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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.

Nonconformity and Methodism

Independents, 1687-1715

"Thus William Evans stands before us as an active, well informed, resourceful, eminently practical person, set free by the Toleration Act for the most varied and fruitful enterprises, whether reading with his group of students at the seminary, or preaching under a widespread oak at Llanddarog, or making his way to Pencader with a bundle of his own translation of the Assembly's Catechism on his saddle..."

Calvinistic Methodism

"...........followed the lead of the influential David Griffiths of Nevern in leaving the Connexion as a protest against the ordination of that year (1811)..............So did one Methodist clergyman within the county itself--- John Davies, a Llanddarog man, who had ben curate of Cynwyl Elfed but had afterwards removed to Abernant and had built the Methodists a chapel at Banc-y-felin..."

A list of early exhorters in Carmarthenshire has the following;

  • Rd Wm David (Llandyfaelog, Cil y Carw, Llanddarog), 1743

The Older Dissent; Expansion and Organisation

"............subject to these cautions we reckon that there were in 1715 seventeen Presbyterian or Independent churches (in Carmarthenshire);.............................including Capel Seion (Llanddarog).... etc"

The Lists of Dr John Evans (1714+)

"Nearer time to the Lists are the numbers of Dissenters in the various parishes as supplied by by Archdeacon Tenison in the Visitation of 1710.............when his numbers are added up, allowing them the most favourable interpretation by accepting the highest of his alternative figures, he is found to admit that there were over 1200 Nonconformists in his archdeaconry...............impossibilities begin...............It is next to impossible that the Independent cause at Llanddarog, definitely formed into a separate church in 1712-14, should have 500 hearers in 1715, more by 100 than either Panteg or Mynyddd Bach............"

".........other men made prominent by the lists....................Christossus Lewis had hardly appeared at Llanddarog before he removed to Radnorshire........"

"............Samuel Jones of Pentwyn, in Llannon, who kept a well known minor academy there whilst supervising the flocks of Llanddarog and Lletyhawddgar--- both as teacher and as preacher he was accused of unduly acclimatising his hearers to the pliable, unattractive doctrine of general redemption...."

Economic and Social Life


In the C17 and C18 enclosures and encroachments  were made both secretly and openly, usually by the process of squatting on unclaimed waste and common land.

".............while David Vaughan had discovered another profitable method of transacting business with his tenants on the basis of leasing common of pasture. Prior to his advent to Llanddarog parish, many of the tenants had held lands from the family of the Donnes, and had been permitted to pasture their cattle on the neighbouring waste without paying rent. Vaughan bought the property, and, claiming the waste as part of the purchased estate, imposed on the tenants a rent of 13/4d for their use of it...".

Turnpikes and lime kilns

"In the C18 and early C19 lime remained the most popular  and cheapest manure, in the words of one visitor " the Welsh seem to know the use and value of lime better than the English "[Mavor]. Carmarthenshire was fortunate in its abundance of lime, there were kilns dotted all over the countryside.......................................In 1792 a Turnpike Trust was created to alter, improve and maintain the road from Golden Grove Park in the parish of Llandeilo Fawr to the turnpike road which led from Llandilo Bridge to the lime kilns at Llanddarog."

William Egwad

".............another 15th century poet of high standing in his day,...........his name suggests that he was connected with Llanegwad; more definite information is supplied in Iorwerth Fynglwyd's elegy .............which speaks of him being of 'good blood', and mentions Llanddarog as the place of his burial...."

High Sheriffs of Carmarthenshire, 1541-1900


  • 1844, Rawleigh Addenbrooke Mansel of Llanddarog

History of the Church in the County

Puritan Domination, a period of depression

From the Subscription book of Bishop Watson (1690s ?);

"..........The vicar of Llanddarog had no other benefice or cure, and administered the Communion frequently. There were no Dissenters and no Papists. The 'minister' conducted a school........"

Boundaries and Local Divisions

In early medieval terms Carmarthenshire was made up of  Ystrad Tywi [without Gower], Emlyn Uch Cuch and Y Cantref Gwarthaf[without Efelffre]. At some point pre the Norman conquest  Ystrad Tywi itself was divided into Y Cantref Mawr and Y Cantref Bychan.
About the time of the Norman conquest, Cantref Bychan was divided into three commotes, Hirfryn, Perfedd and Is Cennen. The latter stretched along the south  bank of the Towy and was made up of the parishes of Llanddarog, Llanarthney, Llanfihangel Aberbythych, Llandybie and Betws, with the townships of Glyn Aman, Bryn y Beirdd, Pentre Cwn, Trecastell and Tregib, in the parish of Llandilo......"

The Later Middle Ages

Iscennen---The Commote

"Near the castle of Carregcennen were the demesne lands of the maerdref of its former arglwydd.........the commote west and south of the demesne and forest lands was divided into maenors. Maenors Vouwen and Gryngar, bordering on Kidwelly commote, corresponded roughly to the ancient ecclesiastical parishes of Llanarthney and Llanddarog;  Maenors Llys and Methennich to Llanfihangel Aberbythych and Llandybie; and, 'between Amman River and the lordship of Gower, bounded by Cathau brook and Lle'r Castell' was Maenor Bettws or Stryveland."

Prehistoric and Roman Times

List of Carmarthenshire Hill Forts

Slight traces indicate the possible former existence of a hill fort with earthen ramparts at the following sites;

  • Cae'r Gaer, Llanddarog

Gareth Hicks