Garthgynydd farm map?

Garthgynydd farm was in 1841 a 100 acre farm just to the south east of present day Bedlinog, on the other side of the stream Nant Lwynog. It is still marked on the modern OS map as Garth-gynydd. Its early history is the same as that of neighbouring Blaenllwynau as the two farms were formerly owned by the same person.

In the 1540 Senghennydd Manor Survey the property has been identified as part of two adjacent properties owned by a Dyo Griffiths recorded as

Dyo Grf for a tenement now in tenure of hoell dyo pays 48 pence

the same Dyo Grf for a tenement now in tenure of Thomas hoell    pays 9 pence

In this same survey the cymortha (a traditional welsh ‘tax’ due every other year on certain properties) for the property is recorded as: For land called hendre lavor   6 pence. In a document of 1449 this same Cymortha payment of 6 pence for Hendre lavor is recorded, but it is not possible to identify who the owner was at that time.

There are also two pre-1540 documents involving Dyo Griffith, the first from 1527, is catalogued as

Gift  6 Sep. 1527

Wm Ll[ewely]n ap Gli [?Gwillim] ap Rees, to Dio ap Griffith Thomas ap Rees vachan and Tho. ap LL[ewely]n ap Jevan ap M.

A tenement of land at Garth Kenyd; in Lordship of Senghenydd supra; in Gelligaer

‘Gift’ here does not mean that the land was given as a free gift, rather it would have been a sale; also commas were not used in documents at that time and the string of names probably refers to three people Dio ap Griffith (as in the 1540 survey),  Thomas ap Rees vachan (one of half a dozen brothers who were major landholder in Gelligaer) and Thomas ap Llewelen ap Jevan ap M. This deed which is among those in the archive of the Dynevor family, subsequent owners of “Blaenllwynau”, possibly refers to the purchase of the property, although the relationship between the three ‘buyers’ is not known.

The second deed of 1537 is catalogued as

Gift, 1 Dec. 1537      Hy VIII xxix

Jevan Thomas ap Jevan D[avi]d Phi[lip] to Dio Griffith Lle[welyn] Thomas ap Owen and Tho.[?Thomas]

A meadow called Wheyn grone; in lordship of Senghenydd supra, in Gelligaer

[boundary details not extracted];

Examination of the documents shows the boundary details and witnesses as

“in longitude between a place called reydwherne and a place called kay lloyd, in latitude between a place called gweyne ye bryne Kooch and gweyne pen ye g(a?)reg”

Witnesses: Jankyn Lln ap Jankyn, William dd ap Mc/Wm[?] and holl dio griffit and many others

The property here is undoubtedly Wayn Garon (field 1220 in the 1841 tithe schedule) a field on Pen y Garreg farm in Ysgwyddgwyn hamlet which is adjacent to Bryn Coch, and possibly the oldest identifiable field in Gelligaer. What is also of interest is that one of the witnesses was Hoell Dio Griffith. The tenant in the 1540 survey was given as Hoell Dyo and this suggests that he was Dyo Griffith’s son. This deed again illustrates the problem with names with no commas in these old documents. It is known from other documents that Jevan Thomas ap Jevan David Phillip is one person, he owned “Pen-y-garreg” and “Bryn-coch”, but what about Dio Griffith Llen Thomas ap Owen? And if it is two names are they Dio Griffith Llen and Thomas ap Owen or Dio Griffith and Llen Thomas ap Owen?

By the 1570 survey the properties that were to become “Blaenllwynau” and “Garth-gynydd” are recorded as a single item

David Howell Dyo holds a tenement at 24 pence and Gr Dyo land at 33 pence     pays 57 pence

Cymortha:   Griffith Dyo and Howel Dyo    6 pence

It seems likely that David Howell Dyo is a grandson of Dyo Griffith who owned the property 30 years earlier, with Gr Dyo being his uncle. Subsequent information suggests that Griffith Dyo occupied what was to become “Blaenllwynau” whilst David Howell Dyo occupied what was to become “Garth-gynydd”.

