History

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Llanddewi Brefi is a village on the banks of the Afon Brefi in Ceredigion, West Wales. It is in one of the largest parishes in Wales. In the first century the Romans set up a camp and baths at Llanio Isaf called Loventium and later built their road Sarn Helen. On the other side of the River Teifi was the small settlement of Bremia, which means ‘bubbling stream’. This is the site of Llanddewi Brefi. It derives the second part of its name from a local legend involving two oxen. The oxen were hauling stone up a steep hill when one of them collapsed and died. The other bellowed nine times, and because its bellow was so loud, the place became known as Llanddewi Brefi (brefi meaning bellow). The village’s connection with the Welsh patron saint led to the first part of the village name. In 520 AD Saint David (Welsh:Dewi Sant), held the Synod of Brefi here and it has borne his name since; “Llan” referring in Welsh place names to a church or holy place. Legend has it that when the crowd that had gathered to see the saint couldn’t hear him, he raised the ground from underneath himself so that he was standing on a small hill. This is the same hill that the village church stands on today. St David’s Church dates back to the 12th century, although the site has been a place of worship since the 7th century. In the churchyard stand an interesting collection of Celtic crosses. The site has continued to play an important part in religion and learning and at one time the University was going to be built here. There were maenors or districts within the parish: Llanio; Garth ac Ystrad; Goyan a Gorwydd; Prysg a Charfan; Doethie Pysgotwr and Doethie Camddwr. Different parts of the village were referred to as: Pentre Rhew, Llety Poeth; Pentre Richard; Dôlgam; Dolfelin; Dôl Saint; and Cae Wenlli. These names remain.

Based on extracts from ‘Yr Ancr’ magazine, research work completed by pupils of Ysgol Gynradd Llanddewi Brefi in the 1970’s and their Headmaster, the late Mr. Ben Richards.

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