Towyn was erected in 1327 by Gwilym ab Einon ap Gwilym ap Gwrwared ap Cyhylyn, Constable of Cardigan Castle since 17th April 1326. In 1328, deprived of the Constable’s post, he petitioned the King for his reinstatement, without success. The family were descended via Adam of Llwyndafydd from Gwynfardd Dyfed. In 1335 Einon Fychan (ap Gwilym ap Einon) was the Lord of Towyn. On 23rd February 1335 he received a rental of the Royal estate of Treferra or Gerardston in Tremain, in return for his service to the Crown in Scotland. He married Joan Langley, daughter of Stephen Langley, Baron of Coedmore, Llechryd. They had a son, Gruffydd, who married Eva, daughter of Llewelyn ap David Powell Ycha of Gorrws. Their son, Owain ap Gruffydd ap Einon, was the beadle of Iscoed Ishirwern at Michaelmas 1388. Owain married Elen, daughter of Morgan ap David ap Llewelyn ap Philip of Rydodin. They had a son, Maredudd, who was to marry Elliw, daughter of Rhys Ddu, who bore him a son, Rhys. In 1397 Owain ap Gruffydd ap Einon collected a subsidy in the commote of Iscoed.
In 1406, lands in Iscoed forfeited by Maredudd ab Owain ap Gruffydd ab Einon were farmed for more than £14 per annum. In 1421 Maredudd was nominated as a collector of a general fine imposed on the tenants of Iscoed Ishirwern. He became the Sheriff of Cardigan on 12th February 1424. For 1431-32 Maredudd paid a custom for a fishing boat he had on the river Teifi. In 1456 Rhys ap Maredudd ab Owain farmed the island in Pentood Marsh, St. Dogmaels, for 6s.8d. per annum. He married Margaret, daughter of John Einon of Henllan, and had a son, Rhydderch. In 1457-58 Rhys ap Maredudd ab Owain farmed the Cardigan mills. In 1458 Rhys took a seven-year lease of Waretrehill (Crugmore/Warren, Cardigan/Llangoedmor) and in 1460 he leased the island property in Pentood Marsh, St. Dogmaels, again until 1464 for 6s.8d. per annum.
In 1483 Rhydderch ap Rhys ap Mauredudd ab Owain was reeve and farmer of Gerardston, Tremain. Rhydderch and Marged, his second wife, a daughter of Sir John Lyngen, bore him a son, Rhys Ychan. They also had a daughter, Elizabeth, who married James Mortimer of Castell Cefel (Coedmore), Llechryd. Rhys later married Alston, and their son, John Vychan, succeeded to Towyn. Their daughter, Alson, married Rhys Dafydd Llwyd – one of the earliest occupants of Noyadd Trefawr. Rhydderch’s brother, Thomas, later had a son called Philip, who married a daughter of Philip ap Rhys ap Ieuan of Crugbychan. His second son, Dafydd, settled at Llangynfelin and married Lowri, daughter of Richard ap Rhys ap Dafydd Llwyd of Gogerddan. On 27th February 1486 Rhydderch ap Rhys ap Mauredudd ab Owain of Towyn became the Constable of Cardigan Castle. On 22nd August 1489 he was the Mayor-escheator of Cardigan. In 1500-01 he was the Deputy-Constable of Cardigan Castle and was fined £40 for the escape of a prisoner, whilst also holding the office of Mayor-escheator of Cardigan again. In 1514-15 Rhydderch was farming Waretrehill at Cardigan.
In 1520 Thomas ap Rhys was a bailiff of Cardigan. In 1550 Morgan John (a.k.a. Jones, Vaughan) received Castle Malgwyn, Manordeifi. Morgan John was the grandson of Rhys Ychan and the son of John Vychan of Towyn and Catherine, his wife. He married Margaret and had a son, Richard Vaughan of Penbryn, who later married Lettice and had a son, John Vaughan. He also had a daughter, Catherine, who married Gruffydd ap Roland of Llancynfelin, Cardiganshire. On 25th October 1554 John ap Rhys ap Rhydderch (or Vaughan) and Rhys ap Rhys were granted the lordship of Coedmore, Llechryd, to be held in trust, as James Mortimer of Coedmore, Llechryd, had married Elizabeth verch Rhydderch ap Rhys. After James Mortimer’s death, it was to revert to his heirs.
