See Kain maps for details of the boundaries shown above

"KIDWELLY, or CYDWELI, an incorporated market town, and a parish, having a separate jurisdiction, locally in the hundred of Kidwelly, county of CARMARTHEN, SOUTH WALES, 9 miles (S. by E.) from Carmarthen, and 225 (W.) from London, containing 1681 inhabitants. . . This is a place of great antiquity . . . The town occupies a low and uninteresting situation on the banks of the Gwendraeth Vach, or Lesser Gwendraeth river, which divides it into two portions, called respectively the Old and the New Town, the former of which, situated on the Western side, is connected with the latter by a handsome bridge. . . The Old Town, which was formerly surrounded by walls, having three gates . . . now consists, with few exceptions, merely of hovels; and the New Town contains very few respectable dwelling houses, the majority being thatched cottages of very inferior appearance. The air is salubrious, and the place is considered very healthy; but the importance which it formerly derived from its position on a fine navigable river . . . has ceased with the obstruction of this navigation . . . The present remains of [Kidwelly Castle] occupy a bold rocky eminence on the western side of the Gwendraeth Vach, and are in a more perfect state of preservation than any other of a similar character in the principality." [From A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (S. Lewis, 1833).]



Lloyd, Thomas. Evan Andrews of Kidwelly (1803-1869): scholar, schoolmaster and playwright. Sir Gâr (1991), p. 227-38

Business & Commerce Records

Interesting items from the Kidwelly Industrial Museum - on the People's Collection Wales site



An index to the Kidwelly 1851 census is available for purchase from CMN FHS


Church History

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

  • Kidwelly Parish Church
    "Remarks: [MS torn] . . . Lords day in this Town is but very little regarded as a day for spiritual worship [pub] lick houses are allowed to be open, and frequented during Divine Service. Publick [hou]ses are very numerous in this place, and even the Town Clerk keeps a . . . publick house. Often times on the Lord's day we are not only hear cursing and . . . once swearing in our streets, but frequently we see most brutal fighting, and . . . [n]otice taken thereof by the authority of the Town. This is the cause why places [of wor]ship are so little frequented and religion so little appreciated and professed at Kidwelly." Thomas Griffiths, Vicar
  • Bethesda WM Erected in 1816 Two returns, one subitted by Benjamin Williams, Tyisha, Pembrey and the other by Joseph Jones, Wesleyan Minister
  • Capel Newydd CM Erected in 1830 David John, Elder, Shoemaker, Lady St, Kidwelly
  • Capel Sul Ind Erected in 1787, re-erected and enlarged 1831 "There are many attending this place of worship from the adjoining parishes of St Ismael and Llandevilog and Pembrey" David Jones, Minister
  • Siloam Baptist Erected in 1821 John Evans, Deacon, Cordwainer, Bridge St
  • Horeb CM Erected in 1841 David Evans, Mynyth (sic) y Garreg

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

  • St Mary & St Teilo
  • Incumbent and Curates; D A Jones (H Ponsford)
  • Rural Deanery of Kidwelly
  • Acreage 2,844 ; Population 3,475

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data re The Priory Church of St Mary, Kidwelly

Various items - on the People's Collection Wales site

  • Kidwelly - St Mary's Church
  • Kidwelly Castle Chapel
  • Morfa Calvinistic Methodist Chapel: Officers and Elders

Hughes, William Eric Vaughan. Saint Teilo's Church Mynydd-y-Garreg, 1893-1993: a story of a church, a village and its people. Kidwelly: Eric Hughes, 1993. 98p: ill, facsims, plan, ports; 22cm.

Jenkins, W.C. Hanes yr achos Annibynol yn Cydweli, yn nghyd ag anerchiad a draddodwyd i eglwysi Capel Sul a Sardis, Tachwedd 6ed, 1892: gydag ychwanegiad o hanes yr eglwysi oddi ar hyny hyd yn awr - Mehefin 1894. (Llanelli, 1894), 12p.

Tucker, J.E. John Davies of Kidwelly, 1627?-1693, translator from the French; with an annotated bibliography of his translations, The papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol. 44, 2d quarter, (1950) pp.119-152.

Williams, Glanmor. Kidwelly Priory. Sir Gar (1991), p. 189-204


Church Records

St. Mary, Kidwelly - photograph and basic information from Dyfed FHS

Parish registers: Christenings (1626-1809, 1813-1962), Marriages (1626-1971), Banns (1754-1809, 1823-71) and Burials (1626-1809, 1813-1947) are at the Carmarthenshire Record Office.

