Cefncilwg is a beautiful 17th century rural farmhouse in an unspoilt part of Carmarthenshire
Going back to the early 1800’s Cefncilwg was a farm on the Taliaris Estate. It has been a home to many families, a safe place which has seen changes in the world but has remained a haven of peace.
Taliaris Estate was owned by the Peel family who lived at the mansion now known as Taliaris Park. The Peel family (Cotton Merchants from Lancashire, we believe) had lived there since 1838.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s the house and grounds were in their glory with 7 maids, a nursemaid, cook, a butler/chauffeur, a gardener or two, a handy man, and a gamekeeper. And this is a very small estate compared to many!
Mr. Humphrey Lee Peel was the owner of the estate until he died suddenly aged just 57 in 1951; he was popular with all that knew him. He was a Justice of the Peace, and chairman of the Llandeilo bench.
Mr Peel continued to be very involved with Taliaris Church which is located about a mile away on the B4302 Talley – Llandeilo main road. His father had contributed to the restoration of the Church during his time at Taliaris.
After the death of Mr Humphrey Peel, his widow and only son lived on at the Mansion, and only a few months after the death of his father a “coming of age party” was held at Taliaris to celebrate the new heir.
Mr. Robert Shuldham Gwynne Peel became the new Lord of the Manor.
It would be difficult to find an Estate where better feelings exist and where a family is more revered and the Peel name engendered high respect among tenants and local people.
Sadly the son and heir became ill was taken to Westminster hospital and, after a short illness, died at the young age of 24 yrs old. He was, as his father before him, a very popular young man both with his friends at Eton, London and at his Estate here at Taliaris.
As a mark of respect both father and son were carried to the Church by their farming tenants their coffins draped with the Union Jack.
After this the Estate was crippled by death duties, Robert's mother, Mrs Valencia Peel, was left no choice but to sell.
Most of the tenants bought their farm as prices at that time were low compared to today. Cefncilwg would have cost around £2,000 but it was still a struggle to find the money to buy their homes.
Mrs Peel sold the Mansion and contents in 1967 and moved back to London.
The farms were in a poor state with buildings, such as there were, in poor state of repair.
Here at Cefncilwg there would be the house which is one of the oldest on the estate with several add-ons and the stone barn which would have consisted of the archways for the horse drawn machinery the cow sheds the tall doors in the middle for using the threshing machine etc and the pig sty. The loft was used for the servants to sleep and storage of cattle feeds and Wool (to pay the rent) etc.
The water was from the well on the farmyard and the was no electricity, phones or mains water.
Milking their cows by hand was the norm, this was poured into a separating machine which separated the cream from the skimmed milk. The cream was made into butter and cheese the skimmed milk was given to the pigs and calves which were reared on the farm. Milk was sold in churns from the early 1940’s and collected from the milk stand. They also kept a flock of ewes.
At Christmas selling some geese and chickens hatched on the farm, helped to pay for the long winter months - small scale but enough to live a simple life.
Chapel at Salem (Welsh) or Church at Taliaris (English) every Sunday morning and evening.
Washing the clothes every Monday these would be hung outside to dry or in wet weather in the kitchen above the open fire ( where the Rayburn is now) a lot of hard work (no automatic machines in those days). Collars starched and every item ironed.
Baking day – Baking the bread for the week a lot of food to be made for big families plus a servant boy or two and making enough to last for most of the week – no popping out for a takeaway and pubs only sold beer.
Cleaning day – no hovers, so scrubbing and brushing then polishing and cleaning the brass.
Oil lamps to prepare each day.
Making butter and cheese ready to sell at the market at Llandeilo
Life was certainly different, being part of the local community was very important as farms depended on helping each other in times of need and during harvest.
We as a family live on a farm which was part of the same Estate and were fortunate to buy the farm when it came on the market, we then bought some of Cefncilwg land when it came on the market in the 1990’s we farmed it as part of our own farm as the land joins on to our own land.
In 2020 Cefncilwg farmyard came on the market and we were in a position to purchase it, and so Cefncilwg Farmhouse Holiday Let began, we gave it a bit of a lick and polish and now it is as you find it with some added extras
A Hot tub is our newest venture as it seems everyone enjoys relaxing in hot bubbly water enjoying the panoramic view of the Towy Valley and on to the Brecon Beacons.
We have many plans to develop Cefncilwg further within the next year. We are in the process of discussion about a fishing lake to create a natural swimming pond. Who knows what else we may decide!
How life at Cefncilwg has changed!!