CEREDIGION HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Tregaron Historic Mapping - OS Six Inch, 1888-1913, Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Tregaron History

Tregaron history, archaeology and antiquities. Is a town in Ceredigion (formerly Cardiganshire), West Wales. The market town is situated between Llangeitho and Llanddewi Brefi.

  • Talbot Hotel Tregaron, an early C18th, stone-built, 2-storey Inn
  • The statue of Henry Richard is situated in the centre of Tregaron. Born in 1812, who became a non-conformist minster
  • St Caron's Church is situated in an elevated position in the centre of Tregaron
  • Y Llew Coch, Tregaron, Possibly the meeting place of the Beehive Friendly Society, established or first registered 1828
  • Tregaron Memorial Hall believed to have been rebuilt on the site of the former Town Hall. Opened on 04 January 1922
  • Tregaron Buildings and former bank

Tregaron, Ceredigion, West Wales – a small historic village in the former county of Cardiganshire

Tregaron History Pictures
Cardiganshire Fonts - Tregaron
Cardiganshire Fonts
County: Ceredigion
Community: Tregaron
Traditional County: Cardiganshire
Map Reference SN65NE
Grid Reference SN6805859679
Medieval Parish
Cantref: Uwch Aeron
Commote: Pennardd
Ecclesiastical Parish: 
Caron-Is-Clawdd
Llanbadarn-Odwyn, Acres: 2616.616
Parish Hundred: Penarth
Electoral Ward:
Tregaron
Listed Buildings: Tregaron
Scheduled Monuments: Tregaron
Monuments to Cardiganshire Worthies - The Henry Richards Statue at Tregaron
Monuments to
Cardiganshire Worthies –
The Henry Richards Statue at Tregaron

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 Tregaron.

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. Tregaron Local History

The dedication of the church to Caron, the presence of three early Christian monuments and a circular churchyard indicate an early foundation for Tregaron Church (Ludlow 1998).

The church may have encouraged the development of a small settlement in the pre Anglo-Norman period. In 1290, Edward I granted to Geoffrey Clement the privileges of holding a weekly market and two annual fairs at Tregaron (Soulsby, 1983, 255). The town developed from this.

A considerable boost was given to the town by the drovers’ trade; Soulsby (1983, 256) records the period 1820-40 as one of considerable growth.

Further growth was promoted by the opening of the Milford and Manchester Railway in 1866.

The town did not develop greatly outside the historic core until the late 20th century when new housing and light industrial/commercial buildings sprung up on the edge of the town.

Description and essential historic landscape components

The small town of Tregaron is the only substantial settlement within the Ceredigion upland landscape. The historic core is centred on a market square and the medieval St Caron’s Church, with secondary development found on the west bank of the Brennig towards the former railway station. It is not a planned settlement, and most buildings front directly onto narrow, winding streets.

Stone is the principal traditional building material with slate for roofs. A variety of wall treatments are used including stucco, painted stone and bare stone. Apart from the parish church and a couple of small cottages (one listed), almost all the older buildings in Tregaron date to the 19th century.

The Georgian Talbot Hotel and other, smaller commercial buildings are positioned on the market square. However, all these are relatively small and like the houses rarely rise above two storeys.

Single build terraces and earlier cottages have strong vernacular traits, but larger and later houses have more Georgian elements. However, few have any architectural detailing apart from a few late 19th century detached villas.
Some 19th century stone built farm outbuildings lend an agricultural feel to the centre of the town. The use of materials other than stone such as red- and yellow-brick for detailing and blue brick (in a terrace of houses) is evident on some late 19th and early 20th century houses.

A 20th century hospital and secondary school lie on the fringes of the town along with a few early to mid 20th century houses, and many late 20th and 21st century houses.

Apart from buildings and monuments the only other recorded archaeology in this area comprises finds of Bronze Age date.

The urban development of Tregaron is very well defined – there is very little over-spill into the surrounding agricultural historic landscape areas.

By Dyfed Archaeological Trust – Historic Landscape Characterisation of Tregaron

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2. Cors Caron

In the Medieval Period the area of Cors Caron was divided between Strata Florida Abbey’s granges of Penardd, Blaenaeron and Mefenydd. The history of this area following the Dissolution is uncertain, but its unenclosed character probably ensured that the Crown claimed it.

In all periods Cors Caron has been a source of peat, and provided opportunities for wild-fowling, summer pasture and hay gathering. Peat cutting was concentrated where the bog runs close to Tregaron.

