Ceredigion Historical Society members visited Llanrhystud for a tour of the village and its historic buildings on 19 May, 2018.
Following a visit to Salem Chapel we drove down to Llanrhystud beach where Michael Freeman gave a talk about the local hillforts and old road between Llanrhystud and Llanon.
One of the really interesting things about Llanrhystud is that there is a lot, that is not known very much about archaeologically and there is a lot that has gone, so from the beach looking east, along the hillside there are six Iron Age settlement sites.
The biggest hillfort being Gaer Penrhos, within which is a Norman Motte and Bailey which is very well documented in Brut y Tywysogion and is extremely well know. A lot of sites along here, there not dated, so there Iron Age but, we can’t say they were occupied at the same time, with obviously good views overlooking the sea.
Llanrhystud Old Main Road
The old main road from Llanrhystud to Llanon came down to the shoreline and it’s very clearly marked on Oglebay’s map of 1675 where the road meets the beach and effectively went along the coastline to where the Limekilns are today, then it goes back on to the top of the cliff, from where there is a green road from there to Llanon, and then it goes through the fields called Morfa Esgod the big field to the South of Llanon, which is really clear marked on the seaward side of Llansantffraid Church.
On the First Edition 1″ Ordnance Survey Map of 1820, shows the new road, put in there by, almost certainly by the Turnpike Trust, built around 1815-1820, that this new road was put in, a nice straight road cutting right through (now the A487). Because before that, this road does not appear on any maps.
Storm Reveals Track
In 2014 there was a massive storm and it moved a lot of the pebbles and Stephen Briggs who lives on far away, very kindly showed Michael Freeman the evidence he picked up about what was underneath and what he found was a submerged forest like at Borth and Ynyslas, but also a track way going along the edge of the beach which he called a pony track but he agreed that it might be the actual original old road, there is a lovely description by a tourist in 1738, one of the very first accounts by a tourist traveling all around Wales, who says they were coming from Aberaeron to Aberystwyth and went right down to the beach, here at Llanrhystud. So long before the new road was even thought about. So, this is almost certainly were the original road went and then back up were the limekilns are today.