Ceredigion Historical Society
Michael Freeman talks about ruins along Llanrhystud seashore.

Llanrhystud – Lost Buildings on the Seashore

Ceredigion Historical Society members visited Llanrhystud for a tour of the village and its historic buildings on 19 May, 2018.

Following a visit to Llanrhystud beach, we walked along beach where Michael Freeman gave a talk about the harbour and lost buildings on the seashore.

Transcript of video:

Llanrhystud Harbour

Michael Freeman talks about Llanrhystud harbour.
Michael Freeman talks about Llanrhystud harbour.

Are probably quays and they consist of two sets of timbers close together pointing towards each other. Now some of those have been filled with stone and you’d think well that could just be a substantial groyne. But, Stephen Briggs told me yesterday that he thinks they continued up and crossed and then there was a pathway on the top so that boats could tie up to them and then you could unload the lime and coal, which had to be brought here too, on to those and then they would lead up to the cliff. I’m not certain about that but he said he’s got a photograph a very similar structures at Aberystwyth harbour and I looked at all the photographs I know of yesterday and I couldn’t find one like that, although there were a lot of timber structures on Aberystwyth harbour originally.

Groyne, Quays and Fish Traps

Michael Freeman talks about Llanrhystud groynes, quays and fish traps.
Michael Freeman talks about Llanrhystud groynes, quays and fish traps.

So that, that’s to the groyne are quays, there are stone fish traps here as well. And if you look on Coflein I think there’s 21 or 22 in this strip of land just here, so there erm, this shape stretching out, pointing out into the sea and then the fish get in when the tide is high and can’t get out when the tide is low, really good. And then the fourth sort of structure is which is possible but we don’t know for certain, that there was a boat building yard here and there may have been some sort of structure to protect that from the sea as the ones in other places along the coast and again good examples in Aberystwyth harbour. So there’s a lot of structural stuff going on in that area and nobody’s really made any sense of it, although I think Stephen Brings would like to publish something on the work he’s done all along this strip of coast, so he might do that soon.

Ruins on the Seashore

Michael Freeman talks about ruins along Llanrhystud seashore.
Michael Freeman talks about ruins along Llanrhystud seashore.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier on is that Richard mentioned the donation of land in the 12th century to Llanrhystud to the knights hospitallers. There are lots of stories about there being nunneries here and at Llanon. There’s a problem with that. Gerald, Gerald Camprensis mentioned the nunnery in Llansantffraid in Powys well the boundary of Powys was moving around at that time. So it’s a very slight possibility that Llansanffraid, down there was in Powys but its very unlikely, Layland comes along in 1530s talking about, listing I mean, all the monastic sites and he says well we know Gerald was meant to mention this and erm. He thinks, he thought it was unlikely that the one that Gerald mentioned was that Llansantffraid. But then he said there two big buildings one in Llanrhystud and one in Llanon which were probably nunneries linked to the knights hospitallers. And then we got lots of tourists coming along the coast, most of them would have gone along the new road. One of them said, John Duncan who later became the keeper of the … saw some ruins on the seashore in 1803, And err John, I’m sorry, John Evans saw those in 1803, and John Duncan saw some ruins half a mile from Llanrhystud in 1813. So there were ruins of some sort here and then in Atgofion that we were talking about earlier. Their’s a reference to Hendy Mawr were the car park is now for the village hall which is thought to be the site of a nunnery. So Hendy Mawr now suggested it was a biggish building rather than the cottage which it used to be until, the hall was built in 1937, oh no 1929. Sometime after, and then in Llanon there was an impenetrable pile of ruins which somebody thought might have been the nunnery there.

I don’t think there’s any question, there was a nunnery here that just wasn’t, very very unlikely. Because there is no historical documents but there were buildings here which people thought were ancient and they’ve both been washed into the sea completely, completely gone. So that’s another example of sites that have totally disappeared. But all the documentary evidence is from tourists who are picking up the wrong ideas from other people. Which is not at all unusual. So we’ll make, we’ll go up onto the stone back and then along the field.