Llanteg's Milestones and Turnpike Road

---County Boundary Stone---

We are lucky to have at the eastern end of our village a Grade II Listed Boundary Stone set into Castle Ely Bridge - this is just outsde our village.


We also have two Milestones - one opposite Myrtle Villaa which is at the eastern end of the village and one on a disused loop of road close to Oakland's House.

---Milestone Makers---

The Milestones are marked 'MOSS & SONS 1838'.

---Turnpike Road---

They are on what was the old main turnpike road from Carmarthen to Hobb's Point.
Later to become the A477 trunk road into South Pembrokeshire.

---Llanteg Toll Gate---

Llanteg Tollgate was run by 'Billy the Gate', William Oriel - who was the village cobbler, tollgate keeper and vilage schoolmaster all rolled into one.
William's wife was an invalid and he would puh her around the village in a basket invalid chair.
Nothing remains of our village tollgate but it appears to have been situated at the S.W. corner of Llanteg Crossroads to the west of Llanteg Garage.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

What Our Gate May Have Looked Like?

We have no pictures, sketches or remains of Lanteague Toll Gate, but one found at the St Fagan's Museum is shown below and may have been similar to ours:

c. Mick Lobb Geograph

The above Toll Gate Posts and Table of Tolls are now located at Colby Lodge but were 
originally situated at the Kilanow Toll Gate three miles west of our Lanteague one.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Llanteg Milestones

From 'Llanteg -Looking Back':

Our parish can boast two milestones, one at either end of Llanteg.  These milestones show the distance to Hobb’s Point in the west and Carmarthen in the east (with the Oaklands one showing 18 miles to Carmarthen and 15 miles to Hobb’s Point) and are marked at their foot by the manufacturer – Moss & Sons 1838.
With the help of Carmarthen Library mention has been found in trade directories of a William Moss and Son, iron founders in Blue Street, Carmarthen (1835).  William Moss also had Ironmongers, Plumbers, Braziers and Tinplate Works at Guildhall Square, Carmarthen.  Earlier in the 19th century William Moss of Carmarthen also issued copper trade tokens which read:-
AND AT JACOB & HALSE LONDON 1813 (shown within a wreath of oak and acorns).
(Trade tokens appeared when the supply of regal coins was inadequate.)   These tokens were manufactured by Halliday of Birmingham.
We also have a County boundary stone set into Castle Ely Bridge as the stream beneath is the actual County and Parish border – there are no maker’s marks on this item.

William Oriel

From 'Llanteg Turning Back The Clock'.

William Oriel
William celebrated his 20th birthday on 13th February 1813 by marrying 17-year-old Elizabeth David at Marros Church. By 1822 William had moved across the parish border into Crunwere and was employed as a
joiner. The following year he was living at Milton Back and was described as a carpenter. William and Elizabeth remained at Milton Back, and following their deaths in 1855 and 1861 they were buried – like many other Oriels over the next 125 years – at Crunwere Church.
William junior was baptised in 1826 and went on to marry Sarah Davis in 1857. He was the tollgate keeper, cobbler and schoolmaster at Llanteg, combining the three occupations in the little tollgate building that stood at Llanteg Crossroads. Locally he became known as ‘Billy the Gate’.
Legend has it that he would push his wife Sarah around the village in a bath-chair, which would seem to bear out her gravestone inscription, ‘long in illness borne with great patience’. Sarah died in 1873, and William later lived at York Crescent until his own death in 1890.
William and Sarah had three children, their two daughters Ann and Sarah becoming the first and second wives of Henry James on Caldey Island (there is an unusual group photograph on page 108 of Roscoe Howell’s book Caldey showing Henry with both his present and future wives, two ladies of very different appearance). In 1882 William’s only son John married an Amelia Johns at Pendine, where he lived at Wheelabout,
carrying on his trade of carpenter/wheelwright.

Mail Coaches

From 'Llanteg Turning Back The Clock'.

Mail Coaches
It was on 6th April 1839 that the Royal Mail first travelled through Llanteg on the new Turnpike road from Carmarthen to Hobbs Point.
In Horse Drawn Carriages by D.J.Smith (Shire Publications 1980) the Mail Coach of the 1830s is described. It was a four-wheeled coach adapted to carry His Majesty’s Mails. The coaches were built by John
Vidler & Co. of Millbank, London, and hired out to the Government. They were painted in the royal livery of scarlet, maroon and black with the royal coat of arms on the door panels. The guard-in-charge wore a scarlet livery and sat with the mailbags secured in a special locker under his feet. He was armed to defend the coach with a blunderbuss and pistols, and carried a long stemmed horn for sounding warnings. The regulation horn was 3ft in length and known as the ‘yard of tin’. The four-horse teams, also hired for the purpose, were driven in stages of 7-10 miles, according to gradients and the state of the roads. Timekeeping was so accurate that people would set their clocks by them. 

