 1889, aged 26, to the great sorrow of his parents and friends and after an exceptionally successful career as a student.

Katherine Georgina Lloyd-Williams was educated in Queen Anne's School, Caversham; Bedford Physical Training College, the London School of Medicine and the Royal Free Hospital, London, where she graduated M.B. and B.S. in 1926. She is now (1930) a doctor in London.

It was not necessary in the old days to pass examinations before being able to practise as a doctor. Anyone who had been a servant to a doctor for some time and helped to mix drugs and set bones was considered to be a doctor. There was a doctor of that sort in Frongoch, Bwlchllan, by the name of David T. Morgan, and he earned himself a good reputation as a quack as well as considerable acknowledgement for his work. He was buried in Nantcwnlle on April 2nd 1866 and he was the last quack in the parish. Blood-letting was a common practice in the old days.


One of the foremost laymen in the top part of the parish in the middle of the nineteenth century was John Jones, Tanffynnon (commonly called Siaci'r Saer), the son of Sam and Siani, Penlôn. His background would not lead one to expect him to be skilled or able but Siaci grew head and shoulders above his contemporaries in every sense. He was a carpenter by trade, a skilful and honest worker, extremely useful in several circles in the community. He was very good at repairing and cleaning clocks and was much in demand for his services in this area; his work was faultless, although he was self-taught. He was a very sweet singer, a skilled musician and a splendid literary man. He led the singing in Penuwch Chapel and held a singing school in the winter for years. He moved from Tanffynnon early in the 1860s to Penrhiw Trawsnant, and, from there to Aberaeron, where he died in 1895, aged 72, and he was buried in Nantcwnlle.

A similar picture could be drawn of Dafydd the Hooper, in Bwlchllan, that is David Davies, Pantsych. He, too, was a skilled and honest craftsman, a good literary man and musician and could write poetry; he was also a useful official in the chapel. He published two or three little books of verse.

Thomas Jones, Brynglas, a carpenter and auctioneer in his day, was a very interesting character. He was very fond of writing verse although he could scarcely be called a poet. He published two or three little books in verse, in the form of questions and answers on some of the Old Testament characters. He wrote a great deal of prose and poetry,


particularly about the neighbourhood of Penuwch and its connection with the Sunday School. Some of his articles are still in existence.

David Davies, Perthneuadd, was a man of nature and temperament above the usual for his class. He was a good farmer and was usually ahead of others in preparing the land and gathering the harvest. He was an excellent literary man, a poet of note and very skilled with his hands; he carved a beautiful lectern in the shape of an eagle in 1881 and presented it to Trefilan Church where he used to worship, and he began to make a harp but died before it was finished. The piece that he made is kept carefully by his son, Ben. He came from a poetic family, being related to Cerngoch and Aeronian and the immortal David Davies, Castell Howell.

Although Aeronian (Jenkin Jenkins) was not born in the parish, he spent much of his life here and was very useful in many ways. After keeping school in Trefilan for three years he married the daughter of Felincoed and went there to live, remaining there for the rest of his life. He and his wife brought up five daughters who made names for themselves as Elementary School teachers. Aeronian had strong natural faculties and an extensive general knowledge. He was well-known throughout the country as a literary man and poet; he excelled in leading local Eisteddfodau and did much to support Welsh literature. He wrote for years for various newspapers, often under the pseudonym 'Twr Dderi'. I think that it is in connection with education that his service is most appreciated. He was Secretary to the Board of the Parish School and many other parishes for years. He had the code of the Education Act at his fingertips. He represented the parish on the Board of Guardians in Tregaron for about twenty years. When the County Council was established Aeronian was the parish's first representaive (1889) and he was also made an Alderman. His early death was a great loss to the parish.

David Davies, Brynhyfryd, was a skilled carpenter; about sixty years ago he and Sam the Blacksmith, Cwm-Meiarth, made several threshing machines in the parish. Before he died, David Davies was , for years, a Road Surveyor for the County Council in the bottom part of Ceredigion.

Day School

It is impossible to have a very clear picture of what day school was like in the parish a century or more ago. It is known that one John Jones came here as a schoolmaster in 1793. The school was probably held in the church at that time and that it was one of the free schools of Rev. Griffith Jones, Llanddowror. John Jones was ordained in 1806; nothing is known about the school but he taught many of the parishioners to write. Before his tome only two women had signed their names in the Register when they married, but after that only a few had to sign by making the mark of a cross.

At that time the cross (X) was the sign of inability to write, as it is now, but in earlier times everyone, even kings, put X after their names as a sign of their Christian faith. I


think that the John Jones above is the one who became the Vicar of Tregaron and was buried in Nantcwnlle in 1839.

After John Jones, Richard Richards came here as curate in 1808, remaining until 1814. He kept school during the week in a house near the church.

Several people kept school here and there in the parish for a few months in the winter but never in the summer. Daniel Hughes in Goitre used to hold a school on Sunday evenings in the winter, but gave it up in the summer. In the time of Vicar Evans, Llaethliw, Jeremiah Evans, Tanfalier, kept school in Bwlchllan during the winter for some years. Jeremiah was more of a musician than a scholar. He was a mason by trade and, as well as keeping school by day he also ran singing schools in the evenings in various places. The master of a country school years ago did not require a lot of knowledge. The school had four classes: (1) Learning the ABC and spelling monosyllabic words; (2) Reading the 'Reading Made Easy'; (3) Reading the New Testament, and Spelling Book; (4) The climax was reading the Old Testament and a little arithmetic. One was considered a reasonably good scholar if one could manage the Rule-of-three and Practice fairly well. Most of the schoolmasters at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and more recently, were people who had failed to succeed in any other walk of life. The main games in days gone by were bando, Car-ma-lie, Clapper-tra-pole, polo on the wall (a kind of fives these days), and hop, skip and jump. By now hockey and football have replaced bando; I do not know what represents the other games.

Two schools were held in Bwlchllan one winter early in the nineteenth century, one in the little schoolhouse next to the chapel and one in a house in Bryngalem's yard which is used as a cart-house now; this one was kept at the expense of the Vicar of the Parish, Rev. E. Evans, Llaethliw. This one was a free school for young children. John Rowlands, an old Land Surveyor, ran the school in Bwlchllan for older children, to which they came from the surrounding areas. They paid a small fee. After that, Edward Jones from Penuwch was here for one winter, and Daniel Jones, Felinfach, who had been in college in St. Bees with the intention of becoming a clergyman but did not succeed in getting ordained. Mr. Morgan, a lame man from Aberaeron, held a school in the church; it is likely that this was one of the free schools. Griffith Jones, Llanddowror, was ordained in 1708, and soon started to catechise his people after the second lesson, according to the instructions of the rubric in the Prayer Book. By doing that he found out how ignorant the majority of his parishioners were, and that the elementary principles of religion were as strange to them as the writing on the wall was to the magicians of Babylon, and this is what gave him the idea of starting mobile or circulating schools in rural areas to help the church give elementary education and religious knowledge to the parishioners; this he did in 1730.

When he died in 1761 the schools numbered 215, with the majority in the South, and there were almost nine thousand scholars. Griffith Jones's aim in founding his schools was to raise the working classes both spiritually and morally. Secular education was secondary to him; he did not undervalue it but considered that it should be based on


religion. In the early days the school did not remain long in any one place but moved from place to place according to the needs of the different parishes; later, however, it was allowed to stay for three years before being moved. It was called a free school because it did not cost the scholars or the rate- payers anything. The masters were paid by Mr. Jones. He received a great deal of help from the gentry of the country but the most well-known and generous was Mrs. Beavan, who was born in Carmarthenshire and left £10,000 in her will to help these schools, and she carried them on for twenty years after the death of Griffith Jones. I remember one such school in Nantcwnlle when Vicar Williams first came; it was called Madame Beavan's School. Apart from those named above, others have kept school in Bwlchllan for a few months in the winter, such as David Jones, Brynhaidd (Bwlchllan Shop after that), and John Evans, Bethania, who was after that in Llanon and Cross Inn, where he died about 1865. In 1868 - 1869, Stephen Jones from Llanon was here for two winters; he went after that to the Normal College in Bangor and was a certificated teacher for a little while, then he went to Lampeter College and was ordained. When he died in 1914 he was Vicar of Llanerchaeron and Dihewid.

After him there was a young lad from Cross Inn here one winter and that was the end of unqualified teachers in Bwlchllan. About 1869 or 1870, the people of Bwlchllan bought a piece of land on which to build a British School, but in 1870 the Government passed the School Board Measure, and, in 1871, Nantcwnlle Board School was established. Rent is still paid by the County Education Authority to the trustees of Bwlchllan Chapel for the schoolroom. The first licensed teacher under the Board was David Jones of Cwmsymlog, near Goginan. The school is still under an Education Board but it is now called the Council School and the taxpayers have to pay dearly to support this school and another in the top part of the parish. David Jones was here from January 1872 until April 1876, when he moved to a bigger school in Felin-fach. From there he went to live in Lampeter, where he died on December 26th 1928, aged 80.

After him, Robert Bishop came here from Llangwyryfon and was here for a year and a half; he married the daughter of the late Rev. R. Roberts, Llangeitho, and moved to Tregaron in 1877, and from there to London, where he died.

