Cilcennin Historical Walk

 

Cilcennin  Historical Walk

  1. Holy Trinity Church, St. Cenwyn pre-1600, rebuilt 1823, vestry added 1891

It is unknown when the first church was built in the village, but by 1822, it had fallen down completely. An appeal for funds was issued in The Cambrian (Swansea) newspaper for donations for the erection of a new church built for the parishioners.  Donations came from far and wide across the country and the ‘new’ church was believed to have been built within a year.  Holy Trinity Church was once more in quite a state by the early 1890’s, and a complete revamp was needed to sustain its present form, with a vestry being added. As you can imagine, many vicars have served the parish over the decades, with none more memorable than the Reverend David Lloyd Jones from 1951 until 1970, who even set up a table tennis club in the village with much success.

2. The Hall, as ‘The Hut’ c.1943, replaced by ‘The Village Hall’ 2000

  

The village hall was built around 1943 to accommodate the local division of the Home Guard which had been formed.  There is a lovely photo of the ‘troops’ on the walls of the current hall, yet sadly none of those in the photo are with us today. Over the decades, the hall served its purpose as a concert venue, an election booth, Christmas and other religious celebration venue and many other indoor activities within village life.  However this building was made out of corrugated iron and by the 1990s had seen better days.  It was decided to pull down the old building and build a brand new one from scratch.  The ‘new’ Village Hall was opened in 2000 and carries on to this day, being the hub of the community just like the old one

3. ‘The Old Vicarage’, built 1865, Vicar’s residence until c.1970.

The Vicarage, situated nearly opposite Holy Trinity Church, was built in 1865, during the tenure of the Reverend James James as vicar of the local parish along with Llanbadarn Trefeglwys.  He was vicar between 1839 and 1874. Nine incumbents were resident at the Vicarage during that period, when the Church in Wales decided to sell the property for private residency in 1970.

4.  House ‘Bidarren’ pre 1840, turn sharp left around corner.

5. ‘Wesley House’ since 1998, formerly Ebenezer Chapel 1858-1978.

The Presbyterian Methodist movement never took a foothold in the Cilcennin area, but by circa 1808, a Wesleyan Methodist had been built for that denomination at Carnau.  This chapel closed around the 1850s and in its place Ebenezer Chapel was built on the site of the present Wesley House in 1858. The chapel was named after its main donator, Ebenezer Williams.  The congregation was smaller than that of Seion Independent Chapel on the other side of the village, and by 1978 had closed completely with the chapel being renovated as the present house.

6.  ‘Maesyfelin’, once premises of Ebenezer Williams, the chapel donor.

Maesyfelin was the home of the aforementioned Ebenezer Williams, who was instrumental in the building of the Wesleyan Methodist chapel as mentioned above. Ebenezer Williams was a master butcher by trade and Maesyfelin was also the premises of the business.  His son, Benjamin Williams, had taken over the business by the end of the late 1850s to early 1860s and was still trading in the 1911 Census, but with their address being Cilcennin Mill, just down the road some time during the 1880’s.  John Thomas, Wool Manufacturer, had in the meantime moved in to Maesyfelin.  There were actually two Maesyfelin houses during this period, with patriarch Thomas Evans and his family being the local blacksmith.

7.  ‘Y Felin’, part of the old c.1630 Corn Mill site remnants.

8. ‘The Old Mill’ house, formerly the Woollen Mill c.1790 to 1953.

As the name suggests, this lovely modern looking house was once the site of the old Woollen Mill in the village.  It is believed that the mill was built around the end of the   18th century, but its prominence came with the ownership of John Thomas, originally from the Llanarth area, who came to work at the mill as a servant in the early 1890s.  The striped woven blankets that he produced are still in existence today and after his death, the business was successfully taken over by his son Benjamin (Ben Ffatri), until he closed the factory around the early 1950s to concentrate on farming.

