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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 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.

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 Mawr was divided into 7 commotes, one of these was Maenor Deilo which included the parishes of Llansadwrn, Talley , Llandyfeisant and part of Llandeilofawr.


In 1657, John Llewellyn , a Methodist, was presented to the living at Llansadwrn  Parish Church having been restored to the living by the Puritan Triers in the aftermath of the Restoration[Civil War].

Another Carmarthenshire Methodist , if not of the elite band of leaders, was Richard Davies [1770-1847] of Llansadwrn.

A Calvinistic Methodist chapel was built in Llansadwrn in 1797.


The Society of Friends, were  still  being persecuted for their beliefs as late as the last quarter of the C18, distraint for tithes was the commonest form of persecution. Distraint was not illegal in itself but became  persecution when the value of the property seized was much in excess of the amount due.
One such sufferer, in 1789, was Job Thomas of Llansadwrn. He lived at Pen y Waun in Llansadwrn, some two miles west of Llangadock and was wont, according to Methodist historians, to recount how he had heard Howell Harris preach in the yard of the Red Lion in the town[Llangadock]. Job was a dilligent worshipper and labourer amongst the Friends , a fall from his horse in 1797 brought on a paralysis, he died in 1807 aged c 57.

Although  by the end of the C17 the movement was starting into a decline in Carmarthenshire and Wales as a whole, marriages were solemnised in Quaker form , as witness " the joining together in the Lord" of John Bowen and Mary Anthony in the mansion of John Rees at Llansadwrn in 1712 .

An example of parochial cooperation was seen in the case of Llangadock when in 1819 a bridge was built over the Towy at a cost of £2300 and this was shared between the parishes of Llandilo, Llansadwrn, Llanddeusant and Myddfai.

W. Llewellyn Williams [1868-1922]  was a native of Llansadwrn, educated at Llandovery and Brasenose College, Oxford. He was called to the bar but divided his interests between law and journalism. He was an active member of the bardic Gorsedd, among his books was "The Making of Modern Wales" written in 1919.

Post Restoration church problems

In 1672, Llansadwrn 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.

The  presentment of churchwardens at Carmarthen in 1705 supplied evidence of the state of the churches in the various parishes, it is recorded that the Vicar of Llansadwrn had another benefice and " he was often absent, sometimes for a month , sometimes longer; the church is provided in his absence to our content". In this case " the curate of the parish keeps a school in ye church."


In 1807 the first Enclosure Act affecting Carmarthenshire was passed. It was inevitably the poor, the cottager, and the occupier entitled to rights of common, who suffered most being deprived of their immemorial rights to fuel and pasturage leading to the  large scale giving up of small holdings and emigration to the towns or industrial valleys.. Occasionally, as at Llansadwrn, a small proprtion of land was left open to all proprietors and their tenants so they might get fuel.

Roman remains

It is thought that a road joining the Roman forts of Llandovery and Carmarthen existed and there is this reference to it ; "it appears in the brickfield near Admiral Foley's [ i.e Abermarlais in the parish of Llansadwrn]."

Also at Abermarlais Park , Llansadwrn  a Roman gold ring with intaglio was "found during draining operations ...about a foot below the surface"  Archaeologia Cambrensis 1864.

Prehistoric and Roman Times

List of Carmarthenshire Megaliths

The schedule of standing stones includes; " Maen Cilau, Abermarlais, Llansadwrn."

Manor of Llansadwrn

Ednyfed Fychan was chief counsellor to the princes of Gwynedd,  he was in particular the right hand man of Llywelyn the Great; he married a daughter of Lord Rhys and became lord of the manor of Llansadwrn where in 1229 he received the special protection of the crown .

Rhys ap Gruffydd was the son of Hywel ap Gruffydd ap Ednyfed Fychan, Rhys was steward of Cardiganshire in 1309 and , for loyal service to the English  crown, in 1324 received confirmation of his possession of Llansadwrn.

Gareth Hicks