In the years following World War One mechanical peat cutting was carried out, but this was short-lived (Countryside Council for Wales 1995).

The Milford and Manchester Railway, opened in 1866 and closed in 1964, crosses the bog from south to north. The bog has never been enclosed. Its importance for the historic landscape lies in its record of vegetational history and climate change that is contained within the peat deposits (see Turner 1964). It is now designated a Nature Reserve.

Description and essential historic landscape components

Cors Caron is an area of open, raised bog covering over 1000 hectares at approximately 165m. The River Teifi runs down the centre of the area from north to south.

There are several open pools of water on the bog; some of which are artificially maintained. There is surface evidence for past peat cutting, particularly at the southern end close to Tregaron.

Some old boundaries are evident on the southern and northern boundaries of the bog, and there is some encroachment of woodland on the northeast side. Apart from these, the entire area is bog.

Recorded archaeology includes the post-Medieval bridge of Pont Einon (dated 1805 and now listed), a possible Medieval trackway and an Iron Age bog burial, the exact location of which is unknown.

Cors Caron is well defined on all boundaries, but particularly so on the western and eastern sides where the ground rises steeply onto improved pasture.

By Dyfed Archaeological Trust – Historic Landscape Characterisation of Cors Caron

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Extract from ‘A Topographical Dictionary of Wales‘ by Samuel Lewis 1833

TRÊGARON (CARON, or TRÊV-GARON), a market-town and parish (formerly a borough), partly in the hundred of ILAR, but chiefly in the lower and upper divisions of the hundred of PENARTH, county of CARDIGAN, SOUTH WALES, 39 miles (E. by N.) from Cardigan, and 202 (W. by N.) from London, comprising the chapelry of Caron-Uwch-Clawdd, or Strata Florida, and containing 2282 inhabitants. This place is said to derive its name from being the burial-place of Caron, a Welsh king, who, from a low situation in life, raised himself, by his bravery and generous deportment, to the sovereignty, which he held for seven years : after his death, in the year 219, he was canonized, and became the tutelar saint of the church. The town, which is small and indifferently built, presenting only the appearance of a village, is situated on the high road from Lampeter to Rhaiadr, at the south-eastern extremity of the parish, and on the small river Berwyn, within a short distance of its conflux with the Teivy, which runs about half a mile to the west: a new bridge of stone is in progress of erection over the former, at an estimated expense of £ 120, to be defrayed partly by subscription, and partly from the county rate. In the vicinity are two small lakes, one called Berwyn, about a mile and a half in circumference, which contains abundance of trout, and the other called Maes Llyn,” the Lake of the Field,” where tradition reports the town to have once stood : the latter is situated about two miles to the east, is one mile in circumference, and produces trout and eels. Silver and lead ore are stated to exist in small quantities in Cwm y Graig Gôch but the mines have not been worked for many years. The market is on Tuesday, for the sale of provisions, stockings, flannel, &c. ; and one annual fair is held on March 15th ,16th, and 17th, and another on the first Tuesday in May, chiefly for the sale of pedlery, home-spun cloth, hose, horses, pigs, &c. Trêgaron was formerly incorporated, and its burgesses, in common with those of Aberystwith, Atpar, and Lampeter, had the privilege of voting in the election of a parliamentary representative for the county town; but, in consequence of some acts of corruption at an election, it was deprived of that right by a committee of the House of Commons, on the 7th of May, 1730; and the only electoral right now exercised by the inhabitants is that of the freeholders in the election of a county member, for which this town, by the recent act to amend the representation, is constituted a polling-place. It is under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates. A court leet is held twice a year by the lord of the manor, W. E. Powell, Esq.

The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Cardigan, and diocese of St.David’s, rated in the king’s books at £8, and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David’s the prebend of Trêgaron an impropriation formerly attached to the college of Llandewy-Brevi, is rated at £13. 6. 8. The church, dedicated to St. Caron, is a neat structure, agreeably situated on a rocky elevation in the middle of the town, and consists of a nave, chancel, and an embattled tower sixty feet in height, in the later style of English architecture: the churchyard contains four ancient monumental stones, supposed to have been set up in the sixth century, two of which have inscriptions. There is a place of worship for Welsh Calvinistic Methodists. At the distance of three miles northward from the town there is a large encampment, called Castell Flemys, forming the greater segment of a circle, and defended on three sides by an impassable morass, supposed to have been constructed by a body of the Flemish invaders of South Wales; and there is another, called Castell Sunnyhill, from its proximity to a farm of that name. In this parish also are several sepulchral heaps of stones, denominated carneddau; a curious bank of earth, extending several miles in length, called Cwys Ychain Banawg or ” the furrow of the Bannog oxen,” supposed by Dr. Meyrick to be the remains of an ancient British road ; and an artificial mound, encompassed by a moat, called Tommen Llanio, but by whom or for what purpose erected is uncertain. Thomas Jones, a Welsh antiquary and poet, who flourished about the commencement of the seventeenth century, was born at a house called Porth Fynnon, a little to the east of Trêgaron ; in addition to his literary reputation, he enjoyed, according to tradition, a less enviable distinction, from his practice of plundering his neighbours, being represented, under the name of Twm Sion Catti, as an expert and dexterous robber: he acquired a considerable fortune by marrying the heiress of Ystrad-fin by an ingenious stratagem, and was subsequently appointed sheriff of the county. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor amounts to £235.19.

