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255 BLAEN CENNEN

GRID REFERENCE: SN 686191
AREA IN HECTARES: 209.50

Historic Background
A narrow area on the lower northern slope of the Black Mountain. Evidence of early settlement occurs in the limestone area around Llygan Llwchwr, at the western end of this character area. Giving great time-depth to the landscape, a possible neolithic chambered tomb has been recorded adjacent to a prehistoric findspot, Bronze Age burnt mounds and an Iron Age/Romano-British settlement. During the historic period the area lay within Cantref Bychan, divided between two commutes. The western half lay within Iscennen commote, which remained nominally independent of Anglo-Norman rule until 1284 when it was acquired by John Giffard, and in 1340 it became a member of the Duchy of Lancaster (Rees 1953, xv-xvi). The remainder of Cantref Bychan, including Cwmwd Perfedd within which the eastern half of the area lay, was invaded by the Anglo-Normans under Richard Fitz Pons who established a caput at Llandovery in 1110-16 (Rees n.d.) and was acquired soon after by the Clifford lords of Brecon as the Lordship of Llandovery. However, there were many episodes of Welsh rule and the area retained native tenurial customs until the end of the Medieval period when it was incorporated into modern Carmarthenshire. The pattern of regular rectangular enclosures with straight boundaries suggests that the area comprised unenclosed pasture until the Post-Medieval period. Part of the area is recorded as formal common land, but fields around Blaencennen Farm are more irregular and it appears to be an earlier holding, while the physical boundary between this area and the unenclosed moorland of Area 239 to the south is well-defined as a masonry wall dating from the 16th century in places (Leighton 1997, 29). Early Post-Medieval hut platforms and pillow mounds have been recorded at Llygad Llwchwr, in association with a small limestone quarry and kiln site. Nevertheless, pastoralism was the mainstay of the economy and Cwmllwyd sheepfold, at the eastern end of the area, which has recently been restored (Murphy 1998), served several farms which gave their names to the enclosures into which it was subdivided. There is a further sheepfold and a dip. The landscape had assumed its present form by c.1840 (Llandeilo Fawr and Llangadog tithe maps) and there has been little subsequent change or development.

 

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
The relatively small character area lies on north-facing slopes between the Cennen valley and the Black Mountain at heights of 220 m to 320 m. The whole of the area is enclosed. Fields are a mixture of fairly small regular and irregular enclosures which are interspersed with larger regular enclosures. There is a variety of boundary types. A dry-stone wall lies along the boundary with the Black Mountain, and other similar walls lie at these higher elevations close to the Black Mountain. Most walls are broken-down. Earth banks and/or stony banks are the other boundary types. These were formerly topped with hedges, but nearly all the hedges have now gone or are reduced to straggling lines of bushes. Wire fences provide stock-proof boundaries. There are very few trees. Land-use is a mixture of rough grazing, rushy, wet ground and improved pasture. Transport links are local and consist of lanes and tracks. The settlement pattern is of dispersed farms. Farmhouses are 19th century, two-storey, three-bayed and stone-built in the vernacular tradition. Outbuildings are of a similar date, stone built and generally of quite modest proportions. Often they comprise a single range. Most farms have modern agricultural buildings.

Recorded archaeology is relatively rich and diverse for a small area, comprising a Neolithic chambered tomb, two Bronze Age burnt mounds and a possible round barrow, a prehistoric findspot, an Iron Age/Romano-British open settlement, a possible Medieval holy well, and early Post-Medieval hut platforms, pillow mounds, quarry and limekilns.

There are some distinctive buildings but none are listed.

To the south this area is very well-defined at its border with the Black Mountain. Elsewhere definition is less good, and there tends to be a zone of change rather than a hard-edged boundary between this area and it neighbours.

 

 

 

 

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