Llandeilo

Llandeilo

We left the Shrewsbury on the Heart of Wales line. The entire train consisted of one car, carrying us and about a dozen others. Passengers came and went, many with rucksacks – one crew had cycles – but the carriage population remained about the same. It was a gorgeous ride – and the windows were even clean enough to take photographs. Not great photos, but hopefully enough to give a sense of the journey.

We saw many little lamb butts fleeing from the train

We made our way into town to find Ty Glas Bach, the Little Blue House, our accommodation for the next two nights.

We spent the afternoon exploring the tiny village of Llandeilo (Khlandylo). These are a people who are not afraid of color on their buildings.

There’s a lovely churchyard with stunning trees.

We dined in on carry out Indian – since that was the only establishment open on this bank holiday Monday. Tuesday was a glorious day spent exploring Dinefwyr Park, located just up the hill from the Little Blue House.

Llandyfeisant Church is abandoned and has fallen into disrepair.
Volunteers are working to restore it.

Castle Woods is a nature reserve, containing some of the oldest trees in Great Britain.

The Lords Rhys built and defended this castle against the English Marcher lords. When Edward Longshanks finally defeated the Welsh (c. 1282), the Rhys family kept the lands.

The Bog Walk. We came across a recent frog hatching – that dark mass in the water is hundreds of tadpoles.

There is bird song all around us. This is a familiar posture for Crystal-the-birder – where is that little songster?
This loo ranks as the most decorative I’ve come across.

The Rhys family lost their lands when Henry VIII objected to their objections to his liaison with Anne Boleyn. The family were royalists in the civil war, and when when Charles II returned to the throne (c. 1658) the “Rice” family received a grant from the crown to build a fine manor house. The house has undergone many changes and additions over the ensuing centuries.

Newton House

We took a wonderful “hidden history” tour of the house with Marianne – educational and most entertaining.

Note the finished carving on the right side of the door, and unfinished on the left, part of additions made by Victorian owners in the craze for all things Gothic.
This room likely originated a Welsh longhouse, seat of the Rhys lords before the manor house was built.
Lady Cecil Rice, responsible for the park’s transformation to a Capability Brown landscape in the 18th century. Her work is commemorated in a living garden sculpture on the front lawn – complete with rose at the collar.
Scissor brace arches in the China passage. Their primary purpose is to impress “lesser” guests tracing from the main house to the “travelodge” of the time with the wealth of their hosts. The passage walls would have been lined with shelves and shelves of fine china – made from all that china clay shipped out of Fowey.
We got to go behind the scenes to the conservation room, where staff catalogs and repairs all of the stuff that the National Trust finds, buys or is gifted.
The shelf of dead things – broken and not worth repairing for now. Everything is kept in case “that thing” turns out to be the last of its kind, changing the economics of repair.
There’s a deer herd, probably maintained for centuries.
And a herd of white cattle, raised here since before the Conquest (c. 1000 BCE).

A group of heifers in a separate thought we were the most exciting thing to happen in a very long time.

Dinner at the local.

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