October: Lecture in Moriah Chapel, Loughor
Forty members of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society braved a wet and windy
night to attend the lecture on 'Carmarthenshire and the 1904 Religious Revival' on Friday, 22nd
October in Moriah C.M. Chapel, Loughor. The chairman, Mr. Arfon Rees, in introducing the lecture
informed members that this was a celebration of the centenary of the Revival in which Evan Roberts,
a member of Moriah Chapel, had played an influential part and had in this time preached at the Chapel.
He introduced the speaker, Reverend Noel Gibbard who was born in Mynyddcerrig in the Gwendraeth
Valley, which spawned more famous sons than other larger places. Rev. Gibbard attended Bangor University
before becoming a preacher at Dowlais. Subsequently, he returned to the West as the minister at
Berea Chapel, Bynea. Later he lectured at the Evangelical College in Swansea. He is now retired
and lives in Cardiff.
Reverend Gibbard then spoke about the effect of the Revival on Carmarthenshire
especially the towns. He explained that in the 1900s Revival was always regarded as a religious
revival and the term Revivalists applied only to those involved in the religious movement. This
had not been the first Revival but could be regarded as one of the most successful and it went on
for a number of years. All the leading chapels in Carmarthen and Llanelli were involved and some
of the names mentioned were Rev. M.H.Jones, Carmarthen, who was instrumental in the formation of
the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society in 1905 and Mr. Sam Jenkins of Trinity Chapel, Llanelli
who was one of the singers who teamed up with Evan Roberts. He was well known for his rendering
of the hymn 'I achub hen rebel fel fi' ('To save a poor sinner like me'). Rev. Gibbard related many
humorous stories of events during the revival and also many statistics. It was obvious to all that
the subject had been thoroughly researched and well presented. During questions the speaker revealed
that the Revival spread to over twenty countries including the home countries. In thanking the speaker
the chairman made reference to the many books and articles written by the speaker both on religious
and historical topics.
Molly Rees, Hon. Secretary
November: Lecture on Lodges and Gatehouses in Carmarthenshire
When travelling around Carmarthenshire, one often comes across lodges, small houses with
big pretensions. They have an intriguing quality about them - the lodge to what large house?
What do they herald and why are they so instantly recognisable?
Dominic Conway provided the answers at a recent lecture to a large audience
of Antiquarian Society members in the Civic Hall in Llandeilo. Using many stunning images
he introduced the subject by showing a few of the lodges built by very wealthy or very pretentious
landowners over the border. A brief discussion of architects and their pattern books preceded
a comprehensive survey of the county's lodges.
Many of the lodges are simply small cottages at the entrances to country
estates that have been tricked up to look more impressive than they really are, with fancy
bargeboards, diagonal chimneys and latticed windows. But they often have tremendous presence
and a great deal of charm. Frequently they are all that is left of a country house that has
disappeared, for instance at Dolaucothi or Glanbran.
Lodges are also intriguing because there is very little that has been written
about them. Dominic's searches through the County Record Office's collections have not revealed
a great deal of information; few can be dated reliably or have an architect attributed to
them. An exception is Pantyrathro Lodge, Llansteffan, designed by George Morgan of Carmarthen,
who worked in the late 19th century. It is not a typical lodge, being rather too vertical.
It is in fine condition, with good woodwork, particularly on the porch. A 1936 sale catalogue
mentions the 'artistic, stone-built and cemented entrance lodge, containing rooms, and now
in the occupation of a workman'.
Pantyrathro Lodge, Llansteffan
Glandulas Lodge, Llangathen, is perhaps Carmarthenshire's
most famous lodge, as it stands hard by the A40. It is very pretty, with pink-washed walls
and looks very like a piece of Staffordshire ware. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and
Historical Monuments of Wales maintains it is late 19th century, but the lecturer believed
it to be early 19th century as it appears on early 19th century maps and leads to a simple
late Georgian house, with which it is probably contemporary.
Glandulas Lodge, Llangathen
Penhill Lodge, Myddfai, the east lodge to the Llwynywormwood
estate is built in the Gothick style, probably about 1830. In 1845 a terrible tragedy occurred
here, when two little girls died in a fire. The parents had gone from home, leaving three
young girls alone in the house. When the eldest girl went out to open the entrance gates to
a visitor, the clothes of the younger ones caught fire. This dreadful accident was reported
in the Carmarthen Journal on 10th January, 1845.
The large audience, drawn from all over the county, responded to Dominic's
lecture by asking many questions on the design of lodges. As a result of his researches the
number of lodges recorded in Carmarthenshire has been doubled.
Penhill Lodge, Llwyn y Wormwood, Myddfai
December: President's Day Lunch and Lecture
For the last event of the year Antiquarians gathered for President's Day in the
Fourcroft Hotel, overlooking the deserted sands of North Beach, Tenby. After an excellent lunch
the President, the Revd J. Towyn Jones, delivered a sparkling lecture on Tenby's most haunted house.
M. R. James's renowned 'Ghost Stories of an Antiquary' was first published at Christmas
1904, and much as its author had recited his tales to entertain friends at Cambridge University
on Christmas Eve, so our President, almost invariably, maintains this charming Yuletide custom in
his after-lunch lecture. At the same time he emphasizes that no study of a locality's history can
be complete without taking into consideration the beliefs and spiritual experiences of its people.
A full and detailed account of the strange visitations at the house in Tudor Square will appear
in a book by the President to be published in the near future. Details of the book will be published
on the website in due course.
Tudor Square, Tenby, with St. Mary's Church