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Cwm (Coomb): A Carmarthenshire House and its Families

By Major Francis Jones, C.V.O., T.D.
Wales Herald Extraordinary

In The Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales, first published in 1872, Dr. Thomas Nicholas permitted himself the following observation concerning a residence in Llangynog, a parish lying southwards of the main highway from Carmarthen to St. Clears: "The mansion of Cwm has a name expressive of its situation, and means a vale or dingle. In obedience to a bad taste it has been disguised into the unmeaning form of Coomb or Coombe - a word belonging to no language, and devoid of the advantage even of prettiness. Local names in Wales have generally a significance and should be respected". With this stricture on a by no means uncommon practice, no self-respecting Welshman can withhold agreement. Even if uneducated, our distant forebears were not illogical, and their choice of place-names was governed by a determination to describe a topographical or other condition in more or less precise terms, so that it is a pity that their descendants should mutilate or transform an inherited name in order to conform to a whim or convention often transitory and inspired by artificial considerations.

There were two mansions in Llangynog, and both suffered change of name. The older, Nantyrhebog, in the northern part of the parish, home of the ancient stock of Protheroe, occurs fairly consistently in legal and official documents from late Tudor times, as Hawksbrook a literal translation of the original name.1 In the other case, the name Cwm, a residence in a beautiful valley in the southern part of Llangynog, was never translated. Lawyers and official scribes, unfamiliar with the native orthography, rendered the name phonetically, so that we have the forms Cwm, Kwm, Come, Coome, Coomb, and Coombe.2 In fact, the result is not at all unpleasing, and neither is it an outrage on the original to which the sound has remained remarkably faithful. So, perhaps, Dr. Nicholas need not have been quite so vinegary in his criticism. In this essay I shall adhere to the original spelling, save when I am quoting from documents where the name is rendered otherwise.

Cwm was a comparatively newcomer among the residences of Carmarthenshire. Until 1679 it had been a farm, and in that year was purchased by Morgan Davies, a younger son of a landowning family, who built a mansion there. This remained in being for over a hundred and eighty years, until it was dismantled, and a second mansion erected. Such it the general outline of Cwm's history which I now propose to examine in more detail.

Davies of Cwm
A family of Cardiganshire origin, the Davieses, traced to the magnate Rhys Chwith, who, according to the genealogists, was an Esquire of the Body to King Edward I. A descendant of that worthy, David ap Rhys Fychan, married Jane daughter of Morgan Herbert of Dolycors in Cwm Ystwyth, and their son Thomas was the first of the family to settle in Carmarthenshire.3 Thomas David or Davies entered Holy Orders and became Vicar of Eglwys Cymun in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. By no means a humble parson "passing rich on 40 a year", Thomas Davies was also the secular lord of the manor of Eglwys Cymin and proprietor of an estate worth 700 per annum, a considerable sum in the values of those times. Traces of the old manorhouse in which he lived can be seen just to the north-east of the parish church: the farm, Manor Court, is about 500 yards to the east. Most likely he acquired the property through his wife Grace, daughter and heiress of a south Pembrokeshire landowner, John Hall of Trewent, by Jane Laugharne of St. Brides whose mother was a Wogan of Wiston. Their descendants continued to marry heiresses, a sure portal to opulence, with the result that they established several influential households in west Wales at Newton and Cwm in Carmarthenshire, at Lanteague, Crunwear, and Nash, in Pembrokeshire.

The parson and his heiress-wife had five children:
1. Henry Davies, see later; 2. Francis Davies of Ludchurch who married Jane daughter of John Griffith of Eastlake in Amroth parish, and had issue; 3. James Davies, instituted as rector of Begelly on 23rd October 1610, and married Frances daughter of Thomas Mores of Hollwell, Oxfordshire, by whom he had issue; 4. Anne, who married Thomas Parry; and 5. Jane, who married Hugh Philipps of Trenewydd in Crunwear parish, and had issue.

