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Llangynllo A Brief Moment In Time

Attribute: Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru – The National Library of Wales

The following article appeared in The Radnorshire Society Transactions Volume 12 December 1942.

LLANGYNLLO. By Rev. D. Stedman Davies and Rev. A. Mason, The Vicarage, Llangunllo.

Llangunllo Vicarage. Year unknow.

In this paper we can only deal with a period in the history of this ancient parish, not so much as a complete history but the bringing together of the scattered references to the men and houses from various sources, which may help towards a fuller history. The portions of the Episcopal Registers of the Diocese of St. David’s dealing with the new Diocese of Swansea and Brecon are being bound, and housed at Brecon Cathedral, where presently they can be examined for further information about all the parishes. A few extracts have been taken in the past, of which the following belong to Llangynllo.

On April 6th, 1409, David John, Rector of Llangynllo, was priested on a title to his benefice.

After him there is a gap, until November 8th, 1482, when Sir John ap David was collated to Llangynllo, vacant by the resignation of Sir Howell ap Meredith (whose appointment to the living is not recorded).

In 1489. Pope Innocent allowed Hugh Moris Rector of Llangynllo to hold in plurality Llangynllo and Trefebreye.

Nearly two hundred years later we have name of Rev. James Footman who became Vicar in 1666 and held the living for 51 years, until 1717. He seems to have been appointed soon after his ordination. He was evidently fond of sport for in 1694, 1695 and 1710 he was paid by the parish, 3/ 1/- and 2/6 for destroying Charnvotts wild cats, which were troublesome in those days (Church Warden’s Accounts).

Llangynllo was an important parish in the 16th and 17th centuries being in a secluded valley it had its attraction, and several families had settled there, their names are recorded but not often their houses. On the other hand the names of the old farms and tradition help to solve the problem, though the houses have been much altered or allowed to decay. Seven or eight of these houses are of interest.

CRUNGOED. A modern house built on the site of an Elizabethan dwelling which is said to have contained much carved work. Seven wooden corbels are preserved on which foliage typical of the period appear and a stone built into the back wall of the house is inscribed W. 1767 B.” which suggests rebuilding or addition at that date. The earliest mention of Crungoed is in 1613, when the Will of Griffith ap David, gent, of Crungoed was proved. How long he had lived there is not stated, but the ap David’s family had land in about thirteen parishes in north Radnorshire, and the family may have remained at Crungoed for many years. There is a big gap before we meet with the name of the house again. In the Church Registers, under the year 1750 the burial of Elizabeth wife of James Meredith (the elder) of Crungoed is registered. The husband is described as the elder,” and so an old resident. One would like to know who his wife Elizabeth was. The house is better known today as the home of the Bryan family, whose name first appears in the Registers in 1793, and local gossip attributes to them many alterations about the place. It is quite possible that the Bryan of 1793 may be the W. 1767 B. The last of the Bryans only passed away in 1933, breaking a long connection with the place.

WESTON HALL. A modern cottage which stands in the centre of mounds which cover the ruins and foundations of Weston Hall, a short mile south of Llangynllo village. Two holly trees of great age still flourish on the site of the old garden, so we read in the Inventory of Ancient Monuments. Sir John E. Lloyd (History of Wales p. 255) states that the original Welsh name of Weston was Rhiwlallt. Rhiwllalt was the name of the Welsh Swydd’ and afterwards of the English Manor of Rhiwlallt.

Lewis Glyn Cothi who flourished about 1450–1486, was a welcome visitor to Rhiwlallt, for he wrote an elegy to Rhys Thomas ab Davydd and his son, Morys of Rhiwlallt who were buried in the Churchyard of Llangynllo, and he mentions Thomas ab Rice who succeeded Rhys.

There is also an elegy to the memory of another son, Hywel Goch ab Rhys ab Davydd of Rhiwlallt. They were descended from Madog ab Idnerth ab Cadwgan ap Elysten Glodrydd, and were connected with Maelienydd as far back as the Norman Conquest and before.