A deed of 1581 shows the sale of “Blaenllwynau” to the Prichard family

Bargain and Sale for £20, 10 June 1581;

Jn. Griffith Dyo of Gelligaer, yeoman, to Edward Prychard of Gelligaer, esq.;

A moiety of a messuage, appurtenances and lands in Gelligaer;

Also: Bond in £200 to ensure good title, 10 June 1581; Quitclaim 11 June 1581

‘A moiety’ means half, and in the Manor Survey of 1630 we find there are two entries

Morgan David Powell dio for two tenements pays 24 pence

Thomas Prichard for one tenement late the landes of Griffith Dio now in the tenure of Morgan David and Thomas John Howell pays 33 pence

That part owned by Morgan David Powell Dio is identified as “Garth-gynydd”. Powell is of course ap Howell and Morgan David Howell Dio is no doubt the son of David Howell Dyo and thus the descendant of the 1540 owner Dyo Griffith. The part owned by Thomas Prichard is the property sold by John Griffith Dyo to Edward Prichard – “Blaenllwynau” (for more see under Blaenllwynau).

Morgan David Powell died in early 1641 and left a Will written on the 20th December 1640. He had obviously been a very successful farmer, the inventory of his goods which is attached to his will and was appraised 22nd January 1640/41 shows him as having 40 cows, 21 oxen, 18 young beasts, 10 horses and 390 sheep which is well above the average. From his will we learn that he had three grandchildren Morgan Thomas, William Thomas and Evan Thomas. Morgan Thomas inherited “Garth-gynydd”, although it is evident that, by the marriage settlement of Morgan David’s daughter (whose name is not known) to Thomas William Evan, the farm was settled upon his daughter and her husband for their lives following Morgan David’s death. William Thomas his second grandchild was to get “Lan isaf” which he had recently purchased from Edward Prichard of Llancaiach Fawr, and Evan Thomas his third grandchild is the residuary legatee receiving any goods that have not been previously bequeathed. He also left provision for his wife Jane Morgan

In the 1670 Senghennydd Manor survey the farm is shown as being owned by Morgan Thomas. Prior to that we find the name of Morgan Thomas of Garthgynydd Hamlet paying two shillings in a Tax of 1660, which amount is similar to what other farm owners were paying. In the hearth tax of 1666 the name of Morgan Thomas appears paying for three hearths, more than any one else in Garthgynydd Hamlet. However in the 1671 and 1672 hearth tax list there is no Morgan Thomas, instead we find that a Mary Morgan shown as paying for three hearths. There is a 1668 Will for Morgan Thomas – indicating the data for the 1670 survey must have been collected before the end of 1668.

The Will was written on the 3rd October 1668 with probate being granted on 10th December. It reads as follows:

