|The age of a community is
usually best recorded by the date when its
church was established. There is record of a
stone church being built in Llanarth between
1200 and 1220 to replace an earlier wooden
church. Within St. David's Church is an even
older relic; the inscribed stone cross,
sometimes known as the Cross of Girhurst or
the Cross of Girhiret - named after an Irish
chieftain of the ninth century. Some
researchers believe that it also bears
earlier inscriptions in Ogham - an ancient
form of writing found on only two stones in
Ceredigion and dating back to the fifth
century. Others more recently believe the
marks to be where swords and knives were
sharpened before battle!
Also in the
church is a late Norman font - possibly
dating back to the 1200s. This lead lined
font - long since replaced by another, is
supported by four carved lions at the base.
Early maps, like those above show Llanarth with
various spellings - Seller spells it as 'Llanarche' in 1701 and it is
frequently seen as 'Llannarth'. Llanarth was certainly well established
long before neighbouring New Quay or even Aberaeron ever
of Christopher Saxton 1610
Cardiganshire map of Seller 1701
A few notable old buildings from this time still
survive in the Llanarth area. One of the most significant - less than a mile
north of Motygido is Wern Newydd or Plas y Wern (below), parts of which date back to the
|It was certainly
there in August of 1485 when The Earl of Richmond, later to become
Henry VII, stayed at Wern Newydd at Gilfachreda.
This was on the second night after
he landed at Dale near Milford Haven. According to Samuel Lewis in ' A
Topographical Dictionary of Wales 1833': "he
was hospitably entertained by Einon ap Dafydd Llwyd, on his route
through this county to Bosworth Field."
marching through Wales to meet Richard III's army at Bosworth Field.
Richard was killed at Bosworth and the Earl went on to London to be
crowned Henry VII.
Another Historic house in the
Llanarth area is Plas Llanina, once
the home of Ernestus Musgrave, who
fled here during the Civil War
before 1630. later the estate
belonged to the Jones family some of
whom were educated at Motygido
Academy. Musgrave was a Catholic,
and as there was no Catholic church
nearby, he built a chapel in the
grounds, the walls of which still
A member of the Jones
family married Captain Longcroft of
Havant in Hampshire, the Excise
Officer for this part of the
Cardiganshire coast. After several
other owners, Plas Llanina was
purchased by Lord Howard de Walden
in the early 1940's.It was here at
that time that Dylan Thomas was a
frequent guest, writing in the
solitude of the 'Apple House' at the
end of the garden (see Dylan Thomas'
|Our own farm house
at Motygido also has historical significance. The first record we have
found is from the year 1587 when the farm belonged
to David Thomas David ap Watkin of Nantgwynfynydd and tithe was paid to
the Manor of Caerwedros.
find Motygido recorded in the will of Hugh Pryce Pugh, Gentleman dated
January 3rd 1722 when both Motygido and Goytre farms were left to his
wife Margaret for (the remainder of) her life, and then on to John
Pugh, his second son born in 1689 on Ash Wednesday - February 23rd,
later to be a classical scholar who is said to have spoken fourteen
languages and who was a curate of Llanllwchaiarn Church and later of St
David's at Llanarth. Hugh Pryce Pugh's first son Rees was left just a
guinea and an Oak tree, as a settlement had probably already been made
on his marriage.
enhanced graphic shows how Motygido
may have appeared in the seventeenth
|The Rev. John Pugh
founded one of the earliest schools
in West Wales at Motygido in the
1730's. The Rev Pugh's Diaries which
record day to day events and
expenditure of both the farm and the
school are now in the collection of
the National Library at Aberystwyth.
there was no other school in
Llanarth until the 1840's.
In the eighteenth century, many
residents of Llanarth were Farmers,
but many also worked as part-time
Fishermen during the Herring season
at Aberaeron or New Quay, or in the
shipbuilding industry at New Quay
and Cei Bach. The first recorded
vessel built at New Quay was the 24
ton sloop 'Thomas and Mary' which
was launched in 1779. Between 1800
and 1820, 31 ships were built at New
Quay, most of which were sloops.
Later in the century, the
shipbuilding industry became very
important in the area with as many
as three hundred persons being
employed at Traethgwyn and Cei Bach.