Llanteg Toll Gate School

From 'Llanteg Down The Years'.

In 1846 there is a Report of an Assistant Inspector in which he states:“there is no gratuitous education of any kind on week days in the parish. Many parents send their children to the schools of Tavernspite and Amroth. Generally speaking the people are remarkable for their good character. The wealthier class of farmers only are well educated, the smaller farmers are very illiterate and cannot afford to give their
children any education”.
During the middle of the 19th century a school was also held in an old meeting house at Craftie (modern Crofty).Later there was a school for young children kept by the man in charge of the Toll Gate, which used to be in existence at Llanteg Cross.

Toll Gate and School
Toll Gate - not shown on the 1841 census.
Occupied by William Oriel in 1851 - he was the toll collector and schoolmaster and was still there as toll
collector in 1871. The property was unoccupied in 1881.
Situated at Llanteg Cross. 

It was called “Billy the Gate’s school” and it was a building 12ft by 12ft, which served as a dwelling house, toll house and cobbler’s shop, in addition to being the school. The children sat on backless forms, and had no desks; all the modern school equipment was missing and the only playground the children had was the turnpike road. About twenty children attended this school, and each child paid one penny a week, besides providing a spelling book, slate and pencil.The Public Elementary School was erected in 1876 with the help 
of a £30 grant from central Church funds, and was to accommodate 50 children. It opened on 13th February 1877 with 15 pupils.
In its first years a few children were registered at only three years of age but this declined after around 1910 when most pupils would be five years old. 

Llanteg Roads

From 'Llanteg Down The Years'.
The original old road ran through Red Roses as far as Castellheli Mill (now Castle Ely) then turned north and continued up past Crunwere Church.
Sometime during the 1820s it was proposed to resurrect an earlier plan to build a turnpike road ‘to improve communications between St Clears and the county of Pembroke’. Thomas Telford, the foremost civil engineer of his day, was to be responsible for both this road and another, running north from Tenby.
The following extracts are taken from a large bundle of letters in the Records Office, Haverfordwest, pertaining to these two roads:
Draft petition to Parliament referring to the extension of the road from Crunwear to Pembroke Dock. Undated but apparently 1827**
....the making and maintaining of a turnpike road to commence at a rivulet or stream of water in the parish of Crunwear in the county of Pembrokeshire which divides the said county of Pembrokeshire from the county of
Carmarthenshire, near to a mill called Castellheli Mill in the said county of Carmarthenshire, and from thence through the several parishes and hamlets following, that is to say, the said parish of Crunwear, the parish of
Amroth, the parish of St Issells, the parish of Begelly, the hamlet of Williamston, the hamlet of Redbert (sic), the parish of Carew, the parish of Nash, the parish of Cosheston and the parish of St Mary Pembroke, and
to terminate at two several points on places called Pembroke Dock and Hobbspoint on the shores of Milford Haven in the said parish of St Mary Pembroke.
**A letter of 20 December 1827 to Henry Rees, solicitor and registrar practising in Haverfordwest and representing the Turnpike Trustees, speaks of ‘Telford’s new line of road to Hobbs’ point (sic) being contemplated.’
There are a number of letters to Mr Rees dated late January and February 1828, assenting or dissenting to the new road. Only one appears to be from a Crunwear resident, and that was the Rev. Thomas Dalton,
incumbent of the parish church (21 Jan 1828):
‘Sir, in reply to your letter respecting the new line of road passing through my glebe lands - I have only to inform you that it is immaterial to me wheather (sic) it do or do not - but I should wish to give my consent if
it were for the good of the Publick.
I am, sir, your most obedient and able servant...’