In the name of god Amen I Morgan Thomas of Kelligare yeoman being sick in body but of sound and perfect memory doe make my present testament. Imprimis I give and bequeath unto my four daughters, tenne oxen and 2 steers equally to be devided between them four daughters Mary, Jane, Elizabeth and Rachgel. Item I give and bequeath unto my aforesaid daughters twelve kine, 6 Calves and 8 heifers of 4 year old to be devided between them as aforesaid. Item I give and bequeath unto my 4 daughters 130 sheep to be equally divided between them. Item I give and bequeath to my nees Mary Evan 1 heyfer of 2 year old. Item I give and bequeath unto my servant Jon David 1 yearling heyfer if he will stay and abide with my children until May next on the same wages that he hath of me. Item I give and bequeath unto my maid servant Anne Morgan 1 yearling heifer if she will stay and abide with my children until May next on the same wages that she hath of me. My Will is that if Any of my 4 Daughters shall happen to miscarry before they attain the adge of 16 years, then I do give her part to the rest to be devided between them. Item I do give and bequeath unto my father Thomas William and my brother William Thomas all my right title and interest in a tenement of land called Tir y vid vedow in the Parish of Bedwelity in county of Monmouth, as my brother Evan Thomas devised it to us to paie certain debts as it soath apeare by the Last Will and Testament of my brother Evan Thomas, and they to make such of it to paie the said debts and to render the overplus to the children of Evan Thomas if any be. I do appoint my brother in Lawe Lewis William to be tutor and guardian to my children. Item I give and bequeath unto my father Thomas William and my brother William Thomas £19/15/6 which is in the hands of William Rees and David Edmond. Item I give and bequeath unto the aforesaid Thomas and William £5 and theirs in trust which is in the hands of Thomas William John of Bedwellty and William Watkin of ye same and Rees Jon Lewis. I give and bequeath unto the aforesaid Thomas and William £5/6/0 which is in the hands of Thomas Lewis of Merthyr. Item I give and bequeath unto the said Thomas and William £4 which is in the hands of Arnold William. Item I give unto the said Thomas and William 40s. which is in the hands of Thomas William my father. My will and meaning is that this severall sums of money before mentioned is that my father Thomas William and William Thomas shall paie them to satisfy the inventori of Evan Thomas and Catrin his wife deceased. Item I give and bequeath unto my broather Elias on ewe and lamb. Item I give and bequeath unto my sister Elnor on ewe and lamb. Item I give and bequeath unto my father Thomas William and William Thomas the sum that falleth to me for the maintenance of Mary Evan for the space of 9 years and upwards to satisfy the inventory of Evan Thomas and Catrin his wife deceased. Item I give and bequeath unto my four daughters Mary, Jane, Elizabeth and Rachaell all my household stuff and implements of husbandry to be equally divided between them according to the discretion of my brother in law Lewis William and my brother William Thomas, the rest of my goods Cattles and Chattells movable and unmovable not given nor bequeathed I give them unto my Daughter Mary upon Condition that she shall maintain       until May next and all that corn and grain that shall remain then shall maintain them. I doe make her to be my sole Executrix of all my goods Cattles and Chattells whatsoever .... this .3rd October 1668”

Witnesses:  Thomas Lewis, Thomas William, William John, Edward Lewis and Rees William Jenkin,

My will and meaning is that all Cattell shall be maintained on the Crop and foder until May next and that all corne and graine shall be towards their maintenance until May.

There is also a list of those who owe him money amounting to £16, and the inventory of his good shows him as having 10 oxen, 12 cows, 20 younger cattle, 4 horses and 130 sheep. Not quite the number his grandfather had, but still a well stocked farm. It can be noted from his Will that his father was still living, and his brother still lived at “Lan isaf”. Morgan Thomas refers to his brother in law Lewis William – from other wills of the family at “Heolddu” it is evident that this is Lewis William of “Heolddu” and that Morgan Thomas’ wife was Alic William from “Heolddu” and that she probably died sometime between 1660 and 1663. His children were still under age at the time of his death and it is uncertain what happened to the farm following Morgan Thomas’ death.

The next reference to the farm comes in the Edward Lewis Charity Will written in 1715, in which he appoints as one of the trustees “Mr. Edmond Llewellin Garthgoned”. Edward died in 1729 but the charity could not be effected till after the death of his mother, who died in 1739. The Will was then challenged by Edward’s cousin Edmund Lewis, Edmund Llewellyn declined to take part and the court allowed him to resign his trusteeship in 1745, so he never actually became a trustee. Meanwhile Edmund Llewellyn is found among the Glamorgan voters from Gelligaer in election lists of 1722, 1734 and 1745. In the Senghennydd Manor rentals from 1757 we find that there are two entries for Garth-gynydd, one of which shows that 24 pence was paid for Garthgynid and another showing 12 pence paid for part of Garthgynid. The 24 pence is the same as the 24 pence paid by Morgan Thomas in 1670, the other 12 pence would appear to have come from what in 1670 was part of “Bedlinog isaf”. This suggests that at some time between 1670 and 1757 an owner of “Garth-gynydd” bought a portion of “Bedlinog isaf” – the boundary between “Garth-gynydd” and “Bedlinog isaf” is the stream Nant Lwynog so there must have been a part of “Bedlinog isaf” to the south of the stream that was incorporated into “Garth-gynydd”.