On January 2nd 1878, John Emlyn Jones came here from Tal-y-bont; before long he married the daughter of Penlan-Cwnlle and went there to live; and, because he was paying more attention to the farm than he was to the school, he was forced to give up the school in June 1882.

Rhys Davies came here in June 1882 and left in May 1887. He was followed by Fredrick Hughes of Tal-y-bont, who was here until June 1890. He went from here to London, where he died in 1920.

In January 1891, Daniel Davies came here and married the daughter of Lôn. He lived there and in Bwlchllan for a little while until he retired on his pension on December 31st 1928. His successor in 1929 was David Roberts, who came here from Southall, Middlesex.


In the neighbourhood of Penuwch, Dafydd Ifan Hugh kept school in his own house in 1837, and, according to the essay by Thomas Jones, Brynglas, on 'The History of Penuwch', when the people of Penuwch had built a small schoolhouse on the site of the present chapel, Rev. Hugh Lloyd, Rector, brought one of Griffith Jones's schools here and Dafydd Ifan Hugh was the schoolmaster, but it is not known how long the school remained here. About 1860 etc., Edward Jones, Lletherwernen, kept school in the new schoolhouse which the Methodists has built at the lowest corner of the cemetery in 1858. He had excellent handwriting; the copy that he wrote for the children was faultless, but he was not much of a scholar. He could do sums as far as the Rule of Three reasonably well, but he knew little, if any, English. When the children asked for permission to go out, their English was, Plase-me-gout, 'Please may I go out?' He was a molecatcher by trade. Many of the old schoolmasters were man of that description. A great effort was made in the schools in days gone by to get the children to speak English, by punishing them if they spoke Welsh in school. A piece of wood was kept in some schools (and was not of the same form in every school), which was called the 'Welsh Not' and it had a piece of string on each side, and, when someone was heard speaking Welsh, the Welsh Not was hung around his neck; he would then be very anxious to hear someone else speaking Welsh so that he had the opportunity to make him a present of the Welsh Not, because whoever had it around his neck at the end of the morning and afternoon

Sessions would feel the sting of the birch, as Trebor Mai said about it after growing up:

"It's beautiful, - but for the sake of dignity,
Its twig in the olden days was very nasty."

It was all right to compel the children to learn the English language and to speak it, whatever the wisdom of using the birch as a punishment for speaking Welsh, but what about the inconsistency of the authorities now, insisting that children, both Welsh and English, learn and speak Welsh, when English is sure to be more help to most of them in the future to earn their daily bread.

After Edward Jones, Daniel Jones, Felin-fach was here for a winter or two, then John Rowlands came here from Llandegley, Radnorshire, where he had run a school for years, while his wife lived in Ffosddu, Penuwch. (He had kept school for several winters in Penuwch before he went to Llandegley.) He was one who had received a good education and had much experience in teaching others; he was exceptionally learned in number and measurement and was able to convey his knowledge to others better than most schoolmasters; he was here for years, until the Board School was built in Penllether in 1878 and that brought an end to the appointment of unlicensed teachers.

In 1878, Nantcwnlle Parish was compelled to build a school in Penllether to serve the children of the upper end of the parish and this made provision for parts of other parishes. The school was opened on 10th April 1879; the first licensed teacher was William Hughes from Leaswood, Flintshire, but he did not make his home amongst the Cardies, and within about nine months he went back up North and James Davies, a native of


Llanddewi Brefi, came here straight from Bangor Normal College; he remained here only about a year and a half. He obtained a scholarship to Cambridge and graduated in Sidney Sussex College in 1884, being ordained as a curate the following year in Chirk. He died on October 26th 1927, when he was the Vicar of Llanrhaiadr, Dyffryn Clwyd, and he was buried in Llanddewi Brefi. His brother, who died only nine months after him, was the Bishop of Bangor.

James Griffiths came here next but left after only three months. In February 1882, J.R. Thomas came here, and in May 1888, he left for Pontshân, where he remained until he retired on his pension.

His successor in Penuwch was J. Emlyn Jones, who came here from Bwlchllan. After coming here he began preaching, and, in September 1900, he left for New Tredegar as a preacher, having crossed swords with a number of people in Penuwch.

In October 1900, Daniel Davies came here from Cross Inn but he went back there after a year.

John D. Price came here in February 1902 and stayed for two years. After him came B.J. Williams, who stayed for a year and a half; he went from here to Aberaeron and nobody regretted his going; he was too fond of using the cane to be dear either to the children or their parents and they rejoiced at his departure.

Miss Zabeth S. Owen came here in January 1906 and made herself very dear to old and young; she was very much missed when she left, after nearly three years, for Gorsgoch, where she is still, although she is now a married woman.

Next came Mrs. Alice Louisa Gibby who stayed for more than nine years; she went from here to Betws Bledrws in December 1917.

Next was William Thomas, Maescrugiau, 1918 to 1921. (See p.  )

Tom Llywelyn Stephens came here in 1921 from Aberystwyth College; he moved in October 1828 to Talgarreg School and he was succeeded in Penuwch by J. R. Williams, who came here from Llandrindod.

The Police Force

The Police Force has attracted several young men from the Parish and many of them have done very well in it. The first I remember was Evan Hughes, a shoemaker with Stephen Jones, Tynant, Penuwch. He joined the Police Force early in the 1860s but not in Wales.

In 1874, Thomas Jones, Tynant, joined the Police, and was stationed in Aberystwyth, Llanilar, Pontrhydfendigaid, Taliesyn, Llechryd and Llangeitho; he retired on his pension


in 1904. After living for some years in Glangwenffrwd, he went to live in Llanon; he is now over eighty.

In November 1891, Richard Jones, nephew to the above Thomas Jones, became a policeman. His parents lived in Cae'rmynydd at one time, and Pantyrychain and after that in Tynant. He was very successful in his job. He was stationed in Cardigan and Aberystwyth and, after he had been a Superintendent for a little while he was appointed Chief Constable of Merionethshire in April, 1911, where he remains to this day and is held in high esteem.

Stephen Jones, Brynglas, joined the Metropolitan Police in London in 1886, after being in the Army for some years. He was in Davenport Royal Dockyard for over twenty years and retired on his pension in 1911. However, after the outbreak of the Great War, he re-joined, in August, 1914, and was sent to Gretna High Explosives Factories, where he remained until January 1919. He went to live in Pyworthy, Holsworthy, and died there in January 1930.

Thomas Jones, Rhydlas, joined the Force in April, 1903, and was stationed in Cardigan, Pontrhydfendigaid, Drefach, Llanybydder and Aberystwyth. He was made a Sergeant in 1922.

James Evan Lloyd-Williams, Brynele, joined the Indian Police in 1907 when he was nineteen. He joined the Army at the beginning of the War in 1914 and was shortly afterwards made a Lieutenant, then a Captain (?); he was awarded the M.C. in 1918. After the War he went back to India and, in 1927, was appointed Chief Constable of Montgomeryshire.

William Williams, Penlancwnlle, joined the Force in Breconshire, went to Brynmawr and was made a Sergeant in 1928.

William David Evans, Brynele, became a policeman after serving in the War; he is now a Sergeant in Barry and an Inspector of Weights and Measures.

Richard Evans, Brynele, was a policeman for a little while in Neath, then went to Australia.

Thomas Davies, Lluest-fach, joined the Force in Merionethshire in 1925.

Lewis Price, Brynllin was a policeman for a while, left the country for a spell, but returned later.


The Religion of the Parish

Religion was not very flourishing in the parish at the beginning of the nineteenth century, in common with the majority of rural parishes, although Rev. Richard Richards had said in 'Yr Eglwysydd' ( The Churchman) in 1847 that he could remember around 1790 that every family in the parish went to church once or twice on a Sunday. He could remember them flocking to the church on foot or on horseback from every corner of the parish but, despite that, several people used to get together on Sunday afternoons to run, jump, play football and wrestle (?) There was a great religious revival throughout the country in 1859 and that put an end to all playing on a Sunday games; it had become less common before the revival and did not reappear afterwards.

Before the Methodists separated from the Established Church, Bishop Burgess, of St. David's (1803 - 1825) had established a Monthly Meeting to be held in turn in the different churches in every deanery, which was a meeting to deal with Church matters and to have a service and preaching in the Church. This was most common in the South. The Methodists kept up the Monthly Meeting after they broke away and, up until late in the nineteenth century they held a Monthly Meeting in the Churches of Central Cardiganshire and other places. I remember one in Nantcwnlle Church early in the incumbency of Vicar Williams. The successors of these Monthly Meetings are the Annual Services which are held at the beginning of summer in Llanrhystud, Llanfihangel-Geneu'r-Glyn and other places in the County. Before the Methodists established themselves as a denomination in 1811, they used to hold prayer meetings and services in houses, particularly those which had big kitchens such as Bwlch, Corngam, Goitre and Hafod, but they took communion in Church as they did not have ministers until 1811. The singing in these meetings took place without much organisation, as the Spirit led; they had something of the spirit of the Quakers and did not always follow the tune. No-one was allowed to sing out of a book; it was thought that this would extinguish the Spirit. By now one would look strange and feel odd if one stood up to sing without a hymn book, and, if the Almighty accepts our praise when we are singing from a book, why should we not believe that he accepts worship from us when we read our prayers? Rev. John Evans, Abermeurig, says in his book on the History of Methodism in South Cardiganshire, that Goitre was used as a chapel for twenty years. John Elias preached there. Some say that burials took place in one of Hafod's fields, near Goitre, at one time, and that graves could be seen there about a hundred years ago (i.e. about 1830).

