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HISTORIC LANDSCAPE THEMES OF THE LOWER TEIFI VALLEY, AND DREFACH AND FELINDRE HISTORIC ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS


The pre Anglo-Norman administration of west Wales was founded on a number of small kingdoms or gwledydd, which had been established before the 8th century AD. The two register areas occupy the three current counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, whose boundaries roughly correspond with those of the ancient gwledydd. Ceredigion is coterminous with the gwlad of Ceredigion. Pembrokeshire, and Carmarthenshire west of the Tywi estuary, represent the gwlad of Dyfed, while Carmarthenshire east of the Tywi estuary was the gwlad of Ystrad Tywi. In the early 11th century the latter two gwledydd became part of the kingdom of Deheubarth which occupied most of southwest Wales (Rees 1951, 19).

Within each gwlad were smaller units of administration or estates known as maenorau, attested to have existed since the 9th century. These were composed of a number of ‘townships’ or trefi. By the 11th century two additional administrative tiers had been introduced - the cantref, literally a group of 100 trefi, each of which was subdivided into a number of cwmwdau into which the trefi were grouped. Each cwmwd contained a maerdref, a special tref adjacent to the king’s court or llys where the bondsmen who farmed the demesne lands lived, near or amongst the numerous officials and servants who served the court. In conjunction the king or lord was also provided with an upland township which would meet the requirements of summer pasture (hafodydd) for his livestock . It is not possible to identify the llysoedd and maerdrefi of all the cwmwdau within the study area.

The Anglo-Norman settlement of the region began in 1093 with the invasion of Dyfed and the establishment of castles at Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke. Cardigan and Carmarthen castles were short-lived, and were re-established (both on different sites?) when the conquest began in earnest in c.1100. Cantref Cemaes, in north Pembrokeshire, was subdued by the Norman Robert FitzMartin to become the Barony of Cemais, while to the east Cantref Emlyn (in both north Carmarthenshire and north Pembrokeshire) was partly brought under control, with the west half, Emlyn Is-Cych, becoming the Lordship of Cilgerran. Ceredigion was taken in c.1110.

However, the Welsh princes regained much of the area during the anarchy of King Stephen’s reign. Ceredigion was reconquered in 1136 and (with the exception of Cwmwd Iscoed around the castle – the Lordship of Cardigan) remained in Welsh hands until the late 13th century, as did the east half of Emlyn - Emlyn Uwch-Cych, which may never have been fully subdued. They were finally annexed to the English crown in 1284 when the counties of Cardigan and Carmarthen were created. The Welsh, briefly regained Cemais, in the late 12th century, but Anglo-Norman control was uninterrupted from the early 13th century onwards and it remained a marcher lordship until the creation of Pembrokeshire in 1536.

A loose form of Anglo-Norman administration was imposed. Pre Anglo-Norman territorial divisions remained largely unchanged after the conquest. The Anglo-Norman lordships largely remained subject to Welsh law, custom and tenurial patterns throughout the medieval period, administered as ‘Welshries’. No holdongs were held by knight-service within the register areas. This tenurial system - with neither vills nor knight’s fees present - have been largely responsible for the dispersed settlement pattern within the region, which is generally without significant nucleations. However,the Lordships of Cardigan and Cemais were subject to a more formalised manorial tenure, but again largely following Welsh custom, leading to a dispersed settlement pattern. The boroughs of Cardigan and Cilgerran (and St Dogmaels), as well as the manors of Eglwyswrw and Cemais (and a small manorial holding at Llandygwydd, Ceredigion), operated at least a partial Anglo-Norman manorial system.

 

PREHISTORIC SETTLEMENT AND BURIAL SITES

Like many Welsh landscapes, the register areas and their environs have preserved much evidence of prehistoric activity, chiefly in the form of standing earthworks from the Bronze Age (2500 - 700 BC), and Iron Age (700 BC - 1st century AD). Preservation has been assisted by the low-intensity agricultural regimes traditionally practised within the region. Evidence for earlier prehistoric activity within the region as a whole is mainly limited to knowledge obtained through the examination of palaeoenvironmental evidence from peat deposits.

Although prehistoric monuments - standing stones, burial mounds and hillforts - are relatively numerous within the study area, their impact on the modern landscape is often insignificant. A number of Bronze Age burial mounds, usually in the form of stone cairns, and contemporary ritual cairns, are recorded in the area, and these are often prominent historic landscape elements on account of their location. For instance, groups of burial mounds on the high ground south of the Afon Teifi, and near Cemaes Head, are visible for many kilometres. The occurrence of large numbers of bronze age sites, in what are now considered to be quite remote areas, indicates a once settled population.

The location of Iron Age hillforts also ensures that they are also conspicuous elements of the landscape today, and again they attest to a significant population and a wide, settled hinterland. However, no obvious patterns of coincidence between hillforts and later territorial units can be discerned, nor can any present pattern of fields and boundaries be assigned origins within this period or the Bronze Age.

 

TOWNS AND VILLAGES

The register areas consist primarily of agricultural land. Three medieval towns, Cardigan, Cilgerran and St Dogmaels, located within these areas, contrast sharply with the surrounding dispersed settlement. A fourth, Newcastle Emlyn (with Adpar) lies just outside the study area.

Cardigan’s origins are generally thought to belong to the period 1110-1136, under the de Clare earls, who built a castle on a hillock overlooking the Teifi. Anglo-Norman control in the region was brought to an abrupt end in 1136, when Welsh forces won a decisive victory at Crug Mawr, 3km northeast of the town. However, Cardigan itself held out against the Welsh until 1164. It was relinquished to the Norman King John in 1201 when it became the centre of a royal lordship, administered from Cardigan Castle. The construction of the castle and a bridge over the Teifi, and the foundation of St Mary’s Church as a Benedictine priory to the east of the town, appear to belong to the period 1110-1136. From the first, St Mary’s was also the parish church, surviving the Dissolution to remain the parish church. A weekly market was held from the mid 12th century until the early 20th century, and many burgess privileges had been granted in the 13th century, but the town was not formally recognised as a borough until 1284 when it received its first charter. The town wall’s construction commenced during the 1240s when the English Crown extensively rebuilt the castle, although some form of defences may already have been in existence. The medieval street-pattern has survived more-or-less intact, but there are now no standing remains of the town wall. The walls, and the charter, had the effect of increasing the population from 128 burgages in 1274 to 172 in 1308. The borough was incorporated in the early 16th century, with a mayor and corporation, and the grant of further privileges. However, the town had been contracting during the late medieval period; only 55 houses are recorded the mid 16th century, and it was described as ‘ruinous and decayed’ in 1610. From 1536 onwards, Cardigan was the county town which may have given impetus for growth - Speed’s map shows extensive extra-mural suburbs to the north, and especially to the east of the town wall. The County Assizes were held in the town from 1536, a shire hall was built in 1764, and a county gaol, by John Nash in 1793, to the north of the town. Cardigan became the chief port of the region, and a shipbuilding centre. It developed rapidly during the 19th and 20th centuries. Its main economic function is now as an entrepôt for the regional agricultural community, and an administrative centre.

