Archiver > CARMARTHENSHIRE > 2001-04 > 0988099015

From: "Richard James" <>
Subject: [Cmn-L] Llandybie
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 08:56:55 +0100

Edward Lloyd, the famous Welsh antiquary, stated in 1696 that Llandybie was
a village of nine houses situated near the Church. The majority of the
people of the parish lived, of course, outside the village in farms and
smallholdings. The very old farms and mansions of that period were Derwydd,
Glyn-hir, Y Plas, Piode Fawr, Cilyrychen, Aber-lash, Myddynfych, Cwrthenri,
Cil-coll, Hendre Gored, Clunhenllan, Cwmllwchwr, Blaenau, &c., &c.
By 1840 it can be said with certainty that the village consisted of thirty
houses, according to the Tithe Map of that year. They were situated in the
proximity of the Church, viz. Y Felin, Glanyrafon Cottage (where the Ivy
Bush stables stand now), The Ivy Bush Inn, Y Plas, The Angel (formerly an
inn), Church House (the old vicarage), the Red Lion cottages (five in all),
The Red Lion Inn, Red Cow Inn, Corner House Inn (with the adjoining thatched
cottage), London House (with two attached cottages), Waun LIan, Old Capel
Wesle (behind the present National School). Then, near the Tollgate House
were Old Gate House (with six adjacent cottages), the Methodist Chapel,
three cottages, and three other cottages named Piode Cottages. On the
village square, apart from Waun Llan, there was another cottage, Tan-y-fron.
The oldest and most important building of all in the village, of course, was
the Church. We have historical references to this Church as far back as the
year 1291, when it was stated that the living was £4 6s 8d per annum (a
considerable amount of money in those days). When John Thoresby was Bishop
of St. David's (1347-49) the tithes of the parish were claimed by him. John
Emlett, the treasurer of the diocese in 1539, states in his accounts that
the sum of £5 had been received from the parish during that year.
Tybie, the reputed foundress of the Church of Llandybie, was the daughter of
Brychan, King of Brycheiniog, whose territory extended almost as far as
Llandybie in the fifth century. According to tradition, Tybie was slain by
pagan Irish settlers in the district which afterwards bore her name. She
must have been the pioneer of the Christian faith in the area, and tradition
links her name with Gelliforynion ('Maiden's Grove') and Cae'r Groes, in and
near the village.
The prescnt Church is of early English style, with a Norman tower ; inside
there is a very ancient font, which was brought in from the churchyard many
years ago. There are memorial tablets on the wails dating from the days of
Charles II. Some of the Vaughans, the Royalist family of Golden Grove, have
been buried there.
Prior to 1840 most of the inhabitants of the parish worked on the land, but
in times past (as may be seen in another chapter) lime burning and coal
mining were carried on by the people on a small scale. The country around
Llandybie was very wooded, and there was plenty of fuel at hand to burn the
lime. One of the first coal mining projects, it seems, was at Plas y Cwm,
near Clun-glas. It was here that steam power was first used in the locality
in connection with coal-mining. Later, at Pwll y Lord (between Blaenau and
Saron), there was a Balance Pit ; a full tram of water, loaded on the
surface, hauled a full tram of coal from the bottom of the little pit. A big
pond was situated near the pithead to supply the water needed for this type
of power.
The Tithe Map of 1840 shows a great number of smallholdings and farms, with
various acreages of pasture, arable land and woodland. One of these
smallholdings was at the top of King's Road, called Gwaith y G*r Bach. The
house was a small thatched cottage, and was in occupation sixty years ago.
The biggest farms of all were held by the DuBuisson family of Glyn-hir, and
by Dafydd Thomas of Cilyrychen (an overseer of the poor of the parish in his
day). The DuBuissons also owned a tract of the Black Mountain at that time.
The land between Swan Lane and the Red Lion Inn is marked as 'Tir comin', or
Common Land ; but by today this land is no longer common, for reasons
unknown to me.
The tollgate in those days extended across the Blaenau road to the Toll
House, which was situated where Cawdor Stores was afterwards built. Another
gate extended across the Cross Inn, or Amman-ford road from the Toll House
to where now stands Beynon's Garage. No one was allowed to pass these gates
with any form of transport or cattle without paying the toll. The Llandybie
Tollgates were demolished by the Rebecca Rioters in 1842-43. The Vicar of
the parish at that time-the Rev. John Williams-did not escape the fury of
the rioters. He was a county magistrate, and anybody connected with the law
irritated them. The vicar, it is said, complained to the Commission set up
after the Dragoons had been sent to Carmarthenshire to quell the riots.
