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