Cilgerran lordship was administered from Cilgerran Castle, established in c.1100. It was regained by the Welsh in 1164 and remained under Welsh rule, apart from a brief period between 1204 and 1214, until 1223 when William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, took it. It remained subject to Welsh law and tenurial patterns throughout the medieval period, and was administered as a ‘Welshry’. A settlement developed outside the gates of Cilgerran Castle, large enough to be termed a ‘town’ in 1204. It was regarded as a borough, but by prescription only, as no charter is known. Its regular plan, comprising burgage plots laid out either side of a long main street, with a broad market place, and a second street at right angles, suggest that it was planned. Twenty-two taxpayers were recorded in 1292. In c.1610 Speed listed it among the principal market towns of Pembrokeshire. The predominantly Welsh demographics of the lordship were reflected in the Welsh names of the taxpayers. The town had its own gaol, and stocks. It appears always to have kept its links with the land and the chief occupations recorded during the post-medieval period were farming, salmon-fishing and slate-quarrying. However, the weekly market recorded by George Owen in c. 1600 ended in the early 1900s, the fair had been discontinued many years previously, while quarrying ceased in 1938.

St Dogmaels was a manor of the Barony of Cemais. It was the site of an early medieval monastic house which was re-established as a Benedictine Abbey by Robert FitzMartin in 1113-20, and which still forms the defining element of the town’s landscape. A settlement had developed outside the abbey by the later medieval period, directly held by the barony, which may have been keen to exploit the economic potential provided by the abbey’s presence. The lords of Cemais are also recorded as having established a market here. The settlement was described as one of the ‘three corporate towns’ of Cemais in 1603 (along with Newport and Nevern), but in reality it never appears to have been a borough. It may have remained fairly small through the medieval period. However, it was large enough to be served by a parish church dedicated to St Thomas (the abbey church being non-parochial), which stood opposite the abbey, but which has now gone. A mill immediately east of the abbey served the abbey, and perhaps the settlement, and the monks had rights to an extensive fishery on the Teifi estuary. The settlement had become fairly sizeable by 1838, when the tithe map shows a loose nucleation of about 100 buildings centred on the abbey. A new parish church was established on its present site in the early 18th century. It was rebuilt in 1847, followed by the construction of the vicarage and the coach-house in 1866. Much rebuilding and development occurred during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fuelled by a maritime economy. St Dogmaels is now a popular holiday destination.

The three towns are very distinct from their hinterland. Welsh tenurial systems in Emlyn Uwch-Cych, Cilgerran and Ceredigion precluded the establishment of formal manors, and there were few vills, resulting in a dispersed settlement pattern. This is pattern that is still visible and, to a certain extent, still practised.

There is some nucleation within the partly feudalised lordships of Cardigan and Cemais. A vill had been established at Llandygwydd, within the Lordship of Cardigan, by the late 13th century. It was formally constituted as the Manor of Llandygwydd, probably under the patronage of the Bishops of St Davids who had acquired the parish of Llandygwydd, and who established a fair in the manor. However, it is today a small, linear village comprising post-medieval buildings with little sign of nucleation. A vill developed around the Teifi crossing at Llechryd, also within the Lordship of Cardigan. Unusually for the region it appears to have developed into a nucleation at an early date. This development may have been encouraged by the crown, or by the Bishops of St Davids to whom the parish of Llangoedmor, within which Llechryd lay, was appropriated from the late 13th century onwards. A chapelry to Llangoedmor, dedicated to the Holy Cross, was built to serve this emerging community. It became a parish church in its own right in the early post-medieval period. A third medieval settlement appears to have been located at Gwbert, also within the Lordship of Cardigan, where pits containing medieval shoes were exposed in an eroding cliff-section. The settlement was subsequently inundated with sand, and abandoned early. There is circumstantial evidence that it may have included a church. In Cemais some nucleation occurred with the formation of hamlets within the sublordship of Eglwysrwrw, where holding and tenure – whilst still Welsh – had been feudalised. A ‘failed’ Anglo-Norman manor may exist at Llantwyd.

Outside these areas, nucleation is entirely post-medieval. Whilst much of it may have occurred around pre-existing features eg. the churches at Cenarth, Llangeler and Henllan, there is no evidence that it significantly pre-dates the 18th century, and much of it is later still. In addition to pre-existing foci, settlement developed around 18th century non-Conformist chapels (eg. Saron, Carms. and Ponthirwaun, Cer.) and turnpike roads (eg. Rhos, Carms.). But industry was by far the greatest impetus to post-medieval nucleation. The Teifi Valley woollen industry, which reached its peak during the 19th century, lead to the development of substantial villages at Drefach-Felindre (with its own Anglican church and chapels), Pentrecagal and Pentrecwrt (Carms.), and Henllan (Cer.). A forge at Abercych on the Carms. - Pembs. border attracted settlement that developed into a fair-sized village, again with its own Anglican church and chapels. Most of these villages are still growing. In contrast, the Teifi Valley slate industry with its centre at Cilgerran, does not seem to have spawned any significant new nucleation.


OPEN FIELDS AND THEIR ENCLOSURE

Virtually all manorial farmland was cultivated in open-field systems (also called sub-divided fields or common fields). In this system land was held communally, and apart from small closes and paddocks attached to farmsteads, enclosures were rare. The land was divided into strips or shares within large open-fields. Uncultivated common and waste lay beyond the open-fields. Traditionally, strips within the open fields were not assigned to one farmer, but were rotated on an annual basis. However, by the 16th- and 17th-century rights of cultivation of certain strips within the open-fields became the prerogative of single farmers. By exchange and barter several adjoining strips could be amassed. It was then a simple process to throw a hedge around the amassed strips. By this process the open, communally-held fields were transformed into the privately-held field systems that still exist.

However, Welsh tenurial systems in Emlyn and Ceredigion led to a dispersed, non-manorial settlement pattern, which was largely based on husbandry in the upland regions of Emlyn. There is little physical evidence of arable farming outside Cemais, either within the Anglo-Norman lordships or in the Welsh-held areas, although it was recorded in Emlyn during the early 19th century and it is assumed that the fertile Teifi floodplain would have been under the plough.

