Llanbadarn Fawr Historic Mapping - OS Six Inch, 1888-1913, Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Llanbadarn Fawr History

Llanbadarn Fawr history, archaeology and antiquities. Is a small village in Ceredigion, West Wales. Situated between Aberystwyth and Capel Bangor.

Llanbadarn Fawr’s conservation area is one of 13 conservation area in the county of Ceredigion. Conservation Areas are designated to preserve and enhance the special character of areas of architectural or historic interest. These conservation areas are selected according to the quality of the area as a whole, including the contribution of key individual or groups of buildings, trees, open space and streetscape.

For the full information, including information on designations, individuals should contact the planning department at Ceredigion County Council.

  • Llanbadarn Fawr Church – Discover the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion
  • Llanbadarn Fawr Church Aberystwyth – Discover the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion
  • Llanbadarn Fawr Church Tower – Discover the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion
  • Llanbadarn Fawr Black Lion – Discover the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion
  • Llanbadarn Fawr History Gogerddan Arms – Discover the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion

Llanbadarn Fawr History Pictures
Cardiganshire Fonts - Llanbadarn Fawr
Cardiganshire Fonts – Llanbadarn Fawr
County: Ceredigion
Community: Llanbadarn Fawr
Traditional County: Cardiganshire
Map Reference SN58SE
Grid Reference SN599808
Medieval Parish
Cantref: Penweddig
Commote: Perfedd
Ecclesiastical Parish: 
Is A’n-dre, Acres: 315.399
Ucha’n-Dre, Acres: 397.648
Parish Hundred: Genau’r Glyn
Electoral Ward:
Padarn and Sulien
Listed Buildings: Llanbadarn Fawr
Scheduled Monuments: Llanbadarn Fawr
Marble basin at Llanbadarn-Fawr
Marble basin at Llanbadarn-Fawr

Since 1909 the Ceredigion Historical Society has published articles written about the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion, many of these articles printed within the Ceredigion Journal, are about the history of Llanbadarn Fawr.

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. Local History

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2. Location Map

View Larger Map of Llanbadarn Fawr

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3. A Topographical Dictionary of Wales

Originally published by: Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (London, Fourth edition, 1849)

LLANBADARN-VAWR (LLAN-BADARN-FAWR), a parish, comprising the sea-port, borough, and market-town of Aberystwith (from which the church is about one mile distant, to the south-east), and several townships and hamlets, partly in the Upper and partly in the Lower division of the hundred of Geneu’r-Glyn, and partly in the Upper division of the hundred of Ilar, county of Cardigan, South Wales; containing 11,239 inhabitants. The name of this extensive parish is derived from the dedication of its church, and the distinguishing adjunct from the pre-eminence it enjoyed with respect to other parishes of the same name, and also to distinguish it from the adjoining town of Aberystwith, which was anciently called Llanbadarn-Gaerog, or the “walled Llan-Badarn.” St. Padarn, or Paternus, to whom the church is dedicated, was an ecclesiastic of considerable celebrity; he is said to have studied under Iltutus at Llantwit-Major, in Glamorganshire, and is associated with Teilo and David in the Welsh Triads, as one of the three blessed visiters. He is supposed to have founded a religious establishment here, which afterwards was erected into a see, of which he became the first bishop, and a suffragan to the archbishop of St. David’s. Paternus continued to preside over this see for twenty-one years, during which time he erected several churches, and founded several monasteries in the province of Caredigion, now comprised chiefly in the county of Cardigan, in which he placed colonies of monks from the principal establishment at Llandabarn. At the end of that period, being recalled into Brittany, where he was made bishop of Vannes, he was succeeded in this diocese, which was subsequently called, after its first diocesan, “Paternensis,” by Cynoc. The see appears to have flourished for nearly a century, and notice of a bishop of Llanbadarn occurs in the minutes of a synod held in the county of Worcester, in the year 601; but about this time the place is said to have lost its episcopal privileges, in consequence of the violent conduct of the inhabitants, who killed their bishop; and the church is thought to have been annexed, after the dissolution of the see, to that of St. David’s. The name of the diocesan who thus became the victim of their fury, is not mentioned in existing annals, neither is there any particular record of the event; Humphrey Llwyd supposes it to have been Bishop Idnerth, to whose memory there is a monumental inscription in the parochial church of Llandewy-Brevi. The suffragan bishop of Llanbadarn was one of the deputation appointed to meet St. Augustine on his landing in England, with a view to resist the encroachments which were apprehended from Rome, by opposing every attempt on the part of that missionary to establish the supremacy of the pope over the British Church.