The eldest son, Henry Davies of Eglwys Cynnun, married, after 1597, Catherine daughter and coheiress of Rhys Rhydderch of Laugharne an extremely wealthy and powerful landowner, who served as High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1608. Rhydderch, whose younger brother John established the line of Protheroe of Nantyrhebog, was connected with the family of Rhys of Dynevor, both being descended from Sir Elidir Ddu of Crug near Llandeilo. Henry and Catherine had three children : 1. Thomas Davies, see later; 2. Francis Davies who married the sister of Thomas Jones of Penblewin; and 3. Dorothy, who married the Revd. Richard Brookes of Whitchurch in Hampshire, who came to live at Newton in Laugharne parish.4

Henry's eldest son, Thomas Davies, married Elizabeth daughter and coheiress of Nicholas Saunders of Newton, otherwise known as Castle Hill, in the parish of Laugharne.5 The Saunderses had been landowners at Ewell in Surrey, and one of them, Erasmus, settled at Tenby and Pendine as a merchant, and acquired substantial landed properties in those districts. By his wife Jenet Barrett of Tenby, he had a son Nicholas who settled at Newton. When Nicholas Saunders died in 1636, Thomas Davies moved to Newton, which formed part of his wife's inheritance. Elizabeth predeceased her husband, who, about 1683 or shortly after, married Anne widow of John Laugharne of Laugharne. Thomas Davies was buried at Laugharne on 16 May 1687, and Anne on 2 May 1714 at the age of 74. There were six children: 1. Thomas Davies, described as of Grays Inn in 1672, succeeded to Newton, and married Martha daughter and coheiress of Richard Tooth of Hixon in Stowe parish, Staffordshire; their son and heir, Thomas Davies junior, died at Newton in 1741, leaving the estate between his two daughters, (i) Jane who married the Revd Lewis Evans, who settled at Newton, and had three daughters, and a son, Thomas Evans of Newton who in 1763 married Miss Meares of Corston, Pembrokeshire; and (ii) Mary who married at Nash in 1739, Benjamin Rawlin of Carmarthen (later of Cardigan), excise officer, by whom she had nine children. 2. Henry Davies of Cardigan, married and had issue. 3. & 4, Two sons who died young. 5. Morgan Davies, see later. 6. Dorothy who married Devereux Hammond of Tenby.

With the youngest son, Morgan, we arrive at Cwm. He was an attorney-at-law, and lived at Carmarthen for some time, and from the fact that he acquired valuable landed property, it is clear that he was successful in his profession. A successful practice at the law has been responsible for the rise of a number of gentry families in west Wales, and the founder of the family of Davies of Cwm provides us with one such example. He may have been the Morgan Davies, described as of Llangain, who was county Clerk of the Peace, around 1700-1711 and probably later, but the identification is not certain. He followed in the wake of his three immediate forbears by marrying an heiress, a practice that had enabled the family to improve its economic and social position in steady, albeit unspectacular, manner. Morgan married twice. Of his first wife all we know is her name, Dorothy Philipps, and it is not unlikely that she belonged to the family that had poured from its medieval nest at Cilsant to secure vast possessions in west Wales. The union was of short duration, and Morgan then married Elizabeth the other daughter and coheiress of Richard Tooth of Hixon.

Among his earliest deals in real estate was the acquisition of Cwm. On 1 March 1678-9, Lord Vaughan (later, 3rd Earl of Carbery) and Thomas Davies of Newton, sold to Morgan Davies (described in the conveyance as fifth son of the said Thomas Davies) the properties called Cwmme, Penkelly, Berllan, and Llwyn Gwyn, in the parishes of Llangynog and Llanstephan, for the sum of 600.6 Cwm was then an ordinary farmhouse, but in time, Morgan Davies built a residence there the Coomb of later years.

