A History of Carmarthenshire


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

Early Puritanism, 1620-1660

In the context of Puritan domination and a London Committee for Plundered Ministers is mentioned....

"Four others were directly appointed by the Upper House, which was then composed of the few lords who had refused to follow the king to the wars.............the four were................Hugh Edwards, vicar of Llangadock and Llanddeusant...........the other three (including Edwards) lay snugly in their livings until 1660 and then promptly conformed............Hugh Edwards in September 1661 subscribed as a free gift to the restored king no less than £15................As far as is known all were good men but not one of them, though each had to take the Covenant and prove satisfactory to the devines of the Westminster Assembly, had the slightest claim on the name Puritan. The Lords, again, had been thoroughly deluded by the reports sent up by the Carmarthenshire committee."

The census of 1676

"The census was ordered early in 1676 by Archbishop Sheldon, who wanted to know ...the most accurate numbers available of the inhabitants , Popish recusants, and other Dissenters respectively in every parish in his province...........nor does the census disappoint those who believe that Nonconformity could never be flourishing in those parishes served by the feckless five Anglicans who managed to throw dust into the eyes of the Puritan office-holders between 1645 and 1649............Llangadock was an excellent example, where Hugh Edwards, for all his friendship with Simon Hughes and his assistance to the latter in bringing out the Welsh New Testament of 1672, was an abhorrer of conventicles (say his wardens in 1684), and saw to it that no conventicles were found in either Llangadock or Llanddeusant in 1676. He ministered in great peace and plenty to 1,348 conformists from his vicarage of four hearths at Llanddeusant......"

Calvinistic Methodism

"Somehow the county (Carmarthenshire) has been concerned in an unusually large number of important steps in the constitutional history of Welsh Calvinistic Methodism; within it, at Llanddeusant, on February 1st 1743, met what is generally regarded as the first 'Monthly Meeting' (or Presbytery, as more modern terminology has it), in the history of the Connexion..."

"The movement reached the county from the north.........in a block of eight parishes stretching from Llan y Crwys to Llanddeusant.......the number of Methodist communicants rose to nearly 43% of the Nonconformist total of membership..............In four of the eight (Caeo, Cil y Cwm, Llandingad, Llanddeusant) the Methodists (in respect of the number of communicants) were the largest Nonconformist body; in Cil y Cwm and Llanddeusant they were in an absolute majority."

"Methodism crossed the border from Llangeitho, along Roman causeway and drovers' tracks, and its roots are still deepest along the head-waters of the Towy and Cothi; it is no mere coincidence that the two oldest Methodist chapels in the county are there. Yet as the Llanddeusant figures hint, we must not disregard Howell Harris's great rides from Trevecka --- either traversing the southern spurs of the Epynt, along a line dotted with hearths of Methodism, to the Bran and the Upper Towy; or keeping south of Brecon, past Brychgoed and along the old mountain road to Llanddeusant, whence he could turn at will to Carmarthen, or Swansea, or to Neath...."

"Some two dozen Carmarthenshire exhorters of the early period are known to us by name, but most are mere names. We may single out three here; Jeffrey David of Rhiwiau in Llanddeusant (affectionately known to Howell Harris as 'Jeff')" ..........................A list of (less well known) early exhorters in Carmarthenshire includes;

  • John Jones (Caeo, 1743, later at Llanddeusant, Llannon, Penbre)

"The greater number of societies in Carmarthenshire were under Daniel Rowland as Moderator, with William Williams as coadjutor........................outside Rowland's diocese.................Llanddeusant was supervised, along with South Breconshire, by Morgan John Lewis of Monmouthshire...."

"We now resume the general story. A lull in building follows 1771, but (as among the Dissenters at about the same period) a vigorous chapel building period marks the last twelve years of the century; ..........Twyn Llanan, Llanddeusant, in 1795....."

Concluding Remarks

"'Revivals' were no longer the hallmark of any one religious body --- the Revival of 1828, for example, is indiscriminately associated in popular parlance with the Independent chapel of Capel Isaac and with the Methodist at Llanddeusant....."

Economic and Social Life

The Development of Communications; Highways

"Lord Ashburnham, who visited Carmarthenshire in 1687 to survey his estates in the neighbourhood of Pembrey and Llanddeusant, complains very bitterly in his diary of the disgraceful state of the roads which he was obliged to traverse..."


The old wooden bridge which served to cross the Towy at Llangadock was replaced by a stone bridge in 1819.      This had five arches, the cost of £2300 was shared with the parishes of Llandilo, Llansadwrn, Llanddeusant and Myddfai.

High Sheriffs of Carmarthenshire, 1541-1900

The list includes;

  • 1714, Rees Edwards of Llanddeusant

History of the Church in the County

The Reformation; The Early Stuarts

"Not one church in any part of the county of Carmarthen escaped from vandalism, and it is doubtful if any pre-Reformation plate has survived in any church in the county.............it is thought that a paten at Llanddeusant.....may be pre-Reformation......"

Medieval 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.

Perfedd, or Y Cymwyd Perfedd[Middle Commote], included the parishes of Myddfai, Llanddeusant, Llangadock, and the hamlet of Maenor Fabon in Llandilo, and extended from the borders of Brycheiniog to the River Towy.

The Later Middle ages

The Lordships

Llandovery; Hirfryn and Perfedd

"Perfedd, the larger commote of Cantref Bychan, was divided into maenors Myddfai, Llandeusant, Gwynfe, and in the west, Maenor Vabon. The extent of 1317 declared that the lands of these maenors were wholly in the hands of free tenants, of whom there were approximately fifty in each of the maenors Llandeusant, Gwynfe and Vabon, and a hundred in Myddfai."


Figures given for respective stations in "British Rainfall", 1930 include;

  • Lower hill country (c 300-700 feet)...........Pontcrynfe, Llanddeusant, 55.6 inches

Prehistoric and Roman Times

List of Carmarthenshire Megaliths, includes following standing stones;

  • Sythfaen, Llanddeusant


Gareth Hicks  

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