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

The Propagation of the Gospel

"Early in 1650, the whole of Wales was given autonomy in religious matters by the Act for the Propagation of the Gospel, which was to remain in force for three years, a period often referred to as the crown and pinnacle of Puritan domination in this country.................lay-commissioners and preacher approvers were tasked to eject unworthy ministers........eighteen Carmarthenshire clergy were ejected from their livings, nineteen were left unejected.............the treatment of Carmarthenshire ministers was unusually lenient.................at least two of the ejected clergy were allowed to farm the tithes of their old livings; unexplained generosity was shown in paying 'fifths' to Blanche, the wife of William Hughes, the ejected pluralist of Llanarthney and Llangathen ......."

The Census of 1676

"The religious census of 1676 was commissioned by Archbishop Sheldon who inter alia wanted to know how many dissenters and "Popish recusants" there were in each parish in his province. However the  accuracy of the figures produced was questionable on several fronts, for instance, the clerics put down a zero against Llandeilo when authentic records testify to a respectable Quaker colony in the parish long before 1676, they had apparently never heard of the smith's house in Llandeilo parish or of Glan-y-nant in Llangathen ......

Calvinistic Methodism

"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;

  • Morris John ( Llanfynydd and Llangathen, 1743)

Economic and Social Life


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.......the trustees were permitted to build two bridges at the fords of Dryslwyn and Rhydycapel to facilitate the transport of lime and coal.....tollgates were to be placed on them....the toll was two pence on Dryslwyn and Llangathen fair days.

History of the Church in the County

The Reformation; the Early Stuarts

"The reformed Church ........made real progress during the episcopate of Anthony Rudd (1594-1614)............he became Dean of Gloucester in 1584.... he is buried in Llangathen Church, where he had purchased the estate of Aberglasney..."

Opposite  page 92 in the book is a photograph styled 'Tudor Communion Table, Llangathen Church'

Medieval Boundaries

"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 Mawr was divided into 7 commotes; .....one of which was Cetheiniog including the parishes of Llanfynyddd, Llangathen and Llanfihangel Cilfargen, with the two townships of Llanegwad, viz. Llan and Hirnin, which are on the east side of the Cothi...."

"There can be little doubt that this commote took its title from the personal name Cathen............. it is also natural to suppose that the Cathen involved was the patron saint of Llangathen church , but the name is fairly common so that it may not be quite safe to assert the identity..."

The Later Middle Ages

The English County Court/Cantref Mawr

"The Commote Courts of Cantrefmawr ..... were held thirteen times a year..................... at the ends of our period the courts of Cetheiniog, Caeo, Manordeilo, and Mallaen were held on the same day....... of Cetheiniog at 'Riworrador' (Rhiw-yr-adar in Llangathen) ...."

Castles, Boroughs and Religious Houses

Parts of the Castle/The Chapel

"The Chapel of Dryslwyn formed part of the living of Llangathen.  In 1388 we are told that, in consideration of the poverty of the Prioress and Nuns of St Mary's, Chester, to whom the king's father had granted the advowson of Llangathen in frank almoin, they were released from the burden of finding a chaplain to celebrate divine service at the castle three days a week..."

Prehistoric and Roman Times

Carmarthenshire in the Early Iron Age/Typical Forts of the Early Iron Age/Class 1 Forts

On page 74 there is a diagram of Gron Gaer Fort, Llangathen.

"The second group of forts to be considered, namely those with earth and rubble ramparts, are of many shapes. In some the outline is very irregular, in others it is circular ....others, judging from their present remains, seem never to have been complete enclosures. Gron Gaer in the parish of Llangathen .... is a good example of the hill fort forming a complete enclosure of irregular outline. It is situated on a hill top overlooking the Towy, and its defences consist of a single rampart enclosing an area 500 feet by 300 feet.....................there is little or no trace of a ditch ........ springs are abundant on the slopes of the hill."