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Welsh: Cydweli
St Mary's Church, Kidwelly - - 58886.jpg
St Mary's Church, Kidwelly
Grid reference: SN407067
Location: 51°44’11"N, 4°18’26"W
Population: 3,000  (approx.)
Post town: Kidwelly
Postcode: SA17
Dialling code: 01554
Local Government
Council: Carmarthenshire

Kidwelly is a town in Carmarthenshire, lying some 10 miles west of the main town of Llanelli. It stands on the River Gwendraeth above Carmarthen Bay.

Local attractions include Kidwelly Castle, founded in 1106; a fourteenth century bridge and gate; the former quay (now a nature reserve); a Norman parish church, and an industrial museum.

Kidwelly Carnival is an annual event held on the second Saturday of July each year. Previous carnivals have featured aerial displays.[1]


The town gate
Kidwelly Castle

The name 'Kidwelly' is thought to be very old: the earliest form of the name, Cetgueli, is recorded by the monk, Nennius, writing in the 9th century. The town and castle were established by the invading Normans during the 12th century.

A field in the neighbouring forest of Kingswood, Maes Gwenllian is known as the location of a battle in 1136, in which Princess Gwenllian, sister of Owain Gwynedd, led her husband's troops into battle against a Norman army during his absence. She is believed to have been killed either during the battle or shortly afterwards, historians debate whether her death was at Maes Gwenllian or if she was marched back to Kidwelly Castle to be beheaded there.

Although being an ancient town, Kidwelly grew significantly during the industrial revolution, as did many other towns in South Wales. The town was home to a large brickworks and tinworks. Little evidence now exists of such activities since the closure of the industrial works, with the exception of Kidwelly Industrial Museum.

An atmospheric quotation from a despondent vicar in the nineteenth century provides a fascinating insight to times gone by;

Kidwelly Parish Church records, 1851 "Remarks: [MS torn] . . . Lords day in this Town is but very little regarded as a day for spiritual worship [pub] lick houses are allowed to be open, and frequented during Divine Service. Publick [hou]ses are very numerous in this place, and even the Town Clerk keeps a . . . publick house. Often times on the Lord's day we are not only hear cursing and . . . once swearing in our streets, but frequently we see most brutal fighting, and . . . [n]otice taken thereof by the authority of the Town. This is the cause why places [of wor]ship are so little frequented and religion so little appreciated and professed at Kidwelly." Thomas Griffiths, Vicar[1]


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