"PENBRYN (PEN-BRYN), a parish in the lower division of the hundred of TROEDYRAUR, county of CARDIGAN, SOUTH WALES, 8 miles (E. N. E.) from Cardigan, containing 1733 inhabitants. This place derives its name, signifying " the Head of the Hill," from the situation of its church on the summit of an abrupt eminence near the sea, and is sometimes also called Llanvihangel Pen y Bryn from its dedication to St. Michael. The vicinity appears to have been distinguished, at a very early period, as the scene of several of those sanguinary conflicts which took place during the fierce struggles for empire among the rival chieftains of the principality, and the continued efforts of the confederate natives to repel the usurpation of their territories by foreign invaders...." [From Samuel Lewis's A Topographical Dictionary of Wales 1833]



Monumental inscriptions for Penbryn Parish [Sant Mihangel, Bryn Moriah,Glynarthen, Penmorfa, Sarnau Sant Ioan,Tan-y-groes, Tre-saith ] (index only) are available on microfiche from Dyfed FHS


Church History

St John, Sarnau - photograph on Dyfed FHS

St Michael - photograph on Dyfed FHS

Some church and chapel data from The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. Ed. by I.G Jones, & D. Williams. UWP, Cardiff, 1976. The names are those of the informants

  • Llanfihangel Penybryn, commonly called Penbryn Parish Church J Hughes, Vicar

      See Chapels database

      Parish entry from The Welsh Church Year Book, 1929 (Cd by Archive CD Books).

      • St Michael & St John
      • Incumbent and Curates; D D Jones
      • Rural Deanery of Sub Aeron
      • Acreage 8,535 ; Population 1,100

            Price, E T. Tro i Eglwys Penbryn (NLW's site) Ceredigion Vol III


            Church Records

            See Notes on Church/Chapel Records page

            Parish Register;
            Baptisms 1726-1993. Marriages 1726-1987 [Banns 1824-82] and Sarnau/St John 1947-70, 1972-9. Burials 1726-1992 at NLW/Cer.RO
            Copy manuscripts PR[extracts] CMB 1796-1812 NLW
            Bishops Transcripts;
            1678, 1680-3, 1685, 1687-8, 1703, 1799, 1801-3, 1805-11, 1813-18, 1820-63, 1865-6, 1870-4, 1876-7 NLW

            See Bap/Mar/Bur data on FreeReg

            I.G.I; Baptisms 1799-1877

            Nonconformist Chapels; see Chapels database


            Description & Travel

            The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales., by Jones, I.G. & Williams, D. UWP, Cardiff, 1976. These statistics for this parish or chapelry are extracted from this book which in turn got them from the 1851 census itself;

            • Area 8347 acres; Population 748 males, 911 females, total 1659

                  Various landscapes/seascapes  - on the People's Collection Wales site

                  You can see pictures of Penbryn which are provided by:



                  The transcription of the section for Penbryn from The National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.

                  Description of the parish of Penbryn from A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833) by Samuel Lewis.



                  Cardiganshire Families

                  Alderman, Mari. PEREGRINE of Penbryn, CGN. Dyfed FHS journal, 1996. Another problem with Welsh patronymics encountered and solved to show that collateral descendents may take different surnames than the one adopted by an ancestor.

                  Huws, Daniel. The Lewes Family of Abernantbychan (NLW's site) Ceredigion, Vol VI/2 1969.
                  "Those who have rummaged in seventeenth century Cardiganshire history will probably have become vaguely aware of the prominence in the public affairs of the county of the Lewes family of Abernantbychan, later of Coedmor. ......"

                  Jones, F E Llewellyn. Notes on the Jenkins Family of Dyffryn Bern (NLW's site) Ceredigion Vol VI

                  Jones, Francis. Walters of Perthcereint (NLW's site) Ceredigion, journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society, Vol VI/2, 1969. This Walters family was closely associated with the parishes of Penbryn and Betws Ifan.

                  Owens, B G. Benjamin Williams (Gwynionydd) 1821-1891 (NLW's site) Ceredigion Vol V

                  Rees, D Ben. Bywyd a gwaith D O Evans AS (NLW's site) Ceredigion XIV

                  Taylor, Anne Owen. Abernantbychan, [Plas y Glyn], Glynarthen, Penbryn. Cardiganshire FHS journal vol 2/8, June 2001. The story of the Owen(s) family. Also a continuation re Stephen Owen (1869-1933) of Plas Abernantbychan in Cardiganshire FHS journal vol 3/5 June 2003.