9.  ‘Tin Shed’, once the Glanfa shop from c.1910 to 1982

This area of Cilcennin covering from the former Wesleyan Chapel down past the Woollen Manufacturer’s mill, was once a ‘little village’ within the village.  Many businesses, such as the smithy and grocer’s shops were located in the vicinity.  There was a shop at Gwarfelin, at the turn of the last century, owned by an Anne Evans, also at the tin shed which can be clearly seen today.  This was in the possession of Timothy Evans, a former woollen weaver, who became the owner of Bedlwyn Stores, which is believed to have been on the premises of the former Tyncyrn houses next door to Seion Chapel and the School.  He set up his tin shed grocer’s shop at Glanfa some time in the first decade of the 20th century.  His son, Jack ‘Glanfa’ Evans, was the last shopkeeper in ‘Little Cilcennin’.  So much was the activity in this area, that the residents didn’t need to venture into the main village at all for their weekly shopping as you also had Ebenezer and Ben Williams’s butcher shop to add meat to your groceries. Glanfa is believed to have closed in the early 1980s with the tin shed still visible as a timely reminder of the past.

10. The ‘green path’ section of the walk, wildflowers and nest boxes.

11.  Seion Chapel 1775, rebuilt in 1835 and 1859, renovated 1992.

The present Capel Seion Chapel was built in 1775, with the first minister being Thomas Rees of Lampeter.  The most famous incumbent  would have been the Reverend Thomas Phillips, who was responsible for sending missionaries out to Madagascar from his Neuaddlwyd Academy, exactly two hundred years this year, in 1818, who are also commemorating their bi-centenary celebrations. During the First World War, the prolific bard, the Reverend Thomas Cenech Davies, ministered, while the last permanent minister was the Reverend Howell Mudd, who left the area in 1983.  There continues to be a healthy membership at Seion, though as with other religious chapels and denominations, it still gathers a small, but very loyal, congregation on Sundays to this day.

12. ‘Hen Ty’r Ysgol’ the Old School House, 1876-1980, formerly ‘Alma’

This house, previously known as Alma, was built for the purpose of housing the village school’s headmaster and his family.  The first occupant wasn’t Mr Daniel Jenkins, the first headmaster, but Mr Thomas Hamilton Savage, who followed him barely a year after his appointment.  The two headmasters were intertwined because Savage had come from Llanycrwys Boarding School at Ffaldybrenin near Lampeter, while Jenkins was to later serve a long career at that very school.  Upon Mr William Williams retirement as the school headmaster in 1980, the house was later renamed as The Old School House for a period of years, whereas now it is know as Yr Hen Dÿ’r Ysgol, the Welsh language equivalent.

13. School, 1877 as Board School, County 1904-1945, then Primary.

With the advent of the Education Act (1870) a Cilcennin Board School was opened in 1877, with Mr Daniel Jenkins, of nearby Pentrefelin in Talsarn, being the first headmaster.  His tenure was a short one, but he came from a very interesting local family, with Joseph Jenkins, the swagman/diarist, being an uncle of his.  The school has played a focal role in the community for over 140 years, and as with many rural community schools under the threat of closure, at the moment the school at Cilcennin still has a huge role to play in the life of the villagers.

14. ‘Morawel’, formerly ‘The Red Lion’, then a Post Office 1875 to 1947

This beautiful stone walled cottage is called Morawel, but in times gone by it has served as another of the village public houses, called The Red Lion, and was also the first village Post Office when the former closed in the early 1870s.  William Rees was the first sub-postmaster from around 1875 until his death in 1908.  The Post Office stayed in the family, with daughter Anne and her husband, Thomas Jones, taking over the vacancy.  Their daughter, Emily, in turn married the village’s schoolmaster, John Ffoss Davies, a renowned Welsh ballad collector, while their son Benjamin A. Jones wrote the wonderful book on Cilcennin and the surrounding area called ‘Y Byd O Ben Trichrug’, translated as ‘The World From The Top of Trichrug’ which of course refers to the hill range overlooking the village.

15. ‘Bryndrindod’, once ‘The Bryn Stores’ with a petrol pump in front.

