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

Calvinistic Methodism

"....We hear too of Peter Williams occupying Capel Llangynheiddon in Llandyfaelog parish, where also tradition mentions a complaisant vicar...........the use of these consecrated buildings for monthly Sacrament services.......enabled Carmarthenshire Methodists who could not (or would not) communicate at their parish churches, to avoid, for some time, an expedient which was soon forced on other districts, namely, celebration of the Lord's Supper in meeting houses, and even in dwelling houses...."

"Some two dozen Carmarthenshire exhorters of the early period are known to us by name, but most are mere names...........................A list of (less well known) early exhorters in Carmarthenshire includes;

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

Arminianism, Arianism, Unitarianism

"The differences of opinion in theology among early 18th century Dissenters in Carmarthenshire, such as that which caused the Henllan 'schism', were not between Calvinist and anti-Calvinist, but between High and Low Calvinists. But in the second quarter of the century, a new factor appears, ---the Arminian movement................................elsewhere in Carmarthenshire.............Arminisanism underwent an important theological evolution, passing into Arianism, and in not a few cases, into Unitarianism.................The Baptists too passed through a severe crisis at approximately the same time........... at Llangyndeyrn, William Thomas too passed over into Unitarianism.........the Particular Baptists in 1820 managed to get possession of the chapel, and the Unitarians took refuge in a house called Gelli, in Llandyfaelog parish, the congregation is not heard of after about the middle of the century......"

The History of the Church in the County

Puritan Domination; A period of Depression

"The Puritans tried to replace the old parochial schools which had automatically ceased to function, and the masters were paid out of the confiscated revenues of the Church. ..................The ministers were also paid in a peculiar way, Samuel Jones of Llanegwad was paid out of the confiscated tithes of Llandyfaelog...."

In 1672, Llandyfaelog church is listed in a long list of Carmarthenshire churches  where "everything was out of repair" in the aftermath of the confusion of the previous 20 years.

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

" Llandyfaelog church is described as being in good repair and order. The vicar, appointed by the Duke of Somerset, held no other benefice or cure, and he was constantly resident in the parish.  There were no Dissenters, apart from one Lewis Griffiths, a Presbyterian. The vicar kept a private school....."

Economic and Social Life


"..........some lordships were fortunate enough to escape from the burden of contributing towards the espense of improving bad roads. In the Great Sessions held at Carmarthen in 1729, it was presented that the hamlet or lordship of Cloigyn in Llandyfaelog was exempt from repairing the highway that ran from Kidwelly to the market town of Dryslwyn.."

Literature, and Literary Associations

Hymnody and Sacred Poetry

Section re Peter Williams (1722-96)--- a native of Laugharne, issuer of his family Bible in 1770, published by John Ross.

"Williams lived at Gelli Lednais, Llandyfaelog; tradition has preserved a picture of him travelling on horseback between his home and the printing office of John Ross, and bearing his bundle of MS for the Bible and the magazine (Trysorfa Gwybodaeth)....."

General Literature (Welsh)

"Eliezer Williams (1754-1820)

He was born in the parish of Llandyfaelog, a son of the Rev Peter Williams. He was educated at the Carmarthen Grammar School and Jesus College, Oxford, graduating MA in 1781. In 1777 he had the curacy of Trelech; from there he went to Tetsford, Oxfordshire. He was appointed naval chaplain in 1780 of  HMS 'Cambridge'; in 1782 he became family tutor to Lord Galloway; in 1784 he was given the living of Caeo; he returned to the navy in 1789. In 1805 he was appointed vicar of Lampeter, where he founded a grammar school to train candidates for holy orders, which led to the foundation in this town of a graduating college of national importance. A volume of his English essays, with a biographical sketch by his son, was published in 1840. The essays were mostly devoted to the ancient history of Wales. "

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.......................In addition to these two cantrefs Ystrad Tywi was generally assigned a third (mentioned in the Mabinogion)........with the doubtful name of Cantref Eginog..............the names of the commotes into which this cantref was divided were undoubtedly well known..........hence it would appear as if Cydweli, Carnwyllion, and Gower had been at some time or other combined to make up a cantref which was not an ancient and recognised division of the country...............the names Gwyr (Gower) and Cydweli (Kidwelly) are to be found in Nennius and other ancient authorities, so that there can be no doubt that they go back to a remote past as descriptive of the tract between Carmarthen and Swansea......................the historic commote of Cydweli consisted of the six parishes of Llangynnor, Llandyfaelog, Llangyndeyrn, St Ishmaels, Kidwelly and Pembrey............"

The Later Middle Ages

The Lordships; the Lordship of Kidwelly

"Other payments common to each quarter of the commote were the Commorth, great and small, paid every third year on the First of May. It was in origin a tribute of cows , and the assessment had passed from the kindred to the holding...........Iscoed, for instance, was divided into ten named cow-units (vacca)................several of these are identifiable today ---Vacca Ithole (Idole) in Llandyfaelog parish; Vacca Kellymarch, de Treflymsy and de Kelthetege ( Cil-y-march, Treflymsi, and Gelli-deg, in Llandyfaelog parish); Llechdwnny is another......this was the Great Commorth."

Castles, Boroughs and Religious Houses



"......between 1139 and 1148 Maurice of London granted to the Priory of Ogmore (Ewenny), amongst others, the churches of Carnwyllion, Pembrey, St Ishmaels and Llandyfaelog .............A document dated 1358 testifies that the advowsons of Llandyfaelog and Pembrey had been vested by Henry, Earl of Lancaster, in the Dean and Canons of the Hospital in honour of the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary in the suburbs of Leicester....."

Prehistoric and Roman Times

List of Carmarthenshire Hill Forts; Rectangular Forts, Earthen Ramparts, with Rounded Corners


  • Partially destroyed; Gelligaeros, Llandyfaelog

List of Carmarthenshire Megaliths; Standing Stones


  • The Llechdwnny Stones, Llandyfaelog

Gareth Hicks  

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