The writer of the Inventory of Ancient Monuments in Radnorshire points out that within the Swydd of Rhiwlallt, not far from Llangoch is a deserted tenement called Rhiwlas, and within a few hundred yards of the house, there is a patch of cleared ground, which is suggested to be the Kings Hole of Swydd Rhiwlallt, and that it is the site on which coins of Edward III. were discovered. Both Rhiwlallt and Rhiwlas held important positions in the Swydd.

It is also stated that another hoard of coins of the much later reigns of Elizabeth., James I and Charles. I., was discovered in 1804 by a boy, John West, whose father, Wm. West, took them to London and sold them for 100 guineas. This lot was found on Malagoed farm near Creignant.

Rhiwlallt was evidently the Manor House, but so little is known about the occupiers until the last two resident proprietors of Weston Hall. John Holland of Weston was Warden in 1707, and Thomas Holland, Esq., who (as Jonathan Williams states) served the office of High Sheriff in 1732, and partitioned off a room at the West end of the Church for the purpose of keeping school, and also a gallery for the use of the Psalm Singers, at his own expense, and in 1769 he bequeathed for the purpose of teaching six poor children of the parish the annual sum of £ 2 5s. Od. He must have lived at Weston Hall for over forty years and was a supporter of all good works in the parish.

If Rhiwlallt was the old name when was it changed into’ Weston Hall ?’ We can only imagine that the Hollands being English and finding the Welsh name difficult to pronounce changed it into Weston and added Hall, on account of the importance of the place.

There is a fine carving of the Holland Arms, well preserved on a tombstone in the Graveyard, which the Rev. A. Mason, the Vicar, hopes to move to a place of safety.

LLANGOCH is a farm house, N.N. West of Llangynllo Station. The Parish Registers and a tombstone give the name as Llwyngoch. On the front of the house there is a stone inscribed D.I. 1684 I.I. The original entrance door, nail-studded, is an outer store-room door, but the house has been modernized (see Inventory of Ancient Monuments in Radnorshire). It was occupied by the family of Griffiths in 1783, whether connected with the Griffiths, a Wool stapler, who lived at Ludlow and built Llewhall about the year 1800, is not known.

BAILEY FARM. A modern house on the top of a mound, which suggest a former occupation of which nothing in known.

PENYCLAWDD. In the Church there is a monument to James and Thomas, sons of James and Anne Meyrick of Penyclawdd. Thomas being described as eminent for his piety and virtue and died in the 24th year of his age. Thomas Meyrick in 1764 left a rent charge of £I /Is. /Od. for the poor of the parish who were not receiving parochial relief. Anne Meyrick of Penyclawdd, the wife of James Meyrick and the mother of the two young men, lived until 1790, and was buried at Llangynllo.

OLD MYNACHDY composed of timber and lath, has the reputation of being the original site of a grange belonging to Abbeycwmhir, Jonathan Williams says thither the ejected monks of Abbeycwmhir transferred their establishment.

TREBURFETH, or TREBERFEDD, was also a Grange belonging to Abbeycwmhir. It is mentioned as far back as 1297 according to the Calendar of Patent Rolls, which says the men of Maelienydd were not allowed to hunt” over the land of the Abbey.

LEWHALL or LLEWHALL. The present house was built about 130 years ago, by a Woolstapler named Griffiths who lived at Ludlow. He may be related to Griffiths who lived at Llangoch in 1783. The hearth place of the old house at Llewhall is traceable in the fold and the beams from the old building are incorporated in the new house.

LLANGYNLLO CHURCH. The Church was restored in 1878. All the furniture and burial monu- ments were removed, Jonathan Williams describes the old Church as being neatly fitted up with a handsome reading desk and pulpit and the walls decorated with the Decalogue, Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, portions of scripture, Royal Arms, etc.

Small portions of the Walls belong to an earlier Church and in the North Wall there is a 13th century single lancet window, and the 15th century four-centred arch of the earlier church is now the doorway to the modern Vestry (Ancient Monuments Vol. III, p. 98). Also a stone bearing the date 1687, said to be taken from the south wall of the tower of the old Church is on the inner sill of the vestry window. The present font is at least the third and was put up about 1900. A former font in three pieces has been found in separate places by the Rev. A. Mason, and he has now fitted them together, it has rather an ugly pedestal of brown stone, painted white, a poor ornament in a new Church.

