Llanpumsaint

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Llanpumsaint
Carmarthenshire
Location
Grid reference: SN415295
Location: 51°56’20"N, 4°18’4"W
Data
Population: 595  (2001)
Post town: Carmarthen
Postcode: SA33
Dialling code: 01267
Local Government
Council: Carmarthenshire
Parliamentary
constituency:
Carmarthen West
and South Pembrokeshire

Llanpumsaint is a village and parish in Carmarthenshire. Its name means church of five saints. In the 2001 UK Census, it had a population of 595. It is not to be confused with Pumsaint, a small village some distance away on the River Cothi.

The parish comprises the neighbouring hamlet of Nebo, the Hindu community and temple at Skanda Vale and a number of farms.

Location

Llanpumsaint is located on a minor road that joins the B4336 just north of Bronwydd Arms and the A486 at Llandysul and Pentrecwrt. The village straddles the River Gwili between Bronwydd and Llanllawddog, at the confluence of two small tributaries, Nant-cwm-cerwyn and Nant Aeron. The nearest major settlement is the county town Carmarthen, approximately 4½ miles away by road.

History

Foundation

The name Llanpumsaint translates as "Parish of the Five Saints". The five saints were brothers named Gwyn, Gwynno, Gwynoro, Ceitho and Celynin who came from the nearby hamlet of Cynwyl Gaeo. They were sons of Cynyr Barbtruc (or "cut-beard") and descendents of Cunedda the Imperator.

The five brothers are said to have built the Llanpumsaint Parish Church around the 5th or 6th Century. It is thought that they built the church on a pre-existing pagan site. There are also five pools in Nant-cwm-cerwyn which are named after each of the saints.[1] These pools were the destination for pilgrimages to the village during the Middle Ages. Such pilgrimages tended to take place around the time of St David's Day.[2]

The names of the five saints appear elsewhere in the area. One of the brothers, Ceitho, is the patron saint of Llangeitho in Cardiganshire where he founded an abbey and lived as a hermit there within. Another example is St Celynin's Church in the neighbouring parish of Bronwydd which was built as a missionary church to Llanpumsaint in 1894.[3]

Evidence of medieval settlement at Pant Glas

At Allt Pant Glas, to the south of Llanpumsaint village, there are earthworks indicating the site of a possible mediæval timber castle of the motte-and-bailey or ringwork form.[4][5]

Railway village 1864-1965

In 1860 the Carmarthen and Cardigan Railway was opened. "Llanpumpsaint" station was opened in 1864 when the line was extended as far as Llandysul. At the height of its operation, the Carmarthen-Aberystwyth Line linked Llanpumsaint to Carmarthen in the south (connecting to the West Wales Line) and to Cardigan, Aberaeron and Aberystwyth (connecting to the Cambrian Line) in the north.

The railway served the village for over 100 years until the line finally closed (having ceased carrying passengers in February 1965 and the station). Freight trains continued to pass through the village on their way between Felin Fach and Carmarthen until 1973 when the line was finally closed and lifted.

The dismantled railway still passes through the village and, until recently, the original "Llanpumpsaint" station sign could be seen in front of the Railway Inn. In neighbouring Bronwydd, a mile-long section of the line was reopened in 1978 for tourists and named the Gwili Railway. The Gwili Railway aims to eventually restore the railway as far as Llanpumsaint. Plans are currently underway to extend the line Southwards to the site of Abergwili Junction.[6] However, the logistics of restoring the track as far north as Llanpumsaint (there are around seven derelict bridges crossing the Gwili between Conwyl Elfed and Llanpumsaint[7]) mean that there is currently no timetable for restoration.

Llanpumsaint Parish Church

Llanpumsaint Parish Church (The Church of St Celynin, Ceitho, Gwyn, Gwyno and Gwynoro) is a medieval church belonging to the Church in Wales. The precise age of the church is unknown. At the time of the The Religious census of 1851, the parish priest William Henry Powell attested that the church had been "...consecrated from time immemorial." There is a 6th-century Ogham stone in the churchyard which may give some indication of the church's age. The original church building was restored in 1882. An extension to the nave and the porch date from 1933.[8] The east window of the nave was designed by Mildred "Elsi" Eldridge, the wife of renowned Welsh poet R. S. Thomas.[9]

Very near to Llanpumsaint Parish Church is Bethel Presbyterian Chapel which was originally built in 1796. Nearer to the old railway line there is also Caersalem Baptist Chapel which was built in 1904.[10]

Skanda Vale

Skanda Vale, also known as "The Community of the Many Faces of God", is a Hindu Temple/Monastery located in the parish of Llanpumsaint, at a distance of 1½ miles from Llanpumsaint village. The temple holds festivals which are attended by pilgrims from all over the UK and even further afield. Skanda Vale also runs a hospice and as such is a registered charity. Valli the elephant was given to Skanda Vale as a gift from the Sri Lankan president in 1981.

Notable people

  • Martha Llwyd (1766-1845) poet and hymnist.
  • William Williams (1788-1865) businessman based in London, Radical MP 1835–1847 and 1850–1865
  • David Owen (1795-1866), a satirical writer, editor and preacher.
  • Timothy Davies (1857-1951) businessman based in London, Mayor of Fulham, Liberal MP 1906-1920
  • Jennie Eirian Davies (1925-1982), politician and magazine editor.

References

Outside links