Aberarth History

Aberarth and its archaeology, antiquities and history. Is a coastal village in Ceredigion, formerly Cardiganshire, West Wales. Situated on the Cardigan Bay coastline, between Llanon and Aberaeron.

Aberarth, Ceredigion, West Wales – a small historic village on the Cardigan Bay coast

History of Aberarth
Aberarth History Ceredigion coastal village
~ View of Aberarth ~
County: Ceredigion
Community: Aberarth
Traditional County: Cardiganshire
Map Reference SN46SE
Grid Reference SN4790063791
Medieval Parish
Cantref: Uwch Aeron
Commote: Anhuniog
Ecclesiastical Parish: 
Llanddewi Aberarth (Upper),
Acres: 4050.288
Llanddewi Aberarth (Lower),
Acres: 219.967
Parish Hundred: Ilar
Electoral Ward:
Listed Buildings: Aberarth
Scheduled Monuments: Aberarth

Since 1909 the Ceredigion Historical Society has published articles written about the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion, many of the articles are about Aberarth history.

The society has also produced three county volumes, under the name of the Cardiganshire County History series, these knowledgeable, learned, comprehensive and scholary publications record the history of prehistoric, early and modern Cardiganshire.

1. Aberarth Local History

Aberarth has historical significance, having been founded around the time of the Norman invasion.

The Normans built Dinerth Castle, which sits South East of the village, a complex earthwork castle occupying a steep-sided narrow promontory above the confluence of the Arth and Erthig streams.

The castle was first recorded (as destroyed) in 1137, whose demise is noted in 1207-8.

The 12th century saw the arrival of Cistercian monks who used the coastline for fish traps or ‘goredi’ to catch salmon, sprats and mullet when the tide went out, you can still see the stone remains of these fish traps at low tide today.

The area was also used as a seaport to import “Bath Stone” from Bristol, these stones were used for building of Strata Florida Abbey on land granted to them by The Lord Rhys.

Aberarth was involved in the shipbuilding industry till 1850, after which the industry fell into decline.

Ceredigion Journal Contributions

Aberarth buildings and sites of interest

When was Aberarth Bridge built?
Aberarth Bridge also known as Pont Aberarth, is a single-arched Grade II listed bridge, which spans the River Arth. The current bridge was rebuilt in 1849, to a designed by Thomas Penson of Oswestry or his son R.K. Penson, following a flood in 1846 which destroyed the old bridge. Today it carries the A487 trunk road between Cardigan and Aberystwyth.

When was Aberarth Woolen Mill built?
Aberarth Woolen mill, Y Glyn Factory, was built in 1865, operated between 1866 – 1957 by the Pugh family. Built of whitewashed rubblestone, and a hipped slate roof, with a breast-shot waterwheel on its north-west side. Water was supplied by a 400 metre long leat from the weir on the River Arth.

When was Bethel Methodist Chapel built?
Bethel Methodist Chapel, was built in 1790, rebuilt 1805 and 1848, and altered/renewed in 1900, built of stone walls and a slate roof, in the Later Vernacular style. A spacious lateral-fronted chapel with original box-pews, Grade II listed chapel.

Iron Age Hillfort size?
The Iron Age hillfort, the hilltop enclosure measures approximately 278m x 110m, enclosing 2.7 hectares. It is possible that this is also a prehistoric or early medieval enclosure.

When were Pen-y-banc cottages demolished?
Pen-y-banc cottages, were a pair of rubble vernacular cottages with scarfed cruck roof timbers and a straw thatched roof, demolished in the autumn, 1983.

When was St David’s Church built?
St David’s Church, rebuilt in 1860-1862, to the designs of David Williams, Llanon. Constructed of limestone and shale rubble. It consists of three-bayed nave, two-bayed chancel and three-storey west tower, which dates to 1400s.

Further details of these buildings and sites can be found on Coflein, see external link at the bottom of this page.

