Ceredigion Historical Society
Cardiganshire Commotes

Cardiganshire Commotes

The hierarchy of the Cardiganshire cymydau or commotes (ten subdivisions of the cantrefi), the forty gwestfâu into which the commotes were divided, and the four or five rhandiroedd or sharelands of each gwestfa. This gives a total of 260 sharelands for Ceredigion, of which the names of only a sixth survive.

Penweddig, cantref was divided into three commotes:
Uwch Aeron, cantref was divided into three commotes:
Is Aeron, cantref was divided into four commotes:
  • Is Coed
  • Caerwedros
  • Gwynionydd
  • Mebwynion
Cardiganshire Commotes
Cardiganshire Commotes

“Maer,” chieftain (land agent)

The “maer” under the old Welsh laws was an officer of the king’s court. There was one in each commote, and his duty was to cultivate the king’s or the chieftain’s land, and to superintend the serfs who worked for the king or chief. The “maer” also presided in the court of the commote. Rhys and Jones, in the “Welsh People,” p. 401, have a clear passage on this question:

“In each cymwd, or sometimes in each cantref, there was a tract of land set aside for the chieftain’s residence. It formed an estate which the surveyors very naturally called a manor, and which in many respect resembled a manor. On this estate was what may be described as the home farm of the chieftain, called his “maerdref,” worked by groups of non-tribesmen or nativi under the management of a land maer and other officers. The chief also had pasture land allotted to him for his cattle, and all this he held in severalty.”

Wales Newspapers Online

“Maer” in the Gwentian dialect is now akin to tenant, for the holder of a farm is still called a “maerwr,” and the plural, maerwyrs,”— the s being foreign. So that in this sense it means the tenant’s home or house, and In that sense one who held his land as a subject of a prince or chieftain. Taken in its older sense it would mean the chieftain’s residence.

See medieval boundaries:
Cardiganshire | Cantrefs  | Commotes | Gwestfâu | Sharelands

See 1800 Census Act and later hundreds, parishes and townships:
County of Cardigan | Hundred | Parish | Township