Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Living in the past

The tiny tree-clad motte at Llanegwad, where the castle was possibly the one put to the torch in 1203.

There are times when your mind becomes immersed in an idea, a concept, and it returns to this idea like a dog with a bone. Thus when I was awake at 4 a.m. again this morning, my mind kept wandering around this parish (Llanegwad), peopling it with long-dead inhabitants, mulling over the limits of Talley Abbey lands, thinking about the Medieval administrative tiers of Cantref, Commote, Maerdref, Llys, about the kingdom of Deheubarth, the Lord Rhys in his llys at Dinefwr, the battles which waged back and forth between Welsh princelings, and then the hated English.

I thought about Monachdy, with its grange which was the final outpost of the Premonstratension monks of Talley Abbey (that title for the white-robed monks makes me think of PMT!), and the lost chapel in a nearby field and the chunks of high-status dressed stone possibly from there which we found used in the flagstone floor in the bottom kitchen. I thought about the lost chapel attached to Llandeilo-yr-ynys, a grand house on the banks of the Towy, and which probably derived its name from the ancient land divisions when Maenor Brwnws was settled on the confluence of the rivers Cothi and Towy - Llandeilo Rwnws . . .

I thought about the battle here between the Normans and the Welsh in 1116, and the bloody battle further up the Towy Valley near Derwen Fawr in 1257, when - if I remember rightly - the English army were caught wrong-footed and slaughtered like rabbits caught in a car's headlight. That deserves a post in itself, so I shall do just that when I return from taking our eldest daughter back to University.

I wondered if it really WAS the little castle on the motte in Llanegwad which was burnt by the Welsh in 1203, and how, in 1287, people living along our valley would have fled or died when the soldiers sent by the Norman Constable of Carmarthen, Robert de Tibetot plundered and pillaged up as far as Brechfa in pursuit of Rhys ap Maredudd after a beseigement of Dryslwyn Castle. Rhys was patron of Talley Abbey and much against the English king replacing the Welsh canons at Talley with English ones.

I have a feeling I shall be hunting the Records Office again soon . . .


Kelli said...

Have fun looking up all the interesting history, Jennie!
P.s. I emailed you about the broken forum, but it bounced. Can you send me a note at Thanks!


From a fellow Welshie. brilliant

Bovey Belle said...

Thanks Kelli - will do.

Archavist - erm, confession time, I am one of the hated English - but we have been here 21 years now and I do have two Welsh-born children - does that help my cause?!