Welcome to the Kidwelly Local History Society Website!

On this page we will post information about forthcoming events, and other news items, relating to the history of Kidwelly and surrounding area.


KLHS August 2022 talk

KLHS talks re-starting!

We are delighted to announce a programme of talks for 2022. Please see the ‘Programme’ page for details. The first talk will be on Thursday 28th April 2022, and is entitled ‘The History of art in Llanelli’ by Peter Dutton. All welcome: we look forward to seeing you once again!

CAS Newsletter for April, 2022

The Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society (CAS) has recently brought out a newsletter (link below) outlining forthcoming events and many other local history activities. Note that CAS has a website and Facebook page with further information.

CAS newssheet April 2022 rev (1)

Digwyddiadau ym Mis Mawrth/ Events in March

(thanks to Hanes Sir Gar for this information)

March 1st, 6pm: Royal Society of Biology (South Wales Branch) online talk on Pembrokeshire’s Prehistoric Past – Little Hoyle and Hoyle’s Mouth Caves by Dr Richard Peterson. Free event. Click on: https://my.rsb.org.uk/item.php?eventid=3537  

March 1st, 7.30pm: Laugharne Local History Society talk on Llanelli Pottery by Ann Dorsett. In person at Laugharne Memorial Hall and on Zoom (zoom link will only be sent to members). Annual membership £10; non-members can pay £2 at the door. For more information, please contact Peter Stopp aandpstopp@gmail.com.

March 26th, 10.30 a.m. – 3.00 p.m. Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society walk on the theme of Practical Preservation- a personal perspective led by Richard Keen. Meet at Cwm-du village, Llandeilo, SA19 7DY. Please bring your own lunch.

29th March, 7 pm: Friends of Carmarthenshire Museum online talk on National Gallery portrait on display at museum by Dr Owen Williams (in relation to current exhibition). For more information, please contact Mary Thorley: marythorley@gmail.com

Digwyddiau sy’n dod/ Forthcoming events

Tuesday 25th January, 2-3pm: The Bishop’s Park Abergwili/ Parc Yr Esgob: Monthly wildlife watch walk at Bishop’s Park. Meet in the Jenkinson Garden at 2pm.

Thursday 27th January, 5pm: Y Ganolfan Geltaidd talk by Dr David Parsons (CAWCS): ‘Mapping Tudor Wales: the ‘list of parishes’ in Peniarth MS 147’. Email a.elias@cymru.ac.uk to receive Zoom link.

Tuesday 1st February, 7.30pm: Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society/ Talacharn History Society talk by Pat Hudson on the Welsh Droving Trade. Register, and obtain Zoom link, by emailing carmantiquarians@gmail.com by 25 Jan. Further info: Peter Stopp 01994 427310

Digwyddiau Mis Tachwedd/ November Events

Canolfan John Burns, Kidwelly: 4th November, 6.45pm:  Talk on ‘Her Majesty’s Lieutenancy’ by Vice Lord-Lieutenant LtCol David Mathias. Free event, but please book via 01554 890840 or admin@johnburnsfoundation.org

Laugharne History Society: November 6th, 2-4 pm: Heritage Afternoon at Memorial Hall. Includes talks and exhibitions. Normal wearing of face masks will be required. For further info, contact: aandpstopp@gmail.com

Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society: 13 November, 2.00 pm: afternoon at Bishop’s Park, Abergwili, led by Louise Austin, manager of the Tywi Gateway restoration project (replaces Society’s Annual Conference at UWTSD which has been postponed). For further info, contact:  dorscox@ao.com

Penblwydd Hapus! / Happy Birthday!

It is with great pleasure that we announce the 99th birthday of our President, Mrs Mair Morgan. Llongyfarchiadau a Dymuniadau gorau, Mair!