Two sisters lived in Goitre around 1800 of the name Rowland and it is said that they were related to Daniel Rowland the Revivalist; preaching took place frequently in their house before the Chapel was built in Bwlchllan. In one of the meetings, one of the sisters had a fit; she had been troubled by fits for twenty years. Tradition has it that reading the Bible above her head revived her in the beginning but, in time, she had to resort to the Doctor, and the Bible lost its influence after that. Superstition flourished in the parish at that time.


We in this enlightened age look with scorn upon the superstitions of the days gone by but they give us a good insight into the minds and morals of our ancestors. Many believed in


the old days that planting sycamores around the house helped to prevent witches from casting spells on the occupants; I do not know on what this was based. Several such trees are still to be seen around many houses in the parish. Half a dozen or more can be seen in Tanffordd, near Llan-Gronw Mission Church. About 1867 several large old sycamores were cut down at Crynfryn, which had been there for years keeping the witches at bay. One still remains. Many believed, when a cow aborted, or when they couldn't get butter to set when churning, that someone had put a spell on the family. Some people set a great deal of store by the first glimpse they had of the first spring lamb; if they saw the lamb's head first, they believed that they would have good luck during the year; but if they saw its tail first, they believed that bad luck awaited them. If they had money in their pockets when they first heard the cuckoo in the spring, they believed that they would not go short of money during the year, and some believed that a black cat and a white cockerel boded ill for their owner:

"A white cockerel and a black cat
Should not be kept around your house."

It is certain that much superstition still flourishes and that many still seek guidance from the soothsayer from time to time, but I believe that it is much less prevalent than it was a century ago.

April 1st

Much used to be made of April Fools' Day at one time, often causing bad feeling. I remember one woman who wanted to make small of one of her neighbours so she sent her daughter on April 1st to tell her that one of her cows was in the ditch. The neighbour immediately sent a man to get the cow out, but, when the man had gone part way, the girl shouted, "April Fool," and set out for home joyfully thinking she had good news to tell her mother, but, before she reached the bottom of the field she was called back to take something to her mother. Back she went unsuspectingly but, when she reached the house she was told, "April Fool," and that was an end to that woman's attempts to trick her neighbour on April Fools' Day.

Remarkable Characters

Around the middle of the nineteenth century some pretty remarkable characters walked through this part of the county and stayed a night or two in various farms in the parish. The first I remember was Deio Landudoch, a tall, bony man with a nose big enough for two faces. His trade was selling little songs of a moral nature like Deio himself. I heard his songs being sung in fairs many times. Deio was not endowed with a sweet voice which would charm anybody; he had a thin, squeaky voice, but he was a very likeable character, totally harmless and honest, and everybody liked to see him when he came around.


Twm Rhwydau was a very different character. Twm's work, as his name suggests, was making and selling nets. If anyone went into the barn where he was sleeping and weaving his nets, he would put the work aside at once in case someone learned the craft and robbed him of his livelihood! When he went to bed at night, he prayed very loudly so that he could be heard from a considerable distance and, after he had finished his Phariseean prayer, he opened the door to see how many people were listening to him. The reader may make his own judgement about Twm's character.

Another remarkable character who travelled about was Morris Sweep, whose work was cleaning chimneys. I think he charged a groat for sweeping a chimney. He was very small of stature, short-tempered (?) and had a stammer. The children of the village frequently tormented him and shouted after him, gaining amusement from watching him run after them with his long-handled brush in his hand and trying to tell them what he thought of them in language not fitting to the new orthography! One night, when he was staying in a farmhouse, the master asked him if he knew the Lord's Prayer. "N...n...no, Sir," said Morris. "Well, would you like to learn it?" "Yes, p...p....please, Sir." "Well, now then: Our Father who art in heaven..." "Our f...f....father, who art in...in....in....h...h...heaven, Sir"; "Hallowed be Thy name," "Ha...ha...hallowed b...b...be Thy n...n...name, Sir." "Thy kingdom come," "Th...th....thy k...k...kingdom come, Sir." Morris's politeness towards his host while he was trying to teach him the Lord's Prayer was more than he could cope with without smiling so that was the end of trying to teach Morris the Lord's Prayer.

Another I remember was Joseph Glass; he had the same trade as Morris but was very different in temperament and character; of gentle bearing and a favourite with many. I heard that he had been in the Crimean War. Before the end of his life he had become unable to carry on his work and Rev. W. Powell, the Vicar of Newcastle (Emlyn?) ensured that he had a pension, and Lady Lloyd, Bronwydd, took a great interest in him, and Joseph gave her his walking stick as a present before the end of his life. He died of old age when he was 104 and was respectably buried in the churchyard of Eglwys Capel Dewi, in Llanwrda.

Tax Collection

That of tax collector is an important position in the parish. In the old days the Overseers appointed by the parish vestry used to collect the tax without payment for their work (and this still happens in some parishes) but many years ago parishes began to appoint one person to collect the tax and paid him a salary for doing so. At first he was appointed by the vestry but now, since 1888, when the County Council Bill was passed, he is appointed by the Parish Council, and the first I remember collecting was Thomas Jones, Brynhaidd, who held the position for years and died in March, 1864, aged 67.


After that, his son, David Jones, was appointed and he held the post for years and also kept a shop in Bwlchllan and, after that, farmed Frongoch.

The next was John Jones, Trefrân, - Ty Newydd before that, - a tailor by trade and a farmer after that.

After John Jones, Richard Jones, Goitre Villa, was appointed; he went after that to keep a shop in Porthcawl.

The present collector (1930) is Evan Daniel Evans, Ardwyn (formerly Pistyll). Several taxes have been abolished during the last century. At one time there was a tax on soap, salt, leather, wool and homemade candles. The tax on candles and leather was abolished in 1834. In 1697 a tax was levelled on windows in houses, according to their number and the amount of light they let in; this was abolished in 1851. In many old houses one sees windows shut up and the reason for this is obviously so that the owners of the houses could reduce the amount of tax they had to pay. That is the reason why windows are often few and small in many old houses in Wales; the people were frightened of the tax. The Church Tax was abolished in 1868.

Old Traditions

The old people used to say that they had heard of caves in Gelli-dywyll, where saints used to hide in the time of religious persecution. It is said that two old saints, named Gwynlleu and Gronw lived in a cell or cave near where the Church is now. An enemy of Christianity came upon them and Gwynlleu was slain in his cell, and, when a church was built near the cave, it was dedicated to St. Gwynlleu. Gronw escaped for a while, but he too was caught and killed, according to tradition on one of Crynfryn's fields; that field bears the name Cae-dol-Gronw to this day, which is some proof of the truth of the tradition.

Tradition has it too, (and it is more than likely that this is true), that Rhodri Mawr built Crynfryn for his son Cloff ( Lame) Tudwal, in order to protect him from the soldiers who travelled from castle to castle in the County. Without doubt, Crynfryn was important in history; it was owned and occupied by Meyrig Goch and Dafydd Fongam, one after the other. Whether or not it is true that Rhodri Mawr built the old mansion, it is a fact that when the ruins of the old house were cleared away in 1852 in order to build a barn on the site, it was seen that the foundation of the walls in places were five to six feet thick, which proves that the house was built to be more defensive than was usual. And it is quite possible that Gronw was seeking asylum with the king's son when he was caught and killed (according to tradition) on the meadow in front of the house, which still bears his name. The Mission Church was dedicated to St. Gronw by the Lord Bishop John Lloyd of Swansea on June 17th 1913.


In connection with Crynfryn I can say here that there is an old tradition that the Squire of Crynfryn used to drive a carriage and pair along the top of the dyke / embankment at the side of the hayfields down to the river between Crynfryn and Bwlch, and back the other side of the fields; the drive was half a mile long there and back. The writer remembers when the majority of the dykes were wide enough to drive a carriage along their tops but they have now been narrowed to a more useful width.

According to another tradition, David Lloyd of Crynfryn married a very pretty girl from Merionethshire, and, when a daughter was born to her, the astronomers predicted that it would be necessary for her parents to be very careful to keep her chaste until she married. However, despite every care, when she was seventeen she gave birth to a male child. This was such a disappointment to the family that they suffocated the young mother, Grace, between two feather mattresses. The child was given to the shepherd's wife to bring up as her own. The family left Crynfryn about 1706 and went to live in Berllan-dywyll in Carmarthenshire. That's the story of Grace, but there is probably not much truth in it.

Crynfryn was at one time owned and occupied by aristocratic gentry. Under the heading 'Crynfryn' in West Wales, Vol. 1, page 21, appears the following: "Selyf, the king of Dyfed, descended on his father's side from Tudwal Cloff, the fourth son of Rhodri the Great, married Eva, the daughter and heiress of Merddanydd, the Lord of Cil-y-Cwm." We get here too, several notes about Squires and Lords, such as Meurig Goch, the Lord of Cil-y-Cwm, Dafydd Fongam, Nantcwnlle and various others, showing that there is a connection by marriage between the Lloyds of Crynfryn and Peniarth, Merionethshire, and the Pryces and Lloyds of Montgomeryshire.

