Friday, 18 October 2013

Beautiful Cenarth Falls

The Holy Well on the bank of the River Teifi at Cenarth.  Dedicated to St. Llawddog (St Ludoc) lived in the 7th Century and was a son of the King of Usk and according to legend, a great performer of miracles.  Although he is chiefly associated with dedications in North Wales, where he was Abbot of Bardsey, a number of churches in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire are dedicated to him. Indeed, the church in Cenarth is dedicated to him, so he was obviously prominent in this area for a while.  I will try and find out more about the Holy Well and any properties it was famous for when I sit down for a cuppa with Francis Jones' "The Holy Wells of Wales".

Well, much quick reading later, and very little reference to the Holy Well, or indeed, St. Llawddog.  Apparently when on Bardsey, St. Llawddog milked a cow over a well whose waters turned into milk for his visitors (good trick that!), but no further information about the Cenarth Holy Well.  HERE is a link to some stunning photographs and a bit of information about Cenarth.

Writing in the1180s,  Gerald of Wales described it as ‘a flourishing (salmon) fishing-station. The waters of the Teifi run ceaselessly over (the falls), falling with a mighty roar into the abyss below. Now it is from these depths that the salmon ascend to the.. rock above...'

View of the bridge across the River Teifi from downstream.  Look at the colour of those trees and grass - looks almost like late spring doesn't it?  If you ignore the keys on the Ash trees that is. . .  The holes in the bridge are to help the structure, especially when the river is in spate.

Downstream from the bridge, and looking caross to the stone slope which used to be edged with hurdles when they drove the sheep down to be dipped in the river each summer.  Men in coracles would help push them under and then guide them across and out the other side.

A photo taken from a little cabin containing historic photographs of the area (just visible in fact, behind the main with the coracle over his shoulders).

Further downstream again, to a little island in the centre of the river.  The light was very kind to me on Tuesday!

A more detailed photo of the bridge, showing the little cabin behind it in the car park.

The view upstream from the bridge.

Here is the river in spate.  Sorry for the quality of the photo, but it was behind a creased plastic envelope.

Click HERE  to see two more pages of photos of coracles and the river.

Here is the main channel of the river flowing through.  There was a chap and his wife who had set up a camera and tripod exactly where I wanted to go and stand, so I have had to work around them . . .

Isn't it lovely?  I wanted so much to be feeling well enough to go for a walk further upstream along the bank, but that will have to happen another time.

 I should imagine this Salmon fed a fair few.


Lastly, some local ladies in the Welsh hats which all women wore in Victorian times and earlier. These were definitely in their Sunday Best, with plaid shawls (Welsh wool of course).  The lady in the striped skirt to the left looks as if she was of mixed-blood, and I wonder was she a descendent of Cenarth-born Joshua Jones, born about 1841, who was living in Aberdare, Glam. by 1861, and with his wife, joined 150 or so others and sailed to found a Welsh colony in Patagonia.  They travelled aboard The Mimosa in 1865.

For archaeology of the area, click HERE.

For the Genuki page, click HERE.  Note the name of the Minister at the Bryn Sion Independent Chapel - Abednego Jenkin.  With a name like that I should imagine he had been destined for the cloth at an early age.

I'll be back later to try and add a little more to this posting.


  1. Lovely photos and a beautiful place to visit ) So enjoyed this post :)

  2. I am really enjoying your tour round here BB as it is an area I know so well.

  3. That's good Pat, it's nice to see places you have happy memories in (without shifting from your chair!). Some more photos tomorrow.

    RR - glad you enjoyed it too. We had absolutely perfect weather for it. Afterwards I wished we'd spent less time in Newcastle Emlyn and more time at Cenarth!

  4. Count me among those enjoying totally the photos and accompanying narrative. I've never been near these places and so it is all new and very exciting and interesting to me. I hope you are feeling well enough to go for a walk upstream Somewhere Soon-est BB.

  5. Absolutely beautiful photos, Breverton gives more detail of our saint and his churches, his brothers (just love these Welsh names) Baglan, Eleri, Tegwy and Tyfrydog.. In Cenarth the 'Alehouse by the church' is the oldest building dating back to medieval times, and apart from the restored well head with its slate roof and carved cross motifs, there is a sarsen stone in the churchyard, the inscription is clearly carved CURCAGNI FILIANDAGELLI. Sorry I get excited by the Welsh saints ;)

  6. thelma - some of that will be in my next posting!

    Lynda - glad you are enjoying.

    I am finding it hard to even walk up the stairs today and have spent the morning on the sofa - asleep for a while too . . . Hope this means my body is mending and not getting worse.

  7. What a gorgeous river and I absolutely love the holes in the bridge; what a great idea. My favourite is the one with your shadow in it!

  8. how interesting it all is and such great photos.