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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.


Political Affairs from 1536 to 1900

Political Life 1536-1688

"Unlike the great internal struggles of the past, the civil war of the 17th century was waged on both sides with commendable moderation and lack of cruelty. .........yet the precedent that the losers must pay was too firmly established to be ignored and the increasing financial embarrassment of the Commonwealth government inevitably suggested the attractive expedient of forcing the Cavaliers to pay for their defeat................In Wales exceptional difficulty was found in applying the policy (of penalising all those who had given assistance to the king) ...........two Acts were passed in 1648 and 1649 for South and North Wales respectively...............with set amounts to be raised in each county.....................Carmarthen (shire) was to provide £4,000................Among those on whom fines were imposed were......................William Williams of Myddfai (£100)......."

History of the Church in the County

Puritan Domination; a Period of Depression

In 1672, Myddfai 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.

" addition to the commissioners, twenty five Puritan ministers, or 'approvers' , were selected......these 'approvers, or any five of them, were responsible for the filling of the churches ordered vacant by the Commissioners. Carmarthenshire again had not a single representative among the approvers. The clergy were ejected from the following parishes............. Myddfai ........."

The Reformation:The Early Stuarts

"During the Stuart period, some great men hailed from Carmarthenshire. Perhaps the greatest of them, certainly the greatest churchman, was Morgan Owen..................consecrated Bishop of Llandaff in 1640....on the eve of the strife between King and Parliament.............imprisoned with nine other bishops......when he was relkeased from the Tower.......he escaped to Glasallt, the place of his birth in the parish of Myddfai .....he died there in 1644/5... buried in Myddfai Church....."

"....there is nothing in the county town to commemorate one of the greatest sons of Carmarthenshire, Morgan Owen, who was master of the Grammar School for some time, and who gave in his will twenty pounds a year for a free school at Carmarthen, and ten pounds a year to the poor of Myddfai, his native parish. Morgan Owen richly deserves to be remembered. Born and bred in the county, a good man, a noble and honourable character, a benefactor, a notable Welshman, he deserves a memorial in the county town..."

Nonconformity and Methodism

The Propagation of the Gospel

"The three years' Propagation Act expired in 1653 and was not re-enacted......early in 1654 the Commissioners for Approbation of Public Preachers came into force (fortunately known for short as Triers)......who had the fullest powers to to review and revise all previous Puritan appointments...............the Triers also made a bold attempt to fill some of the vacant parishes by approving new ministers...........(the following name is in the list of the Trier nominees )

  • 1657, Howell Price, of Myddfai

Independents, 1650-87

"The Restoration came as a shock --- a welcome and refreshing shock--- to the devourers of loaves and fishes that manned the Puritan ranks in Carmarthenshire. Of the nineteen so called Puritans who were nominated to livings by the Triers, eight conformed..............three were promoted to livings outside the county................(one was) Howell Price from Myddfai to the rectory of Llansantffraid in Cwmteuddwr....."


"By the beginning of April, 1673, Picton had been restored to his prison lodging again (these are the Bishop's words), only to teach from that vantage scholars who came in crowds to hear him under the windows of the gaol. And that is the last we hear of him. Surely no man of mettle can withhold his meed of admiration for this undaunted and undauntable Quaker. No other Friend of his type appears in the county's records, unless it be James Price of Myddfai in 1684---"a giddy-brained Quaker and a rail-rag to ye church."

Economic and Social Life


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.


"Fenton was assuredly moderate in his language when he contented himself with noting that there was a 'bad road to Myddfai '................"

Literature and Literary Associations

The Lady of the Lake

"The legend of the water-maiden of Llyn y Fan Fach is given in full detail as an introduction to the Llandovery edition of Meddygon Myddfai (1861). Briefly it tells the story of a young farmer falling in love with the lake maiden. ...............this is meant to account for the fame of the Physicians of Myddfai and for the book which carries their names, from the 13th century....down to our own. The legend itself is reproduced in full in the first chapter of Sir John Rhys's Celtic Folk-Lore....."

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 Age of the Native Princes

The Early Church; Rise of the Kingdom of Deheubarth

"A considerable number of churches in the county are dedicated to St Michael; in addition to the six which are styled Llanfihangel, this is also the dedication of Cilycwm, Talley, Myddfai and Egremont. It has generally been assumed that these foundations are of later date than those which are associated with native saints..........................."

The Intervention of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth

"In Carmarthenshire not a foot of land remained to the king or any baronial owner............Llywelyn arranged a formal partition of the real of Deheubarth among the descendents of the Lord Rhys..........To Maelgwyn were assigned........................and the 'maenor' of Myddfai being attached to the last mentioned (the castle of Llandovery)....."

Prehistoric and Roman Times

Human Settlement and Economy in the Early Iron Age/Forts with some regular plan etc


  • Castell Waun Berllan, Myddfai

List of Carmarthenshire Megaliths/Standing Stones


  • Y Syth Faen, Myddfai
  • S.W of Tomen y Rhos, Myddfai

The Later Middle Ages

The Lordships/Llandovery

"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 to whom there were approximately fifty  in each of the maenors ...... and a hundred in Myddfai....."

Castles, Boroughs, and Religious Houses

Burgages and Other Property

"Incidentally, in view of the tradition concerning 'meddygon Myddfai', it is interesting to note that the ten free tenants of that 'Maenor' were obliged to furnish the lord with a doctor to follow him in Wales at their own expense....."