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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 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

Methodism and Associated Movements/Calvinistic Methodism

"Several of the major figures of Welsh Methodism were Carmarthenshire men. Abundant room has been found for argument whether Griffith Jones was, or was not, a Methodist, but none at all as to his importance in the history of Methodism --- and he was a native of Penboyr, and lived at Llanddowror...."

The Gouge Movement

There is a statement that in 1675 there were in Carmarthenshire a total number of pupils of 266 getting some schooling, not just via the Welsh Trust of Gouge and his friends though, a breakdown shows the number in Penboyr was 20..

Carmarthen Academy and Dissenting Education

"A few words may be added regarding the 'secondary' education of Dissenting ministers in the county --- remembering that here, as of yore in Scotland, the line between this and 'elementary' education is hard to draw................schools were also kept at ....... and Penboyr ......."

Economic and Social Life

The Woollen Industry

"...... there are references to ..................  a weaver in the famous cloth district of Llangeler and Penboyr in 1650.... and in Penboyr in 1793"

"An effort was made towards the end of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century to encourage the poor of Carmarthenshire who lacked a 'sufficient industry' to turn their attention to the spinning of yarn and the knitting of stockings. The Carmarthenshire Agricultural Society formed towards the end of the 18th century offered each year premiums to 'cottagers having nothing to depend on but their day labour, who, with the assistance of their wives and children living with them, such children not being above 12 years old, shall spin the greatest Quantity of Yarn from the first day of January to the end of the same year.' The five premiums offered by the society in this competition were won practically  every year by residents in the two parishes of Llangeler and Penboyr, the two parishes which have the most developed woollen trade at the present day. Such a scheme clearly illustrates the continued domestic character of the trade, and even the casual tourists of the period pay their tribute to the great industry of the peasants, and particularly of the women. Donovan says that 'every female is acquainted with the art of carding and spinning wool, which they knit into stockings, wigs, caps etc,' and that the women could card, spin, and knit about four pairs of stockings a week.

Even in the 19th century, the woollen manufacturers of Carmarthenshire were most reluctant to take up the factory system, notwithstanding that at that time the English woollen trade was prospering greatly with the increasing mechanisation. Although the power-driven carding and spinning machines had appeared within the county towards the end of the 18th century, the history of the woollen trade in the two parishes which still lead in the industry shows the reluctance to change. Llangeler and Penboyr had only four fulling mills at Pentrecourt, Dolwyon, Drefach, and Cwmpengraig at the end of the 18th century, and there were no factories for carding and spinning until the 19th. The first factory was set up at Cwmpengraig early in the century, and the second at Dolwyon in 1820, but these two had only machines for carding, the willying and spinning being done by hand. A third factory at Llwynbedw had spinning machines. Up to about 1850, the word 'factory' in Carmarthenshire simply meant a building where carding or spinning machines were driven by water power. "

Boundaries and local divisions

"One of the seven cantrefs of Dyfed was Emlyn, occupying the south bank of the Teifi from the Tyweli to the Broyan. It was an important lordship, with a castle at Cilgerran overhanging the gorge of the Teify, until, about 1240, its owner, Gilbert Marshall, earl of Pembroke, gave the portion which lies east of the river Cuch to Maredudd ap Rhys, who built, in the parish of Cenarth, the 'New Castle' ever since known by that name. The two halves of the ancient cantref were never again united , and in Henry VIII's groupings of lordships into counties Emlyn Uch Cuch went to Carmarthenshire and Emlyn Is Cuch to Pembrokeshire. The former comprised the parishes of Penboyr, Llangeler, and Cenarth, with the hamlet of Cwm Morgan in the parish of Cilrhedyn; thus the river Cuch, familiar to legend as the scene of the hunting of Pwyll, prince of Dyfed, forms the county boundary throughout its length."

The Age of the Native Princes

The Early Church: Rise of the Kingdom of Deheubarth

"There are not many examples in the county of the cult of the local saint, greatly honoured and revered within his own narrow domain, but unknown elsewhere. One conspicious instance, however, is afforded by Llawddog, who drew his origin from Nudd Hael, a sixth century prince of Northern Britain, and who was the patron saint of Cenarth Mawr, Penboyr and Llanllawddog ........................Llawddog was also the original patron of Cilgerran, so that his authority would seem at one time to have been paramount throughout the whole cantref of Emlyn..."

Prehistoric and Roman Times

Fortresses utilising promontories, cliffs and tongues of land at the confluences of upland streams and defended in part only by artificial works


  • Caer Blaen Minog, Penboyr

Topographical Index


  • Penboyr. Near the parish church. 'Pot of Roman coins'. (RCAM, 673)

List of Carmarthenshire Megaliths

A schedule of Standing Stones includes ;  

  • S.W of Crug y Gorllwyn, Penboyr

Castles, Boroughs and Religious Houses

Castles/The Motte & Bailey Castle

"Eleven of the motte castles show traces of a bailey, rather a small number compared with those listed in the Inventories of other counties in Wales. The bailey is frequently absent from Wales, but in some cases it has been obliterated by the plough; this has happened at Llangeler....... Both types are present in the parishes of .....and Penboyr .....""

"Another interesting group (of castles) --- ......and Penboyr --- stand along the ancient frontier of Dyfed. A portion of the boundary dyke may still be seen on the way from Carmarthen to Penboyr. "

[Gareth Hicks  13 July 2003]