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Llangeler, Parish Church
Ordnance Survey Map Reference : SN385394

Parish Registers : Carmarthenshire Record Office

Baptisms 1704-1777, 1778-1877, with gaps
Marriages 1704-1801, 1813-1921, with gaps
Burials 1704-1804, 1813-1900, with gaps

Bishops Transcripts : National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
1674-75, 1676-79, 1681-83, 1685, 1687, 1689, 1705, 1799, 1801-11, 1813-63,
1865, 1874. IGI chr, 1799-1874

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1841 Census
1851 Census
1861 Census
1871 Census
1881 Census
1891 Census
1901 Census

Llangeler Burials 1813-1875 Index
Llangeler Baptisms 1799-1874 Index

Carmarthenshire Marriages 1754-1837 Index
Burials 1813-1851 Index
1841 Census Index
1851 Census Index
1881 Census Index
1901 Carmarthenshire Strays
Wills Index 1654-1858
Owners of Land 1873

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Llangeler Village

Historic Background

A fairly large area within modern Carmarthenshire consisting of dispersed farms, fields and scattered woodland stands. It lies within the medieval Cantref Emlyn, in Emlyn Uwch-Cych commote. Cantref Emlyn had been partly brought under Anglo-Norman control in c.1100 when Emlyn Is-Cych commote, to the west, was reconstituted as the Lordship of Cilgerran. Numerous castles were established in Uwch-Cych - none of which has any recorded history - but the commote was back under Welsh control by the 1130s, and remained such throughout the 12th and early 13th centuries. It was appropriated by the Anglo-Norman Marshal Earls of Pembroke in 1223, but was granted to Maredudd ap Rhys, with whose family it remained until finally annexed by the English crown in 1283. In 1536, it eventually formed part of the Hundred of Elvet in Carmarthenshire, when Is-Cych joined Pembrokeshire. Uwch-Cych was granted to royal favourite Sir Rhys ap Thomas in the late 15th century, reverted to the crown in 1525, and was then granted, in 1546, to Sir Thomas Jones of Haroldston, Pembrokeshire. It remained in this family for several generations, eventually passing by marriage to the Vaughans’ Golden Grove Estate, which in the 19th century still owned almost all the land on the southern side of the Teifi from Pentre-cwrt in the east to Cenarth in the west. The medieval Welsh tenurial pattern - with neither vills nor knight’s fees - has been largely responsible for the dispersed settlement within the region.

The southern part of this area appears to have formed part of the medieval Garth Gywddyll Forest that stretched away to the southeast, and was presumably unfarmed, unenclosed land. However, the northeast part of this character area, east of Pentre-cwrt, belonged to a different landholding and tenurial regime, having been part of Maenor Forion Grange. This 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. Its nucleus appears to have been at Court Farm, where a granary was 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 possibly an early pioneer in the cloth industry that would come to dominate other parts of this Register Area. The grange chapel lay just outside this character area, 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 earlier origins. It is associated with a motte, ‘Pencastell’, which may have been an earlier grange nucleus. Otherwise, we know little of the land-use within the grange, as 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 Ceredidion 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, suggests that they correspond with earlier villein obligations, and it has therefore been suggested that Whitland exploited its granges along native lines from the first, and therefore land-use and settlement were probably similar inside and 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 these family hands until at least 1900, forming the core of two large estates.

The present landscape throughout this character area mainly comprises medium-large regular, rectangular fields of late enclosure. They probably date from the late 18th century - although some of the individual farmsteads will probably be older - and appear to be contemporary with the present road system which follows the enclosure axis and boundaries. The present A484, which runs from north-south through the area, was built new as a turnpike road in the late 18th century. The first comprehensive map cover, the tithe map of 1839, shows a landscape not dissimilar to that of today. There are a few minor differences, such as small blocks of strip fields close to Saron and some small pockets of unenclosed land. Both of are now regular fields. The only settlement clusters on the tithe map are at Llangeler, with approximately four dwellings, and Pentre-cwrt with c. 20 houses. Pentre-cwrt is possibly post medieval in orgin as is the nucleation at Llangeler, although it developed around a medieval church which was also the property of Whitland Abbey, the grant of which was confirmed by King John 1199-1216. Llangeler - also known as ‘Merthyr Celer’ - was a multiple church site, with a ‘capel-y-bedd’ (‘saint’s grave chapel’ or ‘founder’s grave chapel’) formerly lying south of the church. A well-chapel lay 150m northeast of the churchyard. Both the churchyard and the well-chapel may have occupied a very large circular outer enclosure represented by field boundaries. The ‘merthyr’ element is regarded as an indicator of early medieval origins.


Llangeler Parish Church
Llangeler is a thriving parish of over 3,000 people in West Wales.

Llangeler's pretty little church is in the centre of the village, set in the lovely rich green countryside of Carmarthenshire.

The parish has several tourist attractions and is close to many others. In nearby Drefach, the National Wool Museum reminds us graphically of the history of the region, whilst in Henllan just off the A484, the Teifi Valley Preserved Railway demonstrates other industrial links with the past.

A little to the west of Llangeler village is the West Wales Museum of Childhood – with its direct access off the A484 – offering glimpses of fun, nostalgia and excitement as it takes you through 100 years of childhood experiences. Operated as a ‘not-for-profit' venture, it also provides a welcome refreshment stop being the only tea room and toilets for use by the public on the A484 between Cenarth and Carmarthen.

Slightly further away are the remains of the old castle of the market town of Newcastle Emlyn.

Just beyond Newcastle Emlyn are the Coracle Centre and the Olde Smithy, both at Cenarth. There are many other attractions to be visited in the Teifi Valley, being the meeting of the three shires of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion

Saron Chapel Llangeler