The Welsh name means ‘Friar’s Park or Field’. Reference was made to a field or close called “Park y ffryer” on 15th October 1691 and again in 1720. In 1768 the fields had been formerly leased to George Davies and at that time were leased to David Matthew. Deeds formerly existed dating back to 1783, when the fields here were let to Mr. Morris of Stop (Mount Pleasant a. k. a. Ty Johnny) by Owen Davies. In 1786-91 Madame Gwynne owned Parcyffrier and leased it to Owen Davies. In 1796 David & Anne Davies were the tenants. There were no buildings here at the time of the 1838 tithe map.
Briar Cottage was built for Evan Phillips of No. 18 William Street, Cardigan, but had not been completed at the time of his death in 1866. His widow, Margaret Phillips (born Margaret Griffiths of Llantood Farm), later came here to live and married a second husband – John Griffiths (b.1811 Llangoedmor) of Bryngwyn in 1868. The property was unoccupied in 1871, but occupied by John Griffiths in 1874. On 9th June 1874 Mary Rees of Briar Cottage, married Thomas Griffiths, weaver, of Bridge-End, Cardigan. In 1881 the following persons lived here: John Griffiths, 63, farmer of 20 acres; Margaret Griffiths, 60, his wife; David G. Phillips, 24, his step-son; and Anne James, 28, dairy maid. On 8th March 1883 Ester James of Blaenporth died here aged 30. In 1883 Mrs. Griffiths, Anne James and Elizabeth Williams lived here. On 13th December 1883 John Griffiths died here aged 72. His Will was declared to be missing on 4th January 1884.
On 14th February 1884 Rev. D. Griffith Phillips of Briar Cottage, Curate of St. John’s, was married to Anne. J. Griffiths lived here in 1884. On June 21st 1885 Rachel Jones, 24, of the Briars, daughter of labourer Philip Jones, married James Jones, farm servant at Plas Newydd. On 17th November 1885 Miss Elizabeth Williams of Briar Cottage, married George Higgon of Manchester House, High Street, Cardigan. In the late 1880’s Martha Davies lived here. On 14th November 1889 Margaret Griffiths of Briar Cottage was buried at Llantood Church, having died on 10th November 1889 aged 75. In 1891 the following persons lived here: David G. Phillips, 33, Clerk in Holy Orders; Anne E. Phillips, 32, his wife; Margaret Phillips, 5, their daughter; Martha David, 24, servant; and Catherine Ann Thomas, 16, servant. On 22nd December 1892 Margaret Phillips of Briar Cottage was buried at Llantood Church, having died aged 6 on 18th. It was advertised for sale with 6 acres in January 1893. On 1st March 1893 the following appeared in the ‘Evening Express‘:
“…Property Exchange, CARDIGAN. The freehold property of Briar Cottage, one of the most beautifully situated dwellings near Cardigan, between that town and St. Dogmael’s, has been sold by private contract to Mr. Benjamin J Rees, of Granant, for £ 1,500. The house overlooks most of the best scenery in the district, including Cardigan Bay and the River Tivy…”
It was sold by the occupier, Rev. David Griffith Phillips, Clerk-in-Holy-Orders, to Thomas Llewelyn of Glanymor, for £1500. Thomas Llewelyn, a Deacon of Gerazim Baptist Chapel, lived here in 1894-96. Instalments continued to be paid by Thomas Llewelyn in 1895. Thomas Llewelyn was a trustee of Penuel Batist Chapel in Cilgerran. Thomas Llewelyn died on 10th July 1896, aged 62.