The year 1712 marked another major purchase. Two years previously he had loaned 1000 to Thomas Chetle of Wallhouse, Worcestershire esquire, secured on the manor of Llanllwch and certain other properties in the vicinity. Chetle failed to redeem the mortgage, and on 31 May 1712 he conveyed to Morgan Davies the lordship or manor of Llanllwch, the capital messuage or manorhouse near Llanllwch chapel, parcels of land and meadows called Llanllwch Maes, Mill Park, The King's meadow, the Little Dockett, the Goose Island, Erw Lyb, Brynhill, Park y clyn, seven other closes, and the messuage called Kilvawre (Cillefwr), all in the county of the borough of Carmarthen and Llangunnor parish.7 Among other properties he purchased were two messuages in Llangunnor and Llanfihangel Aberbythych parishes, and a messuage, garden, orchard, malthouse and stable near the Strand in the township of Laugharne. He must have had a good deal of spare cash to buy all these properties, and at the time of his death he held a mortgage of 1600 on the lordship, manor, and lands of Llangain then owned by the widow Margaret Bludworth.

Morgan Davies was closely associated with Carmarthen where he practised as an attorney, and served as Mayor in 1720. His will which describes him as "of Coomb, gentleman", dated 5 December 1727, stipulated that he was to be buried "near the Cross" in the churchyard of Llangynog. He was buried there on 20 April 1728, and his widow on 1 April 1742. He had eight children: 1. a son baptised 25 November 1679, died an infant, the only child by his first wife, Dorothy Philipps. 2. Morgan Davies, baptised 10 July 1697, see later. 3. Richard Davies, baptised 3 August 1698, lived at Carmarthen and was the county Clerk of the Peace; he married Jane daughter and coheiress of Miles Stedman of Dolygaer, Breconshire, and from the union came the Stedman Davies family which ended in daughters. Richard died in 1746, his wife having pre-deceased him by three years. 4. Mary, to whom her father bequeathed 600, married firstly, Rawleigh Mansel (d 1747) son of Sir Edward Mansel of Trimsaran, and had issue; and secondly, in 1749, George Collins of Tenby. 5. Theodosia, baptised at Carmarthen 25 June 1711, to whom her father bequeathed 500, married John Laugharne of Laugharne, by whom she had issue; her will was proved in 1787. 6. Martha, baptised at Carmarthen 19 February 1696-7, married firstly David Edwardes of Rhydygors (will proved 1734), and secondly John Lewis of Llwynfortun and Hengil (later of Llantilio Crossenny, Mon) who died in 1778; Martha had no issue, and administration of her goods was granted on 2 May 1745. 7. Elizabeth, baptised at Carmarthen in 1703, married at Llangynog in 1727, William Williams, attorney at law, of Ivy Tower, near Tenby; she died on 13 March 1759, aged 55, and was buried at St. Florence; they had several children. 8. Alice, baptised in 1707.

Morgan Davies, the eldest surviving son, matriculated at Jesus College, Oxford, on 27 June 1712, aged 14. He took an active part in public life, was elected a Common Councilman of Carmarthen on 29 May 1731, became a Justice of the Peace, and served as High Sheriff of the county in 1734. He married, before 1727, Mary, widow of Thomas Lloyd of Grove, Pembrokeshire, being daughter and coheiress of Arthur Gwynn of Piode, Llandybie, by Elizabeth Brigstocke his wife. This union brought him part of the Gwynn estate, and he also enjoyed Grove in right of his wife. Mary died on 29 January 1752, aged 70. According to the notebook kept by Benjamin Rawlin, Morgan married on 24 May 1751, as his second wife, Sarah daughter of William Lloyd of Laques near Llanstephan. He died in Carmarthen on 7 July 1754, and his will, dated 23 May 1753, was proved in PCC in the following year. Morgan Davies had three children by Mary his wife: 1. Gwynn Davies, see later. 2. Mary, who married in 1754 Nathaniel Morgan, Town Clerk of Carmarthen and Diocesan Registrar, and had issue, and 3. Dorothy.