The most important house in the village was Y Plas. It is said that Oliver
Cromwell once stayed there during the Civil War. Piode Fawr and Cilyrychen
were important houses too at that time. Charles Phillips, Esquire, lived in
Y Plas in 1700 ; and he too was the owner of Piode Fawr which was occupied
by members of his family. Gentry families also resided at Derwydd and at
Glyn-hir. The Vaughan family had lived at Derwydd since the 14th century,
and it is recorded that King John stayed there in the year 1210 on his
return journey from Ireland. In 1485 Henry, Earl of Richmond
-afterwards Henry VIl-was entertained at Derwydd by Sir Rhys ap Thomas.
Their joint forces left together and they fought in the famous battle of
Bosworth Field. The Gulston family came to Der
wydd through marriage connections. Dr. Joseph Gulston, Chaplain and Almoner
to King Charles I, is mentioned in a Manuscript Book of Prayers, written in
1640. Dr. Gulston preached before the King his last sermon on Sunday,
November 12th, in Carisbrook Castle, Isle of Wight, before the King was sent
to the scaffold.
By 1919, the way of life that had been unchanged for centuries was coming to
an end. High taxes compelled the gentry to reduce their staff, and the first
change I remember was the employment of one chauffeur instead of two. There
was no telephone at Derwydd in the early years of this century, and my
duties as a telegram boy gave me the privilege and opportunity of seeing the
life that went on in a gentleman's home at that time. On dark nights and in
wet weather I would be ushered into the servant's quarter to await the
butler, who would come with his silver tray on which you laid the telegram.
Often there would be a reply, and one waited and had a chat with the
domestic staff. The ritual was always the same the butler returned with his
silver tray with the 6d tip which you picked off the tray, and very often
the cook would hand you a pocketful of sponge-cakes to eat on your long
return journey to the village.
At night, the servants' quarters seemed to be filled by members of the
staff. The impression I had was that Derwydd was a very happy place ; the
atmosphere was cheerful, and the rooms were big and spotlessly clean. There
was always a nice smell of something good being cooked there. Although these
people lived in the heart of the country, they did not appear to be lonely ;
they all lived together as members of one big family. In 1914, Derwydd
employed two chauffeurs, a butler, one ladies' companion, one ladies' maid,
a parlour-maid, cook, a few kitchen-maids, gardeners, and others maybe whom
I had not seen. They were a colony all on their own, and I was unaware at
that time that I saw the beginning of the end of an era which had lasted for
The following account of the Glyn-hir family is taken (by permission) from
the Rev. Gomer M. Roberts' Hanes Piwyf Liandybie (1939) "Our earliest record
is of a family named Powell living at Glyn-hir. 'Powell, Gent.' is noted as
living there in Thomas Kitchin's Map (1754). 'Mr. Rees Powel of Clun-hir
Gent.' was a subscriber to Ellis Wynne's Drych y Prif Oesoedd (1740). There
are references to the family in the parish registers. 'Morganus Powel Gen.
Sepultus fuit l6to die Aprilis 1729' ; 'Mr. Rees Powel' was one of the
church-wardens in 1745 ; and lastly 'Elizabeth Powel, widow, late of Glynhir
' was buried at Llandybie in 1772. Probably, Morgan Powell was the father of
Rees Powel, and Elizabeth Powel the widow of the latter.
"In 1769 the Moravians were interested in purchasing Glyn-hir, to be used by
them as a settlement in Carmarthenshire. The Sale was held at the "Turnpike
House Inn", Llandeilo, 8 May 1770 ; but the price set upon it by Mr.
Vaughan, the then owner, was too high for the Moravians.
