A History of Carmarthenshire


Lloyd, Sir John E., (Ed.). 2 vols., Cardiff, London Carmarthenshire Society (1935, 1939).

With the kind permission of the publishers sundry snippets from this book have been extracted by Gareth Hicks onto some parish pages, these below are in random order.

Here is a list of the book's contents and contributors.

James Howell --- 17th century  writer

Two Carmarthenshire men attained considerable repute as writers in the 17th century, viz., James Howell and John Davies(Kidwelly). James Howell was born at Abernant, or possibly Llangamarch, and at the age of sixteen proceeded , in 1610, to Jesus College, Oxford, of which college he later became a fellow.  He was elected member of parliament for Richmond, Yorkshire, in 1627........................in 1643 his manuscripts and correspondence were confiscated, and he was thrown into Fleet Prison........for eight years........in which period saw the publication of his famous Epistolae Ho-Elianae........ During the Protectorate he devoted himself to the interests of Cromwell.....managed later to secure the favour of Charles II, who made him Historiographer Royal. he died in 1666 and was buried in the Temple Church where his monument is still to be seen. (DNB)

Nonconformity and Methodism

This item appears in a section of the chapter about Methodism in the county----particularly  an examination of possible reasons for a fall in numbers of members in the 18th century.

'Superintendents in early Methodist days habitually erred on the side of severity; admissions were stringently limited, expulsion a weapon only too ready to hand, as a young woman at Abernant found out in 1748 when she married "outside the society" '

History of the Church in the County

Puritan Domination; a Period of Depression

"........in addition to the commissioners, twenty five Puritan ministers, or 'approvers' ,were selected......these 'approvers, or any five of them, were responsible for the filling of the churches ordered vacant by the Commissioners. Carmarthenshire again had not a single representative among the approvers. The clergy were ejected from the following parishes.............Abernant etc...."

Medieval boundaries

The western limb of Carmarthenshire belonged to the ancient kingdom of Dyfed, as opposed to  the adjacent Ystrad Tywi. One of the seven cantrefs of Dyfed was Y Cantref Gwarthaf, signifying  the 'topmost' division of the realm, i.e the one furthest from the governmental base. The size of Cantref Gwarthaf in Dyfed is shown by its containing the unusually large number of eight commotes, viz., Elfed, Derllys, Penrhyn, Ystlwyf, Talacharn, Amgoed, Peuliniog, and Efelffre, all of which except the last are now in Carmarthenshire. The data for fixing their boundaries is not so conclusive as up until this point, six of the eight commotes were merged under Henry VIII in the hundred of Derllys and the thorough Norman settlement of most of this region previously makes it difficult to disentangle the ancient areas.

Elfed alone appears to be a simple case; when the parishes which belong to Emlyn and Widigada have been detached, the rest of the hundred of Elfed stands out clearly as representative of the original commote. The parishes left are Cynwyl Elfed, Newchurch, or Llan Newydd, Carmarthen, Merthyr, Abernant and Trelech a'r Betws...............

Church of Abernant

In the time of the last Llewelyn, one Maredudd ap Richard is said to have attacked the town and priory of  Carmarthen, but in 1290 to have atoned for his crime by granting the Priory the Church of Abernant and the Chapel of Cynwyl, with its sanctuary extending from Fonanwen (Ffynonwen) to Henllan Brook and through Pencarn to the great road leading towards Talyfan, three acres of land in Havodgadau on the Cynwyn and an acre of glebe land in the cemetery of the Church.

Hill fort ?

Slight traces indicate the possible former existence of a hill fort with earthen ramparts at the following sites..................Penygaer, Abernant.....................

Prehistoric and Roman Times

In the chapter 'Prehistoric and Roman Times',  a schedule of finds include;

"Pant y Cendy (Abernant), 'In repairing the road', 'Roman urn' containing ashes. (RCAM, 36)

"Pottery finds --- possibly Bronze Age; --- 'Cinerary urn - Roman'. Pant-y-cendy, Abernant (RCAM, 30)

Gareth Hicks