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Life in Seventeenth Century Carmarthenshire

Keeper of Printed Books, National Library of Wales

In the seventeenth century and the greater part of the eighteenth the livelihood of the overwhelming majority of the population of Carmarthenshire depended almost exclusively on arable or pastoral farming and their several subsidiary occupations. Most families lived on what they grew and made for themselves, and on what they could find and recover in the form of 'trifles of the countryside', i.e. the fruit on the trees, vegetables in the garden, berries on the hedgerows, rabbits on the Common etc. Their tools and implements as well as their household furniture were made to serve several generations of the same family; even their houses and cottages were, in a sense, a part of their agricultural equipment, for they were not only lived and slept in, but were also used for carrying out tasks ancillary to agriculture and animal husbandry.

Three centuries ago the inhabitants of the Welsh countryside were also dependent on favourable climatic conditions, and were in consequence for ever conscious of the long-term effects of adverse or abnormal weather conditions. For as Thomas Fuller once remarked, 'Tis not the husbandman, but the good weather, that makes the corn grow'. A late harvest, a single crop failure, or an outbreak of disease amongst the livestock were all factors which could affect adversely the husbandman's economic welfare for several years, and it was during such periods of adversity that the peasant farmer and his family flexed every muscle and exploited evey subsidiary occupation, such as spinning, weaving and stocking-knitting, in order to make both ends meet. In such circumstances, the family unit was the essential basis of the rural economy. Indeed it may be said that no other institution has had a greater influence on the social and economic history of Wales. The stability of Welsh society had for centuries rested heavily on the closely knit family ties that characterised Welsh life in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The uncertainties that attended life in a pastoral-agricultural economy left people with little time for leisure — in the sense we know it today; for the line between economic survival and disaster was very slender. So that even when the outdoor work did not occupy the peasant farmer and his family, they were still kept together in their homesteads applying themselves diligently to domestic work such as we have already mentioned — spinning, weaving, knitting etc. Economic necessity was certainly a factor that preserved the unity of the family.

The real concern of ordinary people to preserve their family bonds even after death was sometimes reflected in their wills, their final and solemn declarations. For instance in the will of Elizabeth Browne, a widow of Carmarthen who died in 1685, she desired that she be buried 'in the grave where my sonne Samuel Browne was buried in the chancell of the parish church of Llangadock Fawr, in case it shall please God I shall die in Wales, or, in the grave where my son Thomas Browne was buried in the churchyard of the parish church of St. Anne's-in-the-field in the County of Middlesex, between the two green trees next to the gate of the same churchyard, in case I shall die at or near London . . .' The close links that existed between members of the same family helped to maintain some degree of social discipline and quite often the wills of the period were the means through which such discipline was exercised. Rowland Rees, a yeoman of Llanstephan, who died in 1699 bequeathed to one of his several sons, Samuel Rowlands, the sum of £20 of good English money upon the condition that he would accept and comply 'with ye counsel of my sons Griffith, William and John Rowlands, touching his way of living and marriage settlement in the world, but in case of refractoriness and disobedience to the aforesaid Councellors' the testator declared that 'I do give and bequeath unto my said son Samuel ye sum of £10'.

In a pre-industrial society, therefore, the family unit was of paramount importance, not only as a dominant economic group but also as a social group ensuring the care of the young, the old, and the continuity of the group.

Social Structure
Broadly speaking the population was made up of the landed gentry, free-holders, tenant-farmers and farm labourers, the rural craftsmen, tradesmen, merchants and mariners. It should be added, however, that the church, as represented by the clergy, played an important part in the rural economy of the day by virtue of its ownership of land, including glebe, tithes etc. There was of course a wide gulf separating the landlords and gentry from the peasant farmers and stock breeders; it was a gulf created and perpetuated principally by the prevailing system of landownership.

