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239 BANC WERNWGAN - FOEL FRAITH QUARRIES

GRID REFERENCE: SN 721187
AREA IN HECTARES: 1378.00

Historic Background
An extremely large landscape area forming an east-west 'belt' on the northern flank of the Black Mountain. It once lay within Maenor Gwynfe, Cwmwd Perfedd, of Cantref Bychan which was invaded by the Anglo-Normans 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 later reverted to Welsh rule. From 1282 onwards the lordship remained under English rule but retained native tenurial customs until the end of the Medieval period when it was incorporated within modern Carmarthenshire. During the Post-Medieval period was held by the Vaughans of Golden Grove and the Earls of Cawdor (James n.d., 87). It is now unenclosed moorland and mountain. The boundary between this area and the enclosed Areas 233 and 255 to the north is long-established and defined by a masonry wall and/or bank, suggesting a long period of stability - since the 16th century in parts (Leighton 1997, 29) - with no evidence for ad hoc encroachments or later parliamentary enclosure. The main themes in the history of land-use within the area, dominated by former limestone quarrying and the continuous upland pasturing of sheep, are the removal of natural woodland - which reached altitudes of 800 m - from the Mesolithic period onwards; occupation and partial enclosure of the landscape in the prehistoric period with contemporary ritual activity; the informal occupation of the area, with longhuts, and its partial enclosure during the Post-Medieval period; and 19th- and 20th-century leisure activities including field sport (Leighton 1997). Limeworking, which had been undertaken since at least the Medieval period, intensified during the 18th- and early 19th-century and was joined by quarrying for silica sand. These activities received impetus when an existing mountain road and major Post-Medieval droving route was turnpiked from 1779. This was superseded by the present A4069 but still survives as a track, the 'Bryn Road' (DAT & CPAT, 1997, 5).

 

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.
All rights reserved. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings. Licence Number: GD272221

Description and essential historic landscape components
This area consists of that part of the Black Mountain which has Carboniferous limestone geology and has been subjected to quarrying. It comprises north-facing slopes on the northern fringes of the mountain between 300 m and 600 m. The area is entirely unenclosed and given over to rough pasture and open moorland, with blanket peats on higher ground and in hollows. The remains of the limestone quarrying industry are ubiquitous and are the most obvious elements of the historic landscape. Quarries and spoil heaps are the clearest remains, but there are also numerous limekilns scattered across the landscape. Also connected with the quarrying are the A4069 road and the 'Bryn Road', originally constructed to serve the limestone industry.

Recorded archaeology is extensive and relates to the land-use outlined above, including Bronze Age hut platforms, summit cairns and field systems, early Post-Medieval longhuts and informal enclosures, limeworking features such as quarries, kilns and an extensive network of trackways, and 19th- and 20th-century sporting and survey features.

There are no standing buildings.

To the north this area is very well defined as it borders an area of stone-walled enclosures, and enclosed farmland. On other sides it merges with the larger portion of the Black Mountain.

 

 

 

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