                  Taylor, Anne Owen. David Owen Jones (1899-1926) Military Medallist. Cardiganshire FHS journal vol 2/9 Oct 2001

                  Taylor, Anne Owen. Job Oswell Davies (1900-1950), Headmaster Glynarthen C P School, Penbryn parish. Cardiganshire FHS journal, Vol 3/3 Oct 2002



                  " ............ The stone was first recorded in the 1695 edition of Gibson's Camden, where it is vaguely referred to as 'a rude stone in Penbryn parish, not far from the Church'.................."

                  Jenkins, J Geraint. Penbryn Beach (NLW's site) Ceredigion, journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society, Vol IX/4 1983, pages 343/356. This very detailed article covers shipping, fishing, corn milling, malting/brewing, woollen manufacture, Llanborth, education, church and chapel.
                  'In the tranquility of Penbryn Beach today it is difficult to imagine the scale of commercial activity of the past. Transport by sea , before roads and railways, was the most efficient means of carrying goods and people to and from this isolated corner of West Wales, and , from the Middle Ages until the C19, Penbryn Beach was the the scene of great maritime activity. .............'

                  Meyrick, Sir Samuel Rush.(1783-1848) The History and Antiquities of the county of Cardigan. Collected from the few remaining documents which have escaped the ravages of time, as well as from actual observation. Longman: London ,1810. The history and antiquities of the County of Cardigan ... to which are now added a parliamentary history, list of High Sheriffs, some notes on the present county families, &c., &c. repr. Brecon: 1907. This 1907 print has now been reprinted. The section relating to this parish is on pages 208/12; the last 3 incumbents of the church were the Rev Mr David Turnor, the Rev Mr William Holcomb and the Rev Mr Isaac Williams (of Ystrad Teilau). Mentions Llanborth, Abernant Bychan and Dyfryn-Hownant.

                  Saer, D J. The Story of Cardiganshire. (The Welsh Counties Series), published c 1912. Here is an extract relating to this parish submitted by David Pike; (p. 35-6)
                  "The farmers near the coast used seaweed as manure, and they conveyed it to the fields on horseback. It is on record that there were only two wheeled carts in the extensive parish of Penbryn less than 200 years age (ie: circa early 1700s). All the farmers then used sledges for farm work. When wheeled carts came into general use among farmers, about a hundred years ago (ie: circa 1800), the kind of cart adopted was small and heavy. The wheels were 4 ft. 6in. high, and the body of the cart was less than a yard wide, while it was too long for its width. Two horses or two oxen abreast used to draw it. As this cart did not require a wide track, the country roads that were made were very narrow."

                  Walround, J D. The Corbalengi Stone (NLW's site) Ceredigion Vol IV



                  Parish map (Kain/Oliver)

                  You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SN324502 (Lat/Lon: 52.124359, -4.448948), Penbryn which are provided by:


                  Names, Geographical

                  Places, villages, farms etc within Penbryn as shown on the online parish map from the CD of Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. (Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R.). (Extracted by Gareth Hicks)

                  • Penbryn (56); Aber-Bedw; Afon Bedw; Afon Ceri; Afon Dulas; Allt-goch; Allt-y-corde; Bedd Geraint; Blaen-Barre; Blaen-dyffryn; Blaensaith; Brithdir; Bryn-Arthen; Bryn-hinlle; Bryn-Hoffnant; Capel Gwnda; Careg y Ddafad; Careg y Nedwydd; Careg y Ty; Castell; Castell-Nadolig; Castell-pridd; Cefn; Cefn-granod; Cefn-llaethdre; Clos-glas; Crug Coe; Cwm-Bedw; Cwm-bern; Cwm-Coednerth; Cwm-rhaffau; Dyffryn-bern; Esgair-eithin; Ffynnon Ddaunol; Gilfach; Glan-Ceri; Glan-Dulas; Glan-dwr; Glasgoed; Glyn-Arthen; Hendraws; Hoffnant; Llain; Morfa; Nant-goch; Nant-y-Brenni; North; Pant-gwyn; Pant-y-gronw; Pant-yr-holiad; Penbryn (village); Pen-lan; Pen Rhip; Pen-y-caeau; Pen-y-foel; Pen-y-gaer; Pen-y-rhiw; Perth-y-gopa; Pwll-glas; Rhipin-llwyd; Rhyd-lwyd; Sarnau; Tan-y-groes; Traeth Penbryn; Traeth-saith; Ty-hen; Waun-fawr;

                      Public Records

                      Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

                      • Penbryn Parish Council and Community Council Records 1842-1994

                      This page has been partly compiled from material previously published in their journal
                      by kind permission of Cardiganshire Family History Society