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A History of Carmarthenshire

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.

History of the Church in the County

"It was a period of church building and extension, every church in the county of Carmarthen has been parishes have been created........ [including] Llanfair ar y Bryn...."

Nonconformity and Methodism

Independents; 1687-1715

"The Indulgences of 1687 and 1688, for all their cunning words and ambigious policy, had opened doors that were never to be closed again. The Dissenters of the county reacted to this new world in a wonderfully dramatic manner; five of its preachers were ordained in 1688 ...........[including] Rhys Prytherch at Llanfair ar y Bryn"

Baptists; 1620-60

"A more innocuous body of Baptists had begun to make their way in the north-eastern angle of the county, along the old road from Llywel to Llandovery, into the parishes of Cilycwm and Llanfair ar y Bryn. "

The Older Dissent --- Expansion and Organisation.

"In the C18th as now, there were collections......... Charity knew no denominational bounds ; ' a poor member of the Baptist Church of Christ Llanverbrin' is assisted by the Capel Isaac folk in 1736. "

The Census of 1676

"Equally cogent evidence tells of Quakers at Cilycwm, of free Baptists consorting with Independents at Llanfair ar y Bryn, with the learned and saintly Rhys Prytherch as their pastor..."

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 Llanfair ar y Bryn as 26.

Literature and Literary Associations

William Williams Pantycelyn is buried in the churchyard at Llanfair ar y Bryn.

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.
Hirfryn covered the parishes of Llanfair ar y Bryn and Llandingad...."

The Age of Native Princes

"A considerable number of churches in the county are dedicated to St Michael...........Early dedications to the Virgin [Mary]  are fewer in number, as in the case of Liber Landavensis; Llanfair ar y Bryn, Kidwelly and Eglwys Fair exhaust the number..."

"...........On the low ground between the church of Llanfair ar y Bryn and the Towy there was a field known as 'Cae'r Abbey'; it may be conjectured that this church of St Mary, which has some surviving features of the Norman period, may have been originally erected as the priory church (a cell of Great Malvern Abbey); it appears later as a chapel of Llandingad, the original Llanamddyfri....and both became the property of the chapter of St David's..."

Prehistoric and Roman Times

Carmarthenshire in the New Stone Age

"The broad-butted group is well illustrated by an axe found in the parish of Llanfair-ar-y-Bryn in 1917 and now placed in the Carmarthen Museum..."

Middle and Late Bronze Age

The complete list of finds of metal objects incldes;

  • A palstave with loop on one side and trident pattern, found near Cynghordy Station, parish of Llanfair-ar-y-Bryn ( Arch Camb. 1895)

Military Sites and Roads

The fort at Llandovery............the castellum was strongly placed on a slight eminence, now crowned by the church of Llanfair-ar-y-Bryn, about half-a-mile to the north of Llandovery...."

"From the summit of the mountain (Trecastle) the road must have followed a sinuous course.........from Llanfair, modern roads and tracks seem to represent approximately the further course of the road north-westwards towards Cynwyl Gaeo ..."

List of Carmarthenshire Megaliths

Standing Stones


  • Gwynfaes Maen Hir, Llanfair-ar-y-bryn