A NEW exhibition of ‘A Pint of History Please / Peint o Hanes, Plis’ is showing at Ceredigion Museum with pubs and inns from the Webley Arms in Poppit to the Hope and Anchor, Cardigan and the Cilgwyn Arms in Llandysul to the Ffostrasol Inn mentioned.
The project, accompanied by its own website, has been organised by the Ceredigion Local History Forum and the exhibition will tour the county and Cardigan town.
The project, made up of the Ceredigion Forum of local history groups, WI members and historians is attempting to record every licensed premises in Ceredigion including pubs, hotels and inns as well as temperance establishments. The earliest coaching inns found are the Black Lion, Cardigan, and the Talbot, Aberystwyth, which date to the 1770s.
“It has been really interesting and we’ve discovered new information,” said historian Michael Freeman.
“It was amazing how many buildings in Ceredigion were used as pubs: there were 300 pubs in the county at any one time.
!It’s interesting to note that there were also 300 chapels at the same time too.”
And Cardigan historian Glen Johnson who has given much information to the forum says the Black Lion, Cardigan, must be one of his favourite inns when it comes to history:
“The claim made in recent years that the Black Lion was established in 1105 is a blatant lie – the Black Lion would pre-date the castle and town was the story true,” said Glen.
“The core of the present building may date from the seventeenth century.
“By 1761 the Cardigan Borough Council was using the Black Lion inn for its meetings. The Sea Sergeants visited that year.
“In 1768 John Lewis, the Mayor of Cardigan, kept his council chamber in the inn.
“The venue was used by