Cyfarford Cymdeithas Hynafiaethau Sir Gar / Meeting of the Carmarthenshire Antiquaran Society

Saturday, 16 October, 2.00 p.m., William Williams Memorial Chapel Llandovery: lecture on the hymn writers of the Llandovery area by Professor Emeritus Wyn James. Covid-19 measures in action so masks and double vaccinations required. It is esssential to register interest in advance: please email Sara Fox on sarafox2400@gmail.com by 9 October.

Digwyddiadau hanesol ym Mis Medi / History events during September 2021

Thanks to Peter Stopp for the following information (edited):

Open Doors, Pembrey Gunnery Dome, 12th September



The National Library of Wales will host the above event which will take place online 12-14May. All sessions are free but need to be booked via the NLW website

April Darganfod-Discovery 2021 conference

Presentations from the Cambrian Archaeological Association’s April Darganfod-Discovery 2021 conference can now be viewed via YouTube

Archif Menwod Cymru/ Women’s Archive Wales

Women’s Archive Wales is launching a series of Women’s Heritage Walks booklets on Wednesday 28th April at 2.00p.m, to draw attention to over 100 interesting and notable women or groups of women in 11 different towns around Wales.

Details of he walks can be downloaded from the website

The Carmarthenshire Antiquary, Volume 56, 2020

The latest edition of the Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society feature two articles about Kidwelly:

  • ‘New discoveries on the Roman Road between Carmarthen and Kidwelly,’ by Heather James and Toby Driver.
  • ‘The Customs at Kidwelly and Pembrey, 1828-1835,’ by Martin Connop-Price.

Note that the next talk hosted by the society has been postponed and will now take place on 29th April. For more information, contact carmantiquarians@gmail.com


Digwyddiadau Hanesol Ar-lein ym Mis Ebrill / Online History Events in April

Thanks to Hanes Sir Gar History for the information about April online events in the  pdf below (click to open):

Digwyddiadau Hanesol ArLein MisEbrill

More events!/ Mwy o ddigwyddiadau!

Canolfan Hywel Dda, Whitland have organised a talk on Saturday, 27 March, 3pm, on “Whitland Abbey and the Cistercian World” presented by Professor Janet Burton. For further information please email – ebost@hywel-dda.co.uk  NB: a minimum donation of £1 will be required.

Laugharne History Society will host a talk on Tuesday 6th April, 7pm, on “Pembroke Castle” . Contact: aandpstopp@googlemail.com

Darlith Cymdeithas Addysg y Gweithwyr/ WEA Lecture, 7.3.21

On Thursday 11th March, 7pm, Graham Davies will present a lecture via Zoom on ‘The Welsh Maritime heroes of the Spanish Civil War.’ If you would like to attend please contact ruth@cambro-norman.com

Darlith 3 Mis Mawrth / Lecture 3rd March

On Wednesday, 3rd March, 7pm, there will be a lecture by the Stained Glass Museum (Ely Cathedral) on Welsh Saints in stained glass. Charge of £5. See https://thestainedglassmuseum.com/whatson.php?filter=catTalk+%2FTour

February/March 2021 Events

  • 10th February, 7.30pm: Gwynedd Archaeological Trust has organised a free online lecture by Jane Kenney on ‘The First Farmers of Wales – the Neolithic period in the north-west’. Details of this Zoom session can also be found at http://www.heneb.co.uk/newnews.html or contact Dan Amor at dan.amor@heneb.co.uk.
  • 12-13 February: RCAHMW Digital Past Online Conference at Aberystwyth– see https://rcahmw.gov.uk/about-us/digital-past-conference/
  • 13th February:  Free half-day conference organised by Mortimer History Society on: ‘Cherchez la Femme: Queenship, Law & Marriage in Medieval Wales and its March’. For more details, including how to register, please see https://mortimerhistorysociety.org.uk/the-society/events/next-event/
  • 19th– 20th February: free online event to celebrate the achievements of the Treftadaeth Ddisylw?/Unloved Heritage?project run by the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts, RCAHMW and Cadw. Further information and registration details at:


  •  2 March, 7.30pm: Heather James BA FSA will be giving an online talk on Shipwrecks in Carmarthen Bay.  The presentation is arranged by the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society, in conjunction with Laugharne History Society. If you wish to view this talk via ZOOM, please email carmantiquarians@gmail.comby 28th February quoting ‘Shipwrecks 2nd March’ and you will be sent a link prior to the lecture.