16. The War Memorial, within the churchyard next to the roadway

The Cilcennin War Memorial, situated in the churchyard near the main road through the village is carved out of pink granite and was erected to commemorate the soldiers lost during both World Wars.  All had Cilcennin connections, but were not necessarily born in Cilcennin.  Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bernard Morland was born in Montreal, Canada, for instance. Nine are remembered in all from the First World War, plus three more from the Second World War.  At 11.00am on the Sunday closest to November 11th each year, locals and members of the Royal British Legion at Aberaeron lay wreaths in remembrance of those lost in the atrocities.

17. ‘Ysgoldy Fach’. The very first school in 1738? initially as S.P.C.K.

Translated, ‘Ysgoldy Fach’ means ‘Little School’.  There is no doubt that the first of Griffith Jones (Llanddowror) circulating schools were found in Cilcennin as early as the mid to late 1730s.  These schools were set up on a temporary rather than a permanent basis, and it is unclear if those schools were based at “Ysgoldy Fach’.  The circulating schools were set up to promote the knowledge of the Christian faith (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge).  In 1811, the National Society for Promoting Religious Education ‘National Schools’, founded by the Established Church were set up to rival those of the Society for Promoting the Lancasterian System for the Education of the Poor (later British & Foreign School Society) “British Schools”.  It is unclear which was based at ‘Ysgoldy Fach’, but we presume that it was the ‘National School’ that was favoured in Cilcennin, it being so close to the Parish Church.  What is certain is that the building was too small to hold a school after the Education Act (1870), and a brand new school was built for the village, which opened its doors in 1877.

18.  ‘The Commercial’ Inn, the Llewellyn family from 1844 built to 2001 

The former Commercial Inn had served as the hub of the community within the Llewellyn family for over 150 years.  It is believed it was built around the middle of the 1840s, though there is no record of it in the 1851 census.  During that time, it served many a local customer as a pub and a grocer’s shop in its earlier years.  The Griffiths/Llewellyn family retired in 2001, but the pub carried on in the same tradition – briefly changing its name to the unpopular Poachers Pocket. It reverted to being the popular Commercial Inn, and was the home of regular darts and pool teams over the decades, and its cellars also served as a dressing room for Cilcennin Football Club for a short period in the mid 1970s. Sadly, the pub has been closed for business for a number of years.

  1. Holy Trinity Church, St. Cenwyn pre-1600, rebuilt 1823, vestry added 1891

It is unknown when the first church was built in the village, but by 1822, it had fallen down completely. An appeal for funds was issued in The Cambrian (Swansea) newspaper for donations for the erection of a new church built for the parishioners.  Donations came from far and wide across the country and the ‘new’ church was believed to have been built within a year.  Holy Trinity Church was once more in quite a state by the early 1890’s, and a complete revamp was needed to sustain its present form, with a vestry being added. As you can imagine, many vicars have served the parish over the decades, with none more memorable than the Reverend David Lloyd Jones from 1951 until 1970, who even set up a table tennis club in the village with much success.

2. The Hall, as ‘The Hut’ c.1943, replaced by ‘The Village Hall’ 2000

  

The village hall was built around 1943 to accommodate the local division of the Home Guard which had been formed.  There is a lovely photo of the ‘troops’ on the walls of the current hall, yet sadly none of those in the photo are with us today. Over the decades, the hall served its purpose as a concert venue, an election booth, Christmas and other religious celebration venue and many other indoor activities within village life.  However this building was made out of corrugated iron and by the 1990s had seen better days.  It was decided to pull down the old building and build a brand new one from scratch.  The ‘new’ Village Hall was opened in 2000 and carries on to this day, being the hub of the community just like the old one

3. ‘The Old Vicarage’, built 1865, Vicar’s residence until c.1970.

The Vicarage, situated nearly opposite Holy Trinity Church, was built in 1865, during the tenure of the Reverend James James as vicar of the local parish along with Llanbadarn Trefeglwys.  He was vicar between 1839 and 1874. Nine incumbents were resident at the Vicarage during that period, when the Church in Wales decided to sell the property for private residency in 1970.

4.  House ‘Bidarren’ pre 1840, turn sharp left around corner.

5. ‘Wesley House’ since 1998, formerly Ebenezer Chapel 1858-1978.