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3. Journal Index

  • Tregaron, x:126
    • ancient borough, v:402,403,40540, 6-07,408, 409,412
    • anghydffurfiaeth, iv:97,104,105,107
    • argraffu, viii:204-09
    • bibliography, iv:307
    • blacksmiths, vi:100
    • bog
      • see Cors Caron
    • bridge, viii:330,344
    • Bwlchgwynt
    • and the census of religious worship, iv:116,126
    • church, plants sighted on, in the 18c, i:80
    • emigration ·
      • see Tregaron : ymfudo
    • fair, iv:71,219; v:129
    • labourers, x:41
    • labourers’ diet,1837, x:42
    • merched y gerddi, ix:291-2,293,294
    • nonconformity
      • see anghydffurfiaeth
    • parish vestry, vi:8,12,30
    • peat cutting, iv-.331
    • population trend 16c-18c, vii:259
    • printing
      • see Tregaron : argraffu
    • Red Lion, x-.362
    • schools, ii:141,145,149;iv:58,363;
      • adventure school, ii:142
      • intermediate school, viii:54,56-63,66
    • woollen mill, vi:111
    • workhouse, viii:255-6,264,272,274
    • ymfudo, ii:167,229
  • Tregaron, lordship of, vi:140
  • Tregaron Male Voice Choir, iii:261; x:9
  • Tregaron Rural District Council, iv:280
  • Tregaron Union, viii:246-51,259,1.63,270-2, 273,274
  • Tregaron United District School Board, iii:210,211,214

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4. Illustrations and Old Pictures

Tregaron History Square Ceredigion
Tregaron History Square Ceredigion
  • Cardiganshire Fonts – Tregaron

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5. Schools and Education

  • schools, ii:141,145,149;iv:58,363;
    • adventure school, ii:142
    • intermediate school, viii:54,56-63,66

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6. Industry and Trades

  • blacksmiths, vi:100
  • bog
    • see Cors Caron
  • labourers, x:41
  • labourers’ diet,1837, x:42
  • peat cutting, iv-.331
  • printing
    • see Tregaron : ugraffu
  • woollen mill, vi:111

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7. Local Administration

  • ancient borough, v:402,403,40540, 6-07,408, 409,412
  • Tregaron, lordship of, vi:140

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8. Buildings and Infrastructure

  • bridge, viii:330,344
  • Red Llon, x-.362
  • workhouse, viii:255-6,264,272,274

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9. Churches, Chapels and Religion

St Caron's Church is situated in an elevated position in the centre of Tregaron
St Caron’s Church situated in the
centre of Tregaron
  • nonconformity
    • see anghydffurfiaeth
  • parish vestry, vi:8,12,30
  • and the census of religious worship, iv:116,126
  • church, plants sighted on, in the 18c, i:80

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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.

Cardiganshire Fonts

Cardiganshire Fonts - Tregaron
Cardiganshire Fonts – Tregaron

10. Location Map

View Larger Map of Tregaron

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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.

11. References

  1. Cardigan 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: Tregaron Historic Mapping

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  • Coflein, discover the archaeology, historic buildings, monuments and history of Tregaron, Ceredigion
  • Historic Place Names, learn about the field names and house names in the community of Tregaron
  • A Pint of History, read about the history of Ceredigion pub’s, inn’s and local taverns of Tregaron
  • People’s Collection Wales, share your stories, memories and photographs of Tregaron
See:
Index | Towns in Ceredigion | Villages in Ceredigion | Historic Sites in Ceredigion | Ceredigion Listed Buildings | Ceredigion Scheduled Monuments | Ceredigion Parks and Gardens | Research Organisations
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