Motygido in West Wales

The History of Motygido

We have some information about Motygido but require much more. We would be grateful for any old photos or recent information (from living memory). There is no doubt that the Farmhouse at Motygido is very old. The main downstairs part of the original stone building consisted when we purchased it of a single room some 36 feet in length with a massive inglenook fireplace at one end. Nine feet wide and high enough to walk into, the wall above the fireplace is supported by a single large Oak beam. Beside the fireplace, there is evidence (in what is now a cupboard) to suggest that a wooden spiral staircase led up to the gallery adjacent to the huge chimney. 

This computer generated graphic is what the farmhouse may have looked like with its thatched roof and original windows in the eighteenth century.

There is a small rectangular depression in the stonework above the front door. We are reliably informed by former residents that there was a small stone date plaque set into the wall. Unfortunately, although we have spoken to people who remember it being there, none can remember the date and no-one has any idea where it may have gone.

The photo above shows some grass, but when we dug into the courtyard to plant trees, we found cobblestones everywhere. Before we purchased Motygido, a former owner of the property covered the courtyard with shale and the grass was at that time sparse. We have added topsoil and with regular mowing and the consequent addition of humus have achieved a healthy lawn over the last twenty plus years.

The earliest photo we have of Motygido is from an aerial photo taken in 1967. In this photo there are 2 chimneys and the ground floor windows were very small, matching the existing first floor sash windows.

We found the remains of a bedroom fireplace behind panelling  when renovating a bedroom. This fireplace appeared to be early Victorian  and had been covered up years ago.  A gate to the right of the house leads into a garden area. There is today no sign of the pig sties to the left of the yard and a number of other farm buildings.

The origin of the unusual name 'Motygido' is shrouded in mystery. A local legend has it that a Monk or hermit by the name of 'Gido' - possibly 'Guido' , had a dog called 'Mot' and that they either lived or roamed about in the locality. They are said to have given their names to the 2 small rivers bordering the property - names by which they are still known today. This is the only explanation known for the unusual name and it may well be correct. Interestingly, many local people and a good few others who have never heard the name before refer to it as 'Montigido', although we have never found a written record of this spelling, it is referred to as 'Bonty Giddo' on the 1840 Tithe map..

The first record we have of Motygido is from the year 1587 when it belonged to David Thomas David ap Watkin of Nantgwynfynydd when tithe was paid to the Manor of Caerwedros.

We have found no record yet of the following one hundred and fifty years!

We next 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. 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.

John Pugh was the curate of Llanllwchaearn (Newquay), and at various times was also the curate at Llanarth and at Llanina. He brought some recognition to Motygido when he started his school at the farm in about 1730. Pugh kept copious notebooks recording his theological, farming and educational activities and a number of these survive to this day at the National Library of Wales. The students at his school came from a wide area, some being boarders. There may have been as few as a dozen at times and as many as thirty at others.

Pugh who was reputed to have spoken fourteen languages (surviving evidence suggests he was familiar with Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Arabic) gave a good classical education to his pupils and there are records of many of his pupils going up to both Oxford and Cambridge. It is recorded that Pugh built up an interesting classical library. Most of these books are still in existence today in private collections.

Pugh's diaries record that in the 1740's he employed a manservant, a boy and a maidservant, all living in at the farm. The man was paid 50 shillings and 5 pence a year as well as a pair of cloth trousers and a greatcoat. The maid received 30 shillings a year and four yards of flannel, while the boy's wages were 17 shillings, an old pair of breeches and wood for clogs cut from Oak trees on the property. A labourer, John Sanders who did not live on the farm received a peck of Barley and two pence for eleven day's work.

John Pugh died on May 30th in 1763 and is buried under the family pew in Llanarth Church. J.J.Jones in Enwogion Cymru says of his place of burial:

'ond nid oes na maen na mynor yn son gair am dano. A phaham hyny? Dangosir beddau personau a siaredir amdanynt oddiar feini teg a mynor drud, ag oeddynt yn llawer llai teilwng na Mr Pugh am eu bod yn llawer llai defnyddiol. Blin fod pobl teilwng fel efe yn cael myned yn anghof, a'u coffadwriaeth yn darfod'.

In 1781, charcoal made form the woods at Motygido was sold and delivered to Llechryd Tinplate and Iron works for a shilling a bag. Today just one or two fine old oaks remain on the property down at the bottom of the meadow.