Besides the monument to the Meyricks of Penclawdd already mentioned, there is another Sacred to the menory of John Pritchard, Esq., of Dolyfelin, D.L. and J.P. and High Sheriff in 1769. He died in 1814, aged 72 and was buried in the Chancel.

Among the tombstones in the Tower floor whose inscriptions cannot be read, there is one to the memory of William and Anne Chamberlayn of Cefnsuram. Here lieth the Body of Anne Chamberlayne and R Coat of Arms. of William Chamberlayne gent Here lyeth the body of William who this 1742. Chambalain, who departed this life 24th day of July Anno Dom. 1722, Aged 67.

The Chamberlains of Cefnsuram and the Mills of Cwmheyope remained in the parish a long time and both houses are reputed to be ancient.

CHURCH Accounts, ETC. The Church Wardens and Overseers Accounts begin in 1693, and are in a dilapidated state, but the items are of interest.

1694. Pd. Mr. Cooper for beautifying the Church £1 0s 0d

1695. Pd. for mossing and Crofting the Church £1 5s 0d (for protection under the tiles).

1705. To the Joyner for mending the font 1/6d

1706. Spent treating the Rural Dean (Annual Official Visit) 2 /6d

1707. Paid them for mending the Church after the great wind 2/ 0d

1711. For gathering Moss 1/0d

1716. For killing two urchins (hedgehogs) to John Price 2/0d

1716. To Elinor Phillip for Cleaning 1/ 0d

1716. A book of prayers for the King 1/ 0d

1716. Paid the Parriter for book of thanksgiving (Geo. i.) 1/ 0d

1718. Spent when Mr. Orlton did take possession 3/0d (Mr. Orlton was the new Rector).

1719. To Beguildy for loss by fire 5/0d

1719. For a Boss for the parson to kneel on 1/0d

1720. For burying the bones 2/6d

1721. A Meeting concerning the bell, spent for ale 2/6d Spent the day the bell was broken down 1/0d

1722. For ye Black Cloth. (A pall for funerals) £1 12s 6d For ale when the fox was killed 2/6d

1722. For destroying Jack Daws 11/0d

1725. To James Roberts for mending the Kings Arms 15/2d

1725. Gave a woman on Low Easter Sunday for loss by fire 2/0d

1728. For a prayer book for Holidays 6d

For a prayer book, for the Royal family 1/0d (Accession of Geo. ii in 1727).

Every year there is a Meeting for assessing the Lewn (poor rate). In 1718, there is a statement of the Burial of one dependent on the parish:

To Elinor Griffiths £1 6s 0d

To the Bonesetter for her 3/0d

To Mary Jones for tending her £1 10s 0d

For a shroud for her 6s 0d

For shrouding her 1s 0d

For ale for burying her 2s 6d

For bread cheese and butter 2s 0d

To the Parson 1s 0d

To the Clark 1s 0d

Also for ale at the parish round, (that is at the beating of the bounds once a year) 3/ Among other items the Overseers in 1743, provided a man with a pair of shoes 3/6, a shirt 3/ Clogs 6d., a westcot and breeches 9/

There are also continuous entries for material for repairing the fabric, the Clock and the bells, and it is interesting to know that the remains of the clock are still in the Tower of the Church.

A few briefs have been preserved in the Church, appealing for help after fires at places as far afield as Edinburgh, 1708, Strand 1708, and Palatinate, 1709.

In 1745 and 1747 there are two entries which puzzle us 1745.

Paid for mending my Lord’s Coat 2/

Paid Bound for keeping my Lord 4/

For a breeches for my Lord 3/3

1747. Paid Bound for my Lord’s lodging 8/

My Lord’s coat and making 7/3

A breeches for my Lord 3/0

Mending his Shirt 3/

In 1722. Paid for mending the Altar Gate 3/ This fence was replaced in 1828, and railings for the Altar cost £ 2 14s. Od.