Hen straeon Cydweli / Old Kidwelly tales

Amgueddfeydd Sir Gâr / Carmarthenshire Museums (@CarmsMuseums) recently tweeted details of a couple of interesting old newspaper articles which you can read via the National Library of Wales online:

  • Carmarthen Journal, 1918: Award of OBE to 18-year old Ida Jane Fisher for brave services in a munitions factory (presumably Pembrey) https://crowd.in/UmAF33

Stories of Service/ Straeon Wasanaeth

We have received information about two ways in which you can let people know more about military service undertaken by yourself or others:

West Wales Veterans’ Archive run by Age Concern. You can see more on their website. For more information contact Peter McIlroy via email.

Royal British Legion ‘Telling your Story’ project. To explain your story and find out more, contact RBL via email


Seeking information on William Ewart Morgan!

The sons of William Ewart Morgan, Bob and Charles, are seeking information about his youth in Kidwelly.

This is what we know so far:

His date of Birth: January 20, 1907, and he was born in Kidwelly.  He had 2 brothers: Evan Rees Morgan and Charles Thomas Morgan, and 1 sister: Tish Gould -Morgan. He  worked in a coal mine.

He migrated to Canada  and joined as a volunteer the Canadian army in 1939. He served in the army for six years (returned to Great Britain in 1942/1943 as a Canadian soldier) and was in active duty in North Africa, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Canadians played a special role for the liberation of the Netherlands and Morgan was involved in liberating the concentration camp Westerbork in the rural north eastern Netherlands.

Please contact Malcolm MacDonald if you have any information:


Christmas 2020:

Our President’s 98th Birthday!

Our Chair, Vivian Summers, has written a few words of celebration and appreciation!

Mair poem

Current situation for KLHS Meetings

Kidwelly history in the national news!

A recent article by Dr Toby Driver of RCAHMW got a mention in ‘The Times’ of 20.6.20. Dr Driver explains about the aerial photographs he took in the hot summer of 2018 which revealed the location of a possible Roman road linking Carmarthen to Kidwelly. You can read more about this in the RCAHMW blog, and there is also an item with geograpical details on the Coflein website.

The picture below shows the approximate location of the road:

June, 2020

Bishop Mullins

We are sad to report that Bishop Mullins, a previous Kidwelly Local History Society President for a number of years, passed away quietly on 1 November 2019. We understand that his funeral service will take place at Swansea. More information to follow.

November 2019 KLHS talk

Talk by Llanelli Community Heritage

Llanelli Community Heritage will host a presentation on Tuesday, 12th November 2019 at 7:30pm. The talk will be given by Peter Rees, and the subject is : ‘The Origins of the South Wales Copper Industry’. It will take place at the Thomas Arms, Thomas Street, Llanelli, SA15 3JF.

Sad news

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rose Hepburn, who died suddenly on 1st July while on a day out with friends in Pembrokeshire. She was a loyal supporter of KLHS,  attending many meetings despite her failing eyesight, and joined last week’s outling to Parc Howard. Rose was a lovely lady, and will be much missed. During our August meeting, there will be a collection in her honour which will be donated to the RNIB.

Rose at Aberglasney, 2018
From the order of service: Rose dressed up as a cockle lady with her donkey Jack

Next Meeting of Llanelli Community Heritage

On Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, Llanelli Community Heritage will hold their AGM followed by a talk from Dr David Davies on ‘Napoleon and the Fate of Sir John Stepney‘. Venue: The Thomas Arms, Thomas Street, Llanelli, SA15 3JF. All welcome


The March KLHS talk

Our focus shifted from history to wildlife last Thursday, 28th March, as Richard Pryce, Recorder for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, gave us a very interesting talk on the ways in which man’s past activities have influenced the flora and fauna of the valleys of the Gwendraeth Fach and Fawr. We were not too surprised to learn that the overall effect of mining and quarrying has been negative, though there have been some surprising success stories. You can find more details on our ‘Topics of Historical Interest’ page.