In order to have a clearer picture of the community we are discussing we should enquire at this point into the size of the population of the county in the seventeenth century. From various estimates based on official tax returns it would appear that there were some 30,000 to 35,000 persons living in Carmarthenshire during the last quarter of the 17th century, that is to say, about a sixth of the present population total. In the borough of Carmarthen itself, there were probably about 1000 souls occupying about 220 houses. In Cydweli, by comparison, there were roughly 500 persons occupying some 120 houses, while Llanstephan had a population of around 250 dwelling in 62 houses. The county therefore had a population density of roughly 1 person to every 14 acres.

The following table illustrates the kind of distribution of the size of houses in the several Carmarthenshire towns and townships in 1676. It should be noted that there is a positive correlation between the number of hearths and the size of houses.

Towns No. of households HEARTHS
Carmarthen 220— 84 57 37 16 14 10 2 3 3 2
Cilrhedyn 27— 23 — 3 — 1 — — — — —
Cydweli 81— 70 — 6 2 — — 1 1 — lb
Llanarthney 91— 81 1 4 2 1 1 — — — 1
Llanelli 188— 164 — 12 4 1 1 — — — 6a
Llangadog (Town) 72— 62e — 5 4 — — — 1d — —
Llangeler 51— 45 4 — 1 — — 1 — — —
Llangyndeyrn 102— 78 — 6 3 1 3 — — 9 le
Llannon 124— 117 — 5 1 — 1 — — — —

a. Henry Mansell—possessed 15; Henry Vaughan—possessed 12.
b. Henry Mansell—possessd 18.
c. Richard Vaughan—possessed 10.
d. Thomas Lloyd of Llansevin was the possessor.
e. 40 under value and poore.

It will be seen that in Carmarthen, for example, out of approximately 220 households 84 had only one hearth, 57 had two hearths, 16 had four hearths, 14 had five hearths, 10 had six hearths, while only 2 households had 7 hearths, 3 households had eight and nine hearths each, and only two households had ten hearths and more. In Cydweli, out of 81 households only one had ten hearths and over, namely, Henry Mansell who had eighteen hearths. Again in Llanelli, out of 188 households only six had ten hearths and over and these included the households of Henry Mansell and Henry Vaughan who possessed fifteen and twelve hearths respectively.

It has been established that in general the number of hearths in a person's possession was a measure not only of the size of his house but also the size of personal estate, for there was, in short, a positive correlation between the size of a person's house or residence and the total value of his material wealth. The above table, therefore, illustrates in part the broad-based triangular character of the social structure in the several Carmarthenshire towns noted — the base comprising those householders possessing one to three hearths, while the apex of the triangle would represent those possessing ten hearths and above. It is in this class of householder that we can trace those families who for centuries had ruled the county in almost every aspect of its economic, social and cultural life.

From the information contained in the Hearth Tax returns for the county in 1670, about 20 per cent of the population might have been classified as paupers on the grounds that they were regarded as being unable to pay the hearth tax amounting to one shilling payable half-yearly on each hearth in a person's possession. There was also another category of poor persons, namely, those who were in receipt of 'constant alms' and who were on that account not always accounted for in the tax lists. Taking a general view of the structure of society in Carmarthenshire as reflected in the hearth tax returns we may argue that between 25 and 30 per cent of the population were "poor", and had no legal access to the land except by selling their labour. About 60-70 percent of the population comprised the yeomen, free holders, tenant farmers, craftsmen, tradesmen, etc. The county and local gentry made up about 1-2 per cent of the population and by virtue of their ownership of the land controlled access to it; they dominated almost every aspect of economic and social life, and more especially, the political life of the community.

The Carmarthenshire gentry were not, comparatively speaking, of the 'first order'. Some held extensive areas of land but from the standpoint of annual revenues, they fell far short of their English counterparts. When James I offered baronetcies to 'all persons of good repute, whether knights or squires, who possessed lands worth £1000 a year' of the thirty-seven Welsh baronets who eventually received the honour, only five were Carmarthenshire landlords. As Sir John Edward Lloyd put it: 'This suggests that the majority of them were relatively well-to-do people whose income from lands would vary between £500 and £1000 annually.' Nevertheless, although they constituted but a minute proportion of the total population, they ruled the community whose members accepted their role 'as a natural course ordained by a benign Providence, buttressed by the church and confirmed by the secular power'.

