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Cardiganshire snippets   [2]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Llandysul

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For more online information , including many more snippets, about the parish of Llandysul see Genuki


Christmas Evans [1766-1838]

Born in a cottage called Esgair Wen in the parish of Llandysul, at a very young age he went to work as a parish apprentice on various farms , until finally , he went to the farm of the Rev Dafydd Dafis, Castell Hywel, the author of Telyn Dewi. Dafydd Dafis was minister at the Presbyterian Arminian Church at Llwynrhydowen and Christmas Evans became a member at that church . Although 17 years of age  before he could read at all it is related that within a month at Castell Hywel he learnt to read the Welsh Bible and began to preach at the same time.  Because of his warm , enthusiastic nature, and the tendency of Arminianism towards cold intellectualism, he joined the Baptist Church at Aberduar , Llanybydder in Carmarthenshire. 

In 1789 he went to Llyn, Caernarvonshire  , and was a successful itinerant preacher there for 2 years, followed by a period between 1791 and 1826 when he was in charge of the Baptist congregations in Angelsey. He was afterwards minister at Caerphilly [1826-28], Cardiff [1828-32], and Caernarvon [1832-38]. While on a tour through South Wales he died at Swansea and was buried next to the Bethesda Chapel there.

It was as a preacher that Christmas most profoundly influenced Welsh life, he belonged to the "Golden Age" of Welsh preaching being considered unequalled in the splendour of his imagination.

Based on Famous Welshmen Welsh Dept of Board of Education, 1944. Gareth Hicks 12.5.2000 D]       


Christmas Evans --a follow on

H.R. Evans, speaking of the treatment of the poor in Llandysul 1756 -1789 in his article: ' Llandysul Church: Minute Book of the Vestry & Parish Meetings' speaks thus:-

'....a great deal of interest was taken in the four young children of Samuel Esgerwen. They were ordered a shirt apiece and the wardens were instructed to find a tailor to 'make new cloaths to them of the old cloaths of their mother's and to find thread and buttons for them' .........Christmas EVANS was the son of Samuel EVANS of Esgerwen'.

Published in CEREDIGION Vol.1 No.2 1951 (Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society).

[Mike Thomas 13.5.2000 D]


Christmas Evans, another follow on;

From "Welsh Chapels" by Anthony Jones, published by the National Museums & Galleries of Wales, 1996, page 18, caption under two engravings:

...."to the first modest chapel which was eventually extended to create a two-story chapel with a large gallery to accommodate the capacity congregations who came to hear Rev. Christmas Evans preach. He lived in the small minister's house attached to the chapel, complaining about the low  ceilings - understandable for a preacher who was nearly 7 feet tall."

On page 16 of the same book is a portrait of him with two other ministers.

He was called the legendary one-eyed giant, minister of Capel Cildwrn, located in Llangefni, Anglesey, the first Baptist Chapel there.

For anyone who wants to read about the chapels in Wales, they should get a copy of this book. It's very good.

[Annie Lloyd 13 March 2001 D]


Liquid refreshment allowances at Vestry and Parish meetings

In1771 the members of the Llandysul Vestry turned over a new leaf and decided to oil the wheels of government a little. After a period of haphazard meetings the minutes of 7 Nov 1771 read as follows:-

'from henceforth a Vestry and Parish Meeting shall be held every first Monday in the month to consider and transact the affairs of the parish and have a quart of ale allowed...at the parish expense to the number of eight persons.'

But others were not to be so lucky as these same members decided to abolish the practice of allowing 5/- for ale at the General Vestry of Accounts -

' as some have drank most for self and then denied to have drank at all'.

Whatever the interpretation of the following entry in the minutes of the next meeting it appears to signify that serious arguments were afoot -

'Agreeable to a former Vestry for 8 quarts to Vestrymen at the expense of the parish and churchwardens and overseers of the poor are ordered to pay 2/- at the meeting'.

In spite of the ale, the strain of these regular monthly meetings proved too great and in September 1772 it was decided that the arrangement was -

'inconvenient for several reasons and it is now ordered that the same be discontinued for the future and that the wardens and overseers do for the future call their Vestrys and meetings as often as their respective offices shall require'.

The place of meetings varied. Sometimes it was in the church. Occasionally it took place at - or was adjourned to - 'the house of Jenkyn Evan, victualler, Ty-yn-y-porth'. Once or twice it was held in Mr John Rees's New Inn (Alltyrodin Arms), or at Evan Rees's house in the village.

From:'Llandysul Church: Minute Book of the Vestry & Parish Meetings' by H.R.EVANS Published in CEREDIGION Vol.1 No.2 1951 (Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society).

[Mike Thomas 16.52000 D]   


The Bells of Llandysul

[From the Llandysul Vestry and Parish Minutes]

Excited discussion about The Great Project - acquisition of four new bells for the church - began in 1776 and went on a long time.

On 5 May 1777 it was agreed that James John should take the three old bells to Carmarthen and bring back the four new bells for the use of Llandyssul church 'with the consent of the parishioners'

At a meeting held six months later on 7 November it was decided to call another meeting on the 13th instant 'to set and agree for the rehanging up the bells in a proper manner and an experienced carpenter and blacksmith capable of such work and if the old bell shall agreed (sic) in sound with the other bells it is agreed the said old bell shall be used and kept otherwise not ....'