The prevailing field pattern within Emlyn and Ceredigion is one of fairly regular, large enclosures which appear to be new enclosure of the late 18th century – early 19th century. Indeed, the region – particularly the uplands of Emlyn - appears to have been largely unenclosed before the present pattern was imposed. Late 18th century estate maps show parts of this areas still unenclosed, with strips or ‘slangs’ marked in different ownership. These strips were probably not medieval in origin, and were certainly not the formal, arable open field strips characteristic of Anglo-Norman tenure. Instead, the strips appear to represent grazing rights assigned to neighbouring farms and it would seem that at least part of this area was open land, under multiple-ownership grazing, which was undergoing enclosure in the late 18th century. By the time the tithe maps were surveyed in c. 1840 most of these strips are gone and the field pattern of today is in place. It is, however, possible that this system of ‘sharelands’ associated with farms – held privately, in the traditional Welsh way - has its origins within the medieval period. A lack of contemporary documentation in this area is a hindrance to our understanding.

There is some evidence for a mixed pastoral/arable economy, again under Welsh tenurial systems, in the Barony of Cemais. Within the area around Cemaes Head, the present pattern of small- to medium-sized irregular fields suggests that the area was enclosed during the early post-medieval period, if not the later Middle Ages. Subdivided blocks are shown within some of these fields on the tithe maps, while closer to the coast, an unenclosed block of short narrow strips is shown. These strips may be lleini, relics of arable farming under Welsh tenure and are associated with a system of small, irregular paddocks. The sublordship of Egwyswrw was included in the detailed assessment of 1594 that survives as the ‘Extent of Cemaes’. Welsh systems of tenure here resulted in the development of a number of small landholdings. Each of these was associated with a gentry house of varying status, many of which were in existence by 1594. There is some common land throughout the area, but it is associated with village rights, as at Eglwysrwrw, rather than relict. It is apparent that the entire area was settled, and probably enclosed with the present system of regular fields, by the early post-medieval period. The landscape history of part of the Lordship of Cilgerran – a ‘Welshry’ – appears to be similar.

Anglo-Norman manorial tenure is apparent in the Lordship of Cardigan, the former commote of Is-Hirwern, where the Coed Mawr estate represents the rump of the demesne land attached to Cardigan Castle. Normally, unfree tenants worked demesne land for 2 or 3 days per week in return for rights over strips of land. However, it could also include forest, waste or woodland, as at Narberth Forest which was part of the demesne attached to Pembroke Castle. The Anglo-Norman Borough of Cardigan comprises c.800ha within the boundary of its liberty. The name Warren Hill, at the east end of the area, may indicate the presence of the burgesses’ rabbit-warren. Relict open fields may be indicated by strips north of the town, shown on the tithe map but now gone. The map also shows a small pocket of common nearby.


CHURCHES AND CHAPELS

The larger medieval churches– eg. Cardigan and Cilgerran - are highly visible and defining elements of the landscape. However, many of the churches are small, remote and as dispersed as the settlement. As noted above, few became the focus for settlement. They are therefore often not distinctive features of the landscape (although the tower at Ferwig - now gone - was a celebrated landmark during the 16th century).

The ecclesiastical landscape began developing at an early date. The wide Tefi Valley, the estuary and coastal fringe in particular exhibit evidence for early medieval cemeteries and ecclesiastical sites. St Dogmaels Abbey occupies the site of an earlier monastery, ‘Llandudoch’, whose six Early Christian Monuments suggest a continuous ecclesiastical presence from the 6th century onwards, while it was wealthy enough to be attacked by Vikings in 988. It was subsumed beneath the later abbey but its enclosure may partly survive as a cropmark. Stone lined ‘cist’ burials have been noted at the nearby Iron Age hillfort of Caerau Gaer, and it has been proposed as the original site of St Dogmael’s monastery. A church at Cenarth is suggested in a 6th century grant. Llangeler appears to occupy an important early medieval multiple church site, while Cilgerran and Henllan, and Capel Mair in Llangeler parish, may also have early origins. A possible early, undeveloped cemetery at Llain Ddineu (Penboyr) is more doubtful – it doesn’t really fit in with contemporary settlement patterns and may be Bronze Age.

Llandudoch was re-founded as the Tironian Abbey of St Dogmaels. Commenced in c.1113, it had developed into a large church by the mid 13th century, central to an extensive range of masonry conventual buildings occupying a precinct that was at least 4ha in extent. The complex still forms a defining element of today’s landscape. The only other post-Norman monastic house in the region was at Cardigan, where the Benedictine priory was also the parish church. It was a very small house with a church, though much less grand than St Dogmaels, it has a high-quality, 14th century ‘Decorated’ chancel.

The system of parishes has its origins in the post-1115 period, after the appointment of Bernard as the first Anglo-Norman Bishop of St Davids. However, its formalisation within Ceredigion and Emlyn may be later. Nevertheless it was complete by 1291 when the majority of the present day parishes – with some subsequent minor changes - had been created.

With the exception of the monastic churches, and the borough church at Cilgerran, churches are small and simple, comprising just a nave and chancel. They appear to have been of poor construction, as all the medieval churches, except Cardigan and Manordeifi, and were largely rebuilt in the 19th century. At Cilgerran the medieval tower was retained, but the rest was rebuilt in the 19th century (twice, because the first attempt was so poor). The tower at Ferwig -formerly a celebrated landmark - was also retained, only to be demolished in 1968. Llandygwydd and Llantwyd churches were rebuilt in different locations within their respective churchyards. However, Manordeifi remains a largely unrestored church with a full suite of unaltered, late 17th - early 19th century fittings.

Not only are churches rarely the foci for settlements or nucleations, but they rarely exhibit a close relationship with Anglo-Norman castles. This does not necessarily imply that they pre-date the Norman Conquest – many of these castles were short-lived affairs of the early 12th century, while many of the region’s churches were clearly established by Welsh lords during the 12th century and early 13th century. Some of the earthwork castles may similarly be Welsh, and indeed where churches and castles co-exist they may both have been Welsh foundations of the post-1100 period (eg. Penboyr?). The close relationships between Llantwyd parish church and its castle suggest that here, in the Anglo-Norman Cemais, they are Norman foundations. While Llandygwydd parish church may be contemporary with the nearby motte, it is more likely to have been built at the same time as its grant to St Davids in the late 13th century, as it lies 0.5km northeast of the motte (which appears to have been been abandoned at an early date). However, the distance between the castle-borough of Cilgerran and its church suggests that the latter is pre-Conquest.