The Poor
Perhaps in these days when the State provides for the welfare of the needy under the aegis of so-called 'Social Security' it might be salutary to consider the condition of the poor classes in Carmarthenshire in the seventeenth century. Jeremy Bentham (1748—1832), who advocated as a guiding principle of ethics 'the greatest happiness of the greatest number', held that the establishment of equality is a chimera; the only thing that can be done is to diminish inequality. There was certainly a considerable degree of inequality in rural Wales during the period under discussion and this rose mainly from the gross inequalities that prevailed in the ownership of land, These circumstances gave rise to a society in which about one person in every four of the population was classified as poor. Although contemporary society accepted this there was, nevertheless, a fairly extensive voluntary charitable effort which aimed at diminishing local poverty, or at least, alleviating it.

Perhaps it is not altogether a strange phenomenon that a person's last will and testament should reveal his deepest anxieties about his affairs in this world and in the hereafter. Seventeenth century wills are particularly enlightening in this respect and go to show that 'the poor' were almost invariably provided for even by testators of modest means. Most wills began with an eloquent confession of the testator's faith, confessing his sin and confirming his confidence in the mercy of God at the 'Great Day of Judgement'. The two initial bequests would then be toward the reparation of the Parish or Cathedral Church, and the poor. For instance, David Edward (d. 1602) of Carmarthen, bequeathed 'to the reparation of the Cathedral Church of St. David's — 4d; to the reparation of the parish church of Carmarthen — 6s 8d' and 'to the poor people of Carmarthen — 5s 0d'. Similarly, Atwell Taylor (d. 1640), a mercer of the town of Carmarthen, bequeathed 'to the Cathedral Church of St. David's — 4d' and 'to the poor of Carmarthen 20 shillings [100 pence] to be distributed according to the customs of the same place'. Again, in the parish of Llanstephan, Francis Lloyd, who died in 1642, bequeathed 12 pence to the Cathedral Church of St. David's and 10 shillings 'to the poor of the parish'. Similar examples could be cited many times over from the various parishes of Carmarthenshire and they would confirm that in common with the rest of the country in the seventeenth century there was in the county a 'social conscience' compelling, not only well-to-do, but in fact all classes to help alleviate the extreme poverty and sometimes destitution that were present in their midst.

Some unmistakable clues to the degree of poverty that prevailed in certain areas of Carmarthenshire are to be found in the inventories which accompany some of the contemporary wills. For example, we find that a certain Richard Thomas (d. 1602) of Llandingad was indebted to Ralph Gibbon of the same parish in respect of the following items: 'For meate and drink — 2s 4d; for a kerchief borrowed — 8d; and his quilt cap which he had pawned for 8d'. When Rees Liewelyn of Cydweli died in 1600 he bequeathed to his son 'my brass pan now in mortgage of 27s 4d with Morris Thomas, to be redeemed by my son'. Owen Morgan of Llandilo Fawr, who died in 1601, bequeathed to his nephew 'one candlestick and one pan now in my hand in pawn of 12s 4d'. Other examples could be quoted time and again, thus showing the simple ways of a rural economy which was gradually becoming dependent on a 'cash nexus', that is to say, on the growing necessity of having to find and use ready cash as a medium of exchange in the local fairs, markets, shops, and in the payment of rents to the landlords.

Despite the provision made to lighten the burden of the poor through voluntary charitable efforts, the fact remains that strong family ties and the deep concern that members of a family had for the welfare of each other were a major contribution in providing relief for many of those in need, and to that extent local 'poverty' as a social problem was somewhat disguised.

Maritime Trade
It is difficult for us who live in the second half of the twentieth century to imagine what life must have been like in rural Wales some three centuries ago when the network of roads was perhaps little better than it had been in Roman times. As early as 1547 a Carmarthenshire will contains a provision that 20 shillings 'be bestowed upon the highways between Llanstephan and Carmarthen where need doth require'. Two centuries later in the 1730's Nicholas Cloggett, Bishop of St. David's wrote: 'From Abergwili to Swansey . . . I was obliged to travel on horseback . . . The country one goes through is mountainous and the waies stony...'