In 1782. Paid raising and mending the pavement 3/ and putting up the pulpit and burying ye bones 15/- (bones found underneath).

In 1801 a new desk and Pulpit were provided at the cost of £ 12 14s. 6d.

An old man of 90 who died two years ago, told the Rector there were two steps down into the Old Church and that the east window was square probably Elizabethan period. When the Church was rebuilt much of the oak was taken to Lower Weston (Weyman of Weston was Warden) and lay for a long time in the fold. The Church was rebuilt in 1868 and the Porch was added to it in 1896. When the tower was rebuilt in 1894 a pit containing skeletons was found. There are several picture frames in the parish made from oak from the old tower. A school was kept at the West end of the Church partitioned off for the purpose, and in 1815, T. Batwood made new desks for the schoolroom.


There are four bells. One dated 1614, bearing the inscription Give thanks to God.’ Two others were recast at Birmingham in 1869. The fourth is a very small bell without date or inscription and not hung, bought in 1788 for £ 2 4s. 6d.


The font which was found in pieces was bought for £ 2 2s. Od. in 1790 of a Mr. John Rogers, who repainted the King’s Arms in 1788.


The Church Plate consists of:-

1. A large silver plate of the reign of George. II., serves as a paten. [Mr. J. T. Evans describes the Plate in his book, Church Plate of Radnorshire‘]. The gift of Mrs. Anne Chamberlain, widow of William Chamberlayne, and daughter of Rev. James Footman in 1736. A Wm. Chamberlaine was Bailiff of New Radnor in 1715.

2. A large double-handled Silver Cup bearing the date 1766. In 1767 there is an entry-” for exchanging the Communion Cup £ 2 15s. Od.” (The previous cup may have been Elizabethan. In 1793-4, the Wardens paid for a flaggon and Cup for the Communion Service £ 4 5s. 6d., and for engraving the same 7/ both these are only plated. It is sad to see how really valuable old vessels were gradually replaced, and finally by plated goods.

Mention has been made of many bones being dug up. This we expect in very ancient Graveyards, which were not often enlarged until the custom of putting heads stones up, most Churchyards have been raised above the surrounding ground by adding a covering of soil, in order to bury again, without thinking of additional ground. If one calculates the yearly burials the size of the ground and work it back, say for a thousand years, he can estimate how many times it has been covered.

THE TERRIER. The Terrier is one of the early ones, made the 29th day of April, 1721. Llangunllo. A terrier of all and singular, the houses, buildings, Glebe lands, tithe dues, etc, profits whatsoever of and belonging to the Prebendary and Vicar of Llangunllo in the county of Radnor, Diocese of St. David’s.

Imprimis. A Vicarage house containing two rooms upon a floor. Barn containing one bay of building. One garden containing about the tenth of an acre.

Two closes of meadow and pasture ground containing about two acres and a quarter. The one close adjoining to the east side of the garden, and the other adjoining to lands of Thomas Holland, gent, on the south side of the lands called the Jack Ground, at the West and North Side and to the Kings highway at the east end thereof.

Item. One acre and a half of tithable land adjoining the Vicarage house on the West side the Kings Highway, on the North part, and the hill on the south part.

Item. The tithes in kind of all corn and grain rissing in the said parish.

Item. There is due at the feast of Easter for offering for each person of the age of seventeen years the sum of two pence according to of the said parish.

Item. There is due at the feast of Easter from every house the sum of one penny commonly called a smoke penny in lieu of the burnt in the house and one penny called a garden penny in lieu of tithes, mint herbs and fruit according to the of the said parish.

Item. The tithes in kind are payable of all other titheable matter and things whatsoever in the said parish save only their is a or reisson for the matter hereafter mentioned. Three cheeses for each month of May June, July, August, September, October, yearly payable upon Saturday after the month end in lieu of tithe milk, one goose or a pig of those that keep or breed them. From each flock and belly one penny in lieu of tithe pay, and for every colt fathered and reared within the said parish the sum of one penny and one half-penny for every calf fallen and reared in the said parish.