The dispersed settlement characteristic of the region led to the establishment of a large number of chapelries, most of them formal chapels-of-ease to their parishes, rather than devotional (or field) chapels. Most of them became disused in the post-medieval period, and few remains survive. However, the ruins of Llechryd Chapel - later a parish church -, while Capel Mair, a grange chapel to Whitland, near Llangeler was re-established, possibly on the same site, in the 19th century. The early medieval Decabarbalom Stone, found nearby, suggests early origins for this chapel. Other former chapels that no longer exist include the bridge chapel south of Cardigan town established by Archbishop Baldwin on his visit in 1188, Cilfowyr Chapel (Manordeifi parish), the old parish church at St Dogmaels opposite the abbey, and the old church at Drefach-Felindre, which may have been early post-medieval. Capel Degwel and Capel Carannog in St Dogmaels parish appear to have been pilgrimage chapels on the route to Nevern.

A degree of parochial reorganisation was undertaken in the 19th century. The parish of Newcastle Emlyn was created out of Cenarth parish, in response to the increasing population of the town, served by a new church (just beyond the register area). A new, iron parish church was built in a less peripheral location within Manordeifi parish. New Anglican churches were built within the rising population centres of Drefach-Felindre (replacing the earlier church), and at Abercych, the latter being built during the early 20th century.

Eighteenth- and 19th century non-Conformist chapels are ubiquitous. Many of them were located in Cardigan, St Dogmaels and Cilgeran, and in the textile-producing areas of the Teifi Valley. An early chapel at Drefach-Felindre, Capel Pen-rhiw, was converted from a barn in 1777; a classic of the ‘primitive’ type of chapel architecture, it was moved to the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans in the late 20th century. Other chaples were established away from population centres, but became settlement foci eg. Saron (Carms.) and Ponthirwaun (Cer.).

MAENOR FORION GRANGE
Both Register areas include former monastic land, represented by Maenor Forion Grange. The grange was established during the second half of the 12th century, when the land was granted to the Cistercian Whitland Abbey by the sons of the local Welsh lord Maredudd of Cilrhedyn. It comprised c.1800 ha between the Teifi and the high ground north of Cwmduad. Its nucleus appears to have been at Court Farm, where a granary was also present, and which was apparently a summer retreat for the abbot. Two mills, a corn mill and a fulling-mill (part of the leat of which can be traced) were located on the Afon Siedi at Geulan Felen, demonstrating that the abbey was an early pioneer in the cloth industry that would come to dominate other parts of this Register Area.

The grange chapel, ‘Capel Mair’, was probably on the same site as the present St Mary’s, a chapel-of-ease to Llangeler parish. The early medieval Decabarbalom Stone, found near the chapel, suggests early chapel origins. It is associated with a motte, ‘Pencastell’, which may have been an earlier grange nucleus.

However, we know little of the land-use within the grange. Maenor Forion was one of the very few Welsh granges not to be subject to an Exchequer Proceeding (Equity) after the Dissolution, from which much of our knowledge of grange management is derived. Most of Whitland’s estates were held at the Dissolution under various leases, tenurial systems, rents and obligations belonging to Welsh law. In general, the abbey’s Carmarthenshire properties paid money rents, and contributions of cheese, capons and oats, while the Ceredigion properties made contributions of wool, sheep and lambs. However, it is far from clear whether or not these arrangements perpetuate long-standing arrangements of earlier origin. Nevertheless the survival of a diversity of rents, in both cash, kind and service, suggest that they correspond with earlier villein obligations, and it has therefore been proposed that Whitland exploited its granges along native lines from the first, and land-use and settlement were probably broadly similar to that outside the grange.

The grange became crown land at the Dissolution in 1536 and was sold during the reign of Charles I to John Lewis of Llysnewydd and Thomas Price of Rhydypennau, the latter’s portion passing onto D L Jones of Derlwyn. Apart from the disposal of small parts of the properties, the greater part of the former grange remained in the hands of these families until at least 1900, forming the core of two large estates.



MEDIEVAL CASTLES

The Register areas feature one of the densest concentrations of medieval castles in Wales, with as many as 13 possible sites. Most of these are small earthwork mottes and ringworks with no recorded history, and few are defining elements of the landscape, and like the parish churches, few attracted any nucleated settlement.

There is a concentration of castles in Cantref Emlyn, particularly within the eastern half, Emlyn Uwch-Cych, which apart from a possible brief period of Anglo-Norman control during the early 12th century, remained in Welsh hands until 1283. A similar situation prevails in Ceredigion north of the Teifi. The most likely origin for most of these castles is the period 1100-1136 when the Anglo-Normans were stamping their authority on the region by founding castles on at the heart of pre-existing centers of Welsh administration, or during the remainder of the 12th century by native Welsh lords. Few are associated with contemporary vills, but that could mean either that they were short-lived Anglo-Norman constructions, or were part of the Welsh pattern of dispersed settlement and would thus not have acted as settlement foci. Some of the close church-castle relationships may be entirely Welsh, as at Cenarth, and possibly at Penboyr where the church and castle could be new Welsh foundations of the 12th century.

However, the church/castle at Llantwyd in the Anglicised Barony of Cemais probably represents a ‘failed’ early Anglo-Norman manor. Cemais, like the Lordship of Cilgerran, was subdued at an early date and even though Anglo-Norman rule was by no means uninterrupted, both lordships feature a lesser concentration of castles.

With the exception of Llantwyd, which may feature some stonework, the only other masonry castles are at Cardigan and Cilgerran (and at Newcastle Emlyn just outside the Register areas). Unlike the earthwork castles, they are still defining elements of the landscape, with the ruins dominating their surroundings.

Cardigan castle, although badly damaged, commands the Teifi foreshore, the bridge and the town, and forms the axis of the town’s street plan. A castle had first been established during an Anglo-Norman incursion in 1093, but was short-lived. It is usually thought to be represented by the earthwork at Old Castle Farm, but it could equally be at the present castle site which was certainly fortified in c.1110 under the Anglo-Norman de Clare earls. It became the centre of the Lordship of Cardigan, from c.1201 a royal lordship, and was the administrative centre for the County of Cardiganshire established in 1284. However, the castle’s administrative role came to an end with the Act of Union of 1536. It was neglected, becoming ruinous by 1610, but saw action in 1644-5 during the Civil War when it was damaged and taken by Parliamentary forces. John Bowen later acquired it, and by 1810, had begun converting it into a mansion, erecting a house and landscaping the interior. It was occupied until the end of the 20th century. Consolidation of the ruins is due to commence.

Cilgerran Castle was established in c.1100 as the caput of Cilgerran lordship. The castle may not occupy the site of the pre-Norman commotal centre, as it does not appear to have acquired the name of the lordship, Cilgerran, until the mid 12th century, being referred to as ‘Cenarth Bychan’ during a daring Welsh raid in 1109. The lordship was regained by the Welsh in 1164 and remained under Welsh rule, apart from a brief period between 1204 and 1214, until 1223 when William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, took it. Rebuilding of the castle in stone began immediately and was largely complete by the late 13th century. Its two massive ‘drum’ towers still dominate the landscape. The abolition of the lordship in 1536 saw its abandonment and decline. It saw no action during the Civil War and was allowed to become a ruin, albeit the source of inspiration to Romantic painters. They included Richard Wilson, and J M W Turner who made several studies of the castle.