Until the coming of the railways in the mid-nineteenth century the key factor in the system of communication in South Wales was to be found in the ports and creeks that dotted the Welsh coastline, and in gaining access to them. Like other Welsh counties Carmarthen was heavily dependent on water transport and in consequence almost every creek and haven — now mostly forgotten — could boast of some sort of craft, much like a modern village, perhaps, having its bus service.

Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Carmarthen had been an important port for the disembarkation of soldiers and military supplies needed for the conquest of Wales: crossbows and quarrels, as well as wheat, salt and bacon were regularly imported from Bristol. Overseas trade from Carmarthen had centred mainly on French ports and was connected mainly with salt and wine products from La Rochelle. It is on record that between 1566—1603 at least 58 ships carried salt, wine, tar, fruits and other goods to Carmarthen, while some 89 boats left the port for France, Ireland, and Scotland, carrying corn, coal and provisions of all kinds. In the middle of the 16th century, in the reign of Edward VI, Thomas Phaer (constable of Cilgerran Castle, Searcher of the port of Milford and all ports between Swansea and Dyfi) prepared a report on the harbours and customs administration of Wales in which he described Carmarthen as 'an ancient town well-traded and peopled' where there was 'a great passage of leather, tallow, and hides by reason of the merchants there'. Phaer further stated: 'All this country is very bare of corn and be not able to live of their own provision, for the most part of their tillage is oats, and are served with wheat and malt out of the Forest of Dean and other parts'.

During the second half of the sixteenth century Carmarthen was rapidly supplanting the harbour at Cydweli and it forged ahead until it became generally recognised as a convenient port for both coastal and foreign trade. Standing on the banks of a tidal river which was wide and deep enough to accommodate ships of substantial tonnage, it was also a gateway to a rich agricultural hinterland in the Towy valley.

By the seventeenth century more evidence is available to show that Carmarthen and the creeks and landing places at Marros, Laugharne, Llanstephan, Llangain, St. Ishmael and Cydweli, could muster numerous ships, boats and lighters, which were owned and often manned by local mariners. For instance, at Llangain, some four miles from Carmarthen, David Howell, who died in 1678, left an estate valued at £103 that included one boat or lighter called the Mary, another little boat, and one third part of another boat or lighter called the Blessing. In the township of Laugharne, Henry Butler (d. 1688), John Butler (d. 1690) and Henry Langston, a mariner, owned between them two barges called the Assistance and the Samuel. Although Henry Langston was the only one described as a 'mariner', it is fairly certain that Henry Butler was also an acknowledged seafarer because his personal estate at the time of his death included 'a sea card and a sea bed'. In this connection it is worth noting that Henry Langston, to whom reference has already been made, also owned one half of a ferry-boat which probably operated between Laugharne and Black Scar on the opposite side of the Taf.

In short, the small number of 'ports' and creeks in the Towy estuary formed part of a much wider network of maritime communication that linked Carmarthen with a wide regional market extending from the Welsh coastline to Bristol and the West of England, to London and beyond. Therefore, throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, when the highways were still looked upon as 'muddy tracks', maritime trade and transport were of paramount importance and often dominated vested interests. Clearly by the seventeenth century there had grown up in Carmarthenshire a class of people who derived their income from direct participation in commerce, trade and agriculture. These were the 'merchants' and mariners who by their maritime activities contributed in no small measure to the enrichment of the social and economic welfare of the Carmarthenshire countryside.

Shop Goods
The mariners were mainly responsible for developing the local shops and in supplying them with a wide range of goods and commodities. Indeed the growth of the 'shop' in our towns and villages was an important development in the economic life of the countryside. It was the small shops — the mercers, apothecaries and clothiers in town and village — that provided pre-industrial society with a relatively wide selection of goods and commodities that could not be produced locally, thus injecting into the rural economy the benefits of trade. For example, John Rogers, a mercer living in the township of Laugharne in 1670, could offer the following range of goods in his shop: blue linen, tapestry, painted calico, green serge, white coloured dimity, slozy holland, Scotch cloth, housewife's cloth, bodices of coarse linen, school primers, grammars and other small books; white and brown sugar, currants, raisins and other fruits and spices, dyes, soap, tobacco, looking glasses, cups, lanterns, candles and wire candle-sticks; powder, starches, flax, door-locks, chest-locks, buttons, collars and belly-pieces, sole leather and upper-leather, gun powder and shott, fishing twine, frying pans, earthenware, etc.