On December 11th it was decided by the members then present ' that the Great Bell be taken down and to be disposed of as hereafter agreed by the parishioners and that the new Tenor Bell be hung up instead of it'.

The next meeting was held on 20th April 1778 when the following entry was crossed out without comment -

'2/6 bye the pound rate for Bells'

The meeting was adjourned until the 23rd when it was agreed that a 3/6 rate be collected immediately towards paying for new bells and that the old bells be kept.

On May 29th it was agreed that 'a rate of 1/6 bye the pound be collected immediately to pay for the four new bells brought here for the use of the parish and that the old big Bell be sent to Carmarthen immediately'.

June 9th it was'allowed ten shillings to James John for carrying the great Bell to Carmarthen'.

In October 1778 it was 'ordered that 45/7/6 be paid immediately unto Mr John Rees of New Inn by David John and Samuel Evan ,wardens, for the new Bells bought here for the use of the Parish the said sum to be paid out of the Rate at 5/6 in the pound survey assessed on the Parish for the present year and that the said Parish Officers is (sic) to give a security to Mr John Rees for the Remainder if insisted upon'

The following year ,1779, on the 5th August it is 'ordered that Evan John warden do forthwith pay unto Mr Rees of New Inn the sum of 15/13/0 for which he is to have a receipt in full of all Demands on the Parish from Mr Rees'.

It is a significant fact that not a word is said about the bells for ten years, with one ominous exception in 1788 when a rope was bought 'for the little bell'

Is it possible that the grand new bells, purchased at such a price, manoeuvred into the centre of the parish .....should have been dumped somewhere with clappers supine and dumb?

Yes, dear kind good ringers all, that is what happened. For ten years only one bell rang and that only a 'little one'.

Then Mr Bowen took a hand and quickly put things right. On the 19th June 1788 'it was agreed to give Mr Bowen the sum of 60 he pinning the .....of the steeple, pointing and whitewashing it where wanted both within and without and to shut the black hole and put Blinds to the windows at the Belfry and put wires on these of the holes in the steeple and have it prepared within in a proper manner that the Bells may be hanged up. To be hung up by him and be finished at or before Michaelmas in the year 1789, he the said Mr Bowen finding every material necessary for the Belfry and the other called the lead loft and have all these things properly done with good and substantial timber'.

From:'Llandysul Church: Minute Book of the Vestry & Parish Meetings' by H.R.EVANS Published in CEREDIGION Vol.1 No.2 1951 (Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society).

[Mike Thomas 17.5.2000 D]   


The fox problem

Would the problems experienced by Llandysul in the 1770's & 1780's be relevant to today's Foxhunting debate I wonder ?

In 1771 6/- was paid by the parish for killing 2 foxes

There were two payments in 1781

'killing foxes 4/6'

'killing 3 foxes 4/-'

In 1783,1784, & 1785 about 11/- each year was spent on the killing of foxes. For one bitch fox 3/6 was paid.

A huntsman was employed in 1787 and ' John Davies the glover's bill, for keeping the huntsman that killed a fox in the parish, was allowed'. The sum is not stated.

A still more determined effort to deal with the fox menace was made in 1788: 'Whereas foxes and other devouring creatures have destroyed and do kill lambs and other things the property of Inhabitants of the parish therefore it is here agreed upon to find huntsmen and Dogs to kill these foxes if possible - and to pay Evan Rees for the Keeping of the Dogs and maintenance of the huntsmen for four or five days he making reasonable and moderate bill"

From:'Llandysul Church: Minute Book of the Vestry & Parish Meetings'by H.R.EVANS Published in CEREDIGION Vol.1 No.2 1951 (Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society).

...and so the world goes round.

[Mike Thomas 19.5.2000 D] 


Keeping the river at bay

The church at Llandysul is close to the river in both distance and altitude.
The Vestry's attempts to hold back the river Teifi are of note for those listers with rising damp problems -

'...The river at Llandysul, until fairly recently , might almost be regarded as semi-ecclesiastical. At times it entered the churchyard and threatened to, if it did not actually, enter the church itself. And on the other hand people could claim to be, and sometimes were, baptised in the river. In modern times a wall has kept the river in it's place.
During the year (1766) the wardens, Edward John and Evan John, spent 1/16/0 on a furze fence which it was hoped would protect the church 'against the river Tivy'. The attempt proved abortive. So next year the Vestry ordered the wardens to buy, as cheaply as they could, as much timber as was necessary to make a 'wear' along the churchyard and 'to agree with proper persons for the work'. As a result an agreement was drawn up in 1768 with Rees Morris and David Rees 'for double-railing the River Tivy against the churchyard'. The instructions were explicit: 'the double rails must be distant from each other 3 foot clear, 7 foot high, spar-pieces at 1-1/2 yards distant from each other, the side next to river and side next to land as thick and close as requisite'. The wattling rods (200) were to be provided by Mr.David Jones, Cwmoidwfach. It was also arranged that sufficient stones and gravel should be supplied by Thomas Jones, Gilfachwen, Nathaniel Griffith, Cwmoidw, Jenkin Griffith, Pantowen, at 3d per load, as would fill the two 'Baskets of the Wear'. These were to be delivered as near the baskets 'as the carts can come'.

