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The Carmarthenshire Historian


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Readers of the earlier volumes of The Carmarthenshire Local History Magazine who may have been deceived by the new name under which the present issue appears are assured that it continues to be the same magazine with which they have been familiar. Why the change? Because we feel that the new title will give the magazine a more positive identity and make for greater convenience in use. We hope that readers will approve. But there are some other innovations. For the first time, there are a few modest illustrations. There is, too, an article in Welsh. Some of those who have little or no knowledge of the language may feel deprived, but others may accept a challenge to struggle through the text in the hope that they will gain some of the pleasure that those who are competent in the vernacular will derive from Mr. W. J. Harriesís contribution about Twm oír Nant.

From time to time, we expect to print original documents and manuscripts hitherto unpublished. Reproduced in this volume is an eighteenth century poll book which has recently come to light. We have been able to do this through the kind help of Major Francis Jones, County Archivist, who, with his assistant, Mr. Michael Evans, has provided footnotes which add to the interest of the document. Professional historians and researchers will examine it carefully, but others, too, may want to browse through it in the hope of a fortunate discovery.

A new feature is introduced under the heading Before Itís Forgotten, which is intended to serve as a place for the publication of items about the more recent past that would otherwise go unrecorded. Generally, but not exclusively, we have in mind the more intimate things which are not so readily recorded but which help to give flesh to the dry bones of sparely documented history. We like to think that the first contributions will urge others to make theirs. There must be many who have neither the time, nor perhaps the talent, to engage in research to produce a full-length treatise; yet they may be in possession of interesting pieces of knowledge, either from personal recollection of long ago or from tales their mothers told them. We should like to have this knowledge.

Our belief that this is an important aspect of the study of local history is supported by a plea once made by Sir Frederick Rees. "Local historians," he wrote, "have often tended in the past to be antiquarian in their interests and so to involve themselves in matters the elucidation of which requires a good deal of specialist knowledge. They have cultivated what may be called a snobbish disregard for more recent affairs, the meaning of which they are more likely to be able to interpret from their own experience." With obvious approval, he went on to quote from a parish history: "Christmas Eve, 1850 was a great day in the history of our village; but no one now knows that this was so, and if I do not make haste to tell about it, the fact will soon be utterly forgotten".

Let us, too make haste before it is forgotten.

Editorial duty would not be properly discharged without the expression of thanks to those whose help and encouragement made the publication of this volume possible. The authors of the articles have given their material readily and have not stinted their co-operation; Alderman S. J. E. Samuel, J.P., Secretary of the Carmarthenshire Community Council has given advice freely; and most important has been the dedicated enthusiasm of Mr. Michael Evans, BA., Assistant Archivist for Carmarthenshire, whose ever present aid has helped to make light what might otherwise have been burdensome. The conclusion of this acknowledgment must be a reference to the work of Mr. F. J. Morgan, B.A., the editor of the first two volumes; his devotion established this journal soundly and his scholarly labour is gratefully remembered.
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