In 1640 Atwell Taylor, a mercer to whom reference has already been made, sold a large variety of goods which included: French salt, a range of satins, canvas, buckram, calico, and a quantity of books. A significant item that formed part of this man's stock at the time of his death was 'a parcell of goods unopened that came from Bristol'. It should be noted also that in his parlour behind the shop were a pair of virginals and a 'cithern' (a lyre) — musical instruments which had almost certainly originated in Bristol or London.

In 1670, another mercer named Gideon Tottenham of Carmarthen sold an enormous range of articles, some of which are now difficult to identify. His stock included: 18 yards of Garlix (a kind of white linen imported to this country from Germany), 44 yards of linsey wolsey; 2 remnants of Calamenco (a Flemish woollen material with a fine gloss and checkered in the warp); 14 yards of dowlas, 5 pieces (78 yards) of coarse oxenbrigs; 23 yards of white underlining . . . 121 yards of Coarse stuff; 14 yards of coarse fustian . . . ; school books, cotton, tape, and gartering; flat and hemp and mohair, gunpowder and earthenware; Coppras and rosin; soap, candy and tobacco ...' In another Carmarthen shop, John Jackson sold various waters, essences and balsams, spectacles and penknives, razors, scissors, cork-screws, spectacle cases, wash balls and sweet powder; knives and surgical instruments for lancing and bleeding. All this retail trade, which was conducted not only in the town of Carmarthen but also in the smaller townships such as Loughor and Newcastle Emlyn and even in remote villages such as Cilmaenllwyd, was possible because of the maritime services of those who went to sea in ships, and of those who provided the capital necessary to build or purchase the ships.

Newfoundland.thumb.jpg Probate wills and inventories of the late seventeenth century confirm that there was a strong maritime tradition in the county and that men of means were investing large sums of money not only in local but also in foreign ventures. For example, in 1643 Nicholas Hobbs, a 'gentleman', of Llangennech died leaving as part of his estate half a boat valued at £20 as well as 'certain goods sent by him in adventure to Newfoundland and by him given to his daughter Margaret Hobbs, but the value of which could not be assessed with certainty before the return thereof'. Here we have an interesting piece of evidence indicating clearly that the local gentry were participating in foreign ventures of the day. But with reference to Nicholas Hobbs' foreign venture, could it be that another Carmarthenshire gentleman, the quixotic William Vaughan of Golden Grove, (author of several books, of which The Golden Fleece (1626) contains among other things observations on the commercial weakness of the kingdom, all of which led to the advocacy of colonisation, particularly in Neffoundland) had set an example in this regard? For in 1617, some nine years before the publication of The Golden Fleece, William Vaughan had purchased land from the Company of Adventurers to Newfoundland and had sent out settlers there at his own expense. He called the settlement 'Cambriol', and introduced Welsh place-names such as Cardiff, Vaughan's Cove, Glamorgan, Pembroke, Carmarthen and Brecon. But despite the fact that Vaughan's attempt to establish a Welsh colony failed, men were still prepared to venture their capital in the New World and it is interesting that Nicholas Hobbs of Llangennech held commercial interests in Newfoundland three years after Vaughan's death and some six to ten years after he had pulled out of the 'Cambriol' venture.

Sufficient has been said to show how the economic and social horizons of the people of Carmarthenshire in the seventeenth century were widened by the variety of household goods and other commodities that came by water to its ports and creeks. These undoubtedly enriched the quality of life within what was still a predominantly rural economy. It was through the links between the ports of Carmarthen and Bristol, in particular, that such musical instruments as the virginal, cither and flagelots — already referred to — found their way to the homes of those who could afford them and who had the leisure for their use and enjoyment. Similarly, books were brought coastwise to the port of Carmarthen and its creeks to be transported to, and sold from, local shops. As we have shown, books were sold in Carmarthen shops almost a century before a printing press was established on Welsh soil in 1718, at a place called Trefhedyn, otherwise known as Adpar on the Cardiganshire side of the river Teifi.