From:'Llandysul Church: Minute Book of the Vestry & Parish Meetings' by H.R.EVANS Published in CEREDIGION Vol.1 No.2 1951 (Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society).

[Mike Thomas 21.5.2000 D]     


Drovers' shoeing centre

It is understood that cattle were shod at Pontweli, close to Pantyporthman Farm outside Llandysul, and there is a strong local tradition that cattle were enclosed, prior to shoeing, on a glen at Pantyporthman Farm

[Based on The Welsh Cattle Drovers by Richard Colyer, 1976. Gareth Hicks] 


Llanilar

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For more online information about Llanilar   parish see Genuki


Vestry meetings 1750-1834

"The churchwardens , Overseers of the Poor, and the inhabitants of the Parish " formed a vestry in Llanilar in 1788.

[MS Llanilar Vestry Meetings 23 Sept 1788]

............................................................

The Llanilar Vestry adopted the Select Vestry Act on 16 August 1822 .....the following are the people who are mentioned in the Minutes as comprising the vestry then instituted;

Township of Llanilar uchaf

Township of Llanilar isaf

The Minutes were signed by the overseers and Inhabitants then present being; Evan Hughes, John James, David Davies, the mark of Thomas Williams and David Parry.

[MS Llanilar Vestry Meetings 16 Aug 1822]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth  Hicks 19 July 2000 D]


Assistant overseers

The Select Vestry Act of 1819 allowed open vestries " to elect any discreet person or persons to be assistant overseer or overseers of the poor".

In 1831 Llanilar vestry " agreed to have two Assistant Overseers, one for the Township of Llanilar ucha and one for Llanilar Issa......."

At the same vestry Jenkin Jones of Pen-y-lan was appointed assistant overseer for the township of Llanilar Uchaf at a salary of six guineas " including all Journeys and Expences within 15 miles from Llanilar".

[MS Llanilar Vestry Meetings 13 April 1831]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth 25 July 2000 D ]


Vestry clerks

At a vestry meeting in Llanilar in 1823 the schoolmaster John Davies was made church clerk and was paid " at the Rate of Two Pounds and fifteen shillings a year."

[MS Llanilar Vestry Meetings 17 April 1823]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]  


Types of relief

Occasional, or casual, relief was given to paupers in money or in kind ---probably the greater part of this type of relief was given in money but fuel, clothing, barley, potatoes, medicines and medical attendance were also provided.

Examples of such relief include the following;

".........ordered that Margaret Jones of Aberystwith is to have relief of One Measure of Barley."

[MS Llanilar Vestry Meetings 23 Jan 1831]

  [ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ] 


Medical relief for paupers

Parish vestries were often enlightened in their attitude towards the sick and would often provide money for recuperation purposes;

" Margaret Dudlike is to have the Sum of 1.10s. to go to Llanwrtid Wells and back for the said Sum."

[MS Llanilar Vestry Minutes , 8 August 1833]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ] 


Pauper lunatics

On the eve of the Poor Law Amendment Act there was no lunatic asylum in Cardiganshire and little provision if any was made for pauper lunatics or idiots. In the main such cases were boarded with parishioners [see Lampter]. Other pauper lunatics were left with friends or relations as in this case in Llanilar parish;

' David Evans now kept at Rhosgoch', who was ordered by the vestry ' to be taken to John Evans [ his brother] at Craig y bwch for a fortnight upon trial'.

[MS Llanilar Vestry Minutes , 30 Dec 1836]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ] 


Unemployed paupers "on the parish"

Paupers were often sent round the parish to work for their board and lodging in return for clothing provided by the vestry, but they did not earn money.An example from the Llanilar Vestry Minutes;

".....Agreed with Thomas Loyd to go from house to House to work for his Victuals as the Ratefollow."

[MS Llanilar Vestry Minutes , 17 Apr 1818]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


Orphans and deserted young children

Orphans and deserted young children were normally left with their relatives or friends. One parish supported the children when the parents were not in a position to care for them as in this example from the Llanilar Vestry Minutes;

"...that........the Overseers should fetch away the Children of Jeremiah Jones and James Davies now supported by the Parish and kept at Isaac Davies of Maeselwad and John Davies Pentredu and deliver the said Jeremiah Jones and James Davies as we consider them sufficiently able to support their own Children in future."

[MS Llanilar Vestry Minutes , 22 May 1827]

Infant paupers were sometimes contracted out to parishioners who in return received a premium  from the parish. For caring for a helpless child as much as 5 would be given. Thus;

" Thomas Williams of Cefncoch contracted and agreed with the Inhabitants of the parish of Llanilar for the maintenance of David Morris an infant pauper of this parish for the term of Five Years commencing from the twelfth Day of May 1792 they the said Parishioners on their part sufficiently cloathing the said David and pay the said Thomas five pounds."