 

POST MEDIEVAL ESTATES

Estates dominated the rural economy of the lower Teifi valley from the early 17th to the early 20th century, but more especially during their peak in late 18th century and 19th century. Greatest of these was the Vaughans’ Golden Grove Estate, which at its height included almost all the land on the southern side of the Teifi from Pentrecourt in the east to Cenarth in the west. Land holdings of other estates were extensive, such as Castell Malgwyn, Llangoedmor and Noyadd, and some of the larger gentry houses - Gellydywyll, Pentre, Stradmore, Llwynduris and Parc y Pratt – had land attached. The effect of these estates on the landscape is both subtle and obvious. Great houses and the gardens and parks laid out around them are an obvious legacy of how landowners shaped and manipulated the landscape for their own enjoyment. Buildings of a higher quality than the norm also indicate a strong estate presence. Gelligatti, a house and model farm constructed for the agent of the Golden Grove estate is an obvious example of this, as is the several small but nevertheless high quality 19th century buildings in Cenarth, a village that was almost entirely under the control of the Vaughan family. Smaller farmhouses and farm buildings are not generally indicative of estate control. Analysis of these buildings, however, reveals that those within the estate zone tend to towards the Georgian style (although often built towards the end of the 19th century), while those outside this zone have more vernacular traits. Subtler still is the control that estates had over the field layout and field systems. In other areas of estate dominated southwest Wales such as the Tywi valley and southwest Pembrokeshire medieval open field systems were swept away and replaced by regular large fields during the 16th or 17th century. This contrasts to areas where estates had less control. Here open fields persisted even into the 19th century, and their eventual enclosure resulted in a pattern of strip fields. In the Lower Teifi Valley historic landscape, and to a lesser degree the Drefach and Felindre landscape, there is very little topographic or historical evidence for open field systems, and late 18th century estate maps show a landscape very similar to that of today. All this strongly suggests that the estates of the lower Teifi Valley were instrumental in arranging the fields into the systems that exist today, during the early modern period.

 

WOODLAND

Semi-natural deciduous woodland is a component of the Afon Teifi valley and its tributaries, and occurs in pockets between Eglwyswrw and St Dogmaels. It is more-or-less absent from the coastal, western area of the Lower Teifi Valley. Within the Teifi Valley itself woodland is mainly confined to the steep-sided tributaries where it is at least semi-natural and has been subject to an informal management regime. It was clearly an important element of the economy but its use is usually not recorded. It has been augmented with estate planting during the 18th and 19th centuries, while there has been some regeneration over former fields and farms.

However, one estate north of the Teifi, Coedmore – which is still wooded - represents part of the formal demesne attached to Cardigan Castle. Demesne was that part of the manor that was the lord’s own land, meaning that it was subject to an Anglo-Norman manorial regime. Normally, demesne land was worked by unfree tenants for 2 or 3 days per week in return for strips of land. However, it could also include forest, waste or woodland, as at Narberth Forest which was part of the demesne attached to Pembroke Castle. The name Coed Mawr (= Coedmore = big wood) suggests that this area too was always wooded, probably exploited for its economic value. Cardigan Castle remained crown property. However Coed Mawr was apparently farmed out at an early date, and Earl Roger of Chirk was recorded as holding the manor during the late 13th century. It later became a gentry estate and park.

Cilgerran Forest formed a large part of the Lordship of Cilgerran in the medieval period. It is mentioned in late medieval and 16th century accounts as one of the great woods of Pembrokeshire, along with Narberth, Coedrath and Canaston Forest. These were formal, manorial forests practising forest law. Much of the area is still wooded, although this part of the former lordship lies outside the Register areas.

Coniferous plantations dating to the second half of the 20th century are a characteristic component of the high ground south of the Teifi Valley. Much of it was planted over open moorland and abandoned fields, including some fields that were enclosed in the 19th century by Act of Parliament. It is often a prominent element of the landscape.



MARITIME TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Cardigan’s maritime location has been important to its development since the medieval period, and the ability to remain supplied by sea led to its holding out against Welsh incursion through most of the 12th century. It may have declined during the 16th century, but during the 18th and 19th centuries the Port of Cardigan had jurisdiction over Newport, Fishguard, Aberaeron, Aberporth and Newquay, with a combined fleet in 1833 of 291 registered vessels. Shipbuilding was an important occupation, but its decline had begun by c. 1800. The town was involved in considerable coasting trade, as well as some foreign trade, exporting oats, butter, oak bark, and - especially from the late 19th century onwards - locally-quarried slate. This trade declined during the early 20th century although coastal herring fishing, and a salmon fishery on the Teifi - including coracle fishing - were undertaken into the late 20th century. The rapid growth of St Dogmaels during the second half of the 19th century undoubtedly owed much to busy trade along the Teifi, with the Port of Cardigan burgeoning and associated activity spreading to St Dogmaels.

There are some early references to seine net fishing at St Dogmaels. A medieval source mentions a salmon fishery in association with the abbey, and there is also a later record of a complaint in the reign of Elizabeth I for fishing with nets called “sayney.” Where as seine net fishing was practised along the shores of the estuary, by the 18th century St Dogmaels had also developed into one of several important herring fisheries along the Cardigan Bay coastline. Seine net fishing is now only carried out under licence by a single team of fishermen, and the future of this ancient tradition is threatened.

Fishing on the Teifi below Cilgerran has a long history. The gorge below the castle was noted for its fishing, particularly salmon. By 1270, the Lord of Cilgerran’s salmon weir below the castle had six traps, and complaints were made that they impeded river traffic carrying stone downstream for the king’s building works at Cardigan Castle. The traps were ordered to be removed, but were rebuilt in 1314 by the Lord of Cilgerran in manner that did not interfere with river traffic. George Owen described the six traps in 1603 as ‘the greatest weir of all Wales’. The fishery continued to be operated by the burgesses of Cilgerran through the post-medieval period, the building where the fish were taken to be weighed - ‘Ty’r goved’ being located immediately below the castle. Coracle fishing was also undertaken in the gorge until recent years.

A large fish-weir was also a feature of medieval and later Cenarth. It was positioned to take advantage of the natural traps and pools of Cenarth Falls. We have an important and unique eye-witness account of the fishery during the 1180s, when Gerald of Wales described it as ‘a flourishing (salmon) fishing-station. The waters of the Teifi run ceaselessly over (the falls), falling with a mighty roar into the abyss below. Now it is from these depths that the salmon ascend to the... rock above...’. Salmon-fishing contributed to the economy of the small settlement until comparatively recently. It was traditionally undertaken in coracles – it is now a tourist attraction.