It should perhaps be mentioned that the local ships and boats were not employed exclusively on the coastal trade with Bristol and elsewhere. Many were employed in conveying cargoes of coal from Pembrokeshire loading stations to various ports along the Carmarthenshire coast, as well as in carrying lime from creek to creek for transportation inland for use in agriculture and other operations related to agriculture. It will be recalled that it was the importance of lime and its costly passage through the tollgates and bars along the roads of a later century that precipitated the Rebecca Riots.

Of somewhat less importance than the mariners, but of equal significance in the everyday life of our pre-industrial ancestors, were the Scotchmen or pedlars — the travelling merchants who were once familiar figures in the rural areas of South Wales. Many of them lived in the towns and villages. For instance John Williams, a pedlar, lived in Carmarthen town in 1604, and another, John Thomas, a chapman, lived in Llangyndeyrn. After the death of the latter in 1688, his goods and chattels included 'a pair of hampers, 2 horses, a roll and a piece of tobacco and his pedlary ware which was valued at £3.15.0'. He had debts due to him from nine persons ranging from 6d to £1. The pedlars and chapmen hawked a variety of wares from village to village and from parish to parish, — tobacco, gloves, pins, ribbons, combs etc. figured prominently in their hampers. They were also bearers of current news bringing reports of happenings in the English and foreign scene. The chapmen were also vendors of small pamphlets of popular tales, ballads, tracts etc. — a category of literature which, since the early years of the eighteenth century, has been known as chap-books. The pedlars or chapmen, therefore, supplemented the work of the mariners in bringing the inhabitants of the Welsh countryside into contact with the English markets — more particularly the West of England markets.

Yet not all sections of the commuunity could afford to take advantage of the facilities offered by local businessmen in their shops. Indeed, there was a hard core of poor people who found such shop-goods as I mentioned earlier far beyond their means and these were the people who relied a great deal on the 'trifles of the countryside', the people who were vulnerable to the vagaries of the weather.

Fairs and Markets
Although I have emphasised the importance of maritime trade in the daily affairs of our seventeenth century forbears, there were also the local fairs and markets which helped considerably in lubricating the economic processes of the day. The majority of ordinary people in the seventeenth century depended mainly on what they grew and manufactured themselves, but there was, nonetheless, a fair amount of local business conducted in the exchange and sale of surplus goods. Indeed, commercial agricultuure was in the seventeenth century the sheet anchor of the rural economy. The late Professor Dodd of Bangor estimated that in the seventeenth century there was a fair or market somewhere or other in Wales about four days out of seven. I have calculated that in Carmarthenshire alone there were 520 weekly markets held in the eight principal towns, and 80 fairs held in 30 centres during the late decades of the seventeenth century and throughout the greater part of the next century. It was at these fairs and markets that the great mass of surplus agricultural goods from both small and large farms were sold for money — sorely needed by the tenant farmers to pay their rents and to clear the small debts they incurred from time to time. The fairs and markets were not only centres for the sale of goods; they were also social occasions when ideas were exchanged, and where local news and gossip gained currency.

Role of the Inns
The social side of the local fairs and markets extended to the local inns, or alehouses as they were commonly referred to in the seventeenth century. The inns catered mainly for two classes of customer, the 'locals', and the frequent traveller and the occasional 'tourist'. To the local inhabitants the inns were often the centres of serious business transactions as well as of social intercourse and conviviality. The traveller in turn required board and lodging and other facilities such as stabling. But to what extent could the inns of Carmarthenshire in the seventeenth century cater for the requirements of visitors or travellers from other areas? The answer is to be found in part in the first survey of inns made in this country in 1686 and instigated by the Secretary of State for War in order to find where troops might be billeted in the entire kingdom. The survey does not indicate the names of the inns in Carmarthenshire, but we are given the number of beds available for guests and the stabling facilities for horses in 31 towns and villages in the county.