Interestingly a 30 ton boat was
built at Llanarth in the 1850's.
Owned by 30 Llanarth residents, the
boat was built by Dafi Davies. It is
not recorded how the boat was
transported to the sea for
In 'A Topographical Dictionary of
Wales' Samuel Lewis writes in 1849:
'LLANARTH (LLAN-ARTH), a parish,
in the union of Aberaëron, hundred
of Moythen, county of Cardigan,
South Wales, 13 miles (N. W. by W.)
from Lampeter; consisting of two
divisions, North and South, and
containing 2421 inhabitants. The
Earl of Richmond, afterwards Henry
VII., on the second night after his
landing at Milford Haven, encamped
his forces at Wern Newydd, in this
neighbourhood, where he was
hospitably entertained by Einon ab
Davydd Llwyd, on his route through
the country to Bosworth Field. The
parish is of considerable extent. It
is pleasantly situated on the
turnpike-road leading from Cardigan
to Aberystwith, and is intersected
by the river Llethy, which falls
into Cardigan bay at Llanina. The
surface is boldly undulated, in some
parts mountainous; the lands are
partially inclosed and in a good
state of cultivation. The
surrounding scenery is strikingly
varied by picturesque dingles and
sterile mountains; and from the
higher grounds some pleasing and
extensive views are obtained over
St. George's Channel. Neuadd
Llanarth, anciently the seat of the
family of Griffiths, is now a
spacious modern mansion. Fairs are
annually held in the village on
January 12th, March 12th, June 17th,
September 22nd, and October 27th,
for horses, cattle, and merchandise.
The living is a vicarage, with the
perpetual curacy of Llanina annexed,
rated in the king's books at £4. 18.
1½.; patron, the Bishop of St.
David's. The tithes of the parish
have been commuted for £303. 8. 4.
payable to the bishop, £151. 14. 2.
to the vicar, and £4. 17. 6. to an
impropriator. The church, dedicated
to St. Vylltyg, is a venerable
structure, consisting of a nave and
chancel, with a lofty and
substantial tower, and is situated
on the declivity of a high hill: in
the churchyard, a little to the
north of the church, is a stone four
feet and a half in height, and two
feet ten inches in breadth, bearing
a rude cross, and having an
inscription, which, however, is so
much obliterated as to be illegible.
There are places of worship for
Methodists, and Wesleyans; a Church
day school; and five Sunday schools,
one of them in connexion with the
Established Church. In the parish
are the remains of an extensive
encampment called Castell Moyddyn,
but no account of its origin has
been preserved; and on the farm of
Peny-Voel is another, called Pen-y-Gaer.
Of Castell Mabwynion, also in the
parish, which was allotted by Prince
Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, in his
partition of the reconquered
territories in South Wales, in 1216,
to Rhŷs ab Grufydd, there are not
any remains, neither is the exact
site of it known. There is a tumulus
of earth, called Crûg Gôch, on an
extensive common here'.
|Many gravestones in
Llanarth, Llanllwchaiarn, Gilfachreda and Pencae record the fate of Sea
captains and sailors who perished at sea in the nineteenth century. A
notable example is that of Captain A. Enoch of Alma Crescent, Llanarth,
who drowned in December 1867. He was Captain of the Brig 'Gertrude' on
the voyage from New York to Oporto. His gravestone, shown on the left
is in the churchyard of St. David's, Llanarth.
Not only were many of
Llanarth's past residents Sea
Captains and Sailors who sailed on
ships out of nearby New Quay and
Aberaeron, while others were farmers
in the many small farms of the area.
There were also weavers, fullers,
tanners, corn millers, blacksmiths,
carpenters, clockmakers, masons,
shoemakers, tailors, candle makers,
stocking knitters, thatchers, mole
catchers and dressmakers.
was a clockmaker born in Llanarth. In 1818 he married Mary born in
Bangor in 1819. David Rees lived in Tanyard House - in front
of the Tannery which was in the centre of Llanarth Village, but which
was demolished when the road was widened. The location would have been
approximately facing the location of the present village shop and
Clock made by David Rees of Llanarth
Click on the photo for a larger
image of the clock face.
