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Talgarth b&b, guesthouse and hotel accommodation

Talgarth in Powys

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Visit Talgarth and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:

Talgarth, Powys. Near the gap of the Llynfi where the river breaks through the barrier of the Black Mountains to join the Wye, Talgarth stands about an old bridge laid across the Ennig stream and guarded by an ancient tower. Apart from being brought into the ambit of the British railway system by the Hereford and Brecon section of the London, Midland, and Scottish line, Talgarth seems to have enjoyed the greatest happiness possible; its people had no history, in the sense of the “slighting” of castles and the slaughter of men-at-arms. Its importance was in things pastoral and the religious spirit that seems to have lingered in this part of Wales long after Llanthony Abbey dwindled into desuetude in the 13th century.

Close to Talgarth is the tiny hamlet of Llaneleu, once possibly Llan Etwy, since the gliding river of that name is near it. Its church is of the simple kind that formed the first foundations in Wales, though it has the bell-turret that was shortly after introduced. The South door is framed by a wooden porch, and is of medieval workmanship hasped with what is said to be the original iron. The rood-screen is also of wood, but has the curious character of being roofed by a loft-door. The loft, or upper chamber, of old Welsh cottages was of this construction. Reached by a rough ladder, it was a platform lying out into the lower room where the occupier slept. Here the loft is walled with upright planks pierced with four-leaved openings, which may have been squints, or peep-holes, sometimes used by those otherwise debarred from taking part in the ceremonies. There is a rough cross painted on the over-arch; the date is taken to be 14th century.

Outside by the churchyard grows an ancient yew once used as a whipping-post; the holes into which the offender's hands were thrust and secured by a tie-bar still remain.

What seems to be the relic of Llaneleu's manor house should be visited. It is within the area of a modern farmhouse whose door is protected by a porch probably of medieval building. It bears the phrase Deus nobis haee otia feel! (God gave us this space of peace).

Although he can hardly have seen it. Gerald de Barn would have thought this phrase most apt. He lived in a little place that he called Landeu; possibly the Llanddewi near Llangorse and some way from Talgarth. From there he went to Talgarth and Llaneleu in 1188, making as he went his sharp comment on the monks of Llanthony Abbey who, in that remote region, lusted after the fleshpots of the town.

In the opposite direction, South from Talgarth, is Trefeca. In this place, in 1714, was born Howell Harris, son of a prosperous farmer. He was intended for the Church, the established Church of England, and with that in mind matriculated at Oxford; but his religious enthusiasm was too great for orthodox ways of thought and teaching; he retired to Trefeca, and from there pursued his mission throughout Wales as an itinerant evangelic preacher. He was never ordained; and if the Church found little to approve in him, the people at times found less, for he was much spat upon and stoned. This had the result often to be observed: his willingness for martyrdom won an enthusiastic following. At Trefeca he was able to settle; he founded and housed there a community called the Connexion. His religious ideas were based on those of the Moravian Brotherhood. Among Methodists he had one devoted supporter, Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, who rented Tredustan Court nearby and made it a college for students eager to enter the Ministry. The Trefeca house became a theological college for Calvinistic Methodism, closed in 1964, and has a chapel built to Harris's memory. His tomb is in Talgarth church.

Harris died in 1773, but not before he had assumed another militant character. The alarms of the Seven Years War reached even to Breconshire; and Howell Harris became an ensign in the local militia, bringing twenty-four of his converts with him to the colours. The Luther of Wales, as Harris is sometimes called, thought that the Word at times could not do without the sword. His brother, who had no divine inspiration, made a fortune in army supplies during the same war. Howell himself organized the economics of his community and he introduced many of the new mechanical devices that ushered in the Industrial Revolution.

Bronilys, on the Brecon road, has a detached tower to its church; like so many others, it was a place of refuge in times of Stir, and cattle would be rounded up for safety in its lower parts while women and children went to the upper floor; the tower was in fact a fortalice. Bronilys has a more conventional castle as well, but it is a single keep of the knight's castle type. Gwernyfed Hall is a Tudor manor with a 12th century door.

Nearby towns: Abergavenny, Brecon, Builth Wells, Hay-on-Wye

Nearby villages: Boughrood, Bronllys, Bwlch, Capel-y-ffin, Cathedine, Clifford, Clyro, Crickadarn, Cwmdu, Erwood, Felin Fach, Glasbury, Gwenddwr, Llandefalle, Llanfrynach, Llangorse, Llanhamlach, Llanigon, Llansantffread, Llanstephan, Llanthony, Llowes, Llyswen, Painscastle, Talybont-on-Usk, Velindre

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