The Bridge of the Blessed Ford


A further glimpse of Pontrhydfendigaid's past and present

The Rhydfendigaid bridge drawn  by J G Wood in 1811

Photo © Jonathan Billinger (cc-by-sa/2.0)

B4343 Tregaron Road on the southern approach to this village.

The bridge appears  in the distance

Rhydfendigaid Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel was first built, together with a schoolroom, in 1794. It was then rebuilt in 1802, 1827, and 1859-60. It was later remodelled to the design of John Arthur Jones in 1907. It is in an Italianate Classical style, with a rubble stone exterior with cut sandstone dressings and long quoins stones, below a pitched slate roof with deep eaves upon paired brackets. 

Source: Cadw Listed Building Record
RCAHMW Inventory Documents

George Borrow recounts his experience when walking through the village on his way to Strata Florida Abbey in 1854

I entered a large village divided into two by the river . . . There was much mire in the street ; immense swine lay in the mire, who turned up their snouts at me as I passed. Women in Welsh hats stood in the mire, along with men without any hats at all, but with short pipes in their mouths ; they were talking together ; as I passed, however, they held their tongues, the women leering contemptuously at me, the men glaring sullenly at me, and causing tobacco smoke to curl in my face ; on my taking off my hat, however, and inquiring the way to the Monachlog, everybody was civil enough, and twenty voices told me the way to the Monastery.

I asked the name of the river :

The Teivi, sir : the Teivi.

The name of the bridge ?

Pont y Rhyd Fendigaid – The Bridge of the Blessed Ford, sir.

Gellir gweld Pen-y-bannau a craig Pen-y-bannau yn glir o bob man ym Mhontrhydfendigaid, ac mae’n wir i ddweud bod bron pob un sydd wedi ei eni a’i fagu yn y Bont wedi dringo’r bannau rywbryd yn ystod ei hoes.
(Pen-y-bannau and Pen-y-bannau rock can be seen clearly from anywhere within the village, and it is true to say that almost everyone born and raised in the village and  the neighbourhood has climbed Y Bannau at some point in his/her life).

Mae hen stori ar gael yn dweud bod crochan aur wedi ei guddio ar fanc Pen-y-bannau, ac mae’n hawdd credu mai rhywle yng nghysgod y graig y mae’r trysor hwn wedi ei gelu. Hefyd, ychydig dros ganllath yn uwch i fyny na’r graig, yn union ar ben uchaf y bannau,  mae olion hen gaer sydd yn dyddio’n ôl i’r Oes Haearn. Hwyrach bod yna drysor neu ddau wedi eu claddu rywle yng nghyffinniau’r fan honno hefyd.

(There is an old story that says that a pot of gold is hidden on  Pen-y-bannau, and it is so easy to dream and believe that this treasure is hidden somewhere in the shadow of the rock. Also, just over a hundred meters higher than the rock, right at the very peak, are the remains of an old fort which dates back to the Iron Age. There may also be a treasure or two buried somewhere in the vicinity of that place)

Finally, there are two other old images that are worth including. They show, arguably, the two most standout business-places in 20th century Pontrhydfendigaid. At the time the Florida Shop photograph was taken, there were eight other shops in the village with Florida store  being the busiest of them all ;  it met the wordly needs of a good majority of the village people and practically all the neighborhood farmers.

Secondly , the Red Lion which was a popular meeting place for both church and chapel gowers alike and, of course, for all the other lot who  were not much drawn to prayer or worshipping. It was the main meeting place for the hunt, starting point for the annual chapel excursions and for hosting many general festive activities.

Mr Richard Rees was the proprietor, an elder of the chapel and a highly respected figure in the parish and beyond.

This picture was taken about 100 years ago. The owner of the Red Lion at the time was Mr Rhys Morgan a relative of the late Rowland Hugh Arch, a person whose knowledge of the viallage, its people and history was unparalleled. He could name all those pictured above and the actual occasion.

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