About the Ceredigion Historical Society

The aim of the Ceredigion Historical Society is to preserve, record and promote the study of the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion.

1. The Societies Objectives

That objective has remained the same since the foundation of the Society in 1909. It does this through publication of a regular journal, a three-volume county history, and by holding a regular annual programme of lectures and excursions to historical sites.

2. Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society

From 1909-1938 the Society published the Transactions of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society and Archaeological Record in 14 volumes.

It suspended operations in 1940 but resumed its activities in 1947.

From 1950 it published a further 20 volumes to 1971.

Index to Ceredigion Journal, Volumes I-X, 1950-84.

3. Ceredigion Antiquarian Society

From 1972-2001 the Society published the Journal of the Ceredigion Antiquarian Society in 21 volumes.

4. Ceredigion Historical Society

From 2002, the Society publishes the Journal of the Ceredigion Historical Society, these Journals are free to members of the Society.

The Society name changed to the Ceredigion Historical Society in 2002 from the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society.

5. Offers of Papers

Offers of papers to be read at meetings of the Society should be addressed to the Honorary Secretary. Material for publication and books for review should be sent to the Honorary Editor.

6. History of the Society

The Ceredigion Historical Society celebrated its centenary in 2009. Initially called the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society, it was founded in the summer of 1909 by a group of enthusiastic antiquaries and local patriots. Until then, little of the county’s history had been scientifically explored or properly interpreted, and people were becoming alarmed by the destruction of works of antiquity, especially at iconic sites like the abbey at Ystrad-fflur. As early as April 1901 the Revd George Eyre Evans, a Unitarian minister at Aberystwyth, had discussed (during a stroll to the summit of Pen Dinas) with Llewellyn John Montford Bebb, Principal of St David’s College, Lampeter, the desirability of establishing ‘a Cardiganshire Historical Society’. On 20 May in the same year a ‘thoroughly memorable’ public meeting was held at Ystrad-fflur Abbey a site which Evans liked to call ‘the Westminster of Wales’ – and the occasion prompted him to redouble his efforts to set up a historical society in the county. Evans was a remarkably affable, well-informed and energetic man. He tramped the highways and by-ways of the county, taking rubbings of inscriptions, examining fonts and effigies, and closely interrogating local people. In his book, Cardiganshire: A Personal Survey of Some of its Antiquities, Chapels, Churches, Fonts, Plate, and Registers (1903), a work supported by 320 subscribers, Evans asked the rhetorical question: ‘Why should not Cardigan be the first county to own its Historical Society?’ 

Even though he was a Unitarian, George Eyre Evans got on well with Anglican clergymen and other Nonconformist ministers. He established a close relationship with the Revd Professor E. Tyrrell-Green, Professor of Hebrew and Theology at Lampeter and a specialist in medieval architecture, and also with the Revd J Francis Lloyd, vicar of Llanilar. Letters were sent out to likely supporters of the county project and two highly successful open-air meetings were held at Ystrad-fflur in June and July 1909. At the second of these George Eyre Evans moved a resolution to establish the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society. Sir Edward Webley-Parry-Pryse of Gogerddan was elected President, Tyrrell-Green was elected Chairman of a twenty-strong Executive Committee, and also the first Editor of the Society’s Transactions, and the Revd J Francis Lloyd was elected the first Honorary Secretary of the Society. 

The main aim of the Society was to preserve, record and promote the study of the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion. That objective has remained the same, though the Society’s name was changed to the Ceredigion Historical Society in 2002. Over the past century the Society has published fifteen volumes of its Transactions, two volumes of a proposed three-volume county history, and also held a regular annual programme of lectures and excursions to historical sites. It has worked closely with major institutions like the Ceredigion Museum, the National Library of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. As it celebrates the achievements of its founders, the Society looks forward to fulfilling its remit over the next hundred years. 

7. Further reading:

8. What’s on the Society’s website?

The website is intended to provide information about the Ceredigion Historical Society for members and prospective members and about the society’s publications and activities.

The site also includes details of the Annual Reports and Accounts and the Officers responsible for running the society.

In time it is planned that additional material will be added that will be of interest to historians and researchers, including digital versions of selected items from past publications, as well as additional material that is unsuitable for traditional publication due to size or format.

You will find useful links to other historical societies and organisations in Ceredigion.