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Before It's Forgotten

Hoard of Shoes
The appeals by The Carmarthenshire Historian for information about interesting by-gones reminds me that the Dryslwyn toll-house and the smithy some distance away still stand, although they are now barely recognisable.

I dismantled the heavy tripod on the pine end of The Old Gate and the heavy bolt-holder from the wall. Unfortuately, after they were put aside, they were stolen and have never been seen since.

At the old forge, Glanyrwyth, I dismantled the forge fireplace and converted the smithy into a cowshed. Cutting a trench through the garden for water pipes, I came across a mass of small pieces of iron. I had to ask my father, who was a slater and plasterer on the Cawdor estate from 1880 to 1930, what they were. He told me they were cattle shoe tips. As far as I know they are there now, about two feet down in the trench.

The Old Forge is about half a mile further along towards Llandeilo from the toll-house.

Tynewydd, Llanarthney.

School is Ysgol
Among the Carmarthenshire dame-schools of a century ago was one at Tanylan in the Llyn Lech Owen district. The approximate date of its opening can be established by reference to the fact that the late John Griffiths, Bwlch, Maesybont, who was born in December 1853, first went to school at Tanylan when he was six years old.

John Griffiths was amongst the first batch of pupils. There were many houses in that part then, among them being Ty'r Gwyddel, Dyllcoed Ganol and Parc-y-chwigen, the whole being known as Pentre Walis. The ruins may still be seen.

The school was run by Keziah Davies, widow of an army sergeant. For a modest weekly fee, occasionally supplemented with milk or other farm produce, the pupils were taught to read and write. Many went to no other school and spoke with affection of Ysgol Cesha.

Today we hear much about bilingual education ; it was in use a hundred years ago, but then the children were mostly monoglot Welsh. All new entrants to Ysgol Cesha were required to learn the following rhyme: Cream is hufen and milk is Ilacth, Maid is morwyn and seven is saith, Afon is river and brook is nant, Ugain is twenty and hundred is cant.

The school at Tanylan—the house is still there and occupied—continued to function for nearly twenty years, but ceased when a Board 'School was built at Maesybont in 1878.

W. L. HARRIS, Glasbant, Gorslas.

An Ancient Tale
In one of the tales of the Mabinogion, Cilhwch and Olwen, we read that King Arthur, in chasing the boar (Twrch Trwyth) from Ireland, crossed the mouth of the Towy and then turned inland; in Glyn Ystun he lost trace of the boar and had to halt.

Now there is even today an ancient homestead called Glyn Ystun; it stands above Rhyd-y-cerrig, which was the old crossing of the Gwendraeth Fawr a little way below Cwmmawr Bridge, or Pontyfelin as it was formerly known. Dr. William Rees, in his maps contained in South Wales and the March in the Middle Ages, marks (with a question mark after it) the district from Pontyberem to Drefach as Fforest Glyn Ystun.

Can it be that the monk who copied ancient tales and added local names for verisimilitude was familiar with this area? Be that as it may, I think efforts should be made to preserve the association of this area with the tale in the Mabinogion.

From notes left by the late D. J. PRICE, M.A.,
Mountain Ash.

Political and Religious Cockpit
The pictures on pages 88 and 89 show Dark Gate and the southern end of Red Street, which are scheduled for demolition before the end of the year to make way for the first stage of the redevelopment of this part of Carmarthen's town centre.

At Dark Gate was situated one of the five town gates. The gate was taken down in 1796, during which year John Wilson was 'prosecuted for removing the houses in Dark-gate'. In 1857, the foundations were laid open and removed during the work of draining the town.

It is recorded that in July 1854 terrific thunderstorms and prodigious rain visited Carmarthen. Cellars were flooded in Red Street, a piano was floated in a house in the Dark-gate, and iron kettles from a shop there were washed down Blue Street'.

The area was an electioneering cockpit in the eighteenth century, when there were violent clashes between The Reds (Tories) and The Blues (Whigs), hence the street names. The parliamentary election of 1741 was accompanied by Whig and Tory riots, during which there was some shooting and 'cut and slash in Dark Gate'.

The streets have long accommodated shops, which have been vacated one by one in recent years in anticipation of redevelopment. At the corner is Owen Jones and Sons (footwear), which was previously W. H. Smith and Sons (stationers), preceded by Job (draper). Next door in Red Street is Guildhall Stores (Chapman, electrical goods), which had been the last surviving dwelling in the two rows, and beyond is Stanley Pearce (fish, fruit and vegetables), formerly John Joshua (general stores).

Next along in Dark Gate is T. Lloyd (butcher), followed by Kong Nam (restaurant), at one time Lloyd and Jones (sweets and fruit), succeeded by Carmarthen Fruit Company and later by Waddington (music) and Nebel (ladies' hairdresser). Next is J. Colby Evans (ironmonger), followed by Heddon (tobacco and fancy goods) at the junction with Shaw's Lane. This latter was formerly a baby-linen shop kept by Miss King, who succeeded Miss Davies.

Also to disappear is the building accommodating the Youth Employment Bureau, which is set back on the north side of Stanley Pearce's shop in Red Street.

Previously the premises of a monumental mason, the building is really the 'Old Chapel of the Dark Gate', which was a centre of much importance for Dissenters from 1786 until about 1820. The Baptists met there from 1786 to 1811 and it was the venue of important conferences concerning Calvinism and Arminianism — grave theological questions in those stormy days of religious controversy. Titus Lewis ministered there and after the Baptists moved to the Tabernacle in Waterloo Terrace in 1812 it was used by the Unitarians. Behind this building is Whitland Villa, latterly occupied by Pritchard and Pritchard (accountants).

Most of the shops are now dilapidated and removal of an eyesore will not he regretted, but demolition will eliminate quaint roofscapes which have long been familiar.

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