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Historic Background

A small area corresponding with the built-up area of Llangadog, a settlement with Medieval origins. It is the site of a possible pre-Conquest ecclesiastical community which probably occupied the site of the present church of St Cadog. The church may be referred to in the pre-conquest Book of Llandaff (Soulsby, 1983, 169). However, doubt has been cast on Cadog representing the original dedication, being a secular figure whose name has supplanted that of the original dedication to St David (Yates 1973, 58), suggesting a link with St Davids Cathedral that had become cemented by the later 13th century when the Bishops were in possession of the patria of Llangadog. Llangadog also lies just two miles north of Llys Brychan (Area 225), one of only three suggested Roman villa sites in Carmarthenshire (Jarrett 1962), and the importance which must have been attached to the site and the locality may have remained undiminished into the post-Roman period. A system of boundaries around the parish church, moreover, may perpetuate the line of a large llan (Sambrook and Page 1995, 5). The area became part of Perfedd commote of Cantref Bychan, which was, with the exception of Iscennen, invaded by the Anglo-Normans advancing from the east under Richard Fitz Pons who established a caput at Llandovery in 1110-16 (Rees n.d.). It was acquired soon after by the Clifford lords of Brecon as the Lordship of Llandovery but was subject to episodes of Welsh rule throughout the 12th- and 13th-century. A motte-and-bailey castle was established, probably as part of the initial Anglo-Norman campaign, at Castell Meurig (Area 235) some 1.5 km southeast of the church. It was captured 'by catapults and slings' by Prince Maelgwn ap Rhys in 1203 (Jones 1952, 82) after which it may have become disused; at any rate, it appears not have influenced any civil settlement, the origins of the town lying with the presumed small ecclesiastical community. Its development was encouraged by the Bishops of St Davids who in 1281 granted a market and annual fair, and in 1283 founded a college at the church for a precentor and 21 canons (Soulsby 1983, 169). The latter was however short-lived, being transferred to Abergwili in 1287, and doubt has been expressed as to whether the intention was ever carried out (Knight 1919, 12-13), though the remains of buildings to the north of the church seen in 1855 were said to belong to the college, and canons were recorded in 1289 (Lewis 1937, 237). 33 burgesses and 8 other tenants were recorded in 1326 (Soulsby 1983, 169). At its height Llangadog held a weekly market and seven annual fairs, held in the churchyard according to George Owen in 1601 (Sambrook and Page 1995, 22). However, it has very little subsequent recorded history and appears to have functioned as a small local centre, albeit with a coaching inn, not expanding beyond its Medieval limits. Recent developments include the construction in c.1839 of a terrace, Ashfield Row, on the A40(T)/former turnpike west of the Tywi, linked to the town by a bridge (Bont-ar-Towy), rebuilt in 1819, and by intermittent development including the railway station, opened by the Llanelly Railway and Dock Company in 1858 and later part of the LNWR West Wales line (Gabb, 1977, 76), and also the later 20th century creamery which is now the main economic resource of the community.

Base map reproduced from the OS map with the permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, Crown Copyright 2001.
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Description and essential historic landscape components

Llangadog character is essentially urban in character and consists of the historic core of the settlement, which lies on a terrace between the rivers Bran and Sawdde just upstream of their confluence with the Tywi, together with linear development to the south of Bont-ar-Towy bridge. Two limbs of the A4069, leading from the Black Mountain to Llandovery, meet in the town. The A40(T) runs east-west on the opposite side of the Tywi. Centred on the Medieval St Cadog's Church, Church Street and a small 'square', Llangadog is little more than a village in size. Burgage plots, however, are traceable either side of Church Street on the Llangadog tithe map of 1839. Imposing three-storey dwellings in the Georgian tradition, and the coaching inn on the square, now provide urban character. Dwellings on Church Street are mostly two storey, stone-built, 19th century terraced cottages. Later 19th-century 'villas' and chapels occupy the fringes of the historic core in dispersed linear development along the A4069 to the north, south and east. A small secondary settlement of 19th century date lies west of the town centred on a public house, the railway station, and Ashfield Row on the A40(T). Land from the historic core to the railway station is now almost fully occupied by the large post-Second World War creamery and more recent light industrial units. 20th century housing is mostly confined to small estate development, and individual units to the east and southeast of the historic core. This modern development is in brick or concrete and is in contrast to the stone-built houses of the historic core and 19th century linear development.

Recorded archaeology is confined to the church and churchyard and a possible Bronze Age round barrow, while a battle-site may be recorded in a place-name.

There are 8 listed buildings within the town including the Medieval St Cadocs Church (Grade B listed) with a landmark tower. The rest are mainly Post-Medieval, Grade II listed and include the vicarage, coaching inn, Bont-ar-Towy and private houses. Other buildings include nonconformist chapels, a tollgate on the A40(T) and a former smithy.

Llangadog is a distinctive character area, and stands in sharp contrast with neighbouring enclosed farmland, and with unenclosed common which lies to the east.






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