 

THE NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURY WOOLLEN INDUSTRY

Extensive grazing land for sheep, an abundant supply of soft water and numerous fast-flowing streams and rivers to power machinery has ensured that cloth manufacture has had a long history in southwest Wales. Up to the end of the 18th century cloth was manufactured locally, with no clear centres of production. Towards the end of the century the increasing use of water powered machinery led to some centralisation of the industry. Within the Drefach – Felindre area fulling mills were established at Pentrecourt, Dolwynon, Drefach and Cwmpengraig. This marked the beginning of the woollen industry in north Carmarthenshire. Carding factories were established at Cwmpencraig and Dolwyon by 1820. Up to 1850 the term factory refered to a building where carding or spinning machines were powered by water. Weaving was done on the handloom, usually in houses or small workshops attached to domestic buildings. Greater use of water power, and other forms of power at a later date, plus the introduction of the power loom resulted in a rapid increase in the industry. By the early years of the 20th century over 23 factories were working in the Drefach - Felindre area, with others elsewhere in the Teifi valley such as at Lampeter, Llandysul, Newcastle Emlyn, Cardigan and St Dogmaels. Rural factories and non-rural factories produced cloth. The former were in remote locations and were family run businesses. The latter were more common in the Drefach – Felindre landscape. They employed 50-100 people, were generally located in or close to villages and usually close to a railway or good road communications. The industry was at its peak from 1880 to 1910, but by the 1920s it was in decline, although some mills continued production well into the second half of the 20th century.

 

STONE/SLATE QUARRYING

The term lower Teifi valley slate or stone is used here in preference to the more commonly used Cilgerran slate. This is because many small quarries to supply local markets were worked in many different locations in the Teifi valley in addition to the large enterprises located in the gorge below Cilgerran. Roofing slate was produced, but it was not of good quality, and the main products were ‘slab’ and general building stone. Stone and slate extraction has a long history in the lower Teifi valley as attested by major medieval buildings such as Cardigan Castle and Cilgerran Castle. However, the small-scale of the industry was generally only sufficient to supply the local market. It was not until the mid 19th century that the introduction of greater mechanisation, steam power and better transport links lead to an increase in production of the Cilgerran gorge quarries. There were two main centres of quarrying: quarries below the town itself and Fforest, a few kilometres downstream. Production started to decline in the early decades of the 20th century, and the last quarry at Cilgerran closed in 1938.

The legacy of stone and slate quarrying in the lower Teifi valley lies not in the physical remains of the industry itself, which are slight and often tucked away on heavily wooded valley sides, but in the buildings of the region. Lower Teifi valley slate was ubiquitous until superseded first by brick and then by other materials. The use of building materials is discussed more fully below.

 

OTHER INDUSTRIES

Between 1764 and 1770 an extensive tinplate- and iron-works was established at Castell Malgwyn, on the banks of the Teifi at Penygored. A canal (or leat) supplied water to the works, materials were brought up the navigable river and there was ample woodland on the valley sides for fuel. The Penygored Company was successful, passing through several hands until purchased in 1792 by Sir Benjamin Hammet, who also bought the Castell Malgwyn estate. It was operational until 1806. The site of the works has now gone. It appears that no worker housing was built specifically to cater for its workforce, who presumably lived in the nearby village of Llechryd.

 

EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURY ENCROACHMENT SETTLEMENTS

In common with all of Wales, and indeed most of western Britain, rural settlement expansion during the period of a rapidly increasing population in the late 18th century and early 19th century was largely at the interface of cultivated land and common land. These squatter settlements, or tai unnos, seemed to have little legal basis, but in the landscapes described here their foundation seems to have been tolerated by other landowners and tenants. Their legacy is quite clear – small agricultural holdings and cottages set in a landscape of small irregular fields fringing open moorland or high ground. In the Lower Teifi Valley and Drefach and Felindre historic landscapes the morphology and character of smallholdings fringing the only one substantial tract of high, unenclosed moorland, that of Rhos Llanger, Rhos Penboyr and Rhos Kilrhedin, indicate that they originated as illegal encroachments onto common. Tithe maps of c. 1840 and the Enclosure Award map of the common of 1866 that marks some of these smallholdings as illegal encroachments confirms the surviving physical evidence. Smaller, lowland commons were vulnerable to the same process. Encroachment by loose clusters of workers’s cottages onto common, as at Waungilwen and Cwmhiraeth in the mid 19th century, is unusual for southwest Wales, but perhaps more common in the more industrialised areas of the southeast and northwest of the country.

 

PARLIAMENTARY ENCLOSURE

By the late 18th century if not earlier the greater part of the Lower Teifi Valley and Drefach Velindre historic landscapes comprised agricultural land. There was, therefore, very little open common land requiring an Act of Parliament for enclosure. A notable exception was Rhos Llanger, Rhos Penboyr and Rhos Kilrhedin, a high ridge of moorland on the watershed of the Afon Tywi and Afon Teifi in Carmarthenshire. In 1866 an enclosure award was granted to enclose this large tract of high moorland, transforming it into a landscape of large regular fields, whereupon shortly after farms were established. A little earlier, in 1855, an Act of Parliament had enclosed small pockets of common close to Drefach and Felindre. These were probably the last remnants of once extensive lowland common, and their formal enclosure was the final act of several centuries of piecemeal, and illegal, encroachment.


FIELD BOUNDARIES

In common with the rest of southwest Wales the predominant type of field boundary consists of an earth or earth and stone bank topped with a hedge. These hedges are a major component of the historic landscape. The character of the hedges varies between and even within farms; some are well maintained with a few large bushes or trees, some have distinctive trees, others have been reduced to straggling lines or bushes and trees whilst others consist of bracken and gorse on massive banks. The critical criteria in determining the character of the hedge are elevation and degree of exposure. Generally the more sheltered the location the more lush the hedge. Clearly management has a role as well and poorly maintained hedges reduced to lines of bushes can be found on valley floors, but large hedges of vigorous bushes cannot live on the exposed coastal hills to the west. Indeed it is only in these areas that other types of boundary are found. These are predominantly stony banks, supporting low hedges of gorse and bracken, but with occasional dry-stone walls, now usually in a collapsed state.