The church was destroyed in 987, by the Danes, whose ravages in this part of the principality were carried to so great an extent, that Meredydd, Prince of South Wales, compounded with these ferocious invaders for the security of his territories, by the payment of one penny for every man within his dominions; a charge which was called “the tribute of the black army.” In 1038, this place was reduced to ashes by Grufydd ab Llewelyn ab Sitsyllt, who wrested it by violence from the hands of Howel ab Edwin. In the year 1106, when Ithel and Madoc, who were in alliance with Henry I., ravaged all the county of Cardigan, with the exception of this place and Llandewy-Brevi, it suffered only an attack upon its sanctuary, from which several of Owain ab Madoc’s men, who had taken refuge there, were dragged by force and put to death. Gilbert Strongbow, who, in 1109, erected the castle of Aberystwith, in this parish, gave the emoluments of the church to the monastery of St. Peter, at Gloucester, in the year 1111; but the ancient establishment does not appear at that time to have been dissolved, for mention occurs in the Welsh annals, in the year 1136, of the death of John, arch-priest of Llanbadarn; and in the same record, in the year 1143, the death of Sulien ab Rhythmarch, a man of great knowledge, and one of the college of Llanbadarn, is noticed. In 1116, Grufydd ab Rhŷs, who had been invited into this part of the principality to assist in recovering from the Norman settlers the territories which they had usurped in the province of Cardigan, encamped his forces at Glâs Crûg, in the parish of Llanbadarn, previously to his unsuccessful attempt on Aberystwith Castle: his failure in the enterprise was by some superstitiously attributed to an act of impiety of which he was guilty, in taking some cattle, to refresh his forces, from within the limits of the extensive sanctuary then attached to Llanbadarn church. Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, attended by Giraldus Cambrensis, visited the place, in 1188, on his tour to preach the crusades throughout the principality; upon which occasion it is especially remarked by Giraldus, in his Itinerary, that the revenue of the monastery was chiefly enjoyed by one family, and that the affairs of the establishment were in a very bad state. The church was subsequently appropriated to the abbey of Vale Royal, in the county of Chester, founded by Edward I. During the insurrection headed by a native chieftain named Rhŷs ab Meredydd, in 1287, Llanbadarn-Vawr was the principal place of rendezvous for the English forces in South Wales.

The PARISH, which extends on an average about fifteen miles in length and six in breadth, is intersected by the rivers Ystwith and Rheidiol, and by the roads from Machynlleth and Newtown, respectively, to Aberystwith. It comprehends a district distinguished for the abundance of its mineral wealth, and contains by computation 44,800 acres, whereof 2000 are meadow, 10,500 pasture, 22,300 open land, waste, and sheep-walks, 3000 in wood and plantations, and 7000 arable, which last is in the following proportions: wheat 1200 acres, barley 2000, oats 2400, potatoes 1200, turnips 100, and peas and vetches the same quantity. The surface is very hilly, and in some parts even mountainous; the soil is light, in many places only affording scanty pasturage for sheep, but the crops on the arable lands are, notwithstanding, generally good. The scenery, particularly in the vales, is very beautiful, and richly and agreeably diversified, embracing many features of romantic grandeur; and from the higher grounds are extensive and interesting views of the bay of Cardigan, and the adjacent country. A particularly fine prospect is obtained from the summit of Craig Glais, a dark blue cliff near Aberystwith, whence the stone used in building the town has been principally procured. The hills are partially cultivated, and some of them are well calculated to produce corn, but the system of tillage, though it has been considerably improved of late years, has not yet attained any great degree of excellence: turnips are much grown, the landlords encouraging, and in fact, binding, their tenantry, to cultivate them, as well as other produce of the fields. Oak and fir are the prevailing kinds of timber, but ash, elm, and beech are also very generally planted.