[MS Llanilar Vestry Minutes , 21 Dec 1792]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


The old paupers

The very aged were often placed with their relatives, many informed the vestries that they were too poor to maintain their relatives as presumably in this example ;

"Agreed with Evan Morgan for the maintenance of Catherine Clement his Mother in Law for one year for four guineas and as much flannel as will make her a shift he the said Evan to procure her a shroud if she dies in the year."

[MS Llanilar Vestry Minutes , 23 May 1794]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth  Hicks 28 July 2000 D]


Llanddewibrefi

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For more online information about Llanddewibrefi   parish see Genuki


Drovers and the law       

A case at  the Cardiganshire Great Sessions of' 1793, shows the financial  risks  people took in advancing capital to drovers who were either unable or unwilling to use the banks.

In a nut shell, Charles Jones of Llanddewibrefi was trying to recover 1300 from his stepfather, David Rowlands, drover of the same parish. It had been necessary for Jones to provide his stepfather with this money for the purchase of' cattle otherwise he could not have gone on with the purchase, for the bankers would never enable him to buy cattle. In  his evidence, Jones stated that he had been forced to provide continual financial support for Rowlands in the forlorn hope that he might eventually recover the earlier loans. It also transpired that Rowlands, in addition to not repaying his debts, had also sold some of his stepson's cattle and taken  the proceeds. This became clear following the evidence of Edward Abel, drover, who appeared as a witness on behalf of Jones. It appears that Abel had been commissioned by Jones to conduct a drove of the latter's cattle to Steyning Fair in Sussex. Abel maintained that Rowlands, who was also present at Steyning , had been heard to offer one guinea to any person who might be prepared to assist him in removing a number of' Jones's cattle from the drove. Assistance was apparently forthcoming, for the case records that Rowlands removed and sold, twenty-seven of Jones's cattle on the evening before the fair.

[Based on The Welsh Cattle Drovers by Richard Colyer  . Gareth Hicks. 30 May 2000 D]  


Droving in decline

As the demand for "long distance" drovers began to decrease, they were often required to assist with moving livestock from farms and collecting centres to local fairs and markets, but sometimes to and from places  many miles from their home parishes.

Drovers from the Llanddewibrefi area regularly drove both cattle and sheep to Brecon Fair during the years before WW2.[G Davies, Llanddewibrefi]

[Based on The Welsh Cattle Drovers by Richard Colyer . Gareth Hicks] 


The Drovers' route

The drovers' routes from Tregaron, Ffair Rhos, Cwmyswtwyth, Landdewibrefi and Pontrhydfendigaid[Bont] had perhaps the most taxing and difficult sectionsof the long trail to England. Apart from the ruggedness of the terrain, theses routes, in the main, traversed unfenced open hill country which no doubt increased the problems of controlling large droves of cattle.

The direct route from Llanddewibrefi to Abergwesyn was via Soar-y-Mynydd and passed by  Cwmdulas, Bryn Caregog, Bronbyrfe and Blaendoethie.  That way forded the Towi at Pantllwydiau and on via Rhydgoch to Abergwesyn.

An entry in the David Jonathan accounts of 1839 , which mentions the expenditure of five shillings at "Cwmdulas House" , lends support to the strong local tradition that there existed an old tavern on the mountains above the present Cwm Dulas. Although its  remains have been located it is not recorded on the Llanddewibrefi Tithe apportionment.

At Bronbyrfe, the drovers' road branched, the main part to Soar-y-Mynydd as above, and the second went southwards past Pysgotwr where it left the existing road and continued beyond Bryn Glas to the foot of Hafod Las on the Pysgotwr Fach where it joined up with a trail crossing Esgair Maen from Cwm Dulas. This route can be detected at its junction with the main route at Hafod Las and local tradition has it that there was a tavern here too.The trail from Hafod Las continues past Penyraglangwynt along the outskirts of what is now Coed Penrhiwar eventually linking with the Cwrt-y-Cadno to Rhandir-mwyn road at Troedrhiwbeynon.

[Based on The Welsh Cattle Drovers by Richard Colyer . Gareth Hicks]


Vestry meetings1750-1834

Llanddewibrefi was one of few parishes in Cardiganshire which adopted the provisions of the 1819 Sturges Bourne Act designed to amend the Laws for the Relief of the Poor in respect of Select vestries consisting of an an annually elected committee or vestry.

"At a public Vestry held this 3rd day of march 1820 in the parish Church of Llanddewibrefi and from thence adjourned to the dwelling house of John Evans in the said village it was then and there unamimously agreed ..........to appoint the following persons being overseers & Churchwardens and inhabitants of the said Parish be elected to keep Select Vestries for the purpose of relieving the Poor of the said Parish once in every Month........................and no less than Five of the undersigned persons to attend at each Vestry and no more than Twenty."

Three persons were chosen from Gorwedd, three from Garth and Ystrad, three from Gogoyan, three from Llanio, two from Doethie Camddwr, and three from Doethie Pysgotwr.

