Mothvey (Myddfai) - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
MOTHVEY (MYDDFAI), a parish, comprising the Upper and Lower divisions, in the union of Llandovery, Higher division of the hundred of Perveth, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 3 miles (S.) from Llandovery; containing 1073 inhabitants, of whom 476 are in the Upper, and 597 in the Lower, division. This parish is situated on the turnpike-road leading from Llandilo, through Llangadock, to Llandovery; and is watered by the rivers Towy, Rhythan, Gwytherig, Ydw, Clydach, Br‚n, and Usk, which last is said to rise among the Black Mountains, a short way beyond its limits. It comprises an area of 8000 acres, of which 1500 are common or waste. The surface is boldly undulated, and in some parts hilly and even mountainous. With the exception of the rocky and sterile ground, the lands are inclosed and in a high state of cultivation, the lower parts being extremely fertile, and consisting of many well-wooded inclosures. The scenery, which is strikingly diversified, is characterised by features of picturesque beauty and of romantic grandeur. The luxuriant richness of the vales is finely contrasted with the rugged barrenness of the mountains; and the numerous rivers that flow through the lower grounds add greatly to the beauty of the scenery, which is further enlivened by the several gentlemen's seats scattered over the parish. KÓlgwyn is an elegant and spacious mansion, on the banks of the river Ydw, comprehending within the grounds, which are tastefully laid out, a variety of interesting scenery: Llwynywormwood is also a handsome residence, pleasantly situated higher up on the same stream, and commanding some interesting prospects: and DŰlgarreg is another seat, on the bank of the river Towy, surrounded with some rich and beautiful lands, and ornamental plantations. A small woollen manufacture is carried on; and there are two king's mills in the parish, KÓlgwyn and Br‚n, each of which pays a chief-rent of £2 to the lord of the manor, to whom also is paid a fee of 10s. on the marriage of every freeholder. A fair is held in the village on the 18th of June.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £6. 6. 8., and endowed with £200 royal bounty: the tithes have been commuted for £419. 14., of which £280 are payable to the Bishop of St. David's, the patron, and £139. 14. to the incumbent, who has likewise a glebe of about five acres and a half, valued at £10 per annum, and a house. The church is dedicated to St. Michael, from which circumstance the parish is sometimes called "Llanvihangel Mothvey." It is an ancient structure, situated in a vale at the foot of the mountainous district in the eastern part of the parish; but though ancient, the exterior is not distinguished by any architectural details of importance. The building is adorned, however, with many handsome monuments and tablets; the pillars by which its roof is supported in the middle are light, lofty, and graceful, and few churches in this part of the country surpass it as to the general beauty and elegance of its interior. In the chancel is a stone to the memory of Dr. Morgan Owen, who was buried here; he was promoted to the see of Llandaf in 1639, and died in 1644. In the churchyard are to be seen an ancient yew-tree, measuring twentyfive feet, and a sycamore, fifty-four feet, in girth. At DŰl Hywel was once a chapel of ease, now in ruins. From the parish register, which was formerly kept in the Latin language, it appears that, during the usurpation of Cromwell, all the marriages at this place were solemnized by John Powell, Esq. There are two places of worship for Independents, and one for Calvinistic Methodists. A day school in connexion with the Established Church is supported here; and four Sunday schools are held, one of which is conducted on Church principles. Dr. Owen, Bishop of Llandaf, bequeathed £10 per annum, payable out of the tithes of Llanegwad, for the relief of poor persons not receiving parochial aid. After some litigation, £238. 18. were awarded by a decree of the court of Chancery, in 1709, as arrears due to the parish; which sum is now invested, in the name of the churchwardens, in the Old South Sea annuities: the dividends, amounting to £7. 3. 4. per annum, are distributed every third year, and the original rentcharge of £10 twice a year. The poor also receive the interest of £200 in the three per cent. consolidated bank annuities, arising from a bequest by the late John Josiah Holford, Esq., of KÓlgwyn.
Some interesting remains, supposed to be of British and Saxon origin, are said to have been found on a farm called Pen-tŵyn by the late Mr. Holford, just mentioned; and in the year 1807, thirty small silver coins were discovered near the ruins of DŰl Hywel chapel. In a field not far from the vicaragehouse, designated Monks' Field, are two tumuli. In the mountainous district is Craig Cwm Clyd, a rock nearly sixty yards in perpendicular height. During the thirteenth century Mothvey was much frequented by physicians, among whom was Rhiwallon, who, in conjunction with his three sons, while residing here, distinguished himself by a manuscript treatise on the practice of physic, which is preserved among the Welsh manuscripts in the library of the Welsh charity school in London. Tradition affirms that his descendants continued to follow the practice of medicine in the parish till within the memory of persons living at the beginning of the present century.