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Penmaen Dewi

265 GLANDY CROSS

GRID REFERENCE: SN147267
AREA IN HECTARES: 575.3

Historic Background
A large character area in modern Carmarthenshire on the southeast edge of Mynydd Preseli. It lay within the medieval Cwmwd Amgoed, a commote of Cantref Gwarthaf which had been re-organised as the Anglo-Norman Lordship of St Clears by 1130. However, the area continued to be held under Welsh systems of tenure throughout and into the post-medieval period, and by the later middle ages was divided into three blocks of dispersed holdings called Trayn Morgan, Trayn Clinton, and Trayn March. Glandy Cross character area contains portions of the former two holdings. Much of the Glandy Cross character area belonged to Llwyn-yr-ebol, a grange of Whitland Abbey which was granted to the Cistercians by Maelgwn ap Rhys, son of Rhys ap Gruffudd, between 1197 and 1231. It is unlikely that the area was enclosed during the medieval or early post-medieval periods. Sixteenth-century leases of Whitland's Carmarthenshire estates make it clear that tenants were practising common pasturage and the survival of arian y mynydd or 'mountain silver', a payment for grazing rights, with a diversity of rents, in both cash, kind and service, suggests that they correspond with earlier villein obligations, when most of the tenants were also bound to do boon work for the monastery. The post-medieval landscape history of this area is complex. A late 17th-century description by Edward Lhuyd in the Gibson edition of Camden's Britannia of the Meini Gwyr stone circle at Glandy Cross indicates that the landscape was still open moorland. It would appear that the area was largely enclosed between the late 17th-century and the early 19th-century when farms and other buildings were established. However, enclosure was not completed in the northeastern part of the character area until after the tithe surveys of the 1840s; a 1751 estate map of Castell Garw shows a field pattern similar to that of today to the east of the A478 road, but suggests open land to the west. On tithe maps, fields close to Glandy Cross cross roads are shown much as today, but are not named as they are elsewhere in the parish, which is usually an indication that they were recent creations. In contrast, a study of the field system between Efailwen and Glandy Cross indicates that it pre-dates the long, straight section of the A478 road. The road is marked on the Rees map as a medieval route but achieved its present line between 1791 and 1809 when it was turnpiked under the Whitland Turnpike Trust. The present road line is shown on Ordnance Survey sketch maps of 1809, on which no settlements are shown between Efailwen and Glandy Cross, but by the tithe surveys of the 1840s Maen-Gwyn, Llain, Capel Nebo and several cottages had been constructed. Efailwen is celebrated in the annals of Welsh 'direct action' as it was here that the first assault on a turnpike toll gate occurred on the night of May 18 1839. Goodwin's Row cottages alongside the A478 were built in 1866 to house quarry workers. Following the construction of Goodwin's Row, very little new building occurred until the last quarter of the 20th century when piecemeal, linear housing and other development took place on the roads which meet at Glandy Cross and on the roads that meet at Efailwen. Development is continuing at these two locations.

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
Glandy Cross historic landscape character area lies across a low rounded ridge, the summit crest of which climbs from a height of approximately 200m at its southern end at Efailwen to over 250m at its northern end at Iet-y-Bwlch. Although the flanks of the ridge descend gently into the valley of the Eastern Cleddau to the west and the valley of the Afon Taf to the east, this area occupies the ridge top only, down to a low point of about 190m. The entire ridge is enclosed into small- and medium-sized regular fields. The smaller enclosures are concentrated towards the south with the larger enclosures confined to higher ground to the north. Boundaries consist of earth banks which have an increasing stony content towards the north. Hedges on these banks are in good condition alongside roads and tracks and in the southern portion of the area, but become increasingly more neglected and derelict towards higher ground. At the highest points hedges are no longer present. Wire fences on the boundary banks provide stock-proof boundaries. Apart from small trees that grow out of neglected hedges and a couple of small 20th century coniferous plantations, this landscape is not characterised by woodland. Agricultural land-use is predominately improved pasture with a little arable, though there are pockets of unimproved grazing and rushy ground. The old established settlement pattern is of dispersed farms, houses and cottages with a concentration towards the southern end of the area and on the ridge's flanks. Dwellings are almost entirely 19th century, in the vernacular style, and are generally stone-built with slate roofs, one, one-and-a-half or two storey, and three-bays, cement rendered and/or bare stone. Examples of stone and earth-built (clom) late 18th- or 19th-century single storey cottages are also present, as are late 19th-century two storey stone-built and rendered 'villa' houses in a more polite tradition. The chapel at Nebo is a substantial stone-built structure dating to 1860, and has a graveyard associated with it. The more recent - late 20th-century - settlement pattern is mostly linear development and loose clustering at Efailwen and Glandy Cross. There is a modern school at Efailwen, and a public house and garage/shop at Glandy Cross, and at both locations are numerous late 20th-century houses and bungalows in a variety of styles and materials. Agricultural buildings are small, reflecting the size of the holdings. Most common styles are: a single small, stone-built 19th century range; small early 20th-century brick built ranges, corrugated-iron barns and other structures; and several small late 20th-century steel-, concrete- and asbestos-built structures. There are no listed buildings within the character area. The main transport element of the landscape is the A478 which runs along the crest of the ridge and along which modern development is concentrated. Other roads consist of straight and winding lanes and tracks enclosed by boundary banks.

The Glandy Cross landscape is recognised as of considerable importance for its complex of neolithic and bronze age ritual and funerary monuments which include Meini Gwyr stone circle, standing stones, round barrows, ring cairns and other upstanding sites, many of which are Scheduled Ancient Monuments. Also within this area is a neolithic axe factory, and at least two iron age hillforts.

Although Glandy Cross is a distinctive historic landscape character area, its boundaries are not easy to define as it is surrounded by enclosed farmland which superficially has similar characteristics. Therefore all the borders of this area should be considered as zones of change, rather than as hard-edge boundaries.

Sources: Cilymaenllwyd tithe map and apportionment 1837; Commons Journal, 1809; David and Williams 1995; Jones 1937; Kirk and Williams 2000; Lewis 1975; Lhuyd 1695, column 628; Llandisilio tithe map and apportionment, 1840; Llanglydwen tithe map and apportionment, 1846; Ordnance Survey, Surveyors' Drawings, 2" to 1 mile, Sheet 188, 1809; Pembrokeshire Record Office D/LJ/646; Williams, 1990

 

 

 

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