March 2019 events

  • 12th March: The Quarterly Meeting of Llanelli Community Heritage will include a talk by Peter Dutton entitled ‘Artists of Carmarthenshire (with a Llanelli bias)’. This will take place at the Thomas Arms, Thomas Street, Llanelli, SA15 3JF, on Tuesday, 12th March 7:30 pm. All welcome! 9for further information, please see: https://www.llanellich.org.uk/ )
  • 23rd  March: The Welsh Historic Gardens Trust will present a Talk on the Heritage Seed Library by Adam Alexander. Date and time:  2pm, Saturday 23rd March Venue: Carmarthenshire Museum, Abergwili SA31 2JG. Cost £3 per head. Numbers are limited, so booking is essential – please contact Judith Holland at: j.holland@dyfedarchaeology.org.uk

KLHS February talk

Forthcoming DAT event

On 2.3.19. the Dyfed Archaeological Trust will hold a ‘Carmarthesnhire Archaeology Day’ at Coleg Sir Gar, Graig campus. Contact Jenna Smith (j.smith@dyfedarchaeology.org.uk) to book a place.

First KLHS talk of 2019

We start 2019 with a talk byMary Thorley on Thursday, 24th January:


November talk on the Great War

Lt. Col David Mathias gave an entertaining and enlightening talk on Thursday, 22nd November.  He covered many aspects of the Great War, including the causes, and the effects of the conflict within Wales. We had an interesting discussion on the war at sea, and readers may be interested in an article about this from the British Library. The role of horses during the Great War was also discussed, and more information on this topic may be obtained from the National Army Museum.

Remembrance Sunday, 11.11.18

KLHS is proud to lay a wreath commemorating the fallen on this momentous day. We remember, especially, the end of the Great War, exactly 100 years ago, but keep in our thoughts all men, women and animals that have served their country across the generations

Event hosted by Llanelli Community Heritage

On Wednesday, 14th November, at 7:30 pm,  Rhian Rees will present a talk on:
“The Status of Women in Medieval Wales”
This will take place at The Thomas Arms, Thomas Street, Llanelli, SA15 3JF.

KLHS November talk

As befits the month in which we commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War, our November talk will focus on the events of 1914-1918, providing a Welsh perspective

Talk on the Gwendraeth Coalfield

Many thanks to Phil Cullen for explaining the long and fascinating history of coal-mining in the Gwendraeth Valley, an industry which has now disappeared, but is still very much in the memory of many local people.

KLHS October Talk

In memory of Bob Edwards

We are very sad to record the passing of Bob Edwards, one of the longest-serving members of KLHS, and a key part of the Managament Committee for many years. If anyone  would like details of funeral arrnagements etc, please get in touch with Vivian Summers.

Ed Davies’ presentation on Cydweli, Kymer, Canals

Many thanks to Ed Davies for an engaging and informative presentation about the canals in the Cwm Gwendraeth- Llanelli area, especially Kymer’s Canal: the first in Wales. You can find Ed’s presentation on our ‘Topics’ of Historical Interest’ page, and there is also relevant information on Coflein and Wikipedia.

Kidwelly Industrial Museum & Tinplate in the Local Area

On 9th September, Kidwelly Industrial Museum will open its doors to all, free of charge, and there will also be a classic car exhibition and other stalls.

Those interested in the tinplate industry in the area may also wish to attend a Llanelli  Community Heritage talk by Peter Rees entitled ‘The Origin of the Tinplate Industry’ on Tuesday, 11 September, 7:30 pm ,at The Thomas Arms, Thomas Street, Llanelli, SA15 3JF.