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2. Journal Index

  • Aber-arth
    • anghydffurfiaeth, iv:98
    • blacksmith, vi:100
    • carthenni, iv:214
    • corn mill, vi:197; ix:360
    • emigration
      • see Aber-arth: ymfudo
    • ffiniau iaith, ix:181
    • language boundaries
      • see Aber-arth: ffiniau iaith
    • nonconformity
      • see Aber-arth: anghydffurfiaeth
    • offloading cargo on the open beach at, vii:295
    • Pen y Bane cottages, viii:326-8
    • port for Strata Florida, i:30,37
    • school
      • British school
        • see Aber-arth : school: ysgol
          • Frutanaidd
    • ysgol Frutanaidd, iv:359
  • ymfudo, ii:67

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3. Illustrations and Old Pictures

Pont Aberarth bridge was built in 1849, designed by Thomas Penson of Oswestry or his son R.K. Penson, after the former bridge was destroyed by flood in 1846, the single arched bridge now carries the A487 trunk road.

  • Aber-arth. Two cottages in, viii:327 fig.7
  • A Way-side Memorial at Llanddewi-Aberarth

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4. Schools and Education

Aberarth British school was erected in 1885, with accommodation for 121 pupils.

  • school
    • British school
      • see Aber-arth : school: ysgol
        • Frutanaidd
  • ysgol Frutanaidd, iv:359

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5. Industry and Trades

Aberarth woollen mill, Y Glyn Factory was built in 1865, and operated from 1866 to 1957 by the Pugh family. Water was supplied by a 400 metre-long leat from a weir on the Afon Arth, crossing the steep-sided gully by a concrete aqueduct to reach the mill.

  • blacksmith, vi:100
  • corn mill, vi:197; ix:360
  • offloading cargo on the open beach at, vii:295

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6. Ships, Shipbuilding and Martime History

Aberarth was involved in the shipbuilding industry till 1850, after which the industry fell into decline.

  • port for Strata Florida, i:30,37

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7. Churches, Chapels and Religion

Aberarth’s ecclesiastical buildings consist of St David’s Church, Llanddewi Aberarth, Grade II listed building, sits on a hill about half a mile South West of the village. The present church tower is thought to possibly date to the late fourteenth century, having been built rebuilt in 1860-1862, to the designs of David Williams, Llanon. The church houses a Viking hogsback stone, which is reputed to be the only example of this type in Wales from the 10th-11th century.

Bethel Methodist Chapel, a Grade II listed building was built in 1790, rebuilt in 1805 and 1848, and altered/renewed in 1900.

  • nonconformity
    • see Aber-arth: anghydffurfiaeth

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8. Aberarth Location Map

Aberarth is situated in Ceredigion – Sir Ceredigion, Wales.

View Larger Map of Aberarth

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Some ideas to share your Stories below!

Have a memory and your not sure what to write? We have made it easy with some prompts and ideas, just think about this place and the importance its had in your life and ask yourself:

  • What are my personal memories of living here?
  • How has it developed and shops changed over the years?
  • Do you have a story about the beach, community, its people and history?
  • Tell us how it feels, seeing photographs and images of this place again?
  • Tell us your favourite memories about this place?

The aim of the Ceredigion Historical Society is to preserve, record and promote the study of the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion. That objective has remained the same since the foundation of the Society in 1909, though its name was changed from Ceredigion Antiquarian Society to the Ceredigion Historical Society in 2002.

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9. References

  1. Aberarth map (Header): Reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.
  2. View: Aberarth Historic Mapping

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  • Aberarth’s Historic Landscape, discover the archaeology, historic buildings and monuments of the village, by searching Coflein
  • Share Aberarth Stories, memories and photographs, on People’s Collection Wales
  • Historic Place Names, learn about Aberarth’s Historic Places Names, it’s field names and house names in and around the community, by place types: Unknown, Settlements, Fields, Topographic features, Administrative areas
  • A Pint of History, read about the history of Ceredigion pub’s, inn’s and local taverns. Pen-bont Inn, was located in the centre of Aberarth, with 6 others associated with the parish: Crown Inn, Joiners Arms, Plough Inn, Star, Swan, Union
Index | Towns in Ceredigion | Villages in Ceredigion | Historic Sites in Ceredigion | Ceredigion Listed Buildings | Ceredigion Scheduled Monuments | Ceredigion Parks and Gardens | Ceredigion Conservation Areas | Research Organisations
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