Llangunnor – Parish
The Parish of Llangunnor is located close to the County town of Carmarthen. It extends almost to Llanddarog in the east and from Cwmffrwd in the south to Capel Dewi in the north. The river Twyi forms part of the parish boundary and the communities include the villages and hamlets of Llangunnor, Pensarn, Login, Pibwrlwyd, Tregynnwr and Nantycaws.
The Independents built Capel Philadelphia in 1809 and this was the first Chapel in the parish. It was renovated in 1841 and the present building dates from 1931.
A ‘Llan’ or church surrounded by an enclosure was established by Dewi Sant (Saint David) at the place where he preached and today’s church is to be found on Llangunnor Hill. The church has several notables including David Charles (a non-conformist hymn writer) and Sir Lewis Morris (a solicitor and Town Clerk of Carmarthen who built ‘Ty Penbryn’ also known as Mount Pleasant). The house was demolished in the 1990s to make way for modern development. Notoriety is also represented in that the parents of Donald Maclean of the Burgess & Maclean Russian spy scandal of the 1950s are also buried here.
The origin of the name is not certain but it is believed to relate to a feature in the landscape. It may have derived from the old Welsh word ‘Halogyn’ (a stream or dirty pool). Long ago the place was also known as Logindwr.
Around 1868 a National School, along with a house for the schoolmaster was built here. Under the management of the vicar and open to Government inspection, both children and adults were accepted as pupils.
The name can be traced back to the old Welsh word ‘cawsen’ (a paved ford across a stream). Schools were held in various farmhouses in the area in the 17th and 18th centuries as there were no purpose-built education establishments. Eventually, in the 19th century, a schoolroom was built at Tir-y-Pound, for the furtherance of the education of local children.
In the 21st century the village is a commuter base for south west Wales, with many new housing developments in evidence.
Waste management came to the area with the development of a large civic amenity centre for product recovery, recycling and compost manufacturing.
The name means ‘the head of the causeway’. It is thought the Romans built a road through Pensarn when they marched their legions through Carmarthen on their way to Caernarvon in North Wales. Two sections of cobbled tracks are still visible. The one between Babell Chapel and Ty Penbryn is known as Roman Road but the other is less discernable and leads towards Abercyfor Isaf. The County town of Carmarthen, across the River Tywi from Pensarn, was an important Roman base in West Wales.
The Methodists had meeting places in Bola-haul, and at Pibwrlwyd. In 1870 they built Babell Methodist Chapel at Pensarn and later the same year enlarged it. The Chapel was rebuilt in 1905.
Today the village of Pensarn has almost disappeared under either road improvement schemes or commercial developments such as retail parks, supermarkets and other business outlets, but to mark the village’s existence the Community Council has placed a plaque under Pont Pensarn.
Over time various owners of the house attained civic and influential positions in local society and were able to influence events both locally and further afield. Through their position in society they were able to contribute to the non-conformist cause and develop the provision of education in Carmarthenshire.
Pibwrlwyd declined and eventually became a farmhouse but many of its original features remain.
Coleg Sir Gār are the present owners and within its grounds is one of the college campuses.
A farm known as Newcwmlast once occupied the site of present-day Tregynnwr. Legend has it that during the Civil War Oliver Cromwell and his troops camped there during their siege of Carmarthen in 1640.