In his later years, Thomas Y. Davies described the Llanarth of his childhood some 70 years before.
“Both the State and Church schools of Llanarth are located about quarter of a mile distant from the village on the main road from Abereiron to Aberteivi. Llanarth village is off this main road to the left as you go up from New Quay. The school houses are on fairly level land while Llanarth village is quite bluffy.
The Llyfanog Mill operated by my niece, Mary Jones, is also about quarter of a mile down the creek from Llanarth. It is further by road than that. But by going across the farm called “Ffynon Wen” along a by-path it is about quarter of a mile. This old farm of “Ffynon Wen” was owned by a well-to-do farmer named Jones, who belonged to the Upper Class. Mother worked there as a servant girl before she was married and Mr. Jones esteemed her highly and used to visit her after she was married. My sister Mary worked on the same farm before she married.
A farm called Rhyd on “Avon Bedw” very close to “Cwm Bedw” farm and “Bryn y Dere”, the farm belonging to grandfather Evan Evans (Y Bryn), both of which farms were located on the same creek. The Rhyd was situated where the main road between Aberystwyth, Abereiron and Abertein passed. Cwm Bedw farm was a little farther down the creek and “Y Bryn” was one bluff above the creek. Pen Cwm (where Evan Beynon lived) and Llyfanog Mill and Llanarth were on another brook, “Nant y Gwrdy” farm was probably on a branch of Avon Bedw or it may have been another brook. The river Eiron was the next North of Bedw and Arth, on which Llanarth was located, was the next river to the south. Eiron is quite a stream, about as large as the Big Cottonwood. The tenant at “Nant y Gwrdy” had to keep two or three hounds for the Lord who owned the farm. There was a large tract of land kept as a game preserve nearby for the use of the nobility to hunt foxes and hares in it. When I visited Wales in 1896 I passed through this preserve. There was 3 or 4 miles of it without an inhabitant. It seemed like good, fertile land. The blueberries grew all over it along the road. There were no trees but grass and brush.
“Nant Y Gwrdy” was the name of the farm. It was a good farm of fair size which belonged to some Lord who did not live on it. “Rhyd-y-Ffydde” was the name of a house (or cluster of four or five houses) on a corner of this farm.
The old house of Rhyd-y Ffyde on Nant-y-Gwrdy farm, near Llanarth, Cardiganshire, Wales was standing on the north side of the highway leading from Llanarth to Meidrwn about a mile east of Llanarth. I saw it when back in Wales in 1896. The farmhouse of Nant Y Gwrdy was about half a mile from Rhyd Y Fydde if you went by the road, or about 80 rods across the field.
I remember my father John Davis (originally spelled Davies) building an addition on the east end of the old Rhyd Y Ffydde cabin, for his chandler work. The house was made of clay mixed with lime plastered on to wicker work, between a heavy framework of oak or some durable wood. The roof was thatched with straw or hay. To lay this roof required special skill. The straw had to be perfectly even and without having been broken or bruised, and was tied up in bundles very carefully. A layer of willows or brush were laid first. A hole was made with a knobbed stick and the end of the straw deftly fitted into it. Then each layer of straw was bound down by a pole laid upon it.
As you entered the front door there was a broad partition on the left extending the full width of the building behind which lay the double bed room in which the girls slept, and there was a door into this double bed room at about the center of the partition. There were other beds in the attic where we boys of the family slept. On the right as you entered the front door a board partition extended to the foot of the bed in which father and mother slept. This bed had its head towards the front wall of the house – its side along the partition – and occupied the space between this partition and the window in front of the house the end of this room beyond the foot of the bed was open.
This large open space beyond the foot of the bed was the living room and kitchen. There was a seat a little way up from the floor on the inside of the chimney on each side and a big wooden beam was placed in the chimney just above the fireplace from which the kettles were suspended.