Many of the tenants of Crynfryn were High Sheriffs, such as John Lloyd in 1638, David Lloyd in 1662 and another David Lloyd in 1694, and, from the Abermeurig family, John Edwardes was High Sheriff in 1754 and John Edwardes Rogers, B.A., in 1872.

Justices of the Peace

The first Justices of the Peace were appointed in the days of William I, 1076, and the following from Nantcwnlle served in that capacity:

  • John Jones, Crynfryn, 1748
  • Another John Jones, 1760
  • John Edwardes, Abermeurig, 1760
  • John Edwardes Rogers, B.A., Abermeurig, 1855 (He held the post for fifty years.)
  • John Jones, Cilpyll, 1887
  • David Edwardes, M.A., Crynfryn, 1904
  • Ben Davies, Berthneuadd, 1922


The Population of the Parish

It was in 1801 that the population of England and Wales began to be enumerated, - that was the first year of the Census, - and it has been counted every ten years from then onwards. The population of Nantcwnlle is as follows:

  • 1801: 457
  • 1811: 569
  • 1821: 635
  • 1831: 686
  • 1841: 774
  • 1851: 783
  • 1861: 803
  • 1871: 779
  • 1881: 735
  • 1891: 652
  • 1901: 597
  • 1911: 572
  • 1921: 515

It is difficult to account for the difference in the number of the inhabitants every ten years in a rural parish like this, where the chief occupation of the inhabitants is agriculture.


In West Wales, Vol. iii, the late J. H. Davies, Cwrt Mawr, said that the freeholders of the parish in 1760 were as follows:


Place where he lived

His property

John Jones (1)



John Jones (2)



John Lewis



David Morgan



Evan David



Griffith Jenkins



Richard Evans


Part of Bwlchgraig

Thomas Evan David Jenkins



Jenkin Jenkins


£4 annuity out of Tyle

Isaac Williams (3)


Minister of the parish


(1)  John Jones was the son of Thomas Johnes and the uncle of Sir Thomas Johnes of Hafod; he died in 1784.


(2)  John Jones was a lawyer in Aberystwyth and owned Crynfryn in Nantcwnlle, the old home of the Lloyds.
(3)  Isaac Williams was born in Ty'n-y-wern, Llanrhystud; he was the grandfather of Rev. Isaac Williams, B.D., the poet and divine.
(See West Wales, Vol. iii, p. 114.)

It is said that there are more freeholders in Ceredigion than in any other county in Wales, and I think that there are now more freeholders in Nantcwnlle than there are in any other parish of its size in the county. In 1760 only 952 people in the County had a vote but now, in 1930, there are 347 in Nantcwnlle Parish. J. H. Davies also said in West Wales that most (properties?) in Cardiganshire in the 17th century were owned by those who held and farmed the land, and that the big estates were not formed until the 18th century. In the 19th century there were only a few large landowners in the parish. J.H.D. says that only seventeen people in Llangeitho and Nantcwnlle owned their own farms in 1760, but a great transformation has taken place by now and the majority of farmers own their own farms.

The Chief Landowners in the Parish in the 19th Century

Mr. Rogers, Abermeurig, owned Bryngalem, Caemadog, Corgam-mawr, Corgam-bach, Gaer, Goitre, Hafod, Lon, Llain, Pantcyfyng, Pengaer, Tan'rallt Cottage, Tirbach, Ty'nrhos and Winllan. That is the only large estate in the parish which has not yet been sold.

Jesus College, Oxford, owned College, Llwynbrain, Penlan-Cwnlle and Perthneuadd. Dr. Griffith Lloyd, who had been born in Cardiganshire, the second Principal of Jesus College, was the first owner of those four properties and he left them in his will, along with others in Llanddewi-brefi Parish, to his college after the days of his wife and daughter and that is how they came into the ownership of the college. Dr. Lloyd was the second son of Hugh Lloyd of Llanllyr, descended from the Lloyd family of Castle Howell. He was appointed Principal of the college in 1572 and held the post until he died in 1586. He was elected M.P. for Cardiganshire a few months before he died.

Captain Gwynne, Monachdy, owned Bwlch, Caer'mynydd, Felin-newydd, Llanfaelog, Llety'rpwll and Rhydlas; they have all been sold now, some several times.

Mrs. Griffiths, Gelli, owned Brynele, Meiarth, Oakhill, Pencwm, Ty'ncwm, Pant-yr-ychen and Rhyd-y-groes.

The Pengelli Estate, namely Esgairgwndy, Felin-coed, Ffynon Forgan, Gloewnant, Llundain-fach, Maes-y-felin, Parcau-bach, Pentre-felin, Soar and Sychbant, belonged to Mr. Theophilus Jones and others.

Mr. Bonsall, Fronfraith, owned Crynfryn, Groes, Lluest-moch, Tanfalier-fawr and Twrgwyn, which have all been sold.


Mr. David Evans, Rhydiol, owned Blaenwaen, Rhydlwyd, Rhydiol, Yr Erw and Penlôn.

Rev. Thomas Edwardes, Rector of Llangeitho, owned Pant-y-beudy, Pyllaudwr, Pant-sych and Troedrhiw, where he lived.

Mr. Richards, Cardigan, owned Bwlchgraig, Penherber, Pistyll and Ty-uchaf.

Major Price Lewes, Tyglyn, owned Caericket and Dyfnant.

Mr. John Evans, Nant-y-Gelli, owned Talfan and Tan'rallt.

Mr. Tom Jones owned Cilpyll and lived there with the tenants, his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Edwards.

Penlanwnnws was owned and occupied by Mr. David Jones.

Hendre was the property of Mr. Benjamin Evans, Ysguborwen, Llandysilio-gogo, and he sold it to Miss Walters (Mrs. Evans after that), the daughter of Mr. Walters, Llanddewi-brefi.

Blaencastell belonged to Joseph Jones, the grandfather of the present tenant.

Dr. Morgan owned Frongoch.

Llwynmorris was owned by Mrs. Jones, Tanlan, Lampeter.

The first owner of Tyle that I can remember was Mr. Jones, Maescrugiau, Llandysul, but David Richards, the son of Daniel Richards, Moelfryn-mawr, came home from America to claim it as the heir; they took it to law and David Richards won the day.

The owner of Tanffynnon was Tanner from the neighbourhood of Lampeter.

There were several acres of mountain land between Carnau and Aden Wynt which had no house on them and were owned by Thomas Jones, the tenant of Tyle, and, in time, he built a house there and gave it the name of his landlord's mansion, Maescrugiau.

Those are the main landowners of the nineteenth century. There are several smallholdings whose original owners I have not been able to find out.

The Right to Vote

Until 1832, only freeholders had the right to vote for a Member of Parliament but in 1832, the year of the Reform Bill, every tenant who paid £50 a year rent was given the vote in addition to the freeholders; this added scarcely half a dozen to those in Nantcwnlle who had the right to vote. In 1867 - 1868 a law was passed which gave the vote to every


tenant who paid £10 a year and every lease-holder who paid £5 a year, and this added substantially to the number of the electorate. At that time town dwellers were favoured above country dwellers. Every householder in the towns who paid the poor rate was to have a vote and even lodgers in lodgings which were worth £10 a year were to have the same privilege. But in 1884 - 1885 the same right was given to country dwellers, i.e. that all those who paid the poor rate had the right to vote. Women, however, did not gain the right to vote until 1918; in that year every man over the age of 21 and every woman over the age of thirty was given the vote and, in 1929, the vote was given to every woman over 21. This added greatly to the number on the electoral roll in the parish, 311 in 1928 and 347 in 1929.


In the year 1834, as I have already said, the work of the Overseers in looking after the poor was transferred to the Board of Guardians. I do not know who the first Guardian in the parish was; 1869 is the earliest year I have been able to get hold of. From then onwards they are as follows:

  • 1869: Thomas Jones, Cilpyll
  • 1870: Rev. Evan Williams, Vicar
  • 1871 - 1873: Jenkin Jenkins, Felin-coed
  • 1874 - 1878: William Rowlands, Cilpyll
  • 1879: Jenkin Jenkins 1880: John Jones, Bwlchdiwyrgam
  • 1881 - 1882: Jenkin Jenkins
  • 1883 - 1884: Jenkin Jenkins and Rees Evans, Rhydiol
  • 1885 - 1893: Jenkin Jenkins and David Jones, Shop
  • 1894-1897: Hugh Herbert, Troedrhiw and Daniel Edwardes, Tanffynon
  • 1898 - 1903: Hugh Herbert and Thomas Edwardes, Crynfryn. (T.E. died in 1901)
  • 1904 - 1918: John Lodwick, Pant-y-beudy and William Morgan, Tanfalier
  • 1919 - 1921: John Lodwick and William John Evans, Brynele
  • 1922 - 1924: Evan Davies, Tan'rallt, and John Lloyd Edwardes, Crynfryn
  • 1925 - 1930: John Lloyd Edwardes, and John Herbert, Troedrhiw.