The owners of land in Crunwere sold for the creation of the new road carrying mailcoaches between Carmarthen and Hobbspoint, c.1828, were:
Rev. James Dalton, Crunwear (sic: misread for Thomas)
David Saer, Gellihalog
Richard Morgan, Trenewydd
Martha Davies, Mountain Grig
James Lewis, Trenewydd
Benjamin Morris, Llanteg
Hannah MacIntyre, Crunwear
July 1828
Estimate of the proposed new line of road from or near Castellheli Mill (situate in the confines of the county of Carmarthen) to Hobbs Point on the shores of Milford Haven, in the county of Pembroke.
Fencing both sides of the road, 28600 yards @ 8d per yard £953. 6. 8
Cutting and forming (?) 28600 yards @ 1/- per yard £1430. 0. 0
Breaking, carriage and spreading stones, 28600 yards @ 6/- per yard £8580. 0. 0 
Masonry for the whole line, cutting, embanking, etc £2610. 0. 0
Widening and stoneing (sic) the old road from Carew cross-roads to Crafty Corner, 1 3/4 mile £308. 0. 0
 £13881. 6. 8
Extra work for the whole line £1000. 0. 0
Supposed value of land, say 16 miles on 96 acres @ £25 per acre £2400.0.0 £17281. 6. 8
Dated 21 January 1832 is an application by the Trustees to the Exchequer Bill loan office in London to borrow £1,000 to complete the new road; and a detailed letter to Lord Cawdor from one of his land agents,
dated 10 February 1832, keeps him up to date with work still in progress.
There were two inns in Crunwere: the Golden Lion (now the Laurels) and the Royal Oak (now Oaklands). In 1841 Jane Griffiths was publican of the Royal Oak, and Allan Palmer publican of the Golden Lion. 
The tollgate was situated at Llanteg Cross, manned around the middle of last century by a person called Billy the Gate - William Oriel - who also ran a little school at the spot.
The milestones, marking the distance to Hobb’s Point (sic) in the west and Carmarthen in the east, are marked at their foot by the manufacturer, Moss & Sons 1838.
An obituary notice in the Narberth Weekly News of September 24, 1925, reporting the death of Mr John Davies of Greenacre, recalls how “a group of early capitalists made a venture to run a coach service over the
new road, and Mr Davies remembers the mail coach rumbling along, carrying Her Majesty’s mails. A number of parishioners who had been to a prayer meeting one evening waited two hours to see the first coach of
this service. Our worthy friend was amongst that interesting group, who no doubt thought that the passing coach was the last word in speed and efficiency. The horses were changed at Red Roses, and further on at
Begelly, about seven miles distant.”

The following is an excerpt taken from an article by Ben Price in the Narberth Weekly News of 1924, remembering local life some 60 years earlier:
“The South Wales Railway, west of Carmarthen, had not long been opened, and I have a dim recollection of the mail coaches running over the new road past the Roses, and through Lanteague etc., to, probably,
Hobbs’ Point. What I do remember in connection with them was myastonishment at seeing my father’s wonderful cleverness in jumping on to the step of the coach whilst it was going, and my brother’s description of the speed with which the hedges swept past the coach windows when he and mother were inside passengers on their way to and from Carmarthen.“How the traffic passing along that road in those days comes back to me! For, beside the local traffic, there was much belonging to the outer world, a world of which we had but the faintest and vaguest ideas. 
There would be a fair sprinkling of carriages, some of them very smart, some less, too. Occasionally a long procession of substantial caravans conveying the full equipment of a circus, a menagerie, or other show from
town to town, and at another time a shabby caravan or two drawn by miserable looking horses and accompanied by a string of donkeys loaded with the sprawling camping equipment of a company of gipsies, whose women would be pushing their tin or other ware at every house within reach, and whose children would be begging food at every door.
“There would also be a good number of travellers on foot, mostly in singles or in pairs. We used to divide them into three different classes, ‘beggars’, ‘strags’, and ‘Irish’. The first, I think, were considered more or
less honest, and existed mostly on the charity of the people, but when tempted or desperate their honesty could not be relied upon; the second class was a thoroughly bad lot, consisting of men who, in our own opinion, would stick at nothing. We had a wholesome dread of this class, and would avoid them all we could. The ‘Irishmen’ we did not fear, as although they were evidently very poor, we had an instinctive trust in their general honesty and harmlessness; although we did not know then, as most of us know since, that these were people who were endeavouring to escape from the then extreme poverty of Ireland who had managed somehow to be conveyed across the Channel to Milford and who were tramping their way under great hardships towards the prosperous ‘works’ of Glamorganshire.
“Many a time have I and my brothers met some of the men falling under these three classes in lonely parts of the road, and we would be extremely thankful after passing them without molestation; but it is only right to say that I never heard of any act of serious theft or any attempt at molestation or intimidation by these people in those parts, which proves that our fears arose more from our timidity than from any known facts.
How far these conditions obtain today I am not able to say. I would be surprised to know that there are many Irish travellers of this class usingthat road now. The condition of things in Ireland has, since then, undergone 
a very great change.
 “After passing over the bridge crossing the brook dividing the counties of Carmarthen and Pembroke, the road enters a cutting made through a soft crumbling rock, where we used to find some bits of stone with which we could write on our slates without scratching them, and this cutting became known amongst us under the name of ‘Pencilvania’; and just beyond that there was a turn in the road with a number of trees on the
right-hand side. Now it is a curious thing, that whenever I have since read of highwaymen in the old days lying in ambush waiting for the approach of the stage coach, it is invariably at this spot I place them. I always
unconsciously picture them under these trees with the coach bowling along down this lovely and lonely piece of road, and it is at this bend that the coach or whatever else it might be is called upon to stand.
“I often wonder whether everybody has similar favourite spots which come back vividly to the mind, and give the imaginary scene described to them a local and substantial existence...”
In the early 1980s the new A477 road was constructed, following the route of the old road - though in a straighter line - as far as Pen-y-Bont beyond the parish boundary.
Ben Price knew several men who had worked on the construction of the new turnpike road from Llanteg to Stepaside, among them his maternal grandfather and his sons Henry, Tom and Ben, who had built many of the bridges, culverts, walls, toll houses etc.
He remembered William Dalton (son of the former Rector), who had the task of looking after the road to Tavernspite, having a very small quantity of stones at his disposal, but that he used none where the road had
worn down most. He simply hacked away at the projecting portions of rock and used the debris to fill the hollows. This is a process that has been going on for centuries and Mr John Davies of Greenacre, who has known this road intimately for at least 85 years, cannot say that there is any appreciable difference in the depth of the road now from what it was when he was a boy.
In 1927 the Rural District Council stated that the surveyor estimated that the corner of Lanteague cross-roads could be improved at a cost of £24.