The Presbyterian Methodist movement never took a foothold in the Cilcennin area, but by circa 1808, a Wesleyan Methodist had been built for that denomination at Carnau.  This chapel closed around the 1850s and in its place Ebenezer Chapel was built on the site of the present Wesley House in 1858. The chapel was named after its main donator, Ebenezer Williams.  The congregation was smaller than that of Seion Independent Chapel on the other side of the village, and by 1978 had closed completely with the chapel being renovated as the present house.

6.  ‘Maesyfelin’, once premises of Ebenezer Williams, the chapel donor.

Maesyfelin was the home of the aforementioned Ebenezer Williams, who was instrumental in the building of the Wesleyan Methodist chapel as mentioned above. Ebenezer Williams was a master butcher by trade and Maesyfelin was also the premises of the business.  His son, Benjamin Williams, had taken over the business by the end of the late 1850s to early 1860s and was still trading in the 1911 Census, but with their address being Cilcennin Mill, just down the road some time during the 1880’s.  John Thomas, Wool Manufacturer, had in the meantime moved in to Maesyfelin.  There were actually two Maesyfelin houses during this period, with patriarch Thomas Evans and his family being the local blacksmith.

7.  ‘Y Felin’, part of the old c.1630 Corn Mill site remnants.

8. ‘The Old Mill’ house, formerly the Woollen Mill c.1790 to 1953.

As the name suggests, this lovely modern looking house was once the site of the old Woollen Mill in the village.  It is believed that the mill was built around the end of the   18th century, but its prominence came with the ownership of John Thomas, originally from the Llanarth area, who came to work at the mill as a servant in the early 1890s.  The striped woven blankets that he produced are still in existence today and after his death, the business was successfully taken over by his son Benjamin (Ben Ffatri), until he closed the factory around the early 1950s to concentrate on farming.

9.  ‘Tin Shed’, once the Glanfa shop from c.1910 to 1982

This area of Cilcennin covering from the former Wesleyan Chapel down past the Woollen Manufacturer’s mill, was once a ‘little village’ within the village.  Many businesses, such as the smithy and grocer’s shops were located in the vicinity.  There was a shop at Gwarfelin, at the turn of the last century, owned by an Anne Evans, also at the tin shed which can be clearly seen today.  This was in the possession of Timothy Evans, a former woollen weaver, who became the owner of Bedlwyn Stores, which is believed to have been on the premises of the former Tyncyrn houses next door to Seion Chapel and the School.  He set up his tin shed grocer’s shop at Glanfa some time in the first decade of the 20th century.  His son, Jack ‘Glanfa’ Evans, was the last shopkeeper in ‘Little Cilcennin’.  So much was the activity in this area, that the residents didn’t need to venture into the main village at all for their weekly shopping as you also had Ebenezer and Ben Williams’s butcher shop to add meat to your groceries. Glanfa is believed to have closed in the early 1980s with the tin shed still visible as a timely reminder of the past.

10. The ‘green path’ section of the walk, wildflowers and nest boxes.

11.  Seion Chapel 1775, rebuilt in 1835 and 1859, renovated 1992.

The present Capel Seion Chapel was built in 1775, with the first minister being Thomas Rees of Lampeter.  The most famous incumbent  would have been the Reverend Thomas Phillips, who was responsible for sending missionaries out to Madagascar from his Neuaddlwyd Academy, exactly two hundred years this year, in 1818, who are also commemorating their bi-centenary celebrations. During the First World War, the prolific bard, the Reverend Thomas Cenech Davies, ministered, while the last permanent minister was the Reverend Howell Mudd, who left the area in 1983.  There continues to be a healthy membership at Seion, though as with other religious chapels and denominations, it still gathers a small, but very loyal, congregation on Sundays to this day.

12. ‘Hen Ty’r Ysgol’ the Old School House, 1876-1980, formerly ‘Alma’

This house, previously known as Alma, was built for the purpose of housing the village school’s headmaster and his family.  The first occupant wasn’t Mr Daniel Jenkins, the first headmaster, but Mr Thomas Hamilton Savage, who followed him barely a year after his appointment.  The two headmasters were intertwined because Savage had come from Llanycrwys Boarding School at Ffaldybrenin near Lampeter, while Jenkins was to later serve a long career at that very school.  Upon Mr William Williams retirement as the school headmaster in 1980, the house was later renamed as The Old School House for a period of years, whereas now it is know as Yr Hen Dÿ’r Ysgol, the Welsh language equivalent.