Gwynn Davies of Cwm married first his first-cousin Martha youngest daughter of John Laugharne by Theodosia (Davies) his wife. He died comparatively young, on 27 November 1767. His widow married as her second husband, another kinsman, William Laugharne. She died on 17 June 1790, aged 60. Gwynn and Martha Davies had two children: 1. Morgan Gwynne Davies, see later, and 2. William Lloyd Davies, a captain in the 38th Regiment of Foot, alive in 1792, and apparently died without issue.

Morgan Gwynne Davies was the last of the family at Cwm. Nothing is known of his younger days, habits, or general behaviour, but one thing is certain, namely his fall into a morass of debt, from which, despite his efforts and those of his friends, he failed to extricate himself, so that the estate amassed by his forbears came under the hammer of Masters in Chancery.

M. G. Davies broke the entail of the estate by normal legal procedure in 1775. He had already contracted debts, he was well in the mire in 1780, and in February of that year conveyed part of the estate to trustees who were to raise money to meet the demands of creditors, several of whom were Carmarthen tradesmen. However, by 1783 and unknown to the trustees, he had contracted further debts. Accordingly, the creditors instituted a suit in the High Court of Chancery in order to recover their money. On 6 December 1790 the Court issued a decree to the effect that part of the realty should be sold to provide money to pay debts, and that any overplus be paid into the Bank of England in the name of the Accountant General. As a result of further manouvres, and assisted by Messrs Morris the Carmarthen bankers, the sum of 14,000 was raised to meet the demands and charged as a mortgage on the estates, with a proviso of redemption. In the event, the sale authorised by the decree of 1790 did not take place.

Despite this temporary relief, matters did not improve. In fact M. G. Davies continued to increase his liabilities with the result that in 1799 he was arrested and thrown into Carmarthen gaol where he spent nearly two years. This led to no improvement in his affairs, and by 1801 fifty-five creditors were clamouring for their dues. Accordingly, the prisoner's realty in Carmarthenshire was assigned in trust to Messers William and Thomas Morris, bankers, for the benefit of the creditors, the decree of 1790 was invoked, and on 7 September 1801 twenty properties were sold by public auction at the Boars Head Inn, Carmarthen. The total sum from the sales amounted to 31,977. One of the lots comprised the mansion and demesne of Cwm, which was knocked down to Henry Protheroe, esquire, for 5,820. Davies was not satisfied with the price for Cwm, and applied to the Court of Chancery to re-open the sale. The Court allowed the application, and in 1802, it was bought in by applicant himself, for 6,500, which sum was secured by a further mortgage on an already heavily encumbered estate. In the final event, the total monies from the sales amounted to 33,320, which more than covered the liabilities. However, further debts were incurred, particularly legal costs owed to local solicitors, and interest to the Carmarthen bankers who had tried to assist the unfortunate man.

Messers Morris had paid most of the debts on behalf of M.G. Davies who remained indebted to them in the sum of 14,890. Finally it was decided that Cwm and its demesne, which had been saved through the resale in 1802, had to go. The resale had been a mere respite for Davies had failed to complete the purchase. The last ditch had been reached. On 29 June 1805, the luckless squire, entered into agreement to sell to William and Thomas Morris, the capital mansion house and demesne of Cwm, together with the woodland, mill, smith shop, and other buildings thereto belonging, and also the messuage called Castle Kunnock (Castell Cynog) : the Morrises, on their part were to relinquish Llwyn Gwyn and Berllan in Llanstephan parish, which they had purchased under the Chancery decree, and, further, agreed to pay 2,100 (the price of the two said farms) to John Brown of Carmarthen, solicitor for the debtor, as well as a further 2,000 to the debtor himself. The final conveyance was made in 1806, and Cwm and its demesne passed to the banker brothers. Some of the outlying parts of the estate were sold later, such as on 27 February 1807, when M. G. Davies and his children conveyed a property they owned at Colebatch near Bishops Castle, Salop, to the Morris brothers for 4,000. Parts of the estate, all mortgaged, remained in the family for a few more years, but in 1811 these were sold by M. G. Davies's son.

