narrow belt north-westwards towards the Presley hills. Except for the foregoing deposits the great area between the Teifi and the Towy, of which little is known, is made up of a monotonous succession of greatly folded slates and shales with interbedded conglomerates and sandstones which give rise to scarps, ridges and moorlands; they appear to be of Llandovery age.
South of the Towy a narrow belt of steeply dipping and even inverted Silurian sandstones and mudstones (Upper Llandovery, Wenlock and Ludlow) extends south-westwards from Llandovery to Llanarthney, where they disappear under the Old Red Sandstone. This formation, which consists of red marls and sandstones with occasional thin impure limestones (cornstones), extends from near Llandovery to beyond Carmarthen Bay; its upper conglomeratic beds cap the escarpment of the Black Mountains (2460 ft.) on the south-eastern borders of the county. To the south the scarps and moorlands of the Carboniferous Limestone and Millstone Grit form the north-western rim of the South Wales coalfield. The rest of the county is occupied by the rich Coal-Measures of the Gwendraeth Valley and Llanelly districts. All the rocks in the county are affected by powerful folds and faults. Glacial deposits are plentiful in the valleys south of the Towy, striae abound on the Millstone Grit and show that the ice-sheet rose far up the slopes of the Black Mountains. Coal is the chief mineral, the iron-ore is no longer worked; the Carboniferous Limestone is burnt at Llandybie; fire-bricks are manufactured from the Millstone Grit, and a few lead-veins are found in the Ordovician rocks.
Industries.—The climate is mild, except in the upland regions, but the annual rainfall is very heavy. With the exception of its south-eastern portion, which forms part of the great South Welsh coalfield, Carmarthenshire may be considered wholly as an agricultural county. The attention of the farmers is devoted to stock-raising and dairy-farming rather than to the growth of cereals, whilst the large tracts of unenclosed hill-country form good pastures for sheep and ponies. The soil varies much, but in the lower valleys of the Towy and Tâf it is exceedingly fertile. Outside agriculture the gathering of cockles at the estuaries of the Towy and Tâf gives employment to a large number of persons, principally women; Ferryside and Laugharne being the chief centres of the cockling industry. The local textile factories at Pencader, Penboyr, Llangeler, and in the valley of the Loughor are of some importance. Gold has been found near Caio in the Cothi valley, but the yield is trifling. There are lead-mines in various places, but none of great value. The really important industries are restricted to the populous south-eastern district, where coal-mining, iron-founding and the smelting of tin and copper are carried on extensively at Llanelly, Pembrey, Tirydail, Garnant, Pontardulais, Ammanford and other centres.
Communications.—The Great Western railway traverses the lower part of the county, whilst a branch of the London & North-Western enters it at its extreme north-eastern point by a tunnel under the Sugar Loaf Mountain, and has its terminal station at Carmarthen. A branch line of the Great Western connects Llanelly with Llandilo by way of Ammanford, and another branch of the same railway runs northward from Carmarthen to Newcastle-Emlyn on the Teifi, joining the Aberystwyth branch, formerly the Manchester & Milford line, at Pencader.
Population and Administration.—The area of the county is 587,816 acres, and the population in 1891 was 130,566 and in 1901 it was 135,325. The municipal boroughs are Carmarthen (pop. 9935), Kidwelly (2285) and Llandovery (1809). Urban districts are Ammanford, Llanelly, Burry Port, Llandilo and Newcastle-Emlyn. The principal towns are Carmarthen, Llanelly (25,617), Llandilo or Llandeilo Fawr (1934), Llangadock (1578), Llandovery, Kidwelly, Pembrey (7513) and Laugharne (1439). The county is in the South Wales circuit, and assizes are held at Carmarthen. The borough of Carmarthen has a commission of the peace and separate quarter sessions. The county is divided into two parliamentary divisions, the eastern and western, and it also includes the united boroughs of Carmarthen and Llanelly, thus returning three members in all to parliament. The ancient county, which contains 75 parishes and part of another, is wholly in the diocese of St David’s.