It can be seen from the above list that one Guardian represented the parish on the Board in Tregaron until 1883 and two after that, and, since 1888, the two are members of the District Council as well as being members of the Board of Guardians.

The County Council

When the County Council Bill was passed in 1888, the parish of Nantcwnlle was joined with Gartheli and Trefilan to form one District to elect one member to represent the three parishes on the County Council, because of the sparsity of the population. The first County Councillor was Aeronian, and his successors as follows:


  • Jenkin Jenkins, Felin-coed, 1889 (made an Alderman the same year)
  • John Jones, Cilpyll, 1889
  • Jenkin Howells, Hafod, 1892
  • Daniel Jenkins, Pentre-felin, 1898
  • Dr. Evan Evans, Greengrove, 1904
  • William Jenkyn Lloyd, Llundain-fach, 1907 (made an Alderman the same year)
  • Hugh Herbert, Troedrhiw, 1907
  • Lodwick Jones, Bwlchgraig, 1910
  • Daniel Lodwick Herbert, Troedrhiw, 1913 (Alderman in 1928)
  • Evan Howells, Blaenwallen, 1928

Boys of the Parish who joined the Army and went to the Great War, 1914 - 1918

When war broke out at the beginning of August, 1914, sixty brave boys (not all at once) went out to defend their country against the cruel enemy; their names are as follows:

  • Charlie Agate, Ardwyn
  • Gordon Davies, B.A., Vicarage
  • Hubert Benson Davies, M.C., Vicarage
  • Alfred Davies, Winllan
  • David John Davies, Tan'rallt
  • Evan James Davies, Park-house
  • Evan John Davies, Ty'nbanadl
  • Jenkin Davies, Lôn
  • Jenkin Davies, Tytiller
  • Jenkin Davies, Ffynon-forgan
  • John Davies, Glangors
  • John Glyn Davies, Pistyll
  • Joseph Davies, Pistyll
  • John Davies, Twrgwyn-bach
  • William Davies, Glanrhyd
  • John Daniel Ebenezer, Glangwenffrwd
  • Richard Ebenezer, Glangwenffrwd
  • John Edwardes, B.Sc. and M.C., Tanffynon
  • William Arthur Edwardes, B.Sc., Crynfryn
  • David John Edwards, Penlan-aden-wynt
  • Dan Evans, Hafod
  • Evan Evans, Hafod
  • Willie Evans, Hafod
  • David Thomas Evans, Post Office
  • John Williams Evans, Bwthyn
  • Richard Evans, Brynele


  • William David Evans, Brynele
  • John Griffiths, Tan'rallt
  • David Jones, Penlôn
  • David Jones, Bryn
  • Evan Jones, Rhydlas
  • Evan Jones, Sarnau
  • John Daniel Jones, Mount Pleasant
  • John Islwyn Jones, Bryngalem
  • John Thos. Jones, Cerygllwydion
  • Rhys Jones, Oakhill
  • Robert Lloyd Jones, Persondy
  • Thomas Lloyd, Persondy
  • Stephen Jones, College
  • Enoch Lewis, Cilpyll
  • William Llywellyn Lewis, Cilpyll
  • John Lodwick, Pant-y-beudy
  • John Lloyd, Pantcyfyng
  • Charles Morgan, Frongoch (Hafod)
  • David Price, Tynewydd
  • Evan Price, Tynewydd
  • John Daniel Price, Tynewydd
  • Benjamin Pugh, Bryn
  • David Thomas, Frondeg
  • David Williams, Cwmpistyll
  • John Williams, Cwmpistyll
  • John Williams, Penllether
  • John Thomas Williams, Bwlchllan
  • Tom Williams, Penlan-cwnlle
  • William Williams, Penlan-cwnlle
  • William Walters, Bwlchgraig
  • James Evan Lloyd-Williams, M.C.
  • John Jordan Lloyd-Williams, M.C.
  • Nurse Mary Herbert, Troedrhiw
  • Nurse Eiddwen Hughes, Ardwyn

Of the above, nine gave their lives on the field of blood; their names are as follows:

  • Charlie Agate, Ardwyn
  • Evan James Davies, Parkhouse
  • Jenkin Davies, Tytiler
  • Jenkin R. Davies, Lôn
  • John E. Davies, Glangors
  • John Daniel Ebenezer, Glangwenffrwd
  • John Lodwick Evans, Hafod
  • Stephen J. Jones, College


  • Thomas Lloyd, Persondy

The following are the names of the boys who were wounded:

  • Alfred Davies, Winllan
  • John Edwardes, B.Sc., Tanffynon, who won his M.C.
  • William Arthur Edwardes, B.Sc., Crynfryn
  • Willie Evans, Hafod (He died in the Infirmary in Aberystwyth on February 7th 1930, after suffering from his wounds for twelve years.)
  • John William Evans, Bwthyn
  • John Thomas Williams, Bwlchllan
  • John Williams, Pengraig
  • Tom Williams, Penlancwnlle

I should like to note here two soldiers who did good work in the War and about whom nothing has been said except their names, namely Hubert Benson Davies, who was in school in Lampeter, Ruthin and Brecon; he joined the army when he was nineteen, having volunteered the previous year, and spent three years in France. He was decorated with the M.C. by the King on the day of his twenty-second birthday; after that he joined the Indian Army, where he remains as a Captain.

The other is John Jordan Lloyd-Williams; he was educated in Oswestry and Ruthin; when he was seventeen years old he went to the office of his uncle, Sir Hugh Vincent, B.A., Lawyer, Bangor. When war broke out he joined the Denbighshire Yeomanry, and, in 1917, he joined the Air Force, and is still serving in Egypt. He won his M.C. at the beginning of the second year of the war and, in 1922, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

It is a great credit to a rural parish like this that so many of her brave sons joined up, the majority of them voluntarily, in order to defend their country against the cruel enemy. Although:

"Idleness is the fame of the sword,
And rust its honour."

And no-one think war is pleasant, yet, as Dewi Wyn says:

"Better to have war than allow the enemy
To challenge the law and trample one underfoot."

The reader will see that I have mentioned ten Lloyd-Williamses, all ten the children of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd-Williams, Brynele, and grandchildren to Rev. Evan Williams, formerly Vicar of the Parish. They have all drunk extensively from many branches of knowledge and have made good use of their education in various posts in life.


Books Published by Parishioners

The parish has produced several authors, great and small. The first I know about is Daniel Rowland, Llangeitho ( the Revivalist) who published eight sermons in 1772 and several pamphlets and essays after that.

Rev. John Jones (who was born in Penlanwnnws) translated into Welsh and had printed in 1862, 'What is Christianity?' by Bishop Short.

Rhodd Brawd ('The Gift of a Brother') by David Davies, Pantsych, was a list of names and titles given to Christ in the Scriptures, in song form, price 1d, in 1861, and another one in 1864. He also published The History of Little Abia, and he wrote the history of Bwlchllan Sunday School, which appeared in 'Cymru' in 1904.

The History of Abraham in Song was published by Thomas Jones, Brynglas, price 2d. He also published a Catechism on the History of Solomon in song, 1874, price 1d.

Jeremiah Evans (Jeduthun), Tanfalier, published about 1883, several pamphlets such as R. Y. and the History of the Board, also The Sermon of the O, and he went around selling them, but made little profit from the venture.

The eleven following were published by Rev. David Edwardes, M.A.:

  • (1)An Arithmetic Book, when he was a teacher in Hurstpierpoint, to be used in the college there, and subsequently in Denstone College.
  • (2)German Grammar
  • (3)The Wild Flowers of North Staffordshire, 1877
  • (4)Scripture Knowledge and Miscellaneous
  • (5)Questions and Notes on the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew
  • (6)The Annals of the Parish of Nantcwnlle, 1764 to 1809, in 1896
  • (7)Plwyf Nantcwnlle, Hen a Diweddar ( The Parish of Nantcwnlle, Old and Modern), 1913
  • (8)Mynydd Bach ( Little Mountain), 1914
  • (9)His Reminiscences, 1914
  • (10) Commentary on the Book of Judges
  • (11) Commentary on the 1st Book of Samuel, 1915
  • 'Elementary Biology' by John Edwardes, M.A., 1894
  • 'The Book of the Law', a translation by Aeronian
  • 'Cerddi Cerngoch' ( The Poems of Cerngoch) by Daniel Jenkins, 1904


  • A Short French Reader ( Trois Légende) by Miss E. S. G. Lloyd-Williams
  • Scattered Lines on Various Subjects in Song by Dinah Davies, 1912
  • Biography of John Thomas, Llanwrtyd, by Rev. E. Evans, Gorwydd, 1926
  • A Short History of the Parish of Nantcwnlle, by Rev. E. Edwardes, M.A., 1930

The Names of Houses in the Parish in 1930 (unoccupied houses in italics)