Exactly who Edmund Llewellyn was is not known. In the 1697 will of a David Lewis of Gelligaer we find that he is owed £46 by an “Edmond Llewelyn of Mynithistloyne”, and it is possible that this is the same Edmund Llewelyn. The 1757 rentals show that he also owned the farms “Dyffrin Rhymney” and “Ty Newydd” in Brithdir Hamlet as well as a part of “Tir Pontlottyn”. “Dyffrin Rhymney” and “Ty Newydd” are the two farms which in 1670 were shown as being owned by Thomas William Evan the father of Morgan Thomas who was then the owner of “Garth-gynydd”.

Some knowledge of Edmund Llewellyn is provided by a witness statement found among various deeds and documents collected by Cardiff City Library. On a small scrap of paper we find the following:

Glamorgan, to wit

The examination of Wenllian Thomas of the parish of Gellygaer in the said county widow voluntary taken before me Thomas Thomas esq one of his majesty’s Justices of the peace for the said county the 16th day of december 1761, who saith upon her corporal oath that her husband William Thomas and his father held & enjoyed a certain tenement of lands in the parish of Kellygare aforesaid from and under David William Lewis deceased, Alice David his daughter and Edmund Lewellin son-in-law of the said David William Lewis for the term of sixty and five years as her said husband told this examinant and that she enjoyed the said tenement with her said husband for seven and twenty years since her intermarriage with him ; and this examinant saith that during all the said term she never heard that any person or persons whatsoever had and[sic] claim or right to the said tenements or any part thereof excepting the said David William Lewis, Alice his daughter and the said Edmund Lewellin; and this examinant further saith that she asked her said husband why a certain piece or close being part of the said tenement was called by the name Porthumresson he answered and said that he did know why but that it was always called by that name        The mark of Wenllian ] Thomas

Examined and sworn before me the day and year abovesaid Thos Thomas

Why this statement was taken is not known but it tells us that Edmund Llewelyn’s wife was Alice David and his Father-in-Law was David William Lewis. As mentioned above Edmund Llewelyn owns a part of “Tir Pontlottyn”. In 1670 this was owned by William Lewis Thomas of “Cefn y Brithdir” and in his Will he leaves it to his son David. His wife Joan Roger makes her Will in 1684 and in it she mentions Alice David. All of which suggests that Edmund Llewellyn’s father-in-law is the David William Lewis who was the third son of William Lewis Thomas of “Cefn y Brithdir”.

The property referred to in the above witness statement can be identified as “Dyffrin Rhymney” and therefore indicates that Edmund Llewelyn owned this property by inheritance through his wife. There is an administration that hints at one possible explanation for this inheritance. That is the 1687 Administration of an Elizabeth Morgan. Administration was granted to “Jane Morgan (the wife of David William) the sister of the deceased”. The names on the administration bond were David William and George William. It is possible that David William Lewis (who had an elder brother called George) was married to Jane Morgan one of the daughters of Morgan Thomas who owned “Garth-gynydd” in 1668. If this were the case then the Properties of Thomas William Evan (“Dyffrin Rhymney” and “Ty Newydd”)  would on his death have passed to his eldest son (i.e. Morgan Thomas), he being deceased the properties would have passed to the latter’s daughters (Mary, Jane, Elizabeth and Rachel). So his daughters would have been the joint owners of  “Garth-gynydd”, “Tir Dyffrin Rhymney” and “Ty Newydd”.  On the death of Elizabeth they would have passed to her sisters. There is no evidence as to the fate of Mary and Rachel, but if the properties had ended up in the ownership of Jane Morgan and she was the wife of David William Lewis, they would then have passed down through Alice David to Edmund Llewelyn. It can also be noted that the name of Morgan Thomas’ wife was Alice. The above is of course merely speculation, there is no real evidence. But if it were true then “Garth-gynydd” would in 1840 have been owned by a descendant of the owner in 1540, the farm would have remained in family ownership for all 300 years.