Cadw Open Doors Events

During September, there are many Open Doors events across Wales. A list of events in Carmarthenshire can be seen here. This includes Kidwelly Castle on 29th & 30th September

Dyfed Archaeological Trust Activity at St Ishmael’s, 2017

On Thursday, 23rd August, James Meek from the Dyfed Archaeological Trust gave a really interesting presentation on latest developments at the archaeological dig of the mediaeval coastal village at St Ishmael’s (between Kidwelly and Ferryside). The Trust commenced excavations in 2010 , and by 2011  the bases of four small stone buildings had been uncovered. Last year, a further four structures were revealed, some of which had quite impressive walls and doorways. Pottery remains at the site indicate the group of buildings to date from the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries. Images constructed from many photographs of the site can be viewed here, and an Interim Report of the 2017 dig is also available (pdf to view or download):  stishmaelinterimreport2017

August KLHS talk

We’ve had a rest during July, but in August we’ll be back with a talk by James Meek of the Dyfed Archaeological Trust. The talk will take place on Thursday, 23rd August, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Parish Room, and James will tell us about the 2017 dig at St ishmael’s. This should be a really interesting talk.

Note that our annual AGM will take place during the September meeting (27.9.18)

June trip to Aberglasney

On  the evening of Thursday, 28th June, we had a very enjoyable evening at  Aberglasney, with a guided tour of the house and gardens by Head Gardener Joseph  Adkin.

KLHS members sitting in the shade prior to the tour (thanks to Robert Thomas for photograph)

It was a warm and sunny evening, and it was a joy to be able to amble around the different garden areas, especially very old parts such as the Cloister Garden.

You can find our more about the history of Aberglasney House and Gardens on their website

James Dickson Innes

Many thanks to Martin Davies who gave a really engaging talk about the fascinating artist James Dickson Innes. A really good way to end our 2017-2018 season of talks! You can see a selection of slides from Martin’s presentation on our ‘Topics of Historical Interest‘ page.

Martin Davies describing one of James Dickson Innes’ French paintings

The KLHS May talk

Our last talk of the 2017-2018 season will be given by Martin Davies of Llanelli. He will tell us about the fascinating artist James Dickson Innes who was born and brought up in Llanelli, and who painted several local scenes, including at least one from Kidwelly!

All about Henry Morton Stanley

On Thursday, 26th April, Jeremy John adressed us on the topic of Henry Morton Stanley. Jeremy is an excellent speaker, so we knew it would be a highly entertaining evening. It turned out to be very enlightening, too, for few of the audience knew much about this Welsh-born explorer, and certainly didn’t realise that he had such humble origins. You can find out more about Henry Morton Stanley’s complex and fascinating life online, and several biographies are also available.

Jeremy John at the Parish Room, 26.4.18

Advance Notice: KLHS 2018 Outing

Every year, KLHS heads to a historic venue within Carmarthenshire. This year, we will visit Aberglasney, and this will take place on Thursday, 28th June, and both members and non-members would be welcome to come along. More details will be made available as soon as possible, but anyone with any queries should contact our Chair, Mr Vivian Summers

KLHS April talk

We are very much looking forward to welcoming Mr Jeremy John of the Gwili Railway who will be our speaker on Thursday, 26th April, 7.30pm.

A warm welcome to All!/ Croeso cynnes i bawb!

KLHS March talk

On 22nd March, we will be joined by Stephen David of the WEA once again. On this occasion, he will tell us about the intriguing topic: ‘Sea Sergeants: Jacobitism in Carmarthenshire’. As before, the talk will commence at 7.30pm, and will be held at the Parish Room, St Mary’s Church, Lady Street, Kidwelly.

The KLHS February talk

On the centenery month for Women’s Suffrage in the UK, it seems very appropriate that we ask ‘Where were the Women?’ We look forward to a presentation from Mary Thoreley who will answer this question in the context of Carmarthenshire Women in the 19th Century. We will meet on Thurs., Feb 22nd, 7.30pm at the Parish Room, St Mary’s Church, Lady Street, Kidwelly.