On 2nd August 1898 Phoebe Mary Llewelyn, daughter of Thomas Llewelyn, married Thomas (“Tom”) Lewis Williams of Drefach Velindre, Carmarthenshire, and the couple lived here. In March 1899 Briar Cottage was advertised for sale with a stable, coach-house and 5 acres of land. By c.1900 Thomas Lewis Williams ran Cambrian Mills, St. Dogmaels. By 1901 he was also the manager and owner of Dyffryn Mills, Felindre. In 1901 the following persons lived here: Thomas Llewelyn Williams, 29, woollen manufacturer (b. Penboyr); Phoebe Mary Williams, 27, his wife (b. St Dogmaels); Elined Williams, 1, their daughter (b. Penboyr); and Jane Davies, 27, domestic servant (b. Cardigan). The household was bilingual. A post-nuptial settlement was signed on 6th October 1902. Thomas Llewelyn Williams, woollen manufacturer, lived here in 1902-55. In the early years of the 20th Century T. Ll. Williams operated a hire car service. Mrs. Phoebe Mary Williams is alleged to have left Blaenwaun Baptist Chapel after refusing to take communion from the same cup used by cancer sufferers consulting the Evans brothers in Cardigan. She joined the congregation at St. Thomas’ Church instead. On 24th January 1908 Thomas Ll. Williams was seeking tenders for building Henlana Woollen Mill in the village. In 1911 the following persons lived here: Thomas Llewelyn Williams, 38, woollen factory owner (b. Penboyr); Phoebe Mary Llewelyn Williams, 37, his wife (b. St. Dogmaels); Elyned Alys Llewelyn Williams, 11, their daughter (b. Penboyr); Mary Llewelyn, 69, mother-in-law (b. Llanfyrnach); Daniel Harries, 41, groom/gardener (b. Nevern); Elizabeth Thomas, 27, servant (b. St. Dogmaels); and Phoebe Edwards, 17, servant (b. Newport, Pembrokeshire).
On 13th July 1922 Elyned Alys Williams, 22, daughter of Thomas Ll. Williams, married Robert Lionel Phillips, 24, son of Rev. David Griffith Phillips of Newport Rectory and formerly of the Briars. In 1923 Mrs. Mary Llewelyn and Mrs. Phoebe Mary Williams lived here. Captain Robert Lionel Williams lived here in 1928-56. Mrs. Mary Llewelyn, widow of Thomas Llewelyn, died on 29th April 1929 aged 87. Captain R. L. Phillips was a Cardigan County School governor by 1947 and turned down the offer of the Mayoralty of Cardigan in December 1950. By 1952 Major R. L. Phillips was a County Councillor for Cardiganshire.
In 1953 the house was renovated by W. Gwizdak, builder, Cardigan. In 1955 Eluned Alys L Phillips, Hywel Colwyn Phillips, Ioan G. Ll. Phillips, Robert Lionel Phillips, Phoebe Mary Williams and Thomas Llewelyn Williams lived here. On 12th October 1955 Thomas Llewelyn Williams died aged 83. On 13th April 1956 Robert Lionel Phillips of the Briars, died aged 58. On 27th November 1959 Mrs. Phoebe Mary Williams of the Briars died aged 86.
In November 1997 the 6 bedroom property was advertised for sale with 2 acres of gardens. It was sold in 2000. Some repairs were conducted that year, and the name changed to ‘Parc-y-Ffryer’. Plastic windows were installed in 2010.
Mid-late C19 stone-built house with slate roof.
Unpublished Bill Relating to William Webley 1773
Tithe Map for St. Dogmaels 1838
Census Returns 1871; 1881; 1891; 1901; 1911
Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1874; 1883-85; 1893; 1896; 1898-99; 1906; 1908-09; 1914; 1922;
1929; 1940; 1942; 1945; 1950; 1955-56; 1959; 1995; 1997
Cardigan Observer 1883
Register of Subscribers – Tabernacl C M Chapel, Cardigan, 1883
Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1884; 1906; 1914; 1926
St. Dogmaels Parish Register – Marriages 1837-1974
Accounts – Rebuilding Blaenywaun Chapel, St. Dogmaels 1891
Calendar of Deeds, William Williams 26/10/1893
Occupiers List of Voters – St. Dogmaels 30/07/1894
Headed Paper – Cambrian Mill, St. Dogmaels, T Llywellyn Williams 1900
The History of St. Dogmaels Abbey, E M Pritchard 1907
Register of Electors – Cardigan 1874; 1912; 1955
Hanes Eglwys y Bedyddwyr Penuel, Cilgerran, D Morris & Rev D J Michael BA 1935
Post Office Telephone Directory 1950; 1955
St. Dogmaels Parish Register – Baptisms 1857-1967
The Place Names of Pembrokeshire, B G Charles 1993.
Monumental Inscriptions, Blaenwaun Chapel cemetery
© Glen K Johnson 16/07/2013