Place:Llanddewi Brefi, Cardiganshire, Wales

NameLlanddewi Brefi
Alt namesLlanddewibrefisource: Family History Library Catalog
TypeCivil parish
Coordinates52.167°N 3.95°W
Located inCardiganshire, Wales     ( - 1974)
Also located inDyfed, Wales     (1974 - 1996)
Ceredigion, Wales     (1996 - )
See alsoTregaron Rural, Cardiganshire, Walesrural district 1934-1974
Gorwydd, Cardiganshire, Walescivil parish containing Llanddewi Brefi 19th century until 1934
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Llanddewi Brefi is a village and community (or civil parish) now in the county of Ceredigion, Wales, but before 1974 in the historic county of Cardiganshire. It has a population of approximately 500 people.

In the sixth century, Saint David (in Welsh, Dewi Sant), the patron saint of Wales, held the Synod of Brefi here and it has borne his name ever since; "Llan" referring in Welsh place names to a church or holy place. Llanddewi Brefi is still one of the largest parishes in Wales, but was many times larger in the 19th century when it was known as Llanddewibrefi (all one word). The Welsh translates into English as "Church of David on the [River] Brefi"--the Brefi is a tributary of the River Teifi.

During the nineteenth century the chapelries and townships of Llanddewibrefi were broken off and made into individual civil parishes. When Tregaron Rural District was formed in 1894 it included many of these parishes but not Llanddewibrefi itself (which it must be assumed was absorbed into Gorwydd, located to the south of the village). In 1934 Gorwydd and five of the other former townships were brought back together as the civil parish of Llanddewi Brefi. This change only involved 801 people of whom 497 were living in Gorwydd. (Source: A Vision of Britain through Time based on 1931 census statistics.)

History and description

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Llanddewi Brefi.

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Llanddewi Brefi from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"LLANDDEWI-BREFI, a village and a parish in Tregaron [registration] district, Cardigan[shire]. The village stands on the N slope of Craig-Twrch, near the river Teifi, the Sarn-Helen way, and the Lampeter, Tregaron, and Llanidloes railway, which was in course of formation in 1866,3¼ miles S by W of Tregaron; and has a post office under Carmarthen. It is an ancient place, once important, though now small; it was the scene of a synod, in 519, held for checking Pelagianism, and where St. Dubricins resigned his episcopal or archiepiscopal charge to St. David; it has remains of a collegiate establishment, founded in 1187 by Bishop Bec; and it was, for a time, intended to be the site of Dr. Burgess's college, afterwards erected at Lampeter. The parish contains the chapelries of Garthely and Blaenpenal, and the townships of Gwynfil, Llanio, Gogoyan, Garth and Ystrad, Prisk and Carfan, Gorwydd, Dothie-Camddwr, and Dothie-Piscottwr. Acres: 36,252. Real property: £6,487. Population: 2,574. Houses: 532. Foelall is a chief residence. Plâs Llanfair is a ruined mansion.
"Much of the land is hill and mountain. A picturesque route, traversable only by a pedestrian, goes from the village up the vale of the Brenig. The Roman station Loventium, on the Sarn-Helen way, was at the site of Llanio farm-house; three stones, with Roman inscriptions were found here, and one of them is used as a seat at the farm-door; coins, pottery, and other Roman relics also have been found, and the foundations of an ancient building, called Caer Castell, were discovered in a neighbouring field. A battle was fought in the parish in 1073, when the princes of Powys vanquished Rhys ap Owen and Rhyddarch ap Caradog.
"The living is a [perpetual] curacy, united with the p. curacy of Llanbadarn-Odwyn, in the diocese of St. David's. Value: £146. Patrons: the Earl of Lisburne and R. Price, Esq. The church is early English, modernized; was founded in 1187, by Bishop Bec; and contains some old monuments. A pillar stone, 7 feet high, called St. David's staff, also is here. The [perpetual] curacies of Garthely and Blaenpenal are separate benefices. There is an endowed school with £10 a year."

The townships mentioned in Wilson's Gazetteer were all made into civil parishes before 1900 and are to be found separately here in WeRelate, albeit under slightly different spellings in many cases:Gartheli, Blaenpennal, Gwynfil, Llanio, Gogoean, Garth and Ystrad, Prysg and Carfan, Gorwydd, Doethïe Camddwr, and Doethïe Pysgotwr.

Research Tips

  • A 1900 Ordnance Survey map of the historic county of Cardiganshire is available on the A Vision of Britain through Time website. This shows all the old parishes within their urban and rural districts. Large farms and estates are also marked.
  • Ceredigion Archives has a website with a list of their holdings, as well as historical notes on places in Cardiganshire.
  • GENUKI has a page on each of the old counties of Wales and, under these counties, pages for each of the ecclesiastical parishes within the county. Information is gathered under a number of headings and the amount of information varies from parish to parish. Parish descriptions are based on a gazetteer dated 1835 and thus the emphasis is on ecclesiastical parishes. (Civil parishes were not yet established.) The submitter is very firm about his copyright. This should not stop anyone from reading the material.
  • The GENUKI Pembrokeshire pages include, under Description and Travel close to the bottom of the page, a link "parish map" to a map website showing boundaries and settlements before 1850. On the linked page will be maps of several parishes located close to each other.
  • GENUKI also provides references to other organizations who hold genealogical information for the local area, but there is no guarantee that the website has been kept up to date for every county.
  • FreeBMD provides a link to a list of the civil registration districts for each Welsh county from 1837 to 1996. Civil registration districts changed with varying densities of population and improvements in communication. Most counties and unitary authorities now have only one district. The list helps with providing names for the registration districts listed in the FreeBMD index and also as a guide for where to look for census entries.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki has a series of pages similar to those provided by GENUKI and these have been prepared at a later date. The Wiki may look like Wikipedia but the information has been provided for family historians. There are tables of links between the parishes in the historic counties of Wales and their post-1996 counterparts. This is the only genealogical website found that provides this information universally; others are not as thorough.
  • Some words in Welsh come up time and time again and you may want to know what they mean or how to pronounce them. For example,
    "Eglwys" is a church and the prefix "Llan" is a parish.
    "w" and "y" are used as vowels in Welsh.
    "Ll" is pronounced either "cl" or "hl" or somewhere in between. "dd" sounds like "th".
    The single letter "Y" is "the" and "Yn" means "in".
    "uwch" means "above"; "isod" is "below" or "under";
    "gwch" is "great", "ychydig" is "little";
    "cwm" is a "valley".
In both Welsh and English all these words are commonly used in place names in the UK. Place names are often hyphenated, or two words are combined into one. Entering your problem phrase into Google Search, including the term "meaning in Welsh", will lead you to Google's quick translation guide. I'm no authority; these are just things I have picked up while building up this gazetteer for WeRelate.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Llanddewi Brefi. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.