The first KLHS talk of 2018

We will begin the New Year with a talk on Thursday, 25th January, 2018, 7.30pm. Byron Huws will discuss the castles of Cedweli. Once again, we will meet at the Parish Room alongside St Mary’s Church, Lady Street, Kidwelly.

A very warm welcome to all! Croeso cynnes i bawb!

Our last talk of 2017

Our last talk of the year was on Thursday, 23rd November, and was a great success, with a packed Parish Room. Bruce Smith of Ferryside gave a highly informative and entertaining presentation on the Drovers in West Wales

Bruce Smith with a photo of two drovers (relatively properous ones!)

Remembrance Sunday

KLHS  contributed a wreath on Remembrance Sunday as a token of remembrance of the bravery and loss of members of the forces from our area, especially the Wolrd War 1 battles that took place during 1917 such as Passchendaele. This is an important part of our history.

The KLHS November 2017 talk

Our November talk will be on the very interesting topic of the ‘Droving Trade in West Wales’, and will be delivered by Bruce Smith of Ferryside. The talk will take place on Thursday, 23rd November, 7.30pm, in the Parish Room, St Mary’s Church, Kidwelly.

We very much hope you’ll be able to join us, and note that there will be no talk in December.

Our October, 2017 talk

The next talk of the Kidwelly Local History Society will be on Thursday, 26th October, 7.30pm, at the Parish Room, St Mary’s Church, Kidwelly. The topic will be the ‘A Magic Lantern Show’, and will be presented by Rosemary and John Blythe of Swansea.

A warm welcome to all!

Talk on William Salesbury at County Museum, Abergwili

A  free public talk on William Salesbury on Sat., 21st October, 2pm. For more information, please visit the Carmarthen Civic Society Facebook page for more information

The September KLHS talk, and AGM

The next talk of the Kidwelly Local History Society will be on Thursday, 28th September, at the Parish Room, St Mary’s Church, Kidwelly. The topic will be the ‘A local young Victorian lady’s travels in Europe’, and will be presented by Madeline Summers.

The KLHS AGM will take place before the talk, commencing 7.30pm, and hence the talk is likely to begin at 8pm.

A warm welcome to all!

Volunteering with Dyfed Archaeological Trust

From Monday 25th September to Saturday 7th October , the Dyfed Archaeological trust will be returning to excavate at St Ishmael, Carmarthenshire. Anyone wishing to take part in the excavation should email s.rees@dyfedarchaeology.org.uk for more information and a registration form.
More information can be found on the Dyfed Archaeological Trust Facebook page

Open Doors, 2017

During September, many places of historical interest will be open for public viewing, often free of charge. A list of locations and dates in Carmarthenshire can be found on the Cadw website.

Open Doors locations near Kidwelly include Kidwelly Castle (23 & 24 Sept), and Pembrey Gunnery Dome (17 & 24 Sept)

A New Meeting Place for the Kidwelly Local History Society

Our 2017-2018 season of talks will take place in the Parish Room, St Mary’s Church, Kidwelly, accessed at Lady Street (note that there are very few parking spaces in Lady St., but there is a car-park in Station Rd.)

 The Black Book of Carmarthen comes to Carmarthen!

For one day only, the Black Book of Carmarthen can actually be viewed at St Peter’s Church Carmarthen, 10.30am – 3.30pm, Sat., 19th August. More information about this important, rare piece of Welsh text can be found on the National Library of Wales website

KLHS summer trip to Stradey Castle, 22.6.17
We had a fine evening for our trip to Stradey Castle on 22nd June, and greatly enjoyed an informative tour around the house, both downstairs and upstairs. Many thanks to  hosts Patrick and Claire Mansel-Lewis
The KLHS crew at Stradey Castle (photo care of Robert Thomas)