The survey indicates that in the town of Carmarthen itself there were in all 60 guest beds and stabling for 95 horses, while in Abergwili there were 4 guest beds and stabling for 8 horses, and in Pentre Cothi there were but 2 guest beds and stabling for 4 horses. By way of comparison with Carmarthen town it is interesting to note that in Cardigan there were 10 guest beds and stabling for 16 horses, in Lampeter 18 guest beds and stabling for 34 horses.

The general picture presented here of Carmarthenshire inns reveals a fairly static society underpinned by a rural economy. Mobility was limited — a condition consistent with the backward state of the roads and land traffic. People certainly travelled from one Welsh county to another, but those who wished to travel into England frequently exploited the maritime links that sustained local trade. Similarly, English visitors who made excursions into Carmarthenshire made great use of the various maritime routes between England and Wales.

It would be instructive to describe the interior of what must have been one of Carmarthen's foremost inns c 1700, and kept by one Charles Butterwick. It had nine rooms, and the contents were as follows:

In the parlour — a clock and case, 1 large oval table and 12 chairs, 17 maps and pictures (presumably for the guidance and instruction of visitors).
In the kitchen — 168 pounds of pewter (vessels), 17 brass candle-sticks, 1 old brass pan (weighing 7 lbs), 2 old warming pans, 6 leather chairs, a dog wheel, and 1 old copper tea-pot.
In the room behind the Bar — 1 old looking glass and an old chest of drawers.
In the dining room — 18 leather chairs, an old cupboard, an oval table and 13 pictures.
In the room within the dining room — 1 small oval table, 3 cane chairs, 1 cushion stool and 1 looking glass.
In the room over the kitchen — 1 bedstead with curtains, 1 quilt and 2 blankets, 4 window curtains, 4 cane chairs and 1 cushion stool, 1 close stool box, 1 old broken looking glass and 1 cushion.
In the room over the scullery - 1 old cubbard bed, 1 quilt and 1 blanket, 1 deal chest of drawers and 1 cane chair.
In the room over the dining room — 1 cubbard bed and curtains, 2 rugs, 1 table, 2 pairs of curtains, five feather beds, boulsters and pillows (weighing 312 lbs), 18 diaper napkins, 24 huggaback napkins, 27 old pillow cases, coarse towels and other linen.

In addition, there were in stock at the inn 17 hogsheads (522 gallons each) of ale, 12 dozen bottles of ale, as well as 34 dozen empty bottles as evidence of good custom! In the haggard, or stack yard, hay to the value of £12 was stored for stabling.

The modest facilities available for travellers in the inns of Carmarthenshire during the seventeenth century are an indication of the limited demands there were at that time for hostelries which arose out of long distance travelling or wayfaring. As yet, road services in South Wales had not developed to any significant degree although there is growing evidence which shows that land carriage from London to the provinces was being extended during the latter half of the century. No such improvement, so far as the writer is aware, benefited Wales until the eighteenth century. South Wales was still heavily dependent upon the maritime services made available through the Welsh coastal trade.

In conclusion, it should be stated that although this article relates to a period when the overwhelming majority of the people of Carmarthenshire were dependent on a rural economy there were, nevertheless, small 'industrial' or non-agricultural activities which were becoming more and more evident. As early as 1538 John Leland had observed that at Llanelly 'Ring toles for Smith' were dug and were 'blowid and waterid', and at 'Wendreth Vour' they dug anthracite or stone coals which, he said, 'be sumtime waterid, but never blowen for blowing extinguishit them'. By the end of the seventeenth century there is evidence of a more vigorous development of Carmarthenshire's mineral resources. Many wills and inventories show that an increasing number of individuals were becoming involved in small local ventures. For instance, when James Clarke, gentleman, of the town of Cidweli died in 1693 his personal estate included 'One boate', 'culm and coal', as well as 'ropes and other implements belonging to coal-pits'. Such industrial activities were conducted alongside agricultural and pastoral activities but as yet agriculture continued to be the basis of the county's economic life and its rural culture.
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