[MS Llanddewibrefi Vestry Minutes 3 March 1820]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]     


Overseer's appointment

Often the appointment of an overseer would be quashed by the justices of the peace in Quarter Sessions after an appeal by the person chosen to serve as overseer.

This is what happened in Llanddewibrefi 1815 when one Richard Williams of the Parcel of Gorwidd  successfully appealed against his appointment as overseer by Edward Warren Jones Esqr and Alban Thomas Jones Gwynne [ both justices of the peace]  on the grounds of his poverty and inability .to serve the office of overseer.       

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]           


Medical relief for  paupers

In rural districts the medical man was generally paid by the case , an example from vestry minutes;

"...cash paid Doctor Lewis Glynussa for mending Sarah Oliver 13s.8d......"

[MS Llanddewibrefi Vestry Minutes 6 Feb 1818]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]     


Tai Unnos on Mynydd Llanddewibrefi

The book "An Illustrated History of Cardiganshire"   By W J Lewis, 1970  has a diagram showing some of the various Tai Unnos [One Night Houses] on Mynydd Llanddewibrefi, these place names have been extracted and are shown on  INDEX.

According to tradition the one-night house dates from the Middle Ages but in Cardiganshire the majority were erected between 1830 and 1870. They were built on common land and were illegal, but because of tradition and custom, if the builder followed a certain plan, he was left in peace.  At sunset the man, with his helpers, went to the chosen site taking with him the necessary materials. He then built the walls of the house, usually of prepared turf, erected the roof timbers, and covered them with twigs and thatch, leaving a hole in the roof for the smoke from the fire to escape. He had to ensure that at daybreak the following morning, there was smoke coming out of this hole and that there was someone living in the house.

The next step was to enclose some land around the building. The custom was for the cottager to stand by the house and to throw an axe as great a distance as possible. He was then allowed to enclose half of all the land within that distance of the cottage i.e roughly a semi circle. After living there a year and a day he could build a permanent dwelling round the turf house which was then dismantled bit by bit and carried out.

[Gareth 12  and 18 Aug 2000 D]       


Lampeter

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For more online information about Lampeter  parish see Genuki


Vestry meetings 1750-1834

Very few parishioners actually attended vestry meetings. A vestry at Lampeter in 1792 was adjourned because so few attended the meeting even though the topic under discussion was considered to be important. Nine parishioners were present counting the total number of signatures and marks---many parishioners could not write their names during this period. During the late C18 there were never more than fifteen parishioners present at Lampeter vestry meetings and the Easter meeting naturally drew the greatest number.

[MS Lampeter Vestry Minutes, 18 July 1792]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


George Eyre Evans wrote of the Lampeter Vestry

" Out of the minutes of 108 vestries, of which extracts are before me, all save a dozen seem to have been adjourn'd to the house of Chelton Leigh or some other parishioner. That all the adjournments were to ale-houses, I hardly like to affirm, but in many of the records mention is distinctly made that they were adjourned to the George, the Black Lion, and other hostelries.  At least 34 vestries were , between the years 1777 and 1800, held at the house of Daniel Evans, the petty constable of Lampeter; Chelton Leigh kept the Swan, and here we know that 13 vestries adjourned. The Black Lion had Thomas Williams as host, and he managed to secure 15 vestries; David Jenkins, one of the churchwardens in 1792, owned the Three Horse Shoes, and got five vestries, though, to his credit it said, not one was adjourned to his house in his year of office.... Mr Charles Edmund, " Town" as he is designated, was warden in 1777 and 1795, and had eight vestries in his house. Nine vestries only seem to have had no adjournments from the parish church."

[George Eyre Evans, Lampeter, 1905]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth 22 July 2000 D]


Overseers

In the main overseers of the poor exercised very little influence, merely carrying out the orders of the vestry and between vestry meetings they provided occasional relief to paupers.

Alfred Ollivant, in his capacity as clerk to the Lampeter vestry, said that the overseers of the county were " generally persons of very little intelligence, and afraid to act in any matter of importance on their own responsibility..................

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


Vestry Finances

If an occupier thought a rate levied on him by the Vestry was unfair he could appeal in the Cardiganshire Quarter Sessions. One such appeal in 1817 was by one David Joel Jenkins of 'Lampeterpontstephen' , and the court ordered the rate be  quashed and reassessed.

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


Justices of the Peace and settlement

"...the Parishioners [ of Lampeter in 1778].........unanimously agreed to order Evan Jenkin the present Church-Warden and John Davies of Cappeli to wait upon Mr Lloyd of Mabus in order to have his opinion about the settlement of some Poor people etc..."

[MS Lampeter Vestry Minutes, 22 May 1778]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


House of correction for  Lampeter ?

It was the wish of the Lampeter justices to establish a house of correction  to serve the town in Lampeter and in 1806 the clerk of the Peace was ordered to apply to Lewis Bayly Wallis for some land to build the house.

[Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


Cost and abuse of poor relief?

Lampeter parish spent 509-12s on the provision of relief for the poor in the year ended 25 March 1831 and 87.3s.8d in cottage rents. Several able-bodied labourers were said to be living in cottages whose rents were paid by Lampeter vestry.