Copy ts index C 1813-1923 M 1628-1971 B 1813-1947 at NLW and Carm.RO

Bishops' Transcripts, covering the period (1672, 1677-8, 1681-4, 1686-7, 1690-1, 1693-6, 1699, 1705, 1715, 1717-21, 1724-5, 1727-33, 1735, 1737-59, 1761-80, 1782-1800, 1802-82, 1884-5) are at the National Library of Wales.

Church christenings (1813-1875 - from the BTs) and marriages (1627-1753, 1813-37) have been entered into the IGI.

Marriage index for this parish - see Dyfed Marriages, 1813-1837, Vol. 16 - Kidwelly Hundred (Dyfed Family History Society, c1989).

An index to Marriages (1740-1837) is included in the South And West Wales Genealogical Index CD-ROM - details under Genealogy on Carmarthenshire county page.

See Bap/Mar/Bur data on FreeReg

Nonconformist Chapels:

  • Siloam (Baptist, 1796), New ST/Castle Rd, Kidwelly town Subscriptions (1900) NLW Ms 1479; and see Salem (St. Ishmaels's) SN4079307046 Built 1821, rebuilt 1892/3 Still open 1998 Coflein On Dyfed FHS
  • Horeb (Calvinistic Methodist, 1841), Horeb Rd, Mynnydd-y-garreg SN42900859 Built 1841; rebuilt/modified 1863, 1873, 1877 & 1938 Coflein Horeb Mynydd-y-Garreg CM chapel is still open in 2006
  • Horeb Sunday School, Horeb Rd, Kidwelly (denomination?) SN42860856 Built in the Late 20th c style, Not still open 2000 Coflein
  • Morfa (Calvinistic Methodist, 1742), Morfa Lane, Kidwelly town SN4065106749 Built in 1830, rebuilt in 1907 Coflein Morfa CM chapel, Heol-y-bont is still open in 2006
  • 1. Capel Sul (Independent, c1780), Bridge St, Kidwelly town On Dyfed FHS SN4069106812 Built in 1862 as Rumsey House, in 1924-6 it was converted into a chapel. The chapel is above the schoolroom. Still open 2002 Coflein Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)
  • 2. Capel Sul Welsh Independent chapel, Ferry Rd, Kidwelly Births and baptisms (1788-1918) and deeds (1794) Carmarthenshire R.O. Ms 6359; members (1932-56) and cash book (1867-86) Carmarthenshire R.O. Ms 6374 SN4054707284 Built 1787, rebuilt and enlarged in 1832. Replaced by a new chapel c. 1926 (see above). Demolished by 2000 Coflein
    Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for this chapel (in Welsh ) - with translation by Gareth Hicks (Oct 2008)
  • Gwendraeth Independent chapel, Priory St, Kidwelly (Apostolic church) SN4137506979 Built 1869. Still open 1997 Coflein
  • Soar Independent chapel, Meinciau Rd, Mynyddygarreg, Kidwelly SN43630833 1. Chapel built 1890 Still open 1998 2. Chapel with date plaques of 1869 and 1929 on the front elevation, no longer in use as a chapel in 2004. Coflein See Capeli (2005 list of chapels under threat)
  • Bethesda (Wesleyan Methodist, 1816), Castle St, Kidwelly town Records with those of Ebenezer (Carmarthen) SN4085907000 Built 1816; rebuilt/modified 1832 & 1895 Coflein
  • Trinity English Wesleyan Methodist, Bridge St, Kidwelly SN4066006877 Built 1866 Still open 2000 Coflein On Dyfed FHS

Description & Travel

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

  • St Mary Within; Area 2637 acres; Population 640 males, 715 females, total 1355
  • St Mary Without; Area 2533 acres; Population 132 males, 16[161?] females, total 293

Kidwelly Castle - on Castle Wales

Various landscapes - on the People's Collection Wales site

Kidwelly Castle - on Wikipedia

"Wendraeth, or Gwen-draeth, from gwen, white, and traeth, the sandy beach of the sea. There are two rivers of this name, Gwendraeth fawr, and Gwendraeth fychan, the great and the little Gwendraeth, of which Leland thus speaks;' Vendraeth Vawr and Vendraith Vehan risith both in Eskenning commote; the lesse an eight milys of from Kydwelli; the other about a ten, and hath but a little nesche of sand betwixt the places wher thei go into the se, about a mile beneth the towne of Kidwely.' Cydweli was probably so called from cyd, a junction, and wyl, a flow, or gushing out, being situated near the junction of the rivers Gwendraeth fawr and fychan....."
The Itinerary Through Wales and The Description of Wales by Giraldus Cambrensis (1188). The text is that of Sir Richard Colt Hoare who published an English translation in 1806, chiefly from the texts of Camden and Wharton . This extract is from the foot-notes in the Everyman's Library edition, (ed. Ernest Rhys) 1908.

