Ystrad Meurig History

Ystrad Meurig history, archaeology and antiquities. Is a historic village in Ceredigion, formerly Cardiganshire, West Wales. Situated between Wenallt and Pontrhydfendigaid.

Ystrad Meurig History Pictures
Site plan Camp Penffrwdllwyd Ystrad Meurig
Site plan Camp Penffrwdllwyd
Ystrad Meurig

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 Ystrad Meurig.

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. History

Scheduled Monuments in Ystrad Meurig, Ceredigion.
Scheduled monuments (also known as scheduled ancient monuments, or SAMs) are sites of archaeological importance with specific legal protection against damage or development.

  • Burnt Mound 230m north east of Ffos
  • Craig Ystradmeurig Round Cairn
  • Cwm-Meurig-Isaf Mound and Bailey Castle
  • Gareg-lwyd Defended Enclosure
  • Llanwnnws Inscribed Stone in Church
  • Nant Bryn Isaf Ring Cairn
  • Pen y Ffrwd-Llwyd Camp
  • St Ffraed’s Well, Cynhawdre
  • Ystrad-Meurig Castle

The early history of this area has not been researched. The church of St John the Baptist was granted to the Knights Hospitaller in 1158 (Ludlow 1998). There is also a possible hospice site at Mynachdy, perhaps indicating that land was also included in the grant, although this place-name may refer to use of the site by the monks of Strata Florida Abbey – this part of the area may have lain within the grange of Mefenydd.

In 1113 Richard de Clare founded the castle of Ystradmeurig -one of only three stone castles in Ceredigion. It changed hands several times in its short life, before being demolished in 1207 (King 1956). It is unclear whether a settlement developed close to the church and/or castle in the Medieval Period.

A small group of substantial 18th and early 19th century stone built dwellings at Ystradmeurig and the foundation of a grammar school in the churchyard in 1803 testify to the growth of a community in the later post-Medieval Period.

Late 18th century estate maps (NLW Crosswood Vol 1, 62, 66) show a landscape broadly similar to that existing today, although at that time there appears to have been a slight difference in size between those fields close to farmsteads than those more distant – the closer fields generally being smaller and more irregular in shape. Presumably this is a reflection of the chronological sequence of enclosure, with the larger fields having been created at a later date in the late 18th century.

Much subdivision of the larger enclosures had occurred by the tithe survey (Spytty Ystrad Meurig Tithe Map and Apportionment, 1843) and the difference in enclosure size had largely been lost. Included in this area is the historic garden of Bron-meurig (Welsh Historic Gardens Database). In 1866, the Milford Manchester Railway, linking Tregaron with Aberystwyth was opened, with a station at Ystradmeurig. It closed in the 1960s.

Description and essential historic landscape components

This is an irregular-shaped landscape area situated on south and southwest-facing gentle slopes and has a height range of between 160m in the southeast and 230m in the north.

It consists of a system of irregular fields, with a settlement pattern of scattered farms and the village of Ystradmeurig and the hamlet of Tynyffordd.

Field boundaries are of earth banks topped with hedges. These hedges are in good condition on the lower levels, but become increasingly derelict at higher elevations, and are augmented with wire fences. At the highest levels around Mynachdy the earth banks are slight and the hedges have been replaced with wire. Improved pasture dominates land-use, with very little rougher grazing. There are some small stands of deciduous woodland.

Local stone is the principal, traditional building material. This is often roughly squared and coursed on houses and rubble on farm buildings, with surface treatment such as limewash, paint or cement. Slate is universally used on roofs.

Ystradmeurig village consists of a small cluster of buildings, with the listed late 19th century gothic church and an early 19th century gothic grammar school at its centre.

Houses here are 19th century and in the typical regional Georgian vernacular tradition. However, several of the houses have very strong Georgian traits, rather than the more usual mixture of Georgian vernacular, which gives a more formal appearance to the village than many others in the region.

Several of these houses are farms and have ranges of 19th century outbuildings set semi-formally around yards, Many of these outbuildings are not now used or have been converted to other uses. Modern agricultural buildings are not prominent component of this landscape. There is at least one modern house in the village.

Tynyffordd is a dispersed linear settlement consisting almost entirely of late 20th and early 21st century houses and bungalows. Other buildings scattered across the area comprise farms with mid-to-late 19th century houses and a late 19th century stone-built shop/house with brick detailing.

The recorded archaeology in the area is varied. Ystradmeurig Castle earthworks represent the major site in the area. Other definite or possible Medieval sites are described above. Artefacts of Iron Age and Bronze Age date suggest a greater time-depth to this landscape than is readily apparent from the surface evidence.

To the northeast and northwest the borders of this area are fairly well defined by unenclosed land or large enclosures. An area characterised by small enclosures bounded by dry-stone walls lies to the north. There is no clear demarcation between this area and the regular enclosures found in areas to the southeast and southwest. To the south is the clearly defined area of Cors Caron.

By Dyfed Archaeological Trust – Historic Landscape Characterisation of Ystrad Meurig

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2. Map

View Larger Map of Ystrad Meurig

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

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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.

Index | Towns in Ceredigion | Villages in Ceredigion | Historic Sites in Ceredigion | Ceredigion Listed Buildings | Ceredigion Scheduled Monuments | Ceredigion Parks and Gardens | Ceredigion Conservation Areas | Research Organisations
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C. Green
C. Green
2 years ago

In some parts, especially on the borders of Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire, it is believed that any one carrying a knife in his hands, will never see or be troubled by a spirit, even when passing a haunted spot in the depth of night.

About 35 years ago, there lived at Ynysfach, near Ystrad Meurig, an old man and an old woman known as “Shon and Shan.”

Shon was working in North Wales, for he was a quarryman at the time, but he came home occasionally to spend his holidays with his wife, especially about Christmas time.

On one occasion, however, when Shan expected her husband home the day before Christmas as usual, Shon came not. Nine o’clock in the evening she went out to meet him or to search for him and to prevent him spending his money on beer at a public house which his friend, a saddler kept at Tyngraig. But her husband was not at the public house, nor was he seen anywhere, so the old woman had to return home in disappointment. It was a cloudless moonlight night, almost as light as day, but the road was lonely and the hour late, and when she had walked some distance, to her great terror, she noticed a ghost in the field making his way nearer and nearer to her till at last the strange object came to the hedge on the roadside quite close to her. Frightened as she was, she struck the ghost with the strong walking-stick which she held in her hand, saying “D——l! thou shalt follow me no longer.”

When Shan struck the ghost her walking-stick went right through the head of the strange object, but she did not “feel” that it touched anything—It was like striking a fog; but the spirit vanished into nothing, and Shan walked on. The ghost was now invisible, but the old woman “felt” that it still followed her, though she could not see it; but when she was crossing a brook she became aware that her pursuer left her.”

From ‘Folk-Lore of West and Mid-Wales’ by J. Ceredig Davies (1911).

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