"About this time a person named Peter DuBuisson was on his way to ireland,
and he heard at Llandeilo that Glyn-hir was for sale after looking over the
place he liked it very much, and he bought the estate for £3,000. The
DuBuissons came originally from Orleans, France, and the first member of the
family came to this country about the year 1685-the year of the Edict of
Nantes. Probably more than one Huguenot bearing the style of DuBuisson fled
to this country when the French government persecuted the Huguenots at the
end of the 17th century. The first of the family known to us was Peter
Groteste du Buisson ; he settled in St. George's, Hanover Square, London,
and was accepted as a British citizen in 1706-according to the family
records. This man never lived at Glyn-hir, but Jane his wife died at
Glyn-hir in 1772, soon after the family had settled in the parish. Samuel
Smiles states that Peter DuBuisson, who bought Glyn-hir, was this man's
grandson, but he was mistaken-he was his son. According to the deed of sale,
Peter DuBuisson came from Newland in the county of Gloucester, but Newland
was his wife, Margaret's home.
"Peter DuBuisson married a 'Miss Birt, of Newland, Gloucester-shire' 20 June
1775. In the Llandybie parish register there is a record of a marriage
between 'Thomas Birt, clerk, of the parish of Newland in the county of
Gloucester, widower, and Mary Lane of this parish, spinster', 6 Sept. 1797.
Was the Rev. Thomas Birt Margaret DuBuisson's father, or possibly her
brother ? The couple were married 'in the presence of Peter DuBuisson and
Margaret Dubuisson.'
"Peter and Margaret DuBuisson, had four children, at least, but some of them
died young. Margaret DuBuisson died in June 1804, aged 57. In an obituary
notice of her death in The Cambrian Newspaper, 14 July 1804, it is stated
that her husband was a partner 'in the banking-house of Landeg & Co. in
Swansea'. Peter DuBuisson died in Dec. 1812, aged 74. The following notice
of his death appeared in The Carmarthen Journal, 26 Dec. 1812 'On Thursday
se'n night at Glynhir, Peter DuBuisson Esq., Receiver General for the
Counties of Carmarthen, Pembroke and Cardigan. Residing upon and farming his
own estate, Mr. DuBuisson was an upright Magistrate and an upright man'. The
family had a deep interest in agriculture, as may be proved by their
treatment of the highland region of Glynhir. Richard Fenton refers to
Glynhir-'now made by great perseverence and profound agricultural knowledge
from hard mountain ground into as good land as any in the County'.
Perhaps this is the best place to deal with the tradition that the family
betrayed this country during the war against Napoleon. According to local
tradition, that was the purpose of the spacious dovecot at Glyn-hir,-the
pigeons were used (it was believed) to send messages to French spies ! The
truth is, that the present dove-cot was built after the battle of Waterloo ;
it was preceded by a smaller wooden dove-cot. Apare from this, dove-cots
were quite common in gentlemen's mansions in those days, and that for a very
good reason- to supply food for the table!
"It is also noted lately, in an article in the Western Mail, that there is a
secret cellar at Glyn-hir, and it was romantically supposed, 'It can only be
conjectured that such a place must have been constructed and used for the
hiding or the concealment of contrahand and weapons of war'. The supposition
is very romantic, but the cellar in question is not so secret as all that !
It was used for so prosaic a purpose as the preservation of game after the
shooting season Nobody ever took the trouble of finding out just when the
place was built. It was quite natural of course for such a tale to gain
ground, because the family was of a French origin. But the inhabitants of
the parish would never have forgiven the family if they were guilty of
treachery during the course of the war. On the contrary, the family was very
popular in Llandybie throughout the years.
"After Peter DuBuisson's death the estate passed on to his son, William
DuBuisson. He was born in 1781, and was the High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire
in 1826. He married Caroline Henckell, the daughter of James and Elizabeth
Henckell. The Henckells came originally from Germany about the end of the
17th century, and like the DuBuissons they were refugees on account of their
religious convictions. They came to this country with a company of
sword-smiths, and gained much prominence in industrial enterprises. In the
parish church there are memorial tablets to Maria Henckell (who died 28
April 1821),-Caroline DuBuisson's grandmother-and James and Elizabeth
Henckell. According to the memorial tablet James Henckell was a merchant of
the city of London.
"Caroline DuBuisson was a woman of strong personality, with a keen eye for
making money. She immortalised herself on one occasion in this respect. One
cannot be quite certain of the circumstance-perhaps it was during Napoleon's
escape from Elba, or maybe when he was defeated at Waterloo. However, when
one of these incidents happened, two young men, relations of the family,
happened to be staying at Glyn-hir ; they were recalled to join their army
unit in France, taking with them a few carrier-pigeons. After the victory at
Waterloo, the pigeons brought back to Glyn-hir the news of Napoleon's
defeat. At the time, in London, it was rumoured that the situation was
otherwise and in consequence the market fell. Caroline went immediately on
horseback to Bristol, and then to London, buying up as many Consols as she
could lay her hands on. In a few days the Londoners heard the correct news,
but by then Mrs. DuBuisson had managed to make a considerable fortune.