Pike, L.E. Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire: the official guide, Home Publishing Co (1958) 18 p.
You can see pictures of Kidwelly which are provided by:



Hunt, E.C. Directory and Topography for the Cities of Gloucester and Bristol: and the towns of Carmarthen, Kidwelly, Laugharne, Llanelly, and St. Clears [etc.]., London, B.W. Gardiner (1849) iv, 558 p.

Pigot & Co. South Wales Directory for 1830. Here are Extracts relating to Kidwelly

Pigot & Co. South Wales Directory for 1844. Here are Extracts relating to Kidwelly and Neighbourhood



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



John Williams, Shoemaker and Alderman of the Borough of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire - contributed by Gail Thomas

Carmarthenshire Families

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

  • Mansel deeds and documents 1582-1854 "The Mansel family came to Muddlescwm in the parish of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, when Anthony and Francis (d. 1628), two sons of Sir Edward Mansel, married Mary and Catherine, the co-heirs of Muddlescombe.................."
  • Thomas Parker Papers "Papers relating to Thomas Parker and his estate in Kidwelly, 1761-1818..........."

O'Driscoll, Jean. Life and the Anthonys [of Kidwelly]. Dyfed FHS Journal, 6 (Dec 1997) p.68.

Randell, D F. Sailing with the Randell Family 1797-1910 . Dyfed FHS journal Vol 7/4 April 2001. "The Randell family of Kidwelly and later Pembrey over four generations from 1797 and until 1910 contributed much to the sailing lore of the Carmarthenshire coast...." A related site is The Randells of Clovelly, Kidwelly and Pembrey



Various items - on the People's Collection Wales site

  • Kidwelly Castle, numerous
  • Kidwelly Castle & Bridge
  • Kidwelly Charters 1886 & 1885
  • Kidwelly Slaughter House
  • Causeway Street, Kidwelly (Children playing)
  • The only existing sluice gate at Kidwelly Quay, there were two when the quay was used the the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Kidwelly Town nd
  • Identity card (Byron Hughes) 1947
  • Colour transparency showing the Town Gatehouse, Kidwelly, produced by Iain Wright, June 2004.
  • 35mm colour slide of Kidwelly Quay and Canal, Kymers Canal, Carmarthenshire
  • Letter from the Public Works Loan Commissioners to William Chambers, 27 February 1845 in respect of the Kidwelly (Loughor Bridge) Trust
  • Point Coupon Book 1940s
  • Ration Book 1941
  • Clothing Book 1940s

Kidwelly Borough - April 1847, A Statement Relating to the former and present condition of the Borough and to the personal character and Mal-administration of the Judicial and Corporate authorities.
Contributed by Brian Randell. The Appendix contains what is described as "a list of the present members of the self-elective Corporate Council of Kidwelly with notice of their qualifications, habits and pursuits in life"

Here is the late Jeff Mansell's impressive Kidwelly site containing details of Charters; Mayors; Images of Castles, Churches and Streets; Lordship map; Ministers' Accounts ; Rentals; Surveys.

Brown, Roger Lee. A home and an income: aspects of the 19th century parish of Kidwelly. Carmarthenshire Antiquary 32 (1996), p. 66-70

Castle Street Museum (Kidwelly) Around Kidwelly, then and now. [Kidwelly]: Castle Street Museum, [1989] 46p: ill; 21cm.

Clark, G.T. A description and history of Kidwelly castle, Caermarthenshire, London,W.Pickering (1851) 32 p.

Evans, G., "Carmarthenshire Gleanings (Kidwelly)," Y Cymmrodor: The Magazine of the Honorable Society of Cymmrodorion, vol. 25, pp.92-125, 1915. [Has chapters on (i) Sanctuary Lands in Kidwelly, (ii) Survival of Medieval Customs in Kidwelly, and (iii) Llansaint, Ecclesia Omnium Sanctorum and Hawkin Church. In addition there are Appendices listing (A) Chief Rent Roll of Kidwelly, 1753, (B) Town Rent Roll (very late 18th century), (C) Mayors, Recorders, Chief Stewards, and Town Clerks of Kidwelly (1618-1914), together with a List of English Mariners who became Burgesses of Kidwelly in the Eighteenth Century.]

Hughes, W.E.V. Kidwelly, History, Legends and Folklore, Kidwelly, Eric Hughes (1999) 98 p. Here is an Index by Brian Randell.

Jones, D.D.. A History of Kidwelly, Carmarthen, W. Spurrell & Son, 1908. [Contains chapters on the commercial scene, and on local notables, as well as several on the early history of the town and the church.].[LDS GS 942.98/K1 H2j]

Kenyon, J.R. Kidwelly Castle, Cardiff, Cadw (1990) 40 p., ill., col. facsims., col. maps, plans (some col.); [ISBN: 0948329483 (pbk)]

Lloyd, Sir John E., (Ed.). A History of Carmarthenshire (2 vols.), Cardiff, London Carmarthenshire Society (1935, 1939). Extracts from this book can be accessed on some parish pages, see here for this parish.

Ludlow, N. D. The first Kidwelly tinplate works: an archaeological and technological history. Sir Gar (1991), p. 79-100

Morris, W.H. Walking The Boundary - Borough of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire Antiquary, vol. 3, no. 1, (1959) pp.111-113. [An account of the occasion in 1863 when the mayor, alderman and burgesses walked the boundary - giving a list of those involved.]

Morris, W. H. Kidwelly tinplate works: a history. Kidwelly: Kidwelly Heritage Trust, 1987. 34p: ill(some col), plans, ports; 30cm.

Nicholl, L.D. The Normans in Glamorgan, Gower & Kidweli, Cardiff, William Lewis (printers) (1936) xvii, 207 p.

Radford, Courtenay Arthur Ralegh. Kidwelly castle, Carmarthenshire. London: H. M. Stationery off., 1933. 16 p: front., pl., fold. plans; 22 cm.

Williams, D. The Borough of Kidwelly in the 19th Century, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, vol. 17, no. 3, (1955) pp.199-207. [A fascinating account.]

W.H. Kidwelly and its Environs. In The Red Dragon, Vol. 7, pp.141-148, Cardiff, D. Owen and Co., (1885). [General account of the history of Kidwelly.]

Around Kidwelly, Then and Now, Kidwelly, Castle Street Museum (1989). [A 48-page popular booklet, with a number of interesting little articles about Kidwelly's history]


    Land & Property

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

    • Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Collection of Deeds "Deeds, 1609-1873, mostly relating to lands in Carmarthenshire, including .........; records of the Commissioners of the Kidwelly and Llanelli Canal and Tramroad Act, 1813-1834; .............."
    • Muddlescombe Estate Records 1200-1696 "Deeds, with a very few papers, 1287-1696, relating to the Muddlescwm estate in Carmarthenshire, especially in the Kidwelly and Pembrey area, and in Cheriton and Llanrhidian in Glamorgan."

    Documents at the National Library of Wales:

    • Papers of, and concerning, Thomas Parker (1761-c1818) and Louisa, his wife (died c1833), of Kidwelly, relating mainly to property in Kidwelly and to the Allihies copper mine in co. Cork, Ireland, 1698-1844.
    • Records from the office of W. Evans-George & Sons, solicitors, Newcastle Emlyn; mainly relating to the Brigstocke family of Kidwelly and Llechdynny, Carmarthenshire, and Blaenpant, Cardiganshire, 1496-1910.


    Plan of the parish of Kidwelly, including St Mary in the borough of Kidwelly and the hamlet of Cydblwyf in the parish of Llandefeilog, all in the County of Carmarthen - on the People's Collection Wales site

    parish map

    You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SN417081 (Lat/Lon: 51.74953, -4.294538), Kidwelly which are provided by:


    Merchant Marine

    Morris, W.H. The Port of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire Antiquary, vol. 26, (1990) pp.13-18.

    Military History

    Various items - on the People's Collection Wales site

    • Dunkirk Veterans
    • An article from the South Wales Weekly Post about the death of Charles Morland from Kidwelly during The First World War.

    Names, Geographical

    Places, villages, farms etc within Kidwelly 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)

    • Kidwelly Park (80); Allt-Cunedda; Bont; Brick Works; Bridge; GWR; Goetre; Llech Dwnny; Morfa Bach; Mynydd y Gareg; Nimpwll; Parc-gwyn; Parc y mynydd; Pen-allt; Pentre; Quarry; Wenallt
    • St Mary in the Borough (81); Castle; Dinas Works; Garddau; Gareg; Gas Wks.; Gateway; Gwendraeth Valley Ry.; Kidwelly (town); Muddles-cwm; Mynydd y Gareg; Pen-lan-isaf; Quarry; Resr.; Rogerlay; Tin Plate Works; Wenallt

    Names, Personal

    Transcript and Index of Mayors 1618-1843, 1892-1920, Burgesses 1631-1843, Serjeants at Mace 1657-1834, Common Council & Aldermen 1618-1837 of Kidwelly, Carmarthen, Typescript, Merlin Indexing Companions (1994).


    Various items -  on the People's Collection Wales site

    • Photograph of Kidwelly Tinplateworks, managers and supervisors . Also one of Tinhouse men/ Female workers. Also numerous others
    • Farm workers in Mynydd y Garreg/ Kidwelly area
    • T.P. Thomas  - Fruiter in Station Road, Kidwelly
    • Road workers gang from Mynydd Y Garreg/Kidwelly area
    • Paris House, Bridge Street, Kidwelly [shop]
    • Men working on Kidwelly Castle c.1920
    • M.C. Morgan/ Roberts Boot Stores, 36 Lady Street, Kidwelly. Receipt, 1956
    • Peter Perego's Ice Cream Cafe

    Kidwelly and Burry Port Railway - on the Railscot site

    Kidwelly Signal Box - on the Signal Box site

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

    • Kidwelly Tinworks Photograph c 1900 "Kidwelly Tinworks, Carmarthenshire, was established in 1737. Production ceased there in 1941."
    • Kidwelly Tinplate Works 1904-1947 "In 1737 what came to be known as the Lower Works at Kidwelly [Cedweli] was founded by Charles Gwynn. He built the tin works on an area of land known as Bank Broadford on the eastern bank of the River Gwendraeth Fach, 1 km north of the town of Kidwelly ........."

    Evans, Muriel Bowen. An Industrial workforce - Kidwelly tin works 1881. The Carmarthenshire Antiquary XXII (1986) pp.51-58. [Contains lists of employees in 1871 and 1881]

    Jones, J.F. Kidwelly Borough Police Force, Carmarthenshire Antiquary, vol. 4, no. 1 and 2, (1962) pp.152-159.

    Morris, W.H. Kidwelly Inns and Publicans in 1836, The Carmarthen Antiquary, vol. 4, no. 1 and 2, (1962) pp.90.

    Morris, W H. The Canals of the Gwendraeth Valley (part 1). The Carmarthenshire Antiquary. 1970, Vol vi


    Public Records

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

    • Kidwelly Borough Council records 1893-[1970s]
    • Kidwelly Town Council records 1886-1970 "Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, was a medieval borough. It was re-incorporated as a Borough Council in 1893; Kidwelly Town Council was created at the same time, with responsibility for housing, valuation and rates."

    Held at Carmarthen Archives;

    • List of mayors, burgesses, sergeants-at-mace, common councillors & aldermen for Cydweli Borough, 1618-1920.


    Various items - on the People's Collection Wales site

    • Kidwelly National School (The Green School)
    • National School (The Green School) Kidwelly group
    • Hillfield School, Cydweli group

    Social Life & Customs

    Various items - on the People's Collection Wales site

    • Mynyddygarreg Silver Band magazine, Yr Utgorn
    • Parade on Pinged Hill
    • The Scouts in a parade on Pinged Hill, Kidwelly
    • Scouts party at St Mary's Church
    • Parade in St. Mary's church
    • Kidwelly R.F.C. nd
    • Kidwelly Cricket Players nd
    • Kidwelly Women's Institute
    • Centenary Banquet: Kidwelly Rugby Football Club 1979
    • Kidwelly Glee Society 1906
    • Children from Siloam Chapel, Kidwelly at Christmas party
    • Notice of a Marriage Bidding in 1846 in Kidwelly
    • Siloam Chapel, Kidwelly 1950 concert
    • Charleton cinema, Pinged Street, now called Causeway Street