  • Aberdeuddwr, Aeron Villa, Ardwyn.
  • Blaencastell, Blaendyffryn, Blaengors (or Glangors), Blaenwaen, Blue Bell, Brynawel, Brynele, Bryngalem, Brynglas, Bryngoleu, Bryngwyn, Brynhopkins, Brynhyfryd, Brynllin, Brynllys, Bryn-yr-Eglwys, Bwlch-di-wyrgam, Bwlchllan, Bwlchgraig-fach, Bwlchgraig-fawr.
  • Caemadog, Cae'rmynydd, Carnau, Castell-bach, Castell-Villa, Cefncae, Cefn-garn, Cerygllwydion, Cilpyll, Clwtyn-coch, Cnwc yr oerfa, College, Corgam-bach, Corgam-mawr, Crynfryn, Cwm-meiarth, Cwmpistyll.
  • Dôlbwba, Dyfnant, Eglwys-fach, Esgeirgwndy.
  • Felin-coed, Felin-fach, Felin-newydd, Fron, Fron-deg, Fron-goch, Ffynon-forgan, Ffynon-rhinweddau.
  • Glanrhyd (2), Glan-Thames, Goitre Villa, Gloewnant (2), Gwynfryn.
  • Hafod, Hendre, Lôn.
  • Llanfaelog, Lluest-fach, Lluest-moch, Llundain-fach, Llwyn-brain, Llwynlleuci, Llwyn-Morris, Oak-hill.
  • Maescrugiau, Maes-ffynon, Maes-y-felin., Meiarth, Mount-pleasant, Pant-cyfyng, Pantsych, Panteg, Pant-y-beudy, Pant-y-celyn, Pant-yr-ychen, Penbanc, Penlan-aden-wynt, Park, Pencraig-fach, Pencareg, Pencastell, Pencwm, Penlan-Cwnlle, Penlanwnnws, Pen-llether, Pengraig, Pencnwc, Penherber, Penrhiw, Pentre-felin, Perth-neuadd, Pen-y-gaer, Persondy, Pistyll, Plough and Harrow, Post Office, Porth, Pyllau-dwr.
  • Rhos-lwyn, Rhydiol, Rhyd-las, Rhyd-lwyd, Rhyd-y-gaseg, Rhyd-y-groes, Rose-mount, Sarnau, Sarnau-duon, Soar, Sychbant.


  • Talfan, Tanbanc, Tanfalier-fach, Tanffynon, Tan-y-graig, Tan-'rallt-uchaf, Tan-'rallt-isaf, Tir-bach, Troedrhiw, Troedrhiw-llether, Twrgwyn-bach, Twrgwyn-mawr, Tyle, Ty-melyn, Tynant, Ty'n-banadl, Ty'ncelyn, Ty'ncwm, Tynewydd, Ty'nrhos, Ty'nbedw, Ty'nparc, Ty'ngwndwn, Tybecca.
  • Vicarage, Winllan, (Y) Gaer, (Y) Graig.

Old ruins, that is, ruined houses, in some cases with no foundations to be seen are:

Aberbrwynen and Llygad-dyffryn, near Blaen-dyffryn; Black-hole, near Plough and Harrow; Banceithin-bach, near Felin-giachod; Banc-du, Blaenpant and Ty Ifan Saer (Quarry-bach) on Brynele's land, Bryn, near Tyle; Bwlch-y-mynydd, near Oak-hill; Brynhaidd, near Pencwm; Yr Erw, on Rhydiol's land; Fron-wen, and Penbanc, below Pencareg; Gelli-dywyll and Melin-y-cwm, at the bottom of Cwm Bwlch; three Blaenpants on College's land; Dole-cothi, near Llynfarch, Fronheulog, near Penllether; Glan'rafon near Eglwys-fach; Groes on Crynfryn's land; Gwarffynon, near Cefn-cae; Gwarffynon and Tan'rallt, near Talfan; Ffynon-y-bryn, Y Fan and Hendy, near Dyfnant; Llain, near Penlan-cwnlle; Penllain, near Penlanwnnws; Hafod-fach, near Hafod; Pant-sych, near Llwynlleuci; Porth and Transport, near Soar; Rhydiol-isaf; Tancwarel on Tanffynon's land; Tanfalier, under Graig-fawr; Tan-ffordd, near the Mission Church; Ty'nfron, near Tybecca; Ty'nwaen, near Cwm Meiarth; Ty-uchaf, between Bwlchllan and the Church; Ty-patch in Llundain-fach; Tan'rallt-fach, and the houses below all in Goitre: Ty Dina, Ty Lodwig, Ty Mali Jack-rhooper; Ty Mali Simon, Ty Pegi Lwyd, Pengeulan, Frondeg, Tan'rallt and Tanfron.

That is a huge number of houses to have fallen into ruins in less than a century and not many houses have been built to take their place.

We have now taken a look at the parish and its inhabitants and have recorded some of its history over the last two hundred years. As has already been noted, there is nothing remarkable about it and there is no industry of any sort there; the majority of the inhabitants are farmers, working the land and living on its produce. From time to time, some of the cottage-dwellers and smallholders go to Glamorganshire to work in the coal mines and, because of the lack of any means of earning money at home, several of the young people go to England to try their luck. Several go to London to sell milk. It is said that half the dairymen of London (and there are hundreds of them) are Welsh and that half of those are from Cardiganshire; I wouldn't be surprised if half of those were from the parish of Nantcwnllle, and some of them have been successful in the work.

With regard to the climate of the parish, the Church Register indicates that its air is healthy and its water pure, as many of the inhabitants have lived to be ninety or more. In 1896 the Editor of 'Tit-bits' offered a prize of five guineas to the man who had been a member of a Benefit Club for the longest time without taking anything out of it because of ill-health and the prize was awarded to two men who had been born and


bred in the parish, both aged 87, namely David Edwards, Brynele, who had spent his life in the parish, and William Jones, Brechfa-fach, who had lived most of his life here and the rest a little way from the river which forms the parish boundary; the former a great friend to John Heidden. As has already been noted, a doctor was rarely seen in the parish in the nineteenth century and I believe that less rich food, fewer meals and less tea-drinking, as in days gone by, are responsible in large measure for the good health and longevity of the parishioners. And there must be some attraction in the healthy atmosphere of the parish, as three of the Rectors of Llangeitho have lived in Nantcwnlle when there was a free parsonage for them in Llangeitho, - Rev. Hugh Lloyd in Cilpyll; Rev. Thomas Edwardes in Troedrhiw and Rev. Evan Evans in Hafod. I can note, also, that many who left their homes when young in order to earn their living like to come back to end their days in the old parish.

With regard to the quality of literature produced in the parish, it cannot be said that any have made great names for themselves as poets, literary men or musicians, but it is a parish which has taken a great interest in all kinds of literature and music and has been prominent in education, both secular and religious. This parish had the first Sunday School in Wales and it was one of the first to take advantage of the Education Act and establish the School Board in 1871. About three dozen boys and girls from the parish have graduated in the different colleges and universities of the United Kingdom during the last sixty years and this is a great honour for a rural parish with few advantages to spur anyone on to greater educational heights than Standard VI of the Board School. Despite the paucity of the facilities, however, I believe that this parish has bred more clergymen, preachers and schoolteachers than any one of the parishes round about.

When the college was opened in Aberystwyth in 1872, there were two brothers from this parish amongst the first of its students, and another brother there in its second year; since then a dozen and a half have been there and several have graduated B.A., B.Sc. and M.Sc. It is a joy to see so many of the young people taking advantage of the free education which is within their reach.

Thirteen people from this parish have obtained M.A. degrees from the English universities, (eleven of those being clergymen), six in Oxford, five in Cambridge and one in Durham; ten have obtained their B.A. from different colleges, (three of those being clergymen and three ministers), five have obtained their B.Sc. and one his M.Sc., (that is, five, counting the M.Sc.) from Aberystwyth, and one from Girton College, Cambridge. Twenty-two clergymen have been raised here, seventeen ministers, about two dozen schoolmasters, eleven policemen, three graduate doctors and two lawyers, and four were awarded the M.C. in the Great War.

That is a good number raised here in one lifetime who have made good use of their education. The privileges enjoyed by the young people of the parish greatly exceed those of the last century, but greater privileges always bring added responsibilities and the natural question to ask here is, "Is the present generation an improvement on its


ancestors in every way?" The best way to judge this is to look at whether the young men are more useful members of society, civilly, morally, and religiously, than their fathers, and whether the girls are superior to their mothers; and, if they are not, there is some failing in the education which is provided for them. In looking around I feel that many of the younger generation are not as good as their fathers in some ways, despite the advantages they have enjoyed. In the old days, people recited much of the poetry of Vicar Pritchard, Llandovery, out of 'Canwyll y Cymry' ( The Candle of the Welsh). The great aim of the Old Vicar in his poetry was to uphold morality and condemn prodigality and waste, and reciting his poetry encouraged people to carry out the poet's doctrine. Much of the sublime and lofty poetry of Edward Richard, Ystrad-meurig, was also recited, but it is doubtful whether many people do this nowadays. And what has replaced this for the better? Fifty years ago when reciting questions and answers, everyone learned his part correctly by heart and recited it without a book in his hand, but many read their lines today. In this respect the world does not seem to be improving in line with its advantages and there is a need to bring the old world back. .....

In conclusion, I should like to thank everyone who has helped and supported me in the production of this work. I know that my venture will be a financial loss but anything that is worth having is worth paying for, and if the reader gains as much pleasure from reading this as I have from gathering interesting material, I shall be happy to bear the expense in order to be of some interest to my native parish. I have tried to write in the usual dialect of the parishioners, without paying much attention to the new orthography.