History.—Carmarthenshire originally formed part of the lands of the Dimetae conquered by the Romans, who constructed military roads and built on the Via Julia the important station of Maridunum upon or near the site of the present county town. After the retirement of the Roman forces this fortified town became known in course of time as Caerfyrddin, anglicized into Carmarthen, which subsequently gave its name to the county. During the 5th and 6th centuries Carmarthenshire, or Ystrad Tywi, was the scene of the labours of many Celtic missionaries, notably of St David and St Teilo, who brought the arts of civilization as well as the doctrines of Christianity to its rude inhabitants. In the 9th century the whole of Ystrad Tywi was annexed to the kingdom of Roderick the Great (Rhodri Mawr), who at his death in 877 bequeathed the principality of South Wales to his son, Cadell. The royal residence of the South Welsh princes was now fixed at Dynevor (Dinefawr) on the Towy near Llandilo. Cadell’s son, Howell the Good (Hywel Dda), was the first to codify the ancient laws of Wales at his palace of Ty Gwyn Ar Dâf, the White Lodge on the banks of the Tâf, near the modern Whitland. In 1080, during the troubled reign of Rhys ap Tudor, the Normans first appeared on the shores of Carmarthen Bay, and before the end of King Henry I.’s reign had constructed the great castles of Kidwelly, Carmarthen, Laugharne and Llanstephan near the coast. From this period until the death of Prince Llewelyn (1282) the history of Carmarthenshire is national rather than local. By the Statutes of Rhuddlan (1284) Edward I. formed the counties of Cardigan and Carmarthen out of the districts of Ceredigion and Ystrad Tywi, the ancient possessions of the house of Dinefawr, which were now formally annexed to the English crown. Nearly a third of the present county, however, still remained under the jurisdiction of the Lords Marchers, and it was not until the Act 27 Henry VIII. that these districts, including the commots of Kidwelly, Iscennen and Carnwillion, were added to Edward I.’s original shire. The prosperity of the new county increased considerably under Edward III., who named Carmarthen the chief staple-town in Wales for the wool trade. The revolt of Owen Glendower had the effect of disturbing the peace of the county for a time, and the French army, landed at Milford on his behalf, was warmly received by the people of Carmarthenshire. In the summer of 1485 Sir Rhys ap Thomas, of Abermarlais and Dinefawr, marched through the county collecting recruits for Henry of Richmond, for which service he was created a knight of the Garter and made governor of all Wales. At the Reformation the removal of the episcopal residence from distant St David’s to Abergwili, a village barely two miles from Carmarthen, brought the county into close touch with the chief Welsh diocese, and the new palace at Abergwili will always be associated with the first Welsh translations of the New Testament and the Prayer Book, made by Bishop Richard Davies (1500–1581) and his friend William Salesbury, of Llanrwst (16th century). In the early part of the 17th century the county witnessed the first religious revival recorded in Welsh annals, that led by Rhys Prichard (d. 1644), the Puritan vicar of Llandovery, whose poetical works, the Canwyll y Cymry (“the Welshman’s Candle”) are still studied in the principality. At the time of the Civil Wars, Richard Vaughan, earl of Carbery, the patron of Jeremy Taylor, was in command of the royal fortresses and troops, but made a very feeble and half-hearted resistance against the parliamentarian forces. During the following century the great Welsh spiritual and educational movement, which later spread over all Wales, had its origin in the quiet and remote parish of Llanddowror, near Laugharne, where the vicar, the celebrated and pious Griffith Jones (1684–1761), had become the founder of the Welsh circulating charity schools. Other prominent members of this important Methodist revival, likewise natives of Carmarthenshire, were William Williams of Pantycelyn, the well-known hymn-writer (1716–1791), and Peter Williams, the Welsh Bible commentator (1722–1796). The county was deeply implicated in the Rebecca Riots of 1842–1843.
Foremost amongst the county families of Carmarthenshire is Rhys, or Rice, of Dynevor Castle, near Llandilo, a modern castellated house standing in a beautiful park which contains the historic ruin of the old Dinefawr fortress. The present Lord Dynevor, the direct lineal descendant of the princes of South Wales, is the head of this family. Almost opposite Dynevor