April Talk: The Gentry Families of Llangyfelach

This month’s lecture was given by local Historian Jeff Childs.

The talk began with the history of the parish of Llangyfelach parish which was subdivided during the Tudor period into the administrative areas of Castell Mawr, Rhyndwyclydach, Penderry and Clase. It consisted of  both upland and lowland and was classed as an open parish as it was  not dominated by one particular landowner.

The main estates and owners were then identified. The Popkin Family who claimed descent from Rhodri Mawr were powerful in the 17th and 18th centuries. They owned 1700 acres in the parish and lived in Fforest House.

The Morris family of Clasemont built Morris Castle to house workers and employed William Edwards, the bridge builder to design the new town of Morriston. This was the first planned town since the Norman Conquest.

The Duke of Beaufort  still remains a force in the parish. Although he does not own much land in Glamorganshire, he maintains a claim to the common lands in the parish.

The Earls of Jersey, the Pryces and Llewellyns of Penllegaer, the Herbert and Mackworth families all featured in the talk. In Clase which derives its name from the pre-Norman monastic settlement or Clas, the Bishops of St.David’s collected rents up until the First World War.

Another notable from the parish was Colonel Philip Jones of Penmaenmawr who was Oliver Cromwell’s Chief Administrator in South Wales. He purchased Fonmon Castle in the Vale where his descendants still reside today.

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