P.S. Since this work went to the hands of the printers we are sorry to report the death of its author, Rev. E. Edwardes, on May 10 th1930.

After the death of Rev. E. Edwardes, these two papers were found amongst others which were dated between 1823 and 1840, and Mrs. Edwardes desired that they should be included in the book. (These are both in English)

For the Commissioner of Excise

We, Benjamin Morgan of Goytre and Thomas Jones of Nantgwnlle, Builders, do solemnly and sincerely declare that we contracted for the Performance of Seating, Ceiling and Glazing the Parish Church of Nantcwnlle in the Parish of Llancwnlle, in the County of Cardigan, and that in the Execution of such contract we used the following materials namely, one hundred and twenty feet of Glass. But when and where the duty thereon has been paid we cannot ascertain as the Glazier we employed has ....tracted ... for same.... it was impossible for us to know the weight as it has


been fitted up in the frames. And we make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true.

Solemnly declared at Nantgwnlle this 27 day of June 1839 before me...

I, David Jones, the Surveyor who superintended the work at Nantcwnlle in the Parish of Llancwnlle do hereby certify that the quantity of materials enumerated in the above declaration were actually used therein.

Dated the 27day of June 1839. DAVID JONES.

Memorandum of a contract made this 13 th day of February, 1838, between the inhabitants of the parish of Nantcwnlle and Benjamin Morgan and Thos. Jones, Carpenters, who promise and engage to ceil and pew the Parish Church of Nantcwnlle, according to the plan and specification made by David Jones, of Dolebach, this day exhibited, the work to be finished by the beginning of July next, to be approved of by the said David Jones. The parishioners promise to pay the said contractors five pounds when they go to purchase the timber, and to pay a further sum of fifteen pounds when the contractors pay for the timber; another five pounds about the beginning of May next, and the remainder of the above mentioned sum when the work is finished and approved by the said David Jones. In witness whereof our names are here set the day and year first above written.

THO. EDWARDS, Troedrhiw, Clerk


I, Edward Evans, of Hafod, do hereby enter myself security to the above contractors that they will act and do according to the above agreement, as witness my hand this 13 th day of February, 1838.



The page numbers given below relate to the page numbers shown at the top of each page above (not those in the original piece)

Agate, Charlie, 54, 55

Animals, 9, 16, 17

Ap Ieuan, Sir David, 19

Ap Rice, Sir Phylip, 19

Archbishop Theodore, 18

Archbishop Thomas Beck, 18

Barometers, 16

Beavan, Mrs / Madam, 40, 41

Birds, 16

Bishop Burgess, 22

Bishop Claggett, 20

Bishop Jenkinson, 22

Bishop Jones, Basil, 23

Bishop Lloyd, John, 24

Bishop Owen, John, 23

Bishop, Robert, 41

Bishop Thirlwall, 23

Blacksmiths, 7

Bonsall, Mr., 51

Bwlch, 25

Bwlchgraig, 50, 51

Bwlchllan Chapel, 25, 28

Bwlchllan School, 25, 41

Capel Gwynfil, 20

Caradog, 23

Cerngoch, 11, 39, 57

Charles, Thomas, of Bala, 25

Church registers, 18

Churchyard, 26, 27

Clothes, 10, 13

Crynfryn, 2, 3, 8, 24, 45, 48, 49

Cybi, 12, 13

Daniel Ddu, 10, 22

Davies, Alfred, Winllan, 54, 55

Davies, Ben, Berthneuadd, J. P., 49

Davies, Daniel, 41

Davies, Daniel (schoolmaster), 43

Davies, Daniel, Dolbwba, 33

Davies, Daniel Morgan (Vicar), 23, 24

Davies, David, Brynhyfryd, 39

Davies, David, Castell Howell, 39

Davies, David, Pantsych, 38, 57

Davies, David, Perthneuadd, 38, 39

Davies, David Arthur, Lôn, 35

Davies, David John, Tan'rallt

Davies, Dinah, 5, 57

Davies, Edward, Pencwm, 32

Davies, Evan, Tan'rallt, 53

Davies, Evan James, Park-house, 54, 55

Davies, Evan John, Ty'nbanadl, 54

Davies, Gordon, Vicarage, 35, 54

Davies, Griffith (curate), 20, 25

Davies, Hubert Benson, 54, 56

Davies, James (schoolmaster), 42

Davies, James Thomson, Llwynlleuci, 31, 35

Davies, Jenkin, Ffynon-forgan, 54

Davies, Jenkin, Lôn, 54, 55

Davies, Jenkin, Tytiler, 54, 55

Davies, John, Glangors, 54, 55

Davies, John, Twrgwyn-bach, 54

Davies, John B., Brynhyfryd, 37

Davies, John Glyn, Pistyll, 54

Davies, Joseph, Pistyll, 54

Davies, Joseph Jenkins (Rev), Perthneuadd, 30

Davies, Rhys, 41

Davies, Sarah Anne, Brynhyfryd, 36

Davies, Thomas, Lluest-fach, 44

Davies, Thomas Tudor (Vicar), 24

Davies, William, Glanrhyd, 54

Deio Landudoch, 46

Dewi Wyn of Eifion, 13

Dialect, 8, 9

Disestablishment and Disendowment Bill, 24, 25

Drovers' Arms, 8, 10

Ebenezer, John Daniel, Glangwenffrwd, 54, 55

Ebenezer, Richard, Glangwenffrwd, 54

Edwardes, Daniel, Tanffynon, 53

Edwardes, David, Bryncethin, Llangeitho, 22

Edwardes, David, (Rev), Crynfryn, 18, 23, 24, 28, 29, 34, 49, 57

Edwardes, Evan (Rev), Crynfryn, 30, 57, 61

Edwardes, John, J. P., Abermeurig, 49

Edwardes, John, Crynfryn, 34, 57

Edwardes, John, Tanffynnon, 34, 54, 55

Edwardes, John Lloyd, Crynfryn, 53

Edwardes, John Scandrett (Rev), 29, 37

Edwardes, Mary, 22

Edwardes, Thomas, Crynfryn, 53

Edwardes, Thomas (Rev), 21, 22, 29, 51, 59, 62

Edwardes, William Arthur, Crynfryn, 34, 54, 55

Edwards, David, Brynele, 59

Edwards, David John, 54

Edwards, Richard, Cilpyll, 52, 52 (?)