A map of Cardiganshire dated 1833 
shows  Motygido as 'Boty-gido'. 

The Tithe map of 1840 shows 
Motygido as Bonty Giddo

In the 1970's, the auctioneer Arnold Rees - having been given a grant to plant peas and beans destroyed all the hedges and took down all the trees. When we bought the property in 1991, there was not a single tree or shrub taller than a Dock or a Nettle - and there were plenty of those! In the years since, we have planted hundreds of  trees and shrubs around the buildings and between the fields - grown from seeds or cuttings of local stock wherever possible. These  include, Elder,  Alder, Willow, Sallow, Aspen, Whitebeam, Maple, Sycamore,  Ash, Oak, Horse Chestnut, Rowan, Western Hemlock, Sitka Spruce, and Black, Lombardy and variegated Poplars.

There is clearly much more to learn about this fascinating old farm. This summer Moira will be carrying out further research at the National Museum. Meanwhile we invite anyone with knowledge of Motygido to contact us. We would like to be able to list all of its residents since the sixteenth century! 

The following are recorded as landowners or tenants of Motygido:

1587 Landowner  David Thomas David ap Watkin

? - 1722 Landowner and tenant Hugh Pryce Pugh

1722 - ?  Margaret Pugh

? - 1763 John Pugh (Rev)

1840 - Landowner Thomas John, Tenant - Benjamin James

1851 census
Evan Jones 51 -  farmer of 140 acres
Mary Jones 48 - wife
Thomas Jones  21 - son
David Jones 19 - son
Evan Jones  18 son
Mary Jones  14 daughter
Catherine Jones  13 daughter
Anne Jones  7 scholar
Thomas Evans - 29 - Mariner - Son in law
Sarah Evans 25 - daughter
Evan Evans 1 - Grandson

1861 census
Evan Jones  61 - farmer of 120 acres
Mary Jones  58
Evan Jones  27 sailor
Mary Jones  24
Catherine Jones  22
Anne Jones  17
Evan Evans - 11 - Grandson...................also  - David James 37 -Servant and Carter

1871 census (tenants)
Evan Jones 71 - farmer of 120 acres
Mary Jones 68
Mary Jones 32
David Jones 7 - Grand Son.......also 2 farm servants (David Davies 15 and John Jones 15)

1881 census (tenants)
Evan Jones 80 (died in 1890 aged 93?)
Mary Jones 78
Daniel Davies 56 - now head of household and married to -
Mary Davies 43 (formerly Jones) Mary was known as 'Mali'.
Evan Davies 8 - son
Eliza Davies 6 - daughter
David Davies 5 - son
Thomas 1 - son...........also indoor servants - David Jones 15 nephew of Daniel and  Anne Evans 14.

1891 census (tenants)
Mary Jones 89 (died in 1894 aged 93)
Daniel Davies 66 widower
Evan Davies 18
Eliza Davies 16
David Davies 13
Thomas Davies 11  ...........also a servant Lewis Herbert 18

1901 census (tenants)
Daniel Davies 80
Eliza Davies 26
Thomas Davies 20
Daniel Davies 7 - Grandson........also servant John Evans 15

Motygido was auctioned  (lot 7)as part of the Longcroft (Llanina)  Estate on 23rd September  1913,
but probably failed to sell.  At that time let to Henry Jones at an annual rent of 80. The tenant paid rates and taxes and the landlord paid the tithes (4 - 9s - 9d).

Motygido was auctioned again in 1916 (lot 4).

Notes on the Llanina Estate -  Owners of Motygido for many years

Captain Edward Longcroft RN (c.1750-1812), had settled in Wales in the 1780s after being the excise officer for Cardiganshire and marrying Elizabeth Baylis in Jamaica in 1782 ( Elizabeth had already inherited Llanina from the Warrens of Trewern, Pembrokeshire) . They lived at Llanina Mansion by 1807 and owned many properties in the Llanina, Llanarth and New Quay areas. The Longcrofts had originated in Wiltshire but first rose to prominence as merchants in Hampshire in the 18th century.  Much of the Llanina Estate was auctioned in 1913 and 1916 and the family remained at Llanina until about 1925.


(  page to be completed. )

R. and M. Attrill