It is a sad story. In 1806, following the sale of his old home, M. G. Davies moved to a property he owned in the northwestern part of Llangynog parish. This was Tyr Eglwys, which he re-named Cowin Grove, by which it continues to be known to this day. The difficulties continued after his death, and his children instituted suits in Chancery against the Morris brothers but this did not bring any comfort for them.

Morgan Gwynne Davies married twice. Of his first wife, whom he married before August 1775, we know nothing apart from her name, Mary. She is described in various legal documents as the mother of his first four children. His second wife was Charlotte daughter of Richard le Davids of Pibwrwen by Anna Maria Charlotte daughter of Jeremiah Lloyd of Glangwili, by whom he appears to have had an only daughter. He died at Cowin Grove, probably late in 1810. The widow Charlotte was still alive in 1822. His children were as follows: 1. William Gwynne Davies, born in 1775, see later. 2. Morgan Davies, who died young, in or before 1806. 3. Mary, who married between 1801 and 1804, Thomas Edmunds of Cowbridge, Glamorgan, esquire. 4. Lydia who went to live with her sister at Cowbridge. 5. Dorothy (by the second wife); the Cambrian newspaper for 24 September 1825 reported the marriage at Abergwili church, of "Dorothy third daughter of the late Morgan Gwynne Davies, Esq, of Cwm" to William Mathias of Haverfordwest, esquire.

The eldest son, William Gwynne Davies, entered the Church, and was vicar of Laugharne 1800-1806, of Llangathen 1801 to 1816, and of St. Ishmaels 1813-1816. He was admitted a burgess of Carmarthen on 17 September 1804. He lived for some time at the little mansion of Wenallt near Bancyfelin, and after his father's death, at Cowin Grove. He died unmarried on 4 July 1816. And so the family of Davies ended in Carmarthenshire as it had begun with a parson.

The armorial bearings of the family argent three bull's heads couped affrontee sable, armed or, occur as the first of the seventeen quarters in a great heraldic shield painted for Morgan Davies on an old parchment which Alcwyn Evans, the Carmarthen antiquary, once saw at Cwm. These arms occur on a seal of Morgan Davies to a deed dated 23 June 1752, the crest being a greyhound sejant;8 and they still adorn the monument in Nash church to Thomas Davies' who died on 24 April 1741.

The Morrises
As we have seen, Cwm passed to William and Thomas Morris the Carmarthen bankers. According to Herbert M. Vaughan (whose mother was a Morris)10 the family had lived for many generations in the parish of Llanstephan "wherein they seem to have owned the status of yeomen". The key figure was undoubtedly David, son of David and Sarah Morris of Ferry near Llanstephan, and baptised in the parish church on 6 April 1746. While still under age, David, with his mother's consent,11 married a widow some fifteen years his senior, namely Jane Harry, relict of one David Morley of Ffynnonddrain in Newchurch parish. The wedding took place at the bride's parish church on 29 June 1766.

David and Jane Morris became concerned in the retail trade in Dark Gate, Carmarthen. As a result of the ability and undoubted energy of young David Morris, seconded by a capable and industrious wife, their affairs prospered. They were highly thought of throughout the borough and his reputation and business grew apace. Other people in a more exalted position had their eye on him, and "in April 1787 David Morris became Agent for Sir Herbert Mackworth and others who had opened a banking house at Carmarthen."12

It was a case of "opportunity knocks", and from that day David Morris never looked back. He did not remain long in the comparatively subordinate position of agent, and in a deed of 25 December 1787 he is described as "of the county of the borough of Carmarthen, banker";13 while on 10 March 1788 Mrs. Anne Philipps of Cwmgwili informed her husband John George Philipps, M.P., that "Morris is to begin on the Bank next Monday".14 These references show that he was engaged in banking in 1787-88, and it is likely that Mrs. Philipps's remark meant to convey that he was opening up on his own account.

The late Francis Green who had made a study of early banks in west Wales, states that one had been established in Carmarthen by David Parry, which was taken over by David Morris in 1791, and adds that Morris "probably" acquired the Carmarthen Furnace Bank as well.15 The business was carried on under the style of "David Morris & Sons", later to be called the "Carmarthen Bank". This shows that within a few years David Morris had become a major figure in the financial affairs of Carmarthenshire.