BUILDINGS

Rural buildings
In common with most of southwest Wales most of the pre 20th century building stock belongs to the 19th century. There are very few pre 19th century domestic and agricultural buildings. Building analysis indicates that virtually all the smaller rural buildings were replaced during a period of great rebuilding from c.1840 to c. 1900, leaving just a handful of earlier survivors. These few survivors provide an insight into an almost extinct tradition for which evidence has all but vanished. They are small, single storey farmhouses, as at Rhyd, Llandygwydd (now used as an outbuilding), cottages, as at Cwmcych, or outbuildings. All these are of poor quality stone or earth (clom) under thatch roofs. They were small, simple and fragile and easily swept aside during the increasing prosperity of the 19th century. They were replaced by two-storey stone-built houses, cottages and farm buildings, which, though well constructed of rubble or coursed stone, have little architectural pretension. Most are within the Georgian tradition – two-storey and three-windows wide, regular plan and elevations, with relatively high ceilings and windows – although a few have one or more vernacular traits such as an asymmetrical plan, low ceilings, small windows and large chimneys. Almost all pre-20th century farm buildings are stone-built, with most farms having one or two ranges informally arranged around the sides of a yard. Smaller farms may just have a single range attached in-line to the house, and larger farms three or more ranges. Cow houses, stables, barns and other storage buildings indicate that a mixed farming economy was in operation during the 19th century. The vast majority of these houses and farms were estate provisions with others constructed by jobbing builders and/or self built. It is noticeable that outside the zone of the main estates, at the extreme far west of the Teifi valley and on higher ground to the south of Drefach and Felindre, houses have more vernacular traits than those within the zone, indicating a degree of standardisation in estate buildings.

A high quality stone-building tradition has been present for over 800 years as evidenced by Cardigan Castle and Cilgerran Castle, but prior to the mid 19th century it had not filtered down to the smaller houses, cottages and farms. Surviving larger domestic and agricultural buildings earlier than the mid 18th century are rare, suggesting that the building stock was not of particularly high quality and had to be replaced. It is not really until the end of the 18th century and the early 19th century that good quality stonework is used in domestic buildings and then on major houses such as Castell Malgwyn and Coedmor. Later good quality masonry was employed in smaller buildings.

There are few rural buildings dating to the first half of the 20th century. Rural development restarted in the 1960s and has accelerated since the 1980s with occasional new houses in isolated locations, clusters of housing on established village fringes as at Llandygwydd and Cenarth, and the rebuilding of older farmhouses. The latter phenomenon is not common except in the higher areas of the Drefach and Felindre historic landscape where the 19th century housing stock was probably poor. A more dramatic affect on the landscape has been the construction of modern concrete, steel and asbestos farm buildings.


Industrial villages and hamlets
Buildings in the industrial villages and hamlets of Drefach and Felindre, Abercych and to a lesser degree Cilgerran date to the second half of the 19th century with a strong concentration in the last two decades. A mid 18th century terrace of low houses in the centre of Drefach provides an indication of the early type of housing stock, but in common with rural housing most of this early type of housing was replaced in the 19th century. All the industrial settlements in the Drefach and Felindre historic landscape experienced rapid growth from the mid to late 19th century. This was a result of the increasing scale of operation of the woollen industry, which is reflected in the numerous stone- and brick-built factories, the associated housing stock, chapels and churches and other buildings constructed at this time. A distinct settlement pattern of mill, mill owner’s house, workers’ houses and chapels clustered on the floors of narrow valleys is apparent as at Cwmpengraig and Cwmhiraeth. Worker houses are grouped into short terraces or semi-detached units either provided by mill owners or small-scale speculators by landowners are broadly in the Georgian style – symmetrical plan and elevation, high ceiling and large window openings – reflecting the aspirations of the workers in the late 19th century. There is social mixing within communities with the owner’s house and/or manager’s house close to or alongside those of the workers. However, none of these owner/manager houses is particularly large, and some stand a little distance from the rest of the community.

Buildings reflect the fortunes of the woollen industry as well as other industries. Very few new houses were constructed within associated settlements during the decline of these industries during the first decades of the 20th century. Owing to easy and quick transport links to larger communities development has now picked up, and new individual houses and small estates have been constructed since the 1970s at Drefach and Felindre, Cilgerran, and Cwmcych.

Urban and non-industrial settlements
The greatest range of domestic and commercial buildings in the two historic landscapes is found at Cardigan. Constraints within the medieval town have produced a tightly packed plan with houses, shops and other commercial buildings, mostly dating to the late 18th and early 19th century squeezed into terraces. Away from these constraints the terrace is still the favoured house type of later 19th century houses, but in contrast to the early stone buildings brick is more commonly used. Later development is freer still, with detached villas, semi-detached houses and estates commonplace. Similar patterns, but on a lesser scale, are found at St Dogmaels and Cilgerran, and even in the small villages of Cenarth and Llechryd.

Walling materials
A common building material – Teifi valley slate - unites all the pre-1870 buildings, including houses, cottages, farm buildings, churches, chapels, castles, mills, factories and bridges, in both the Lower Teifi Valley, and the Drefach and Felindre historic landscapes. The term Teifi valley slate is preferred to the more commonly used term Cilgerran slate as ‘slate’ quarries in the Teifi valley outside the gorge at Cilgerran were worked for building stone. The early recognition of this high quality building stone is evident by its use in a 13th – 14th century context at Cardigan Castle and Cilgerran Castle, and later in the 17th and 18th centuries on Cardigan, Llechryd bridges and other bridges over the Afon Teifi.

It is a versatile stone, usually grey-brown in colour but with silvery-grey hues in the finest-grained strata, and can be cleaved into large slabs, chisel shaped and dressed, and sawn into ashlar blocks. The full repertoire of Teifi valley slate is best displayed in domestic architecture. Un-coursed or roughly coursed rubble is common in the earliest surviving houses of the late 18th century and early 19th century, even in some substantial dwellings such as Castell Malgwyn mansion, and continues to be used in this form in more modest worker houses and cottages late into the 19th century and early 20th century. Quoins are often large, distinctive shaped slabs, even in rubble build, and window and door voussoirs are usually shaped. Chisel-squared regularly-coursed slabs and blocks with more finely dressed quoins and voussoirs were introduced in some finer buildings by the late 18th century, evidenced by several Georgian houses in Cardigan, for example. This form of construction continues throughout the 19th century, gradually being employed in houses lower down the social scale, such as some workers houses in Drefach and Felindre, and at Cilgerran. During the mid 19th century regularly coursed finely-sawn stone is introduced, using fine-grained grey Teifi valley slate from the Cilgerran quarries. Sawn stone laid in very regular courses is mostly found in high-quality, high-cost buildings such as the stable block and service buildings at Castell Malgwyn and mill owners’ houses at Drefach and Felindre, but is also used in more modest late 19th century houses close to the quarries at Cilgerran.