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


Medical relief for paupers

Sometimes the doctor's salary depended on whether he was successful in curing the patient, as in this example ;

"...Order'd that   Margt David should be endevoured to be cured of her disagreeable & strange malady in as moderate a manner as possible. Mr Thomas surgeon has undertaken her case for 2 guineas : no cure no pay."

[NLW, MS,  Lampeter Vestry Minutes, 6 March 1799]

Not every doctor's terms were acceptable to parish vestries and the following extracts seem to indicate some disagreement over the payment;

"It was agreed by the Parishioners then present to request Mr Evans the Doctor to produce his Bill, provided he can make a legal demand upon this Parish, for attending the late John Richd Pauper. After the Bill is produc'd the Parishioners are to consult what further proceedings are to be made."

[NLW, MS,  Lampeter Vestry Minutes, 14 July 1778]

"Order'd that the Church-Wardens are to employ an Attorney in order to defend the Parishioners in a case now depending at the General Sessions at Cardigan. If Mr Evans the Doctor will attend Sessions we think it a very prudent and eligible step to compromise Matters & settle amicably with Mr Evans."

[NLW, MS,  Lampeter Vestry Minutes, 15 August1778]

"...agreed to settle Matters with Mr Evans the Doctor, for his attendance to Jn Richard late Pauper."

[NLW, MS,  Lampeter Vestry Minutes, 13 Feb 1779]

Parish vestries were often enlightened in their attitude towards the sick and would often provide money for recuperation purposes;

"....to Thomas David William two shillings in order to go to the sea side for the sake of his bad state of Health."

[MS,  Lampeter Vestry Minutes, 18 July 1779]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


Pauper lunatics

On the eve of the Poor Law Amendment Act[1834] there was no lunatic asylum in Cardiganshire and little provision if any was made for pauper lunatics or idiots. In the main such cases were boarded  with parishioners as in the case of Evan, the parish idiot, from Lampeter, and quoted by George Eyre Evans;

".........in February 1778.....the vestry ordered for him a suit of cloathes, as soon as conveniency will permit. Later on it is ordered to provide one shirt, breeches, and waistcoat for the Ideot. He was boarded out in the parish, and in 1787, James Thomas , of Llwyn Ieir, is given 4 for keeping, nursing, and maintaining Evan the Ideot for a whole year..................In 1792 adjourned from the parish church to the Black Lion , the wardens and overseers, David Jenkins, Three Horse Shoes, and Thomas Saunders, of Undergrove are ordered to settle Evan the Ideot as before, with Evan of Lett'rtwppa, for 2s per week; if Evan will refuse to keep him for so much, then he is to go about the parish as before." [ George Eyre Evans, "Lampeter", 1905]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth Hicks 28 July 2000 D ]


Early education in Llanbedr

Sir Erasmus Philipps, father of Sir John Philipps, of Picton, played an important part in the affairs of the principality under the Commonwealth. He was a Commissioner under "The Act for the Better Propagation and Preaching of the Gospel in Wales[1650-3]" and under the Ordnances of August 1654. Sir Erasmus had a prominent share...in the first organised movement for Elementary Education in Wales on a national scale. His name often appears on the Orders of the Commissioners, here is an interesting example [with original spelling ] ;

" By the Comrs for propagacon of the Gospell &c: Swansey 2 August 1652.

"Llanbedr: Itt is ordered that a free Schoole be created and settled in the towne of Llanbeder in the County of Cardigan for the Educacon of Youthes in Englishe and Latine Tongue. And that the yearely summe of twenty poundes bee allowed for the keeping of the said freeschoole. And Mr Thos Evans is hereby authorised to keep the said Schoole and to receive the said stipend till the Comrs shall take further order therein, and Mr John Price Esqr Trear for South Wales is hereby enabled to pay and allow the said summe of twenty poundes, att such time and Seasons as the same shall grow due and payable, the first Quarter to commence the five and twentyeth of March last past. "
"Rowland Dawkins, Erasmus Philipps, James Philipps, Sam. Lort, John Lewis, Jo. Browne, Jo. Daniell." [ Lambeth MS 1006, p.56]

[Sir John Phillips; The Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge; And The Charity School Movement In Wales, 1699-1737. By the Rev Thomas Shankland. Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion. Session 1904/5. Gareth Hicks 1 June 2001 D/C/P]


Llanrhystud

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For more online information about Llanrhystud   parish see Genuki


Overseers and Parish Clerks

Officials of Llanrhystud parish were asked by the Poor Law Commissioners to give the number and salaries of paid officers serving the vestry in 1834. The parish had the normal complement---an overseer of the poor, an assistant overseer, who received a salary of 35s., and a vestry clerk who received 20s. The overseer was also clerk in 1835. Thus " John Cole will be allowed 5s. more wages this year than last makeing 2 15 for serving the Parish and one Pound for being Parish Clerk making a total of 3 15 0 in the year ".

[MS Llanrhystud Vestry Minutes,  3 April 1835]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


Finance

In the parish of Llanrhystud in 1750 the rate of fourpence in the pound was assessed on the parish by the vestry towards the relief of the poor. By 1800 it had risen to four shillings in the pound.

