Visit Llandysul and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Llandysul, Ceredigion. Eastwards from Newcastle Emlyn the road touches the river-bank at Henllan, where the single-span bridge stands over teeming rapids of water, one of the most attractive views in this part of Wales. On the Teifi bank, the church of Llandysul stands like a sentinel watching the flow of water from behind the wall of its churchyard as if it stood over a castle moat. It has a battlemented tower of the kind that was needed in days when war could come at any moment from any direction. It is an ancient structure showing its growth from a simple squared chamber into cruciform chancels and side chapels. The interior is a grey and solemn walling of slab-stone, impressive in its solidity, with strong pillars and pointed arches. It is Norman, though late in style, and can look back to the sub-Roman period, for some forgotten great lady of that day is commemorated on a stone inscribed in Latin “Velvor, daughter of Broho”.
Llandysul is a market town, quiet and with a great reputation for fishing in the Teifi water. Still remote, it was until recently famous for keeping many old Welsh customs. Bradley, in his classic Highways and Byways in South Wales, records how the country wedding ceremony of the bidding, the invitation to all the neighbourhood, was conducted there with the congregation of gambos and gigs from all the farmsteads and the colourful smocks and steeple-hats of the valley community. Parry-Jones, in his Welsh Country Upbringing, tells the same tale. Another custom that Bradley noted was the annual challenge to combat between Llandysul and its neighbour Llanwenog up the river, in a game of football with the ball set for play on top of a ridge 3 miles from each village, the teams made up of the entire inhabitants of each place, and the goals the porchways of the church at Llanwenog and the church at Llandysul. There was a similar contest within Llanwenog itself, parish against parish — a survival of religious traditions that go far further back than Christianity, of the idea of a dual society that must honour with contests of this sort the balance of Creation between day and night, life and death, good and evil. Belief in the Other People who would haunt the house and do its work for the simple reward of a saucer of milk lingered around Llandysul later than in other parts of Wales. And between Llandysul and Pentre-cwrt stands a great mound. We need not ask whether it was put there by Iron Age Celt, Roman, Dane, or Norman. Everyone knows that the Devil himself had decided against Pentre-cwrts too virtuous people, and took a gigantic spadeful of earth on his shoulder to fill the Teifi and so drown them. But, on his way to do the deed, he met a cobbler from Llandysul who was carrying a sackful of worn shoes to mend. The cobbler, being told of the Devil's purpose, pointed out that it was a very long way to Pentre-cwrt; he himself had worn out all those shoes in getting there. So the Devil cast down his load of earth and left it in disgust. And, if you doubt the tale, the mound is there to see for yourself.
But Llandysul sounds also a more modern note. It is the home of that Caradoc Evans who in the 1920s wrote with passionate indignation about his own Welsh people, and made a bitter attack not only on the superstition shown in such folk-tales, but on the kind that corrupted the chapels. His novels Capel Sion and My People are drawn from the life of the district in which he was born. Judgment of his novels is one thing; judgment of the people themselves must be made by finding this remote spot and considering the tower of the church against an evening sky.
About 3 miles North, on the direct road between Newcastle Emlyn and Lampeter, is Rhydowen, with its pleasant chapel and attendant stables over the way, a typical Welsh country chapel of the early 19th century. At Llwynrhydowen, Gwilym Manes (William Thomas, 1834—79), a celebrated and controversial Welsh Unitarian minister, was evicted from his chapel through a bitter dispute with the local landowners. He was an ancestor of Dylan Thomas, who derived his middle name of Marlais from an Anglicized version of Marles.
The Teifi makes a great bend among the low hills eastwards of Llandysul. Some 3 miles upstream is Llanfihangel-ar-arth. The name is a corruption of Llanfihangel loreth. The church looks out over the Teifi valley. It is divided by a four-arched arcade, but, as usual in these parts, has been treated to a l9th century restoration making a clean sweep of the older features. A fine yew, with a stone seat encircling the trunk, graces the churchyard.
Llanfihangel parish includes Pencader, 2 miles due South in the valley of the Tyweli stream. The railway from Carmarthen used the valley to cross the high country between the Teifi and Towy valleys, and Pencader grew with the railway. The line is now closed, but Pencader still continues, with its red-brick houses and its Congregational chapel glorious in apricot and cream with gold lettering. Although the buildings of Pencader are modern, it has a place in Welsh history. Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, ruler of Gwynedd, here defeated Hywel ap Edwin in 1041 and carried off Hywel's beautiful wife. The village also contains a memorial unveiled by Dr William Lloyd George, brother of Earl Lloyd George — to the celebrated Old Man of Pencader, who prophesied that in Wales the speaking of Welsh would never die out. Welsh is still firmly spoken at Pencader.
Nearby towns: Carmarthen, Llanybydder, Newcastle Emlyn, New Quay
Nearby villages: Allt-Walis, Bangor Teifi, Betws Ifan, Brechfa, Capel Cynon, Cribyn, Cwmorgan, Cwmpengraig, Cwrtnewydd, Drefach-Felindre, Gwyddgrug, Hawen, Henllan, Llanbydder, Llanfihangel-ar-Arth, Llangeler, Llanllawdog, Llanllwni, Llanpumsaint, Llanwenog, Llanwnen, Penboyr, Pencader, Pencarreg, Pentre Cwrt, Pont Tyweli, Prengwyn, Rhydlewis, Rhydowen, Sarnau, Talgarreg, Tregroes, Troedyraur
Have you decided to visit Llandysul or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Llandysul bed and breakfast (a Llandysul B&B or Llandysul b and b)
- a Llandysul guesthouse
- a Llandysul hotel (or motel)
- a Llandysul self-catering establishment, or
- other Llandysul accommodation