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.

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)