In 1556 Rhys Fychan ap Rhydderch, then resident at St. Dogmaels, became the Sheriff of Cardiganshire. He was married to Enghareud verch Owen. Rhydderch ap Rhys Fychan, presumably their son, lived at Sealyham by 1559. In 1563-66 John Pris a. k. a. Vaughan, was Lord of Towyn. He had a son, Morgan Johnes, by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of James Griffith ap Howell of Castle Malgwyn, Manordeifi. By 1570 Margaret, daughter and heiress of Rhydderch ap Rhys Vychan, Lord of Towyn, had married Thomas ap Harry of Blaenpant and Noyadd Trefawr. Their eldest son, Stephen Parry, later lived at Plas Newydd, St. Dogmaels. By 1584 Morgan Johnes occupied Towyn. On 14th February 1584, he leased land in Llangoedmor and Llechryd to David Mortimer of Castle Malgwyn, Manordeifi. He reserved the rights of the decayed Llechryd Mill. In 1609 Morgan ap John lived here. In 1614 Elizabeth, daughter of Owain ap Rhys of Towyn, died – widow of John Bowen of Argoed, Nevern.
The manor was recorded in 1646, inherited by Stephen Parry and held by his father, Thomas Parry. Richard Vaughan died in 1693. He was the son of John Vaughan by his wife, Lettice. He left ason, Richard Vaughan, by his wife, Anne. Towyn was referred to in 1720. By 1721 it was the possession of Stephen Parry of Noyadd Trefawr, Llandygwydd, and Plas Newydd, St. Dogmaels. On 29th July 1725 Towyn was demised to John Jones, nephew of Stephen Parry, and left to John Jones in Stephen Parry’s will. Towyn is indicated on Lewis Morris’ plan of Cardigan Bay, Bar & Harbour of 1748. In 1781 probate was made of the will of David Mathias of Towyn. By 1808 the property was merely a farmhouse, the property of A. T. J. Gwynn.
In 1802 David Davies lived here. On 6th October 1812 Thomas and Benjamin Davies of Towyn became burgesses of Cardigan. In 1812-56 Benjamin Davies lived here. In 1813 David Davies was the farmer. On 22nd October 1825 farmer Thomas Davies of Towyn wrote his will. He referred to his wife Rachel Davies; eldest son Joseph Davies, now deceased; Joseph Davies’ son David Davies, mariner; Joseph Davies’ son Thomas Davies, mariner; son David Davies; son Owen Davies; daughter Margaret James, widow of master mariner David James; daughter Dorothy Davies, wife of David Davies; daughter Hannah Jones, wife of Thomas Jones, shipwright; daughter Esther Davies, wife of John Davies; and son Benjamin Davies of Towyn. On 21st August 1827 Rachel Davies of Towyn, widow, wrote her will. She referred to her deceased husband Thomas Davies; grandson Thomas Davies – Captain of the sloop ‘Margaret’ of Cardigan; grandson David Davies, Captain of the schooner ‘Alert’ of Cardigan; grand-daughter Hannah Davies, daughter of daughter Dorothy Davies; grand-daughter Esther Davies, daughter of Dorothyn Davies; son David Davies; daughter Esther Davies, wife of John Davies of Gwbert; son Benjamin Davies; son Owen Davies; daughter Margaret James; daughter Dorothy Davies; and daughter Hannah Jones. On 27th April 1837 Rachel Davies, daughter of Benjamin & Margaret Davies, died aged 21. In 1838 the property belonged to Alban Thomas Davies Esq. and Benjamin Davies.
In 1841 Towyn was home to the following persons: Benjamin Davies, 55, farmer; Margaret Davies, 55, his wife; Margaret Davies, 25, their daughter; Thomas Davies, 20, son; John Davies, 15, son; Owen Davies, 14, son; Hannah Davies, 12, daughter; Ester Davies, 10, daughter; Elizabeth James, 25, servant; Elizabeth Jones, 15, servant and Hannah Griffiths, 15, servant. At a separate dwelling, lived the following agricultural labourers – John Owens, 25; John Davies, 25; Evan Davies, 20; James Thomas, 15; David Owens, 15; and Daniel Young, 15. In 1843 Esther Davies lived here and paid rent to David Davies, Castle Green (Cardigan Castle). On December 23rd 1844 Margaret davies, wife of Benjamin Davies, died aged 57. In 1851 the following persons lived here: Benjamin Davies, 64, farmer of 400 acres, widower; Owen Davies, 25, his son; Esther Davies, 21, daughter; Servants – William Owen, 24; Thomas Thomas, 40; John Jones, 20; Stephen Lewis, 17; Evan Morris, 16; Thomas Davies, 15; Mary Davies, 35; Margaret Davies, 25; Margaret Davies, 16; and Margaret Lloyd, 15. Esther Davies still lived here in 1853, paying rent to David Davies, Castle Green. Benjamin Davies died ca1856, aged 70. On July 16th 1857 Owen Davies, son of Benjamin & Margaret Davies, died aged 34 of consumption.