An unusual and highly decorative use of silver-grey Teifi valley slate slabs laid in strong horizontal courses interspaced with square blocks of warm brown Dolerite from the Preseli Mountains producing a banded effect, is employed in some mid 19th century houses at St Dogmaels. This style of construction is unusual, but can be seen in some warehouses at Cardigan and in houses at Newport and Dinas in Pembrokeshire, although in these examples the use of contrasting coloured stone is not so marked as that at St Dogmaels.

Outside the main sources of Teifi valley slate and away from good transport connections, other types of stone are occasionally used. For instance on higher ground in the Drefach and Felindre historic landscape and in the far west of the Lower Teifi Valley historic landscape locally quarried stone is used in farmhouses, cottages and farm buildings. Owing to the poorer quality of the stone dwellings are frequently cement rendered.

Better transport links allowing the importation of different materials and the opening Cardigan brickworks in the 1870s lead to a gradual decline in the use of stone, and by the early 20th century its abandonment as a building material. Apart from close to the brickworks at Cardigan, brick was initially used sparingly, as on workers houses at Drefach and Felindre where both yellow brick and red brick door- and window-jambs complement stone. Purely red brick buildings, many with decorative tile courses and other architectural features were constructed at Cardigan during the 1870s, and elsewhere soon after, but nowhere with the initial exuberance seen in the first houses and shops. The mid and late 19th century building boom, attested by numerous stone-built buildings, petered out towards the end of the century and the early years of the 20th century and therefore red brick buildings do not constitute a major element in the historic landscape. Only at Cardigan were a significant number of new buildings constructed during the first half of the 20th century. Suburban housing – red-tiled and stuccoed villas, semi detached middle-class dwellings and small estates – contribute to the urban landscape. A new and continuing building boom right across the southwest Wales landscape from the 1960s onwards, and particularly from the 1980s, has added many new houses and other structures to the landscape, this time in a variety of new materials.

Lower Teifi valley slate is a good quality building material and houses constructed from it rarely require a protective cement or stucco coat; stone-built farm buildings are always left bare. There are many reasons why some of the houses have a stucco coat: use of poorer quality stone, use of brick and for decorative purposes. Where poor quality stone is used stucco is generally applied for protection. At
St Dogmaels, however, a tradition of high quality bare-stone houses indicates that stucco was probably not required for protection, yet well over half the buildings have applied cement render. The stuccoed buildings here have a highly decorative air, and wide repertoire - different coloured pebbledash, applied decoration around door and windows and house names is employed lending a jaunty seaside air to the village. Similar surface treatments can be found on houses at Cardigan and Cilgerran. Although there is decorative treatment to some of the houses in the industrial settlements of Drefach and Felindre, the main use of stucco here seems to be for protection.

The use of stone was ubiquitous by the mid 19th century, and had been used for major buildings prior to this. A few rare survivors, however, demonstrate an earlier building tradition. One or two cottages and disused, small farmhouses are constructed of clom (earth) on stone footings, with thatched roofs. It is highly likely that clom-built farmhouses, cottages and farm outbuildings were the most common building types in the Lower Teifi Valley and Drefach and Felindre historic landscapes prior to a great rebuilding in stone during the mid and late 19th century.

Roofing materials
Commercially quarried and cut north Wales slate is used throughout the region. Historic records indicate that lower Teifi valley slate was used as roofing material, but it is uncertain if its use was widespread prior to the mid 19th century and the dominance of the north Wales slate. Surviving small cottages and farmhouse demonstrate that thatch was probably common, if not universal, on smaller dwellings and farm buildings, prior to mid and late 19th century. Slate is still the main roofing material, with concrete tile, ceramic tile, steel and asbestos becoming more common.

 

TWENTIETH CENTURY AND LATER DEVELOPMENT

Twentieth century and later development is similar to that of the rest of southwest Wales in that it is predominantly confined to the last three or four decades of the century and is concentrated on the fringes of existing towns, villages and hamlets. Between 1900 and the 1960s new housing consisted of small-scale social housing estates and small private housing estates, such as those on the northern fringes of Cardigan, and low-key industrial facilities. There are of course exceptions to this, such as the continued programme of woollen mill construction at Drefach and Felindre; this, however, should be regarded as the final flourish of a mainly 19th century industry rather than as new development. By the 1960s larger scale housing projects were underway, and the pace of new housing development is still accelerating. There is no village or hamlet that does not have some modern housing, and in some instances the extent of the modern housing is sufficiently great to have nearly erased the community’s historic core. Modern housing is at its most dense close to towns and villages. Thus a belt of late 20th century houses encloses Cardigan, and hamlets and villages within four to five miles from the town contain many modern elements. Beyond this distance the quantity of new houses begins to fall away, but nevertheless is always present.

 

PLANNING REGIMES AND THE HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT

The Lower Teifi Valley and the Drefach and Felindre historic landscapes straddle four planning authorities: Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Planning polices of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire have led to broadly similar landscapes, with new housing concentrated in or on the fringes of existing settlements, and very little new development in the open countryside. There is, however, very little modern development within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This has resulted in a markedly different modern landscape on the north side of the Teifi estuary in Ceredigion to that on the south side in the National Park. Immediately pre- and post-World War 2 homemade houses/chalets and other low-key tourist facilities began to develop on both banks of the estuary. On the south side, however, this was halted and the only modern developments are a car park and a lifeboat station. To the north tourist related facilities have expanded -a caravan park, yachting park/yard and a golf club - and modern housing constructed, driven by the demand from Cardigan town a few miles away. In some locations such as at Ferwig new housing has swamped the historic village core, and at other places housing density has led to the creation of new communities.

 


TOURISM AND THE LEISURE INDUSTRY

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the sandy beach of Poppit in the far west of the Teifi valley receive the most visitors, with a reduction in numbers as one travels east up the valley. There is no major tourist honey pot in the Lower Teifi Valley or Drefach and Felindre such as can be found in south Pembrokeshire and consequently the impact of the tourist and leisure industry on the historic landscape has been relatively insignificant. St Dogmaels Abbey, Cardigan Town, Cilgerran Castle and gorge and nature reserve, Cenarth Falls, Newcastle Emlyn Castle and the National Museums & Galleries’ woollen mill museum at Drefach-Felindre attract visitors, but these locations are components of the historic landscape in their own right, and their associated tourist elements– car parks, toilets, shops – are very low key. Visitors to them may travel some distance on a daily basis or may be tourists staying in holiday homes, converted farm buildings or bed and breakfast accommodation – the type of facility that has no or minimal impact on the landscape. Some larger scale holiday accommodation is present such as a chalet and caravan park outside Cenarth, but most tourist facilities are situated downriver of Cardigan towards the coast. Even so, apart from small car parks, housing and hotels at Gwbert and a caravan park and yacht park/yard on the river’s edge, the impact of the tourist industry on the historic landscape is not great.



 

 

 

Project contact: Ken Murphy

 

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