No doubt economic circumstances forced Llanrhystud vestry in 1817 to assess those occupiers of lands and houses who had not hitherto been assessed to the poor rate

[MS Llanrhystud Vestry Minutes,  8 August 1817]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]        


Poorhouses, or rented cottages ?

David Jones, overseer and churchwarden for the parish of Llanrhystud replied to a question that there was ' no Poorhouse or Workhouse in Llanrhystid, we rent 23 cottages about the neighbourhood  for the reception of the Poor from 1-10s-0d. to 5-0s-0d. making a total rent paid yearly 50-1s-6d.' [Llanrhystud Vestry Minutes].

Twenty four persons occupied rent-free cottages on the eve of the Act of 1834 and one of those was situated in Aberystwyth, a distance of nine miles from Llanrhystud.

Two typical entries are as follows;

" That David Evan of Ty Mawr, Kilcenin, be paid at the rate of 1-5s-0d. per annum from May last as rent for Cottage occupied by Mary John Jacob a pauper belonging to this parish. " [MS Llanrhystud Vestry Minutes, 15 Sept 1818].

"That three pounds per year be allowed Mary Welch together with House Rent.." [MS Llanrhystud Vestry Minutes, 1 June 1821]

The authorities tried to impose economies in the period after the Napoleonoc Wars, and in some cases they refused to pay house rent but confiscated items of furniture to pay the rent. Thus in 1821 the Llanrhystud vestry ordered the overseers ' to fetch the Clock and other unnecessary Articles from the house of Richard Morris and sell the same by Auction in order to pay the arrears of rent to Mr John Evans. ' [MS Llanrhystud Vestry Minutes, 5 Dec 1821]

About a year later the same vestry decided to herd two families into one rent-paid cottage, exclaiming that the Parish paid ' more Rent for Houses for the Poor than is reasonable or necessary---That there are several Houses rented by the Parishes large enough to contain two families and that in future two families be plac'd in such houses.' [MS Llanrhystud Vestry Minutes, 21 Nov 1822]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


Rate exemption for paupers

The second method of relieving the poor in Cardiganshire was to exempt pauper cottages from the rates, or if the property was assessed, the rates were paid by the parish authorities. In the township of Llanrhystud Mefenydd, occupiers of property assessed to the value of 6-10s-8d. were exempted from payment of rates on account of poverty. [MS Llanrhystud Vestry Minutes]

At a vestry meeting in Llanrhystud in 1812, 19 resolutions were passed  concerning paupers, 11 of whom lived outside the parish boundaries, as in the case of Mary Welch; ' Resolved that Mary Welch single-woman of this parish residing in the parish of Llandinol in the county receive of the overseer of the poor the sum of one pound for her present use in addition to her allowance of ten shillings Quarterly and her House rent defrayed at the expence of this parish.'

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ]


Examples of relief

Occasional, or casual, relief was given to paupers in money or in kind ---probably the greater part of this type of relief was given in money but fuel, clothing, barley, potatoes, medicines and medical attendance were also provided.

Examples of such relief in Llanrhystud include the following;

".......that James Richard the Overseer provides two flannel shifts and a Blanket at a reasonable price for the use of Elinor Rees, a poor woman of this parish" [9 Dec 1767].

"......ordered to Mary Roberts 4 measures potatoes and 4 Load of Turff....". [5 Nov 1801]

"......ordered 1 Tobstand of Wool to Lewis Davies" [ 5 Nov 1801]

".......That Evan Evans of Nantcenin be allow'd as relief, a Bushel of rye for seed and two bushels of Barley for bread." [ 7 Nov 1817]

Money was sometimes provided in order to purchase food, as in this example

"......That Elizabeth Davies of Drainllwynfach be allow'd 5s. as Relief to buy Herrings for salting." [ 7 Nov 1817]

Sometimes the occasional relief took the form of a loan, as in;

".......To Mary Jones near ffrood 5 Bushels Barley and for her return to the overseer the same quantity the following year." [ 28 May 1801].

"........that one Pound be now lent to Thomas Lewis of Llanrhystyd on the account of his share of the vessel called Prosperity belonging to the Port of Aberystwith[18 Feb 1820].

[MS Llanrhystud Vestry Meetings ]

  [ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth  Hicks 29 July 2000 D] 


Unemployed paupers "on the parish"

Paupers were often sent round the parish to work for their board and lodging in return for clothing provided by the vestry, but they did not earn money. Some  examples ;

"..... John David Richard go from house to house in the Hamlet or Parcel of Mevenydd, and remain so many Days at such Houses as their respective Surveys will admit of at one night at every Pound."

[MS Llanrhystud Vestry Meetings 28 Feb 1770]

"....that Jenkin the reputed son of Captain Bowen, now chargeable on this Parish , shall go from House to House for his maintenance during this year and remain one Day and a Night in each house for every twenty shillings Survey that they are charged to the Land tax."

[MS Llanrhystud Vestry Meetings 25 Feb 1783]

"...That Mary Evan Jones now idle and living upon the parish be employ'd by the farmers according to their several Survey."