On 7th August 1858 Alban Thomas Davies of Tyglyn, leased Towyn to Lumley Edwards. On 16th October 1860 John Edwards of Towyn, son of Lumley Edwards, married Sarah James of Tregibby, Cardigan. In 1861 the following persons lived here: Lumley Edwards, 55, farmer of 354 acres; Anne Maria Edwards, 54, his wife; David Edwards, 17, their son, scholar; Mary Anne Evans, 27, married daughter; Anne Edwards, 15, daughter; Hannah Edwards, 11, daughter; Elizabeth Evans, 3, grand-daughter; William L. Evans, 1, grandson; Hugh Jones, 20, farm servant; Thomas Lloyd, 19, farm servant; David Elias, 17, farm servant; John Morgan, 16, farm servant; Thomas Davies, 14, farm servant; Naomi Richards, 27, farm servant; and Elizabeth Rogers, 16, farm servant. Lumley Edwards surrendered the lease on 7th August 1862.
In September 1862 David Rees, son of Joseph & Leah Rees (formerly of St. Dogmaels), was born here. In September 1864 Mary Anne Rees was born here to the same parents. Letitia, Richard, James, Daniel and Eleanor Rees attended Ferwig British School in 1866. They were children of Joseph Rees (b. Gernos, St. Dogmaels) and Leah Rees (nee’ Phillips, born at Hendre, St. Dogmaels). In 1869 Phoebe Rees was born here, the daughter of Joseph & Leah Rees. In 1870 Levi (Lewis) Phillips Rees was born here. In 1871 the following persons lived here: Joseph Rees, 52, farmer; Leah Rees, 41, his wife; James Rees, 14, their son; Daniel Rees, 13, son; Richard Rees, 10, son; John Rees, 9, son; David Rees, 8, son; Levi Philip Rees, 1, son; Elinor Rees, 18, daughter; Letitia Rees, 12, daughter; Mary Anne Rees, 5, daughter; Phoebe Rees, 3, daughter; John Lewis, 40, farm servant; Josiah Davies, 19, farm servant; and Benjamin Lewis, 18, farm servant. In a separate building here lived Anne Morgan, 31, general servant; and Rachel Davies, 15, general servant. In September 1873 Edith Rees was born here, the daughter of Joseph & Leah Rees. On 3rd February 1875 Eleanor Evans, daughter of Joseph Rees of Towyn, died aged 22. She had married John Evans of Felinbedr. On 6th August 1875 Mary Anne Rees of Towyn died aged 11. On 28th September 1875 Richard Rees, son of Joseph & Leah Rees, died aged 14. On 15th June 1877 farmer Joseph Rees died aged 59. He had been the Chairman of the Ferwig School Board.
On 18th September 1880 Letitia Rees of Towyn, married John Evans of Felinbedr – who had been married to her late sister, Eleanor Rees. In 1881 the following persons lived here: Leah Rees, 50, widow, farmer of 345 acres; James P. Rees, 24, her son, farmer; Daniel Rees, 22, son, farmer; Phoebe Rees, 12, daughter, scholar; Levi Rees, 11, son, scholar; Edith Rees, 7, daughter; Anne Morgans, 45, dairymaid; David Thomas, 16, general servant; and Mathias Evans, 17, farm servant. On 8th June 1883 Towyn was advertised for sale. Reference was made that year to David Griffiths of Towyn. On 21st December 1883 Levi Phillips Rees died aged 13. On 3rd April 1888 David Rees, son of Leah Rees and the late Joseph Rees, died aged 25. On 10th December 1888 Hannah Williams, nee’ Davies, of Towyn, formerly of Brynpedr, died aged 82. She left a husband – Joshua Williams. In July 1889 the property was offered for sale. On 19th February 1890 a ploughing match was held here. On 21st August 1890 Joshua Williams, possibly still of Towyn, died aged 86. On 6th October 1890 a sale was held here.