Allowed and agreed at a parish Meeting held the day first above written that it be entered and was signed by us.

James Thomas & William Williams – Church Wardens

Richard Price & John Bedward – Overseers of the Poor

William Chamberlayne, John Price, James Meryck, Evan Williams, John Mills and Richard Griffiths – Parishioners & Inhabitants of Llangunllo

The present Vicarage was acquired in 1873 by David Davies and altered by John Evans. It was originally a farm known as Bridgend first mentioned in records in 1705, when Richard Bedoes was Warden for Bridgend.

The old Vicarage is at the other end-the West end of the Village. It was enlarged and improved by Morgan Evans, Vicar 1810-1834, who married Margaret Bryan of Crungoed. The ruins of the old barn still stand.

The Kings Highway mentioned in the Terrier is not the present road, but ran along the hill-side by Green Street, Leahall, and Maylord.

The parish was divided into Llangunllo above the Church and Llangunllo below the Church, the dividing line probably was the small stream running through Great House across the road to the Lugg.

At one time the people in the Lower Parish complained that the parish above the Church received better treatment, as a consequence the officers were changed round every six months. A simple way of settling the dispute.

The ap David family of Rhiwlallt and Crungoed. Llangunllo.

The long connection of the ap David‘ family with Llangunllo and district needs further examination than can at present be given still these few items may stimulate a reader to examine the Wills of the ap Davids at the Record Office for their relationship.

Their name appears among the Rectors of Llangynllo from 1409 to 1489 as stated at the beginning of this paper. Lewis Glyn Cothi (1450-1486) was a welcome visitor to Rhiwlallt which was occupied at that time by an ab David family, for Glyn Cothi wrote an

Elegy to Rhys Thomas ab Davydd and his son Morys of Rhiwlallt, who were buried in the Churchyard of Llangynllo and he mentions in it that Thomas ab Rice succeeded his father. There is also an elegy to the memory of another son, Hywel Goch ab Rhys ab Davydd of Rhiwlallt. They were descended from Madog ab Idnerth ab Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrydd, lords of Maelienydd in early Norman period. Though now subject to a Norman lord, they were able to carry on the traditional custom of open house, as Glyn Cothi states and were no doubt the most important family in the district. We have just mentioned that Thomas ab Rice or Rys succeeded his father Rhys ab Davydd. Lewis Dwm (1597) gives his pedigree.

Thomas ap Rhys = Gwenllian.

Rys ap Thomas = Elinor Vychan

Davydd ap Rys = Margaret V. Hywel ap Philip

Richard ap Rys = Joan

James and nine brothers and sisters.

So the family of ab David in the direct line became ap Rys (Price). Lewis Dwm does not give the pedigree of other Ab David’s though there were several living at the time. Such as:

Griffith ap David, gent. of Crungoed parish of Llangynllo. He died 1616. He had land in Knighton, Cregnante (Llangynllo). Dole parish of Rayadgwy, Llanfiehangell Redithon, Llanbister,Llandegley, Cwmbgill, Monaughty, Llandewy, Gt. Sassins, Llanano, Doley, Llanbadarn Fynydd, Presteigne, Whitton, Nantmel in Rads., Tregaron, Cards., etc.

James ap David yeo of Whitton, land also in Llanviehangell Rydeithon died 1612. Longonnlo (Llangynllo). Dysgoed, Rossekere, etc. Rice ap David gent. of Whitton, Llangynllo, Llanbister, Blethvaugh, died 1617.

Watkin ap David, gent. Whitton, Pelleth, Worcester City, 1616.

John ap David, Llannerch, Llanfihangell Nant Mellan, 1626.

These five ap Davids appear to have been brothers and all died within 14 years of each other, however it is only by going through their wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury now in the Record Office, (Index Vol. V. 1605-1619 of the Record Office. References, 96 Capell, 36 Fenner, 69 Weldon and 82 Cope), that the relationship can be proved as well as the disposition of their property and the names of their homes and relatives.