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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 extracts from this book have been extracted by Gareth Hicks onto some parish pages, these snippets 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......"


Hywel Harris [1713-1773] was one of the principal leaders of the Methodist Revival in Wales in the C18. Whilst he was born in Trefecca in Breconshire, his father was a native of Llangadog who moved to Talgarth, Bre. 

In 1811 , the ordination of 21 preachers at Bala and Llandeilo as Calvinistic Methodists led , in 1823, to a new and vigorous Nonconformist denomination being born in Wales.
In the meantime, Welsh Wesleyanism had already found foothold in CMN, notably at Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llangadog, Llandybie,Carmarthen, St Clears and Llansteffan where Wesleyan Methodist societies were formed.

Hywel Harris is reputed to have preached in the yard of the Red Lion in Llangadock, this  recounted by Job Thomas of Penywaun, Llansadwrn, himself foremost amongst the Carmarthenshire "Friends" in the C18.

Moravians and Sandemanians

The history of the Moravians[United Brethren] is closely intertwined with that of Methodism despite marked differences between their doctrines and practices. Tradition has it that  in the C18 there was a group of Sandemanians[followers of the Scotsman, Sandeman] in Llangadock.

Comparative food

At Llangadock a particular kind of oaten bread was eaten, which reminded a *Breton tourist of the "galette"-the principal fare of his countrymen- in its shape and thinness.
[*Maudet de Penhouet in Letters describing a 'Tour thro' part of South Wales , 1797.]

Spinning a yarn

With reference to the county as a whole, woollen products were in general either disposed of at local fairs or sent to England.
According to Pott's Gazetteer in 1810, Llangadock in the context of the Woollen Industry in CMN, was "chiefly engaged in spinning yarn and weaving it into a coarse woollen fabric worn by all the common people." 

Passing through

John Williams [1819-69] was born at Ffrwdwen, near Llandilo, educated at Ffrwd y Fal Academy and ordained as an Independent minister at Llangadock in 1841. He went to Newcastle Emlyn in 1851 and was in charge of Ebenezer, Capel Iwan and Bryn Seion. He made an attempt to start a Welsh weekly newspaper  called Y Byd Cymreig in Newcastle Emlyn  but it failed after 5 years and broke him financially and in  health.

High Sheriff

David Morgan Rhys of Llangadock was High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1625.

The bridge

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.

Independents and Baptists

The entry of Dissent into some of the municipal or quasi-municipal towns in CMN was late, or even very late

Llangadock had no Independent chapel until 1792 at the earliest, and the Baptists [1805] are still not strictly in the town.

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.

"It remains to speak briefly of the ecclesiastical divisions within the county. From the time when diocesan limits became fixed, it lay entirely within the bounds of the diocese of St David's. Previous to the Norman Conquest, it is possible that the lands between the Towy and the Tawy, as they passed from the lords of Ystrad Tywi to those of Glamorgan, may also have transferred their ecclesiastical allegiance from the bishop of St David's to his brother of Llandaff.  At any rate it is well known that the energetic Urban, bishop of Llandaff from 1107 to 1133, claimed for his diocese the whole of Cantref Bychan, Cydweli, and Gower, regions which, he averred, had anciently belonged to to support of this contention, particulars were recorded of the exercise of authority in the disputed district by his predecessor, Herwald, who, it is alleged, consecrated churches and ordained priests at Llangadock, Llanarthney, Pembrey and Llanelly...............the argument failed to convince the papal court........and the claim fell into obeyance...."


All sharing in the privileges of a borough were called "burgesses" and their lands were styled "burgages". Normally the burgage should be an acre in extent, pay pay 12d in equal instalments at Easter and Michaelmas and include a house with a certain quantity of land.The practice varied, since where measurements are given they were 5 acres at Llansadwrn and 5 burgages to the rood at Llangadock. In the first quarter of the C14, Llangadock was a town of 33 burgesses and 34 1/2 burgages.

Princely feuds

In 1203, Rhys Ieuanc lost Llandovery and Llangadog, where there was a castle, known today as " Castell Meurig", on the banks of the Sawdde.

Is it or isn't it ?

No certain example of the long barrow or cairn exists in the county, but  expert attention has been drawn to a mound that may be one.It is situated just to the east of Cwm Sawdde farmhouse in the parish of Llangadock, it is usually known as Waun-y-pwtlyn.

Early iron age fort

The largest hill fort in the whole of Wales is Garn Goch in Llangadock parish. In fact, the term Garn Goch covers a large camp, locally known as Y Gaer Fawr [the Upper Camp], and a smaller satellite fort known as "the Lower Camp". In addition there is a third fort, which is above Coed Llwyn Maendy, which is not usually recognised and may be called the Llwyn du Fort.

The upper camp. which is the largest, occupies the summit of one of the spurs of the Black Mountain on the south side of the Towy. The summit of the hill is no more than 400 feet above the Towy but its sharp precipitous slopes made the hill well nigh impregnable under the conditions of primitive warfare. The defences of the camp are formed of ramparts of dry stone walling.

Likely to have been constructed in the C 1st or early C 2nd AD.

Gareth Hicks  

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