The enterprise is one of Carmarthen's success stories. David Morris's first banking premises was in Dark Gate, and as the business expanded, he moved to a larger house in King Street, and finally to Spilman Street, where the bank continued to operate until it was sold by his descendants to the National Provincial Bank in 1871. Father and sons enjoyed a reputation for reliability, their bank was heavily patronised by the landed gentry, professional men (particularly solicitors), and by people engaged in local trade and industry. The business had flourished right from the beginning, and as David Morris, and his sons after him, put their profits into real estate, they amassed a considerable property. It was certainly the most successful private bank in west Wales.

The founder of the family's fortunes died suddenly on 5 September 1805, aged 59, while on a visit to Swansea, and was buried at St Mary's church in that town. His wife had predeceased him on 23 February 1804 in her 74th year.

The two sons, Thomas and William, now conducted the bank's affairs. The former also took part in public life, and was High Sheriff of the county in 1834.16 By his wife, Maria Thornton, he had seven children. The latter died in 1810 at the comparatively early age of 43, leaving, among other children, an extremely able son, David Morris, M.P. for Carmarthen from 1837 until his death in 1864. This David Morris left an immense fortune, over 240,000 in cash, besides landed property of 5000 acres, which he bequeathed to his two cousins Thomas Charles Morris and William Morris (sons of the High Sheriff of 1834).

The fortunate brothers settled in country houses of their own building. In 1848 Thomas Charles Morris bought a property in the parish of Abergwili called Penybanc, a former seat of an old county family. The earlier buildings were completely demolished, and on the site arose a mansion completed in 1858 according to Mr. Vaughan on which the name Bryn Myrddin was bestowed. Standing high on a hill-slope with splendid views over the Towy valley and the highlands beyond, Bryn Myrddin is an attractive residence, planned and built in excellent taste, and in harmony with the style of the traditional Carmarthenshire country houses. The builder's grandson, Mr. R. E. C. Morris has converted it into six commodious flats, one of which he and his hospitable family still occupy.

With T. C. Morris's younger brother, William, we re-enter the demesne of neglected Cwm. He had a distinguished public career Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, High Sheriff in 1858, and from 1864 to 1868 Member of Parliament for Carmarthen and Llanelli Boroughs. In 1864 he inherited Cwm, and, says his kinsman Mr. Vaughan, "there he built a large mansion on the site of the original small house". This was between 1864 and 1870. Unlike Bryn Myrddin, it displays more of the "Victorian gothic" characteristics, but is commodious and well-built. William Morris died there on 25 February 1877, and the house was eventually sold, in 1941, by his grand-daughter Lady Kylsant.

Later, a committee was formed to convert the house into a "Cheshire Home", and it was officially opened as such on 8 June 1961.

The Old House of Cwm
Of the first mansion at Cwm, little remains to guide us as to what its original state may have been. Fortunately, from "the oracular archives and the parchment" (to quote from one of Dylan's sonnets), we are able to retrieve sufficient evidence to provide us with some idea of the general outline of the vanished dwelling.

Prior to 1679, when it was bought by Morgan Davies, Cwm had been a ordinary farmhouse. The building of the mansion took place after that date, and before 1727, the year of Morgan's death. It is marked as a gentleman's residence on Thomas Kitchin's mid-eighteenth century map of Carmarthenshire.

We are enabled to form a better idea of its size and appointments from an inventory of the goods and chattels at Cwm, formerly belonging to Gwynn Davies, deceased, and compiled on 10 December 1767. The inventory provides us with the number of rooms in the house, their use, their contents together with their valuation for probate, and so we can gain a general idea of the size of Cwm and the style and manner in which the family lived.