In 1891 the following persons lived here: David Davies, 65, farmer; Ann Davies, 60, his wife; Thomas Davies, 35, their son, working on the farm; Owen Davies, 32, son, working on the farm; William Griffith Davies, 30, son, working on the farm; Ann Charlotte Davies, 22, daughter, house maid; and Mary Morgans, 24, general servant. On 31st August 1892 an agreement was drawn up between Josiah Williams and Charles Evan David Morgan-Richardson in association with George Abraham, for the latter two parties to buy the estate for £5500. In November 1893 the estate was offered for sale. In 1894 Josiah Williams was still the owner. In January 1894 the estate was advertised for sale. In 1895 David Davies was the farmer. In 1897 Mrs. Davies lived here. In 1899 it was stated that no part of the farmhouse was more than two hundred years old, and it appeared not to have been built on the site of the original mansion. In 1899 John Owen Davies of Towyn became a pupil at Ferwig School. In 1901 the following persons lived here: Anne Davies, 28, farmer (b. Llantood, bilingual); Owen Davies, 31, her brother (b. Llantood, Welsh-speaking); William Griffith Davies, 30, brother (b. Llantood, Welsh-speaking); David Davies, 26, cowman (b. Ferwig, Welsh-speaking); and Charles Wingfield, 20, agricultural labourer (b. London, bilingual). In 1903 William Griffith Davies lived here. In February 1904 the 240 acre property was advertised to let. In 1909-22 Thomas Davies was the farmer. In 1912 Thomas Davies of Towyn was a Guardian of the Poor. In 1914 William Ithel Davies lived here. InSeptember 1914 Miss Nellie Davies of Towyn married Mr. W. Rees Sambrook of Pentood Ucha, St. Dogmaels. In August 1917 the 243 acre property, occupied by Mr. Davies as a yearly tenant, was advertised for sale. In June 1922 Mr. Davies advertised Towyn for sale with 233 acres. On 21st October 1920 there was a clear-out sale here for Thomas Davies, who was retiring. Thomas Davies, formerly of Towyn, retired to ‘Towyn House’ in Cardigan in 1922. On 23rd January 1922 William Ithel Davies of Towyn died aged 39, leaving a widow and child. On 26th October 1922 a clear-out sale was held here for Thomas Davies, who was retiring.
In 1922-52 David S. Nicholas was the farmer. In February 1923 there was a clear-out sale here for Thomas Davies. In April 1929 David S. Nicholas became a Deacon of Siloam Baptist Chapel. In 1940 John H. Morgan also lived here. Thomas Leonard Nicholas lived here in 1942-44. On 29th March 1944 Thomas Leonard George Nicholas, youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. David S. Nicholas of Towyn, married Miss Margaret Siriol James of St. Dogmaels. On 15th November 1944 Miss Dilys Elizabeth Nicholas, eldest daughter of Mr. & Mrs. David S. Nicholas of Towyn, married Thomas Lewis Jenkins of Aberporth. In about 1965 Towyn was abandoned and became derelict. On August 6th 1997 the derelict farmhouse was advertised for sale. It was sold in 2001.
NLW Eaton, Evans & Williams MS 54
NLW Noyadd Trefawr MSs 1003; 466
Ceredigion Archives: CDM
The History & Antiquities of the County of Cardiganshire, Samuel Rush Meyrick 1808
NLW Bronwydd MS 2109
NLW Minor Deposit 490-9B
Pembrokeshire Record Office: Abstracts of Wills 1825; 1827
Ledger, David Davies, Cardigan 1830-53
Tithe Map for Ferwig 1838
Census Returns 1841; 1851; 1861; 1871; 1881; 1891; 1901
NLW Ty Glyn MS 41
Parish Registers of St. Mary’s, Cardigan
Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1875; 1880; 1883; 1894; 1897; 1903-04; 1909; 1911; 1913-15; 1917; 1920; 1922-23; 1929; 1933; 1935; 1937-38; 1940-44; 1952; 1997; 2000-01
Cardigan Observer 1877
Register of Subscribers – Tabernacl 1883
NLW Morgan Richardson MS 2467
A Guide to Cardigan & District, W E Yerward James 1899
Paupers’ List, Cardigan Board of Guardians 1912
Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1895; 1926
The Principality of Wales in the Later Middle Ages, R A Griffiths 1972
A Calendar of Ancient Petitions Relating to Wales, William Rees 1975
Pembrokeshire Houses & Their Families, Francis Jones 1996
Historic Cardiganshire Homes & Their Families, Francis Jones 2000
M I’s, Ferwig Cemetery
Hanes Ysgol y Ferwig 2007.
(c) Glen K Johnson 27/07/2013