Probably she was a good business woman, and one wonders if she was any
relation to that Henckell family of Germany, the prominent financiers. Her
friend, Mrs. Rothschild, was her partner in this adventure, and it is known
that she too came from Germany. There is a suggestion in the parish
registers, of certain German connections in the locality, because a Mrs.
Margaret Sehelswell was buried at Llandybie at the end of the 18th century.
"William DuBuisson died in 1828 at his brother's house in Surrey. The
following obituary notice appeared in The Cambrian Newspaper, 7 Nov. 1828
'On Monday last at Wandsworth Common, William DuBuisson of Glyn-hir'. He was
probably buried there, since there is no record of his burial in the
Llandybie registers. On his memorial tablet in Llandybie Church the
following inscription is seen:
In Memory of William DuBuisson, of Glyn-hir in this Parish, who departed
this life at his brother's house at Wandsworth, in the county of Surrey, on
the 47th year of his age, after a long and painful illness, which he bore
with exemplary patience and Christian resignation, looking to Jesus, the
Author and Finisher of his Faith.
"The next in the line of inheritance was William DuBuisson, who was born 1
May 1818, and like his father before him he too (in 1871) was the High
Sheriff of Carmarthenshire. The photograph taken during his term of office
is still (1939) in the possession of the family. It portrays twelve Glyn-hir
tenants, sporting periwigs and carrying lances ; this was the last occasion
in the county when such a retinue accompanied the Sheriff. William DuBuisson
married Mary, the daughter of John Lawford of Tottenham ; the two are well
remembered in the parish for their work in fostering education, &c. William
DuBuisson died at Torquay 2 May 1894 ; and his widow died at the same place
in Sept. 1918, aged 92.
"The Rev. Edmund DuBuisson was William DuBuisson's brother; he served the
parishes of Selachim and Breinton in the county of Hereford for many years.
His son, the Rev. John Clement Du Buisson was born at Breinton, but he lived
for many years at Glynhir with Arthur, his brother. He served as a curate at
Hawarden for two years, and during the years 1899-1916 he was the sub-warden
at the Bishop's Hostel and served as a teacher in the Canon's School in
Lincoln Cathedral. He was appointed a Canon of St. Asaph's Diocese in 1922
and became the Dean of St. Asaph in 1927. He died in April 1938 and was
buried at St. Asaph's.
"Arthur Edmund DuBuisson, the Rev. Edmund DuBuisson's son (and brother of J.
C. DuBuisson), was the last member of the family to reside in Glyn-hir. He
went to England after the end of the first World War, and died at Hartley
Whitney, Herts., in Oct. 1930. He lost a son, John Edmund DuBuisson, in
Salonica during the war; another son, William DuBuisson, is now (1939)
living in London."
By 1921, the DuBuisson family was the first to give way to the past way of
life. The family moved to Surrey, as noted above. Mr. Arthur DuBuisson's son
still lives in Surrey, and he takes a keen interest about everything that
takes place in Llandybie, and he still retains property in the village. He
is well-versed in the history of Glyn-hir. The upheaval of leaving Glyn-hir
was a sore blow not
only to the staff but also to the people of the village, as the DuBuissons
took a keen interest in the church and village affairs. Most of the staff
had to seek other employment after being in the service of the family for so
many years. The end came very sudden for them, and all of them had to seek a
new way of life.
With the Gulston family at Derwydd it was different, as the run-down of
staff was more gradual. But with the coming of the Second World War in 1939
the family was left with a chauffeur, gardener, a companion, and casual
domestic service. Derwydd is occupied today by Mr. and Mrs. Stepney Gulston,
who have a small staff of daily service. But the old mansion remains as
impressive as ever in its magnificent splendour, and is a reminder of its
past glories and traditions. Derwydd is still well maintained by their proud

From: Days of Old : Bryn Thomas
Richard James Carmarthenshire-L Carmarthenshire FHS
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