[MS Llanrhystud Vestry Meetings 26 June 1822]

"...that the overseer John Lloyd is to provide clothing for John Williams and that John Williams is to go from farm to farm in the parish according to the survey."

[MS Llanrhystud Vestry Meetings 18 Aug 1824]

[Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  .Gareth ] 


Llanbadarn fawr

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For more online information about the parish of Llanbadarn fawr see Genuki


Dr Lewis Edwards [1809-1887]

Born in a farmhouse called Pwllcenawon, near Penllwyn, Cardiganshire. He began to preach when he was at school in Llangeitho. He settled in Laugharne where he was a home missioner and also conducted a school there. He went to Edinburgh University in 1833 and  was the first Methodist minister to obtain the MA degree. He was buried in Llanycil churchyard close to the grave of Thomas Charles at Bala.

Lewis Edwards laid emphasis on the value of education and culture. He and his brother in law, the Rev David Charles     [ grandson of Thomas Charles of Bala] , opened a school at Bala , mainly for preachers, and afterwards adopted as a Calvinistic Methodist academy in North Wales. When this first opened there was much prejudice against "manufactured preachers". Dr Edwards was the Principal at Bala for nearly half a century, during which period hundreds of students came under his charge including several of the most prominent men in the denomination.

In 1845 he and Roger Edwards began the publication of a Welsh periodical, Y Traethodydd , Dr Edwards edited it until 1854 and it exercised  considerable influence on Welsh thought.  Apart from his influence upon Wales in general, Lewis Edwards has a special place in the history of the Calvinistic Methodist system . If Thomas Charles may be regarded as the founder of the Methodist Connexion so Lewis Edwards may be called its architect and builder.

Based on Famous Welshmen Welsh Dept of Board of Education, 1944. Gareth Hicks 18 July 2000]     


Ieuan Gwyllt [John Roberts 1822-1877]

He was born at Tan-rhiw-felen, Penllwyn, near Aberystwyth and educated in Penllwyn and Aberystwyth. From his easrly days he was interested in music and he attended classes held by the musicians James and Richard Mills [Llanidloes].

He went to Liverpool in 1852 to assist Hiraethog in editing the Amserau, he became well known throughout Wales as a journalist. He was a member of the Philharmonic Society in Liverpool and whilst there he began to recognise and develop the church style in music.

In 1858 he settled in Aberdare as editor of the Gwladgarwr , he attended Bethania Chapel where he met musicians like Silas Evans, Alaw Ddu and David Rosser. It was under Ieuan Gwyllt's leadership that the first Gymanfa in Aberdare was held. His hymn book,   Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol , was published in 1859, a year of religious revival, and this had an important place in the development of congregational music in Wales.He also edited several magazines  e.g Telyn y Plant. He was ordained a minister during his stay at Aberdare and subsequently had charge of churches at Merthyr and Capel Coch[Llanberis]. He was buried at Caeathro cemetery, Caernarvonshire where there is a monument to him.

Throughout his life Ieuan Gwyllt aimed at raising the standard of congregational music, he composed some fine hymn tunes including Moab and Liverpool and his contribution to the development of congregational music must be regarded as the most important in his period.

Based on Famous Welshmen Welsh Dept of Board of Education, 1944. Gareth Hicks ]            


Sir John Rhys [1840-1915]

He was born in Ponterwyd. At the outset of his career he enjoyed few advantages, he attended classes held at certain farms in the neighbourhood and it is believed he was first inspired to take an interest in language and grammar  by  a weaver named Dafydd Gruffydd of Wern Deg. When a British School was opened in Ponterwyd he was sent to it, and later to a school at Penllwyn where he began his career as a pupil teacher. Later he was admitted to Normal College, Bangor. After qualifying he was appointed Head teacher at Rhos-y-bol, Anglesey, and whilst in Anglesey became prominent for his writings on the Welsh language and Welsh antiquities. He went to Jesus College, Oxford in 1865 and graduated in 1869. In 1871 he was appointed Inspector of Schools in Flint and Denbigh counties. He took the Chair of Celtic at Oxford and held it until his death, he became Principal of Jesus College in 1895.

He contributed many articles of outstanding importance on philology  e.g Lectures on Welsh Philology [1877], The Arthurian Legend [1891] and Celtic Folklore [1901] , and was also deeply interested in folklore, old customs and superstitions. He will be mainly remembered for his service to scholarship, the renaissance in the study of Welsh language which took place in the latter part of the C19 would not have been possible without his work.

Based on Famous Welshmen Welsh Dept of Board of Education, 1944. Gareth Hicks ]     


Overseers [Poor Law]

That overseers were not always honest in their dealings is evident from occasional entries in vestry books.

Three churchwardens from Llanbadarn fawr in 1817 were " to be proceeded against according to Law, for neglecting and refusing to settle their accounts." The vicar of the parish was asked to begin legal proceedings at the parish's expense against the churchwardens.

[NLW MS Llanbadarn Fawr Vestry Minutes, 17 Aug 1817]

[ Based on an article  by Alun Eirug Davies in Ceredigion , the journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society ; Vol V1/1 1968  . Gareth ]


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