Edmund Llewelyn wrote his Will in May 1755 and died shortly after, his burial being recorded 26 June 1755. His Will reads as follows:

In the Name of God Amen I Edmond Lewelin of the Parish of Kellygare within the county of Glamorgan and diosess of Landaff, yeoman,being sick in body but of sound and perfect memory thanks be unto the Almighty God, do hereby ordain constitute and appoint this to be my last will and testament utterly revoking all other wills heretofore by me made and confirming this to be my last testament in fform and maner following – viz – first and pricipally I recommend my soul unto the hands of my creator hoping though the meritts and passion of my beloved Redeemer to obtain fforgivness of all my sins As for my body I desire It may be buried in a Christian decent manner at the discretion of my Executor and Executrix herein after named, and Lastly to what worldly estate and goods that God was pleased to bestow upon me I dispose of them in the following manner. First I give devise and bequeath unto my affectionate son David Lewelin one tenement of Land together with all and singular its appurtenances edifices and houses in as large and ample a manner as the same is now and hath heretofore been occupied enjoyed and possessed by David Jenkin or his undertenants, the said tenement lying and being within the Parish of Kellygare aforesaid, all which said premises I give devise and bequeath unto my said son David Lewelin, his heirs Executors Administrators and assigns for ever.

I also give and bequeath unto my said son David Lewelin my long Table with its Member (?) and three Settles thereto belonging - alsoe one Chest in my middle Chamber together with all my Implements of Husbandry And alsoe one Cow which is known amongst my Herd by the Name of Bryinni and alsoe one Mare and one Colt all which are upon the premisses I now live upon. I alsoe give and devise unto Jane Lewelin my Eldest Daughter two ffine sheets and one Course sheet, alsoe four large Veydors (?) and one Tankett all of pewter, alsoe one Cow known amongst my Herd by the Name of Penddu - and I alsoe order my Executor and Executrix herein after Named to pay unto her the sum of Five Pounds within six months after my decease.

I give devise and bequeath unto Alice William my GrandChild one Bedsteed lying in the under Chamber and one Cupperd lying on the floor.

I alsoe give and bequeath unto Lewis William my GrandChild one Cow which is commonly known amongst my Herd by the Name of Cornlase.

I give and bequeath unto my youngest Daughter Alice Lewelin one Brass Posnet and one pare of Hand Irons.

And Lastly I give devise and bequeath all the rest and residue of all my goods Cattle and Chattles Reversion or Reversions Demand or Demands whatsoever that may hereafter or at this present time may be lawfully deemed to be my just due by Bonds notes or any obligations - all which said goods Cattle Chattles and just Demands I give devise and bequeath unto my said son David Lewelin and my Daughter Mary Lewelin to be equally divided amongst them, share and share alike, whom I constitute and appoint to be whole and sole Executor and Executrix joyntly of this my said last Will and Testament. I do alsoe desire and order both the said persons, that is my Executor and Executrix as soon as possible they can to pay my just Debts after my Decease, and to give and render all the small Legacies herein before mentioned unto the persons that they are devised unto within six months after my decease, In Witness whereof I have hereunto put my Hand and Seal this 28 day of May 1755.

 (signed and sealed by Edmund Lewelin)

Witnesses: Morgan Harry, William Morgan, and George Parry.

Will is proved by son David Lewelin March 5 1757

His heir, his eldest son Edmund, was not mentioned in the Will, this is not unusual as he would have inherited as a result of his parents’ marriage settlement. Edmund senior’s daughter Jane does not long survive him her burial being recorded 7 March 1756, his daughter Alice married Edward Lewis of Tairlan, a farm on the Merthyr side of the Taff-Bargoed valley, his daughter Mary’s fate is not known. David Llewelyn’s inheritance was the farm Ty Newydd.

