|Ysbyty Cynfyn History Pictures|
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 Ysbyty Cynfyn.
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.
The early history of this area is unclear. Unlike much of the surrounding land it was not part of one of Strata Florida Abbey’s granges.
The pattern of dispersed farms is probably of at least Medieval date. The majority of the area came into the possession of the Nanteos estate, and early 19th century estate maps (NLW Vol 45, 24-28) present the landscape much as it is today, with dispersed farms, small, irregular enclosures and larger enclosures on higher ground. There has been some retreat of settlement, with a farm to the east of Ty Mawr now gone, and at Erwbarfe scattered and intermixed holdings are shown; perhaps indicating the presence of a former sub-divided field system out of which the modern landscape evolved.
The small church at Ysbyty Cynfyn was a chapel-of-ease and may have been a possession of the Knights Hospitaller, or may have been associated with Strata Florida Abbey. The church was rebuilt in 1827 on the site of the Medieval building (Ludlow 1998).
The site of the church is of interest; several standing stones built into the churchyard wall may be of prehistoric date, though Briggs (1979) has challenged this suggestion. A visit to the church and the Parson’s Bridge waterfalls to the east in a neighbouring area was an essential item on the itinerary of late 18th and 19th century tourists to north Ceredigion.
Description and essential historic landscape components
This area lies on a terrace on the east bank of the Afon Rheidol at 220m – 300m. Although mostly composed of smooth ground, it contains a craggy hill close to Ysbyty Cynfyn Church.
To the west the land falls away sharply into the Rheidol valley, and to the east the land rises steeply. Improved pasture is dominant, though pockets of rougher ground are present in hollows. The field pattern is one of small, irregular enclosures, and these are divided by earth banks topped with hedges. Apart from those running along roads, which are in good condition, most hedges are overgrown and some are becoming derelict, and all are augmented by wire.
Close to the church field boundaries consist of dry-stone walls. These walls are in fair condition. There are small stands of broadleaf woodland. This area lies on a major north-south route-way, now the B4343. Though no doubt an ancient road, it was converted to a turnpike in 1770 (Lewis 1955, 43-45).
The settlement pattern is of dispersed farmsteads. Traditional buildings are of stone with slate roofs. Older farmhouses are mid-to-late 19th century in date and are in the typical regional Georgian vernacular style, with gable end chimneys, a central front door, and two windows either side of the door and one above. At least one house has late 19th century gothic traits. However, many houses have recently been extensively modernised and extended or replaced. Stone farm outbuildings consist of two to three small ranges and working farms have small modern agricultural buildings. Ysbyty Cynfyn church and a small caravan park are located in this area.
The recorded archaeology of the area mostly consists of post-Medieval settlements. The presence of several deserted sites indicates a more densely populated landscape in the historic past. Metal mining remains are also evident. Bronze Age finds and a Bronze Age standing stone at Ysbyty Cynfyn Church provide time-depth to the landscape.
This area is well defined to the west and south, where it borders both woodland on the steep valley side of the Rheidol and unenclosed high ground, and to the east where it meets unenclosed land or large enclosures rising steeply to high moorland. To the north definition is less clear where this area merges with enclosed land around Ponterwyd.
By Dyfed Archaeological Trust – Historic Landscape Characterisation of Ysbyty Cynfyn
3. External links
- Coflein, discover the archaeology, historic buildings, monuments and history of Ysbyty Cynfyn, Ceredigion
- Historic Place Names, learn about the field names and house names in the community of Ysbyty Cynfyn
- A Pint of History, read about the history of Ceredigion pub’s, inn’s and local taverns of Ysbyty Cynfyn
- People’s Collection Wales, share your stories, memories and photographs of Ysbyty Cynfyn
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.