Home The 1767 Inventory (printed as Appendix A) shows that Cwm consisted of a ground floor and a first storey with garrets above. The ground floor consisted of the Long Parlour, Best Parlour, Little Parlour, Hall, Study, Butler's Pantry, Servants' Hall, Kitchen, Pantry, Laundry, Dairy, Brewing Kitchen, Malt House, and Cellar. The first storey consisted of Dressing Room, new best bed chamber, Gallery, old best (bed) room, Bedchamber over the Servant's Hall, Bedchamber over the Kitchen, old bedchamber over the Long Parlour, bedchamber over the Laundry, Housekeeper's Chamber, Star Chamber, Lumber Room, Chamber over the New Parlour, the Upper Gallery, The Green Room Chamber, The Maiden Room, and Nursery. The Coachhouse, clearly detached, is also mentioned. It is possible that the brewing kitchen and malt-house, may also have been detached, but I have seen several instances where such rooms formed part of the domestic quarters, usually in a wing or in the rear of the main building.

Thus it is clear that Cwm consisted of at least twenty-nine rooms of all kinds, and so could be included among the larger country houses of eighteenth-century Carmarthenshire. I have examined dozens of inventories of country houses in west Wales, and Cwm may be accepted as typical, both as to the number of rooms and their contents. Of course we are unable to judge the size of the rooms, and I am inclined to think that, with one or two exceptions, they were not large, although the list of contents suggest that some were fairly commodious.

For instance, the Long Parlour must have been pretty big, for it contained a large round mahogany dining table, an oval mahogany dining table, a square mahogany dining table, ten mahogany chairs, and two elbow chairs, in addition to a great deal of china which must have been kept either in wall-cupboards or on sideboards. However sideboards are not specified in the inventory. Judging from their contents the other reception rooms were also fairly large.

In the house were thirty-one tables of all sizes, sixty-two chairs, and twelve bedsteads; while the furniture, a great deal of which was mahogany and some Chippendale, the carpets, pictures, maps, books, clocks (including an "alarm" clock), chinaware, and particularly the amount of silver plate (685 ounces), indicate that the family enjoyed a degree of luxury. From the descriptions "new best bed chamber" and the "new parlour", it is clear that certain recent additions or changes had been made.

Nothing in the inventory indicates the style of architecture. However, an undated plan17 made by a Mr. Wilson of "the Demesne of Coombe" for Morgan Davies (who died in 1754), contains a small sketch of the house which shows it to have been L-shaped and of one storey. I believe that this sketch was meant to represent the actual house, rather than being merely a conventional drawing. No separate outbuildings are shown, but a detailed terrier of the estate made in 1808 for the Morris brothers by the surveyor Richard Jones of Pantirion, includes eight outhouses in the vicinity of the mansion, set in a demesne of 386 acres.

When Cwm was advertised for sale in 1802, the notice contained this description : "The House consists of Breakfast Parlour, Dining Room, Drawing Room, Study, Kitchen, Servants' Hall, Butler's Pantry, and Laundry. Eight Bedchambers on the First Story, with convenient Garrets"; the outbuildings consisted of two stables, coach house, brewhouse, dairy, malt-house, and there were two extensive walled gardens well stocked with fruit trees.

After the sale in 1805-6, the fallen squire left the ancestral home which seems to have remained empty for some time afterwards. In 1810, his son, the Revd William Gwynne Davies, wrote to Thomas Morris : "I went over to Coomb last week. The house and all around it are much out of order". The new owners never went to live there, and after William Morris inherited it in 1864, the building was pulled down, and a grander residence arose, which became the home of his descendants.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I an old, old, Welsh soldier who had fought in the wars in France, spent some of the evening of his life writing down traditions and legends he had heard from the lips of his long dead forebears. He wrote about a warlock who had made strange prophesies, some of which had become true in the veteran's lifetime. The warlock had described the families of west Wales, saying that their descendants would be like bubbles rising and falling in a boiling cauldron, and "when some fell others would arise, and so on until Judgement Day". And such is the tale of Cwm the rise and fall of one family, the rise of another. The water in the cauldron is never still, there is no permanence in the worldly affairs of man, and nothing is more unchanging than change.
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