Elias, John, 45

Evans, Benjamin, Llandysilio-gogo, 52

Edwards, Dan, Hafod, 54

Evans, David, Rhydiol, 51

Evans, David Bankes, Llety'rpwll, 30

Evans, David Thomas, Post Office, 54

Evans, E. (Rev), Gorwydd, 57

Evans, Edward, Hafod, 62

Evans, Evan (curate), 21, 22

Evans, Evan, Greengrove, 53

Evans, Evan, Hafod, 22, 28, 54, 59

Evans, Evan, Ty Newydd, 33

Evans, Evan Daniel, Pistyll, Ardwyn, 48

Evans, Evan Jenkin, Ty'ncelyn, 34

Evans, Evan Moses, Y Gaer, 32

Evans, Griffin, 19

Evans, Jeremiah, Tanfalier, 40, 57

Evans, John (Rev) of Abermeurig, 31, 45

Evans, John, Bethania, 41

Evans, John, Nant-y-Gelli, 51

Evans, John, Trefrân (Vicar), 21, 28

Evans, John (curate), 20

Evans, John D., Soar, 33

Evans, John Edwardes (Rev), Hafod, 30

Evans, John Lodwick, Hafod, 55

Evans, John William(s), Bwthyn, 54, 55

Evans, Rees, Rhydiol, 53

Evans, Richard, Brynele, 44, 54

Evans, Thomas (Vicar), 19

Evans, William David, Brynele, 44, 54

Evans, William John, Brynele, 53

Evans, Willie, Hafod, 54, 55

Food, 11 12

Games, 40

Gibby, Alice Louisa, 43

Glass, Joseph, 47

Gray / Grey, Letitia, 21

Griffith ap Rhys, 18

Griffiths, James (schoolmaster), 43

Griffiths, John, Tan'rallt, 54

Griffiths, Mrs., Gelli, 51

Guardians, Board of, 17, 18, 53

Gwynne, Captain, Monachty, 51

Hafod, 27

Harris, Howell, 20

Hat-making, 15

Herbert, Daniel Lodwick, Troedrhiw, 53

Herbert, Edward, 19

Herbert, Hugh, Troedrhiw, 53

Herbert, John, Troedrhiw, 53

Herbert, Mary, Troedrhiw, 55

Hiring fairs, 11

Houses, 3, 17

Howells, Evan, Blaenwallen, 53

Howells, Jenkin, Hafod, 53

Hugh, Dafydd Ifan, 41

Hughes, Daniel, 40

Hughes, Eiddwen, Ardwyn, 55

Hughes, Evan, 43

Hughes, Frederick, 41

Hughes, James (Iago Trichrug), 11, 33

Hughes, John (curate), 21, 28

Hughes, John Daniel, College, 31

Hughes, William (schoolmaster), 42

Hughes, William Gray / Grey, 21, 28, 29

Jack y Gaer, 25

Jenkins, Anne, Felin-coed, 37

Jenkins, Daniel, Pentrefelin, 36, 53

Jenkins, David (Rev), Tyncelyn, 29

Jenkins, Griffith, Sychbant, 50

Jenkins, Gwladys Elizabeth, Felincoed, 37

Jenkins, Jenkin (Aeronian), Felin-coed, 37, 39, 53, 57

Jenkins, Jenkin, Gorwydd, 50

Jenkins, Kate, Felin-coed, 37

Jenkins, Margaret, Felin-coed, 36

Jenkins, Mary, Felin-coed, 36

Jenkins, Thomas Evan David, 50

Jones, Daniel (curate), 21

Jones, Daniel, Felinfach, 40, 42

Jones, Daniel E., Hendre, 33

Jones, David, Bryn, 54

Jones, David, Brynhaidd, 41, 47, 53

Jones, David (curate), 21

Jones, David, Cwmsymlog, 41

Jones, David, Dolebach, Surveyor, 60, 61

Jones, David (Rev), Penlannwnws, 28, 29

Jones, David, Penlôn, 54

Jones, David Tudor, Frongoch, 34

Jones, David William, Pencareg, 32

Jones, Edward, 40

Jones, Edward, Lletherwernen, 41, 42

Jones, Evan (Rev), Lôn, 30

Jones, Evan, Rhydlas, 54

Jones, Evan, Sarnau, 54

Jones, Fred (curate), 23

Jones, Griffith (Rev), Llanddowror, 25, 39, 40, 41

Jones, Herbert (Rev), Ty Patch, 30

Jones, John, Bwlchdiwyrgam, 53

Jones, John (curate and schoolmaster), 21, 28, 39

Jones, John, J. P., 49

Jones, John, J. P., Cilpyll, 49, 53

Jones, John, J.P., Crynfryn, 49, 50?

Jones, John, Oakhill, 24

Jones, John, Penlannwnws, 29, 56

Jones, John, Tanffynnon (Siaci'r Saer), 38

Jones, John, Ty Newydd, Trefrân, 47

Jones, John, Ystrad, 37

Jones, John Daniel, Mount Pleasant, 54

Jones, John Emlyn, 41, 43

Jones, John Islwyn, Bryngalem, 54

Jones, John Pumpsaint, Sarnau Duon, 33

Jones, John Thomas, Cerygllwydion, 54

Jones, John Thomas, Goitre Villa, 36

Jones, Joseph, Blaencastell, 52

Jones, Joseph Thomas, Cerrygllwydion, 34

Jones, Lodwick, Bwlchgraig, 53

Jones, Mr., Bwlch, 12

Jones, Rees (Rev), Pencarreg, 29

Jones, Rhys, Oakhill, 36, 54

Jones, Richard, 32, 43, 44

Jones, Richard, Goitre Villa, 47

Jones, Robert Lloyd, Persondy, 54

Jones, Stephen, College, 55

Jones, Stephen (curate), 21

Jones, Stephen, Llanon, 41

Jones, Stephen, Pant-yr-ychen, 32

Jones, Stephen, Brynglas, 44

Jones, Stephen, Tynant, 43

Jones, Theophilus, 51

Jones, Thomas, Brynglas, 28, 38, 41, 57

Jones, Thomas, Brynhaidd, 47

Jones, Thomas, Builder, 61, 62

Jones, Thomas / Tom, Cilpyll, 52, 53

Jones, Thomas, Frongoch, 33

Jones, Thomas, Rhydlas, 44

Jones, Thomas, Tynant, 43

Jones, William, Brechfa-fach, 59

Landowners, 50

Lewes, Price (Major), Tyglyn, 51

Lewis, Dr., Meidrin, Llangeitho, 22

Lewis, Enoch, Cilpyll, 55

Lewis, John, 20

Lewis, John, Bwlchgraig, 50

Lewis, Thomas, Felin Giachod, 32

Lewis, William Llywellyn, Cilpyll, 55

Lime, 11, 12

Lloyd, Griffith (Dr), 51

Lloyd, Hugh (Rev), Cilpyll, 19, 21, 22, 25, 28, 41, 59

Lloyd, Howell, Pantcyfyng, 32, 33

Lloyd, John, Pantcyfyng, 55

Lloyd, John Lewis, Aeron Villa, 35

Lloyd, Lady (Bronwydd), 47

Lloyd, Thomas, Persondy, 55

Lloyd, William Jenkyn, Llundain-fach, 53

Lloyd-Edwardes, Tom, Troedrhiw, 37

Lloyd-Williams, Bronwen Agnes, 35

Lloyd-Williams, Dorothy Sylvia, 35

Lloyd-Williams, Ellen Augusta Crawley, 35

Lloyd-Williams, Evangeline Sarah Grace, 35, 57

Lloyd-Williams, James Evan, 44, 55

Lloyd-Williams, John Jordan, 34, 55, 56

Lloyd-Williams, Katherine Georgina, 38

Lloyd-Williams, Letitia Margaret, 36

Lloyd-Williams, Mary, 35

Lluestwen, 29

Llwyd Llundain, 14

Lodwick, John, Pant-y-beudy, 53, 55

Lodwick, Lodwick, 62

Marriage, 10

Mary Penuwch, 10

Mills, 7

Morgan, Benjamin, Goitre Uchaf (Ben the Carpenter), 25, 61

Morgan, Charles, Frongoch, Hafod, 55

Morgan, Dafydd, alias (Bitws Betty), 3

Morgan, Dafydd (Lefi Donc), Tan'rallt-fach, 8

Morgan, David T, 38, 62

Morgan, Dr., Frongoch, 12, 25, 52

Morgan, Evan, Y Gaer, 33

Morgan, Timothy; Pengraig, 5, 6

Morgan, William, Tanfalier, 53

Morris Sweep, 47

New Year's gifts, 14

Oddfellows Club, 18

Owen, Zabeth S., 43

Pant-y-beudy, 19, 25, 28

Parry, John (Vicar), 20

Pencraig-fach, 25

Pens, 8

Penuwch Chapel, 25

Penuwch School, 42

Phillips, Thomas; Ffynnon-goch, 14, 28, 29

Population, 58, 59

Poor, 17

Poor Law, 17

Price, David, Tynewydd, 55

Price, Evan, Tynewydd, 55

Price, John D., 43

Price, John Daniel, Tynewydd, 55

Powell, W. (Rev), 47

Price, Lewis, 44

Pugh, Benjamin, Bryn, 55

Raikes, Robert, 25

Reaping, 15

Rees, David, Pencraig-fach, 32

Rhodri Mawr, 48

Religion, 53, 54

Richard, Edward, Ystrad-meurig, 60

Richards, Mr., Cardigan, 51

Richards, Richard (curate), 21, 39

Roads, 17

Roberts, David, 41

Rogers, Dr., Abermeurig, 6, 37

Rogers, John Edwardes, J. P., 26, 49

Rowlands, Daniel, d. 1731; 19

Rowlands, Daniel (the Revivalist), 19, 20, 28, 56

Rowlands, John, 19, 20, 28

Rowlands, John, Surveyor / Schoolmaster, 40, 42

Rowland(s) (sisters), Goitre, 45

Rowlands, William, Cilpyll, 53

St. Gronw, 24, 48

St. Gwynlleu, 1, 18, 24

Sam the Blacksmith, Cwm Meiarth, 39

Samplers, 13

Shepherds, 15

Shoeing cattle, 14

Shoeing geese, 14

Shoes, 13

Shops, 7

Stephens, Tom Llywelyn, 43

Stipend, 23, 24

Sunday School, 25

Tai unnos, 3

Taverns, 7, 8

Thomas, David, Frondeg, 55

Thomas, John, of Nantcwnlle, 31, 32

Thomas, John (Vicar), 20

Thomas, J. R. (schoolmaster), 43

Thomas, Thomas (curate), 21

Thomas, William (schoolmaster), 36, 43

Threshing, 15

Tollgates, 11, 12

Trebor Mai, 42

Tudwal Cloff, 48

Twm Rhwydau, 46

Twrgwyn, 25

Tyle, 28, 52

Vote, 52

Walters, William, Bwlchgraig, 55

Welsh Not, 42

Williams, B. J., 43

Williams, Cernyw, 26

Williams, David, Cwmpistyll, 55

Williams, Evan, Oakhill, 31

Williams, Evan (Vicar), 23, 26, 28, 41, 53, 56

Williams, Henry (Rev), 30

Williams, H. M. (Rev), 8

Williams, Isaac (Rev), 20, 50

Williams, James Evan, 23, 30

Williams, John (curate), 20

Williams, John, Cwmpistyll, 55

Williams, John, Pengraig, 56

Williams, John, Penllether, 55

Williams, John Lewis (Rev), Parcau, 30

Williams, John Thomas, Bwlchllan, 36, 55

Williams, J. R., 43

Williams, Mary Anne, 26

Williams, Rees (curate, Vicar), 20, 21

Williams, Thomas, Felin-newydd, 25

Williams, Tom, Penlan-cwnlle, 55, 56

Williams, Walter David, 23, 30

Williams, William (Dean of St David's), 24

Williams, William, Penlancwnlle, 44

Wool, 14

Wool-gathering, 10

[Gareth Hicks 26 July 2003]