The village is pleasantly situated under a high ridge on the banks of the river Rheidiol, and consists of several straggling streets, of considerable length. In the neighbourhood, and within the parish, are several noble mansions and elegant seats, of which the principal are, Nant Eôs, a solid and substantial mansion, beautifully situated in a richly wooded vale, comprising much pleasing scenery; Gogerddan, also an extensive demesne; Glanrheidiol, Cwmcynvelyn, and Pen-y-Glais. The principal mineral produce is lead-ore. From some lead-mines here, which were worked upon a very extensive scale, and produced a large proportion of silver, Sir Hugh Myddelton chiefly derived the princely revenue which he patriotically expended, in the reign of James I., in supplying the metropolis with water by means of the New River. After this period they were continued in successful operation by Mr. Bushel, who obtained from Charles I. the privilege of establishing a mint for coining silver in the castle of Aberystwith, as noticed in the article on that town. Some of them are worked at the present time, and the mines in the parish generally are very productive; several hundred persons are employed, and attempts are constantly making to discover new veins. In the year 1847, the Goginan mine produced 1446 tons of ore; the Gogerddan, Bog, and Darren mines, 194 tons; &c. The situation of the parish, on the coast of Cardigan bay, is highly favourable for the exportation of its produce; and the turnpike-roads afford great facilities of intercourse with the neighbouring districts.

The LIVING is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king’s books at £20, and endowed with £450 private benefaction; present net income, £135, with a glebehouse; patron, the Bishop of St. David’s; impropriator, J. P. Bruce Chichester, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Padarn, and situated near the centre of the village, is an ancient and venerable cruciform structure, in the early English style, with a large square tower rising from the centre, supported on four massive columns, and surmounted by a low spire. The chancel contains several monuments to the principal families of the neighbourhood, including some, that may be more particularly noticed, to the families of Nant Eôs and Gogerddan. One of the most interesting is a monument of white marble, sculptured by Flaxman, to the memory of Harriet, daughter of Viscount Ashbrook, and lady of Pryse Pryse, Esq., of Gogerddan, above which is a canopy exquisitely carved, in the most elaborate style of later English architecture. In the churchyard are two ancient British crosses without any inscription. At Aberystwith; at Yspytty-Cynvyn, in the township of Llanbadarn Uchâ yn y Croythen; and at Llangorwen, in the township of Clarach, are separate incumbencies. There is a chapel of ease at Tŷ’n-y-Llidiart, in the township of Parcel-Canol. The number of places of worship for dissenters, including those at Aberystwith, is about twenty-five, for Baptists, Independents, Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists, and Roman Catholics: the Calvinistic Methodists are the most numerous body. Day schools are supported in different parts, and there is a large number of Sunday schools. Roderick Richards, of Pen-y-Bont, in 1752, bequeathed £104; Jacob Evans, late of Penlanolew, in 1760, £40; and John Jones, in 1783, £50, for the instruction of children. Lewis Jones, late of Caeau Bâch, bequeathed £200, in 1808, for teaching children of four hamlets; Richard Lewis, late of Abercumdole, left £150, in 1810, towards instructing the children in the hamlet of Parcel-Canol; and John Jones, in 1833, left £200 for the support of the charity school, erected in the village of Llandabarn. There are also some smaller charitable donations and bequests for the poor, producing about £7. 10., distributed in oatmeal at Christmas. The Roman Via Occidentalis, commonly called the Sarn Helen, passed through the parish; and about a mile eastward from the church are the remains of Glâs Crûg, the fortified post occupied by Grufydd ab Rhŷs prior to his attack on Aberystwith Castle. Near Aberystwith is Plâs Crûg, in the last century a very perfect specimen of an early fortified house, but which now presents very little of the original structure. Davydd ab Gwilym, an eminent Welsh poet, was born at Broginin, in the parish, in 1340: he became bard of Glamorgan, and is said to have written 150 poems; he died in 1400, and was buried at Ystrad-Flûr, or Strata-Florida. Lewis Morris, an antiquary of some eminence, and surveyor of the mines royal, was interred in the church of Llandabarn; he had for some time preceding his death resided at Penbryn in this county.

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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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5. References

  1. Llanbadarn Fawr 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: Llanbadarn Fawr Historic Mapping

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  • Coflein, discover the archaeology, historic buildings, monuments and history of Llanbadarn Fawr, Ceredigion
  • Historic Place Names, learn about the field names and house names in the community of Llanbadarn Fawr
  • A Pint of History, read about the history of Ceredigion pub’s, inn’s and local taverns of Llanbadarn Fawr
  • People’s Collection Wales, share your stories, memories and photographs of Llanbadarn Fawr
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