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Llandeilo

Stone Bridge, Llandeilo
Stone Bridge, Llandeilo - card posted 1908

Llandeilo is a rural town near Carmarthen and Ammanford in Carmarthenshire with a population of around 3000. It is named after the early Welsh saint Teilo, the prefix 'llan' meaning a religious enclosure. The parish is called Llandeilo Fawr (Great Llandeilo) to distinguish it from several other Llandeilos in Wales, similarly dedicated to the saint. The town features some fine Georgian and Victorian buildings and the neighbouring locality has a number of medieval castles such as Dinefwr and the remnants of grand estates, including the famous Aberglasney gardens make the local countryside a fascinating area to visit.

Llandeilo from the river
Llandeilo from the river - card posted 1908

When first designed by William Williams and built between 1843-48, the stone bridge at Llandeilo, with a span of 145 ft (44 metres), was the third longest single span bridge in Britain. It carries the A483 over the river Tywi (Towy).

Llandeilo Fairs

Agriculture had good and bad times. The Bristol Mercury of November 20 1820 reported that 'At Llandilo on Monday, and Carmarthen on Tuesday, cattle were not saleable at any price. Never was agricultural produce in such a state of depression and stagnation.' Again the Bristol Mercury of Monday, May 19, 1823 stated 'At Llandilo fair, on Thursday, the 8th instant, and at Llandilo fair on Monday last, there was but an indifferent exhibition of cattle, and the few sold fetched very low prices.

The frequency of the fairs can be seen from references in Baner Cymru listing fairs at Llandeilo fawr on April 6 1857, May 15 1857, June 22 1857, August 23 and 24 1857, September 29 and 30 1857, November 12 1857, February 20 1858, .

Dryslwyn Castle, Llandeilo
Dryslwyn Castle, Llandeilo - card posted 1909

'Accidents'

The Bristol Mercury, Saturday, October 20, 1821 reported on a 'hit and run' incident: 'On the night of the 4th inst. as Mr Richards, auctioneer, Carmarthen, was riding home from Llandilo, some person, who was driving furiously, came in contact with his horse, near Cothy bridge, by which he was thrown off and lay senseless on the road, in which situation he was left by the person who caused the misfortune, without rendering him the least assistance! He was shortly afterwards found dead.'

Possibly an even more unfortunate event befell a 'Mr. David Harries, of Llwyncelyn, near Llandilo' (Bristol Mercury Monday, March 8, 1824) who 'went on Saturday night to view the performances of a company of strolling jugglers at Llandilo, who, amongst other feats exhibited that of swallowing a sword. Mr Harries, it appears, thought lightly of the performances, and in making an attempt to swallow the sword, slipped his hold, and the instrument found its way into his chest. He was soon taken violently ill, and continued labouring under the most excruciating pain until the following night, when melancholy to relate, he expired in great agony. It is to be hoped that this will operate as a warning to those who may have the inclination and fool-hardiness to make a similar trial.'

The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, February 23, 1831: 'FOUR MAIL HORSES DROWNED - The breaking up of the frost and the melting of the snow, have caused tremendous floods in the Principality. The Milford mail-coach on its journey to Gloucester did not reach Brecon until four o'clock of the evening of the 9th instant, being eight hours after its usual time, owing to an accident which happened midway between Carmarthen and Llandilo. In passing through the overflow of a mountain rivulet, the horses (the property of Mr. George Davies, of the Bush Inn, Carmarthen,) got out of their depth and were drowned. The coach was with difficulty extricated; and the passengers, guard, and coachman, narrowly escaped with their lives.'

Characters

In Jackson's Oxford Journal, Saturday, November 16, 1822 it was reported that 'In the Prerogative Court, on Wednesday, on the motion of his Majesty's Advocate, letters of administration of all and singular the goods, chattels, credits, and effects of William Jones, Esq. lately deceased, at Llandilo, in the county of Carmarthen, were granted to the nominee of his Majesty. This gentleman was a man of eccentric habits, and died very recently, possessed of immense wealth, and leaving no relatives behind him.'

The Bristol Mercury, Tuesday, December 29, 1829: 'MARRIED (...) Dec. 22 at Llandilo, Carmarthenshire, Mr. Thomas Evans, aged 21 years, to Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas, widow, aged 75, both of that town. The disparity of years between this happy couple is compensated by the bride's wordly possessions.'

Democracy in action

The Bristol Mercury, Monday, June 26, 1826: 'Carmarthenshire Election - Monday last was the day fixed upon by the High Sheriff, (William Du Buisson, Esq.) for the election of a Member to serve in Parliament for this County. - About ten o'clock the Sheriff, and a great number of Gentlemen entered the Town-hall at Llandilo, and after the writ had been read, and the usual ceremony gone through, the Sheriff called upon any elector to propose a Candidate. E.P. LLOYD, Esq. of Glansevin, rose, and proposed the Hon. GEORGE RICE TREVOR, as a Gentleman every way qualified to represent the County of Carmarthen. J.W.G. Hughes, Esq. seconded the nomination. No other Candidate appearing, the High Sheriff declared the Hon. GEORGE RICE TREVOR duly elected, amidst immense cheering.



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