Clock made by ? Evans of Llanarth
Click on the photo for a larger
image of the clock face.
|We are grateful to Jan Van Hermelen of
Nieuwegein, Holland for sending us a photo of his Llanarth Grandfather
clock shown on the left above. Click on the photo for a larger image of
clock face. The painting on the clock is by Jn. D.
Jones and shows buildings that we do not recognise as being local to
this area. The eyes of the lion move from side to side.
By a strange coincidence, we have also
received the photo of the second clock from Holland. We are grateful to
Thea Arts-Huijs for sending it. This clock was made by N (?) Evans of
Llanarth, and the clockwork mechanism was made by Walker and Hughes of
Birmingham who also made clock dials between 1811 and 1835.
Both of the clocks above were probably
made about 1830.
Russ Davies of Comanche, Texas has
created a website about a family
from Rhydyfuddai, Llanarth ( on the
B4342 towards Mydriolyn before the
Bardsey View caravan park) . His
Davies family also lived in
Rhydyfuddai from about 1880 until
recently, Titlehough there is no
known connection to this branch of
the Davies family.
On the first page of his website he
writes: 'Rhydyfuddai is the name of
a small group of houses near
Llanarth, Ceredigion (formerly
Cardiganshire), Wales. In the mid
19th. century members of the Davies
family of Rhydyfuddai emigrated to
Ohio and Minnesota. They were
soldiers in the American Civil War,
were involved in fighting the native
Indians of Minnesota, and, as
guards, witnessed the largest mass
execution in American history.
Fortunately, the son of a family
member maintained two notebooks in
which he recorded the reminiscences
of his father, Henry Hughes, and his
uncle Thomas Y. Davies. This is
their story – recorded in their own
words one hundred years ago. The
story contains many anecdotes, some
amusing, some sad, depicting the
life of the family in both their old
and new homelands. '
Click here to visit the The
Rhydyfuddai Pioneers website
Siani Pob Man 1834 -
Siani Pob Man is something of a
legendary figure in the area. Born
Jane Leonard at Bannau Duon Farm,
Llanarth, she lived in a dilapidated
thatched cottage at Cei Bach Beach.
Her income was mostly derived from
selling eggs - Titlehough locals
didn't like them as they were said
to taste of seaweed. They were all
however, nice and brown, as she
soaked them in tea to make them more
attractive. Visitors called her 'Siani'r
Ieir' - 'Siani of the Hens' due to
the fact that she named each hen.
Jonathan was her prize cockerel and
others were named Bidi, Kit,
Richard, Ruth and Charlotte. She
kept up to thirty hens at a time.
|She wore a red and yellow
handkerchief over her head that held
a battered trilby hat in place, a
black dress with red stripes, red
and white patterned shawl and clogs
on her feet. She was very popular
with the tourists, so popular that
postcards of her photograph were
published - the photo on the right
is from a postcard.
Siani was quite canny and played on
the fact that some visitors thought
that she could tell their fortune,
she charged them a penny for a
reading. If she thought they were
making fun of her, she would chase
them, throwing stones and hurling
abuse, she had a sharp tongue when
needed. She held court outside her
cottage, where she sat smoking a
pipe, talking to her chickens,
singing rhymes, reciting sermons and
telling fortunes. Colliers from
South Wales were especially fond of
her and always called when they
visited New Quay. For a piece of
tobacco, she would sing her
favourite hymn, 'Ar fôr tymhestlog
Martha - Who was Martha?
Martha Evans was
born at Rhydfuddai, Llanarth, in 1870. She died in April 1939 and was
buried at Pencae. She was unmarried and was a seamstress by occupation.
Martha lived with her sister, Sarah, at Derlwyn, Llanarth. Sarah died
in 1936 and was also buried at Pencae.
owned the field opposite Derlwyn. This was adequate for providing
fodder for their one cow. They also kept one pig and a few hens - a
traditional way of life. Sarah did most of the 'farming' - churning
butter, caring for the animals, etc., whilst Martha preferred 'people,
papers and books'. She helped with the Chapel, especially, the Sunday
School. Their field eventually became known as Cae Martha in an area
where every field had a name. It is today known as the 'Cae Martha