The present day population is around 390 adults with the largest landowner being the Queen – the owner of Mynydd Mallaen. Also a large acreage has been planted and is owned by Forestry Enterprise.

There are also several connections to Hell (uffern). Pwll Uffern is a large pool on the river – Devil’s Staircase is near by Abergwesyn, and also the late squire used to say that Cil-y-cwm was near hell, because snow would always melt quickly due to the heat from the place.

There used to be a saying that Cil-y-cwm was only as big as between New York and Pennsylvania. There used to be a cottage called New York just above Penstacan and Pennsylvania was opposite the Ygoldy fach and Gwenlais stream.

It was a common practise in those days to hold fairs. Dates of fairs in Cil-y-cwm were June 17th, August 20th and November 11th and 22nd. These fairs were very important events in the community, even as far as Rhandirmwyn , as the register for the school for 1866 states that there was no school because of the fair at Cil-y-cwm. The history of the village itself has evolved from a time when people of the area lived on the hills for whatever reason, (probably for safety). Most hills in the area have farms or a cottage with names which denote some sort of hill fortification , e.g Penyfedw there were two dwellings, Bryncastle and Cae’r Beili. The farms whose names are Dinasbach, Troedrhiwdinas and Cwrdinas also imply some sort of fortificatiom. Nant y Car, Siloh should be Nant y Caer. Also there is Pen-y-gaer in Llanfair ar y Bryn These obviously belong to a time long ago – Iron age or possibly pre – Roman era.

There is also a mention that there was one at Glanrhyderryd, possibly more associated with the Roman period.

As the years rolled by the people moved down into the valley and eventually to Cil-y-cwm. According to Miss Dory Theophilus the village was in the field belonging to Felin behind Mr. & Mrs. Milner but during the plague (Black death) the village moved across the Gwenlais. During the 19th century there were thought to be 4 taverns in the village. The 4 names taken from the register of deaths from the church are:-

  • in 1844 – Masons Arms ( Cwin House)
  • in 1847 – Black Lion ( Neuadd Arms)
  • in 1867 – Drovers Arms
  • in 1867 – Lamb Inn

There were also 4 mills in Cil-y-cwm – Melin Cwmfran, Felin Cil-y-cwm, Melin Abergwenlais and Melin Aberrhaead.

During this penod there was obviously a need to become self sufficient in a need, of the area, and it is interesting to note what skills were available in the area. Thanks to Handel Jones there is a list of landlords and cottages from Cil-y-cwm who made Easter Offerings in 1776.

There was a gent in Erryd, Cefntrenfa, Pwllpryddog, Abergwenlais and Bwlch trebannau.

  • 2 smithies – one in Penybanc,
  • 2 cooper’s – one in Nant Rhydfelen,
  • 2 millers,
  • 4 tailors – one in Rhydtalog and one in Llwynni,
  • a cooper in Nantrhydfelen,
  • a harper – Daniel John,
  • a clockmaker,
  • a hosier,
  • a mason,
  • a weaver,
  • a carpenter,

Today’s parish is surrounded by Llanfair ar y bryn to the east: by Llanddewi Brefi towards the north, Caeo to the west and Llandovery and Llanwrda to the south. At one point there is a suggestion that Cil-y-cwm should, or possibly was called Llanfihangel – obviously because of the church St. Michaels


Introduction — 1 Comment

  1. Hello, thank you for this page, it has lots of interesting information. My mother’s family are all from around Cilycwm.The william Thomas family were on the farm Moelfre.The Thomas family were on Henllysfach. I was so excited to see your transcript of John Thomas’s will. I believe that the recipient John Thomas Jr and wife Gwen are my ancestors. Cheers

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