13. School, 1877 as Board School, County 1904-1945, then Primary.

With the advent of the Education Act (1870) a Cilcennin Board School was opened in 1877, with Mr Daniel Jenkins, of nearby Pentrefelin in Talsarn, being the first headmaster.  His tenure was a short one, but he came from a very interesting local family, with Joseph Jenkins, the swagman/diarist, being an uncle of his.  The school has played a focal role in the community for over 140 years, and as with many rural community schools under the threat of closure, at the moment the school at Cilcennin still has a huge role to play in the life of the villagers.

14. ‘Morawel’, formerly ‘The Red Lion’, then a Post Office 1875 to 1947

This beautiful stone walled cottage is called Morawel, but in times gone by it has served as another of the village public houses, called The Red Lion, and was also the first village Post Office when the former closed in the early 1870s.  William Rees was the first sub-postmaster from around 1875 until his death in 1908.  The Post Office stayed in the family, with daughter Anne and her husband, Thomas Jones, taking over the vacancy.  Their daughter, Emily, in turn married the village’s schoolmaster, John Ffoss Davies, a renowned Welsh ballad collector, while their son Benjamin A. Jones wrote the wonderful book on Cilcennin and the surrounding area called ‘Y Byd O Ben Trichrug’, translated as ‘The World From The Top of Trichrug’ which of course refers to the hill range overlooking the village.

15. ‘Bryndrindod’, once ‘The Bryn Stores’ with a petrol pump in front.

16. The War Memorial, within the churchyard next to the roadway

The Cilcennin War Memorial, situated in the churchyard near the main road through the village is carved out of pink granite and was erected to commemorate the soldiers lost during both World Wars.  All had Cilcennin connections, but were not necessarily born in Cilcennin.  Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bernard Morland was born in Montreal, Canada, for instance. Nine are remembered in all from the First World War, plus three more from the Second World War.  At 11.00am on the Sunday closest to November 11th each year, locals and members of the Royal British Legion at Aberaeron lay wreaths in remembrance of those lost in the atrocities.

17. ‘Ysgoldy Fach’. The very first school in 1738? initially as S.P.C.K.

Translated, ‘Ysgoldy Fach’ means ‘Little School’.  There is no doubt that the first of Griffith Jones (Llanddowror) circulating schools were found in Cilcennin as early as the mid to late 1730s.  These schools were set up on a temporary rather than a permanent basis, and it is unclear if those schools were based at “Ysgoldy Fach’.  The circulating schools were set up to promote the knowledge of the Christian faith (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge).  In 1811, the National Society for Promoting Religious Education ‘National Schools’, founded by the Established Church were set up to rival those of the Society for Promoting the Lancasterian System for the Education of the Poor (later British & Foreign School Society) “British Schools”.  It is unclear which was based at ‘Ysgoldy Fach’, but we presume that it was the ‘National School’ that was favoured in Cilcennin, it being so close to the Parish Church.  What is certain is that the building was too small to hold a school after the Education Act (1870), and a brand new school was built for the village, which opened its doors in 1877.

18.  ‘The Commercial’ Inn, the Llewellyn family from 1844 built to 2001 

The former Commercial Inn had served as the hub of the community within the Llewellyn family for over 150 years.  It is believed it was built around the middle of the 1840s, though there is no record of it in the 1851 census.  During that time, it served many a local customer as a pub and a grocer’s shop in its earlier years.  The Griffiths/Llewellyn family retired in 2001, but the pub carried on in the same tradition – briefly changing its name to the unpopular Poachers Pocket. It reverted to being the popular Commercial Inn, and was the home of regular darts and pool teams over the decades, and its cellars also served as a dressing room for Cilcennin Football Club for a short period in the mid 1970s. Sadly, the pub has been closed for business for a number of years.