Billy The Gate (William Oriel)

From 'Llanteg - The Days Before Yesterday'.

Billy the Gate (William Oriel)
extracted from the Narberth Weekly News, April 19th 1923 and October 11th 1923
At Llanteague the then new turnpike road to Hobbs Point crosses the two old roads, one from Tavernspite, and the other from the church and beyond, where they joined, and then immediately separated again - one for
Trenewydd etc., and the other for the direction of Amroth. At this point there was a gate across the new road, which you could not pass with any vehicle, horse, ass etc., without paying a certain toll. In connection with this gate, and built up to it on one side of the road, there was a little house of two floors with a hipped and slated roof, with a window at each side on the ground floor to enable the occupant, who was the collector of the toll, to watch the traffic up and down the road. There was a door in two heights looking across the road, and a window in the upper floor right over it. I am dependent on memory, but I judge the building was not more than 12 feet by 12 feet out to out.
In this little house the toll collector lived. At the time I want to refer to, this office was held by a bachelor of peculiar parts and appearance named William Oriel, known locally as ‘Billy the Gate’. In addition to this
public position, he was a cobbler, and made and mended boots and shoes, and besides kept in his little house above described a school for the instruction of youth in the rudiments of knowledge. This at that time was 
the only school in the parish, and was attended by about twenty children between four and perhaps ten years of age, who were taught the alphabet, a little spelling, reading, and a little - very little - writing, mostly on a slate.
It is no discredit to the pluralist head teacher to add that this covered the curriculum of his capacity, for it represented the extent of his opportunities in that direction, and he did not attempt to go beyond his depth.
His peculiar appearance was due to a severe curvature of the spine, which gave him an undue proportion of length of leg, and shortness of body, and set his head unusually low between his shoulders. This also
was no discredit to him, but on the contrary appealed to everybody for sympathy and consideration, as it arose from some accident or weakness or neglect during his infancy. He was a strict disciplinarian, and I can even now feel the bitter sting of his ebony ruler on the palm of my hand, and of his cobbler’s knee-strap across my shoulders, and I am honestly convinced that I was not by any means an unruly little boy.
To this academy of learning my brother Tom and I were introduced in the summer of 1856 walking daily from the Roses, where my parents then lived, but my father had taken Garness Mill, and was entering into possession in September. I was then four and a half years old.
We were probably 20 children or thereabouts attending this school, each paying a penny a week for the privilege, finding his or her own slate, pencil, spelling book, etc., and were drawn from eight or ten households in the parish. I often wonder what has become of them. I don’t think I have met more than four of them since we were children. They are scattered in many directions, and the majority are in all likelihood laid beneath the sod by now.