It is interesting to note that one of the witnesses to Edmund senior’s Will is George Parry the local curate, but his son and heir used Hengoed Baptist Chapel. Edmund junior married Mary Edmund in February 1754 and the trustee of his marriage settlement was Lewis James who served as Minister at Hengoed Baptist chapel. Edmund Llewelyn and his wife continued to occupy Garth-gynydd until his death some time in 1775. His death was recorded in the Manor Leet court of May 1775 – death of freeholder Edmund Llewelyn of Gelligaer, Alice Llewelyn his daughter, an infant , in his stead. A payment of 5 shillings would be due to the lord of the manor on his death; infant here means Alice was under 21, not that she was a small child.

On the 7th December 1779 Alice Llewellin married William Williams son and heir of Edmund Williams of  Maesrhyddid in Bedwellty thus adding the 400 acres in Gelligaer to the estate in Bedwellty already owned by that family. From the land tax returns it would appear that the couple lived at Garth-gynydd until the death of Edmund Williams in May 1793, after which they moved to Maesrhyddid. William Williams died in 1807 and his age is given as 61. He was succeeded by his son Edmund Williams who expanded his estate in Gelligaer by purchasing Garn Gethin and the part of Pontlottyn farm that he did not already own. The family, owning well over 500 acres, naturally benefitted greatly from the industrial revolution and the exploitation of coal. The family later built themselves the mansion that is today the Maes Manor hotel.

Meanwhile Garth-gynydd was let. The land tax returns show that from 1793 to the turn of the century the tenant was an Edward William, followed in 1800 by Morgan Richard. From 1801 to 1813 Phillip Rees was the tenant, burial 17 June 1813, followed by Mary Rees (1814-16) and Rees Rees (1817-18) possibly his wife and son, but there are no details of leases available. They were followed by Daniel Llewelin (1819-23) and Daniel Lewis (1821-23). From 1824 to 1831 the tenant is shown as William Lewis and the 1841 census also shows the farm as occupied by a William Lewis who was then about 50 years of age.

The earliest map of the farm comes in the 1841 Tithe map, which shows that the farm was almost exactly 100 acres being about 14 acres arable, 40 acres meadow, 15 acres pasture and 30 acres of woodland. The 22 fields are generally between 1 and 5 acres, the biggest ‘field’ being 16 acres of woodland. The tithe value of the property was £6  37pence.

Data Sources

1527 Deed : Glamorgan Archives Dynevor D/DD 342

1537 Deed : Glamorgan Archives Dynevor D/DD 343

1540 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Archives SC6/HENVIII/7493

1545 Tax : National Archives E179/221/238

1570 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute S1 & S2

1581 Sale/Purchase : Glamorgan Archives Dynevor D/DD 333-336

1630 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute M37/39

1640 Will : National Library of Wales LL/1641/22

1665 Will : National Library of Wales LL/1665/38

1660 Tax : National Archives E179/264/47

1670 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute M37/41 & S11

1666, '71 & '72 Tax : National Archives E179/221/297, 294 & 296

1668 Will : National Library of Wales LL/1668/31

1687 Administration : National Library of Wales LL/1687/32

1729 Will : National Library of Wales LL/1729/109

1757 Will : National Library of Wales LL/1757/38

1747-1840 Senghennydd Manor Rentals : National Library of Wales Bute R6/2-5 & 32

1761 Witness Statement : Glamorgan Archives - Cardiff Library deeds 7104

1763-68 Land Taxes : National Library of Wales Tredegar 85/2230++

1775 Administration : National Library of Wales LL/1775/35

1779 Marriage : National Library of Wales Marriage Bond 57/82

1783-1831 Land Taxes : Glamorgan Archives Q/D/LTA/CAE

1841 Tithe Schedule : Glamorgan Archives P/1/2/13


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