Wednesday 29 August 2018

Walk home from Llanfynydd

I needed a walk, so got my husband to drop me off at our neighbouring village of Llanfynydd when we had got the paper.  Here is St Egwad's church, which sits in a curvilinear churchyard.  This has been a religious site for many centuries and it is mentioned in 1331 as a possession of St Davids as a prebend of the collegiate church at Abergwili.  However, the site of the earliest church was further up the valley of the Saanan river. It has an octagonal font which dates to about 1500 and was found in 1917 in the garden of a neighbouring property, being used as a flowerpot!  The tower dates to about 1400 and has a spiral staircase, and the nave and the chancel have a squint which dates to about 1500.  The church was restored in 1861, and all parts showed evidence of a fire at an earlier date.  Many thanks to Coflein for this information.  Unfortunately the church was locked so I could take internal photos.

There was a wind farm proposed in 2004, which had the villagers up in arms and for one week Llanfynydd was renamed in protest :

Llanhyfryddawellehynafolybarcudprindanfygythiadtrienusyllafnauole ("lovely silent church, ancient place of the rare kite under wretched threat from misplaced blades")  - just don't ask me to say it for you!!

Nantgwilw, where William Davies lived in the late 18th and early 19th C, is about 2 miles up the valley from our bridge.  I'll have to wander up that way next week and take a photo.  For many years it was derelict but has recently been sold, renovated and is now a home again.

I think this reads "Thomas, son of Daniel and ??Evans."  If I am right, it looks like he was "aged 1 day" bless him.  They must have been broken-hearted.

There was a Moses family living here around 1900.  Looking at the dates, quite possibly this one, who then moved up to Waunfawr, Llanfynydd.  Giving the address on gravestones, of where folk lived, is a very common Welsh habit.  Great for family historians.

The village war memorial stands opposite the church.  By then, Nantgwilw had the Jones family living in it and they lost their son Henry . . .

Just past the church, there is a bridge over the River Saanan and the remaining pub in the village which is still open.

Up a little hill and this cottage has always delighted me because of the stable it has attached at the far end . . .

Here is what used to be the Farmers' Arms pub, now a private residence to a local potter.  Those photos I took back at the end of July of various potters' work was displayed in this house.

On the far left  of the Chapel, is the room where our patchwork was displayed and we sat and worked on our quilts when people came by on the Craft Trail.

The chapel has had quite a long history, and to one side of it, what remains of an even earlier chapel (I think!) remains . . .  Unfortunately I can't find anything about its dating on line.

The steep hill which encloses the village and keeps the very worst of the Westerly storms at bay.

At the top of the hill, looking across beyond our house to the properties along "Top o'Bank". 

Across the valley towards our house.

Looking more southwards down the valley.

At the bottom of the long steep hill, I stopped to take this photo looking up the valley towards Brechfa.

Devil's Bit Scabious .

Mental blank and can't find it in Roger Phillips either.  Will get back to you on this . . .  Lady's Bedstraw?

Late flowering Umbellifer . . .

Finally, our river looking upstream, with the first little tentative rafts of leaves making their way downstream . . .

Monday 27 August 2018

A funny sort of week

Pretty sunrise clouds from last week sometime.  However, in the way of much of August so far, I think it came on to rain later - thus proving the old saying, Red Sky in the Morning, Shepherd's Warning . . .

I had a silly old day the Saturday before last, when first of all I managed to tangle my feet up as one of them encountered the coffee table leg (which is a strange semi-circular shape and sticks out from the top) and I fell flat.  Later, hurrying to get the paper, I rounded a low wall too sharply, hit my thigh and my keys fell out of my pocket as I lurched, but I stopped myself from falling over.  I got right through until gone 6 p.m. before the 3rd thing - I was making pizza for Tam and her partner, and we'd used a small tin of Anchovies.  Normally I get a glass jar of them but they had suddenly shot up in price and I got the cheaper tin.  Never again - I was rinsing it out under the tap, went to push the lid down with my thumb and the lid sprung sideways and I nearly sliced my thumb off on the edge of it. It was as sharp as a razor blade. There was blood everywhere! That necessitated a trip straight to A&E where it was glued back together very efficiently and a big fat dressing and finger-stall put on.  That stopped me doing anything much for a couple of days, although I was still able to drive with it and we did a small Fair on the Sunday.  It is healing well now but I put a fabric plaster on if I am doing anything messy, to keep it clean whilst it heals.   So, gardening is off . . .

Tam and Zane went away for a couple of days and I decided to go for a walk to explore a new trackway which a neighbour (who had bought the land) had generously given me permission to use.

So I walked along by the river, which now has some water in it again . . .

Then up towards Ty Coch and through a gateway.  It looked very inviting, and I was thinking to myself, oh, this could be my new favourite walk . . .

However, just around this bend I encountered some goodly growth of Himalayan Balsam, but nothing so bad that I couldn't find my way through as it wasn't entirely covering the track.

However, I got to the quarry, and the trackway beyond that was 5 feet deep (and more) in tall Himalayan Balsam and though I tried to get through it, I'd have needed a machete, so I turned round and headed back the way I had come.

A shame, as the views through the trees were very pretty.  I may try again (wearing walking boots) when the Balsam has died down a bit this autumn, but probably then it will be ankle-deep in mud.

Near the old Mill, this Soapwort was flowering.  I have seen it there in the past and often wondered if the housewives of old used this to soap their clothes. 

Back at home, I noticed (for the first time in years) this huge Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar amongst the herbage (cut-back Codlins and Cream, which is its plant food).  I wish I had seen its parents flying about the place as they are equally huge.

Anyway, today we have been up to Malvern Fleamarket, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but poor Keith was asleep with his nose practically on his knees for a good bit of the way back.  He's coming down with a cold and getting up at 4 a.m. just brought it on a bit sooner I think.  An early night for us tonight.

Sunday 26 August 2018

Cilgerran Castle

Recently we visited Cilgerran Castle in Cardiganshire.  The last time we were there, I think we just had the one daughter who was probably less than two years old then, so that's a good few years ago!

This castle has been ruinous for hundreds of years - as you can see, it was named as a "ruinous fortress" as early as the late 14th C.  CADW have maintained the remains though, and the thickness of the walls speak for sturdy building in the first place.

Unusually, rather than the central keep found in most castles, the landward side of the castle (the back of it overlooks a cliff which drops to the River Teify, where coracles were used for fishing salmon in more recent times) has two immense towers for defence, and if you look at the entrance you will see that there are defences (not unlike those at Castell-y-bere).

Back later with more info, but I am being Summoned from Downstairs!

Oh dear - a day later!  Here is some info. from my AA book: Castles in Wales:

Cilgerran is situated at the tidal limit of the River Teifi, so quite large ships would have been able to reach the castle, whatever the state of the tide.  

In its early history, it is possible that Cilgerran was the castle from which Rhys ap Twdwr's daughter Nest was abducted by Owain, who was son of the Prince of Powys.  This would have been early in the 12th C.  A century later it was captured by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke (1204).

The castle has a link with Castell y Bere, since Llewellyn the Great (who lived in the latter castle) captured Cilgerran in one of the Welsh raids he led.  However, William Marshall's son recaptured it in 1223.  He immediately set about rebuilding the defences to strengthen it by adding the two great round towers and curtain wall between them and beside them.  He was also responsible for the rock-cut ditch in photo 3 below.  Each of these towers had 4 storeys, with the windows facing into the inner ward.  By 1275 the castle was derelict, the English incumbents having suffered a defeat in this region around 1258.

Edward III had the castle repaired in 1377, when there was the threat of French invasion. It was strong enough to hold out against Owain Glyndwr's uprising in the first decade of the 15th C.

HERE is a link to the CADW site information on Cilgerran.

Additional defences!

HERE is a link to the Wikipedia entry.  

A rather splendid Willow Knight.

The back of the castle, overlooking the river.