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KIDWELLY

In 1868, the parish of Kidwelly contained the following places:

"KIDWELLY, (or Cydweli), a parish, market town, and ancient borough in the hundred of Kidwelly, in the county Carmarthen, 10 miles S. of Carmarthen, and 234¼ from London by the Great Western and South Wales railways, on which latter it is a station. It is situated in Carmarthen Bay, on the river Gwendraethfechan, and the Pembrey canal, which runs down from Pont Yates to the harbour. It contains the village of Kiffsthy and the decayed port and borough of Kidwelly, which formerly enjoyed some prosperity, but is now almost decayed, owing to the port having become sanded up. It is an excise collection for South Wales, and has a small export trade. Its population in 1851 was 1,563, and in 1861 1,654. It is governed by a mayor, 12 aldermen, and 12 councillors. The town is irregularly laid out, and contains several old houses, which appear to date as early as Edward I. and Edward III., built after the Flemish style. It contains a townhall, the ruins of an old gateway, and the remains of a castle, situated on the right bank of the river; this last was originally built by Maurice de Londres before 1113, and taken several times during the 12th and 13th centuries. Though a ruin, it is tolerably perfect, the towers, gateway, and chapel being still in good condition, with the exception of one tower, which has fallen. It is held, together with the honour, by Earl Cawdor, who inherited it through the Vaughans. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in the tin works and in the coasting trade. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of St. David's, value £120. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is situated in New Kidwelly, and belonged to the Benedictine priory, founded in 1130 by Bishop Roger as a cell to Sherborne Abbey. It is a cruciform building, with a tower and spire 165 feet high, and has been recently new-roofed. In the interior are some mutilated effigies, and in a niche over the doorway an original statue of the Virgin and Child. There are three chapels for Protestant Dissenters, and a National school. Market day is Friday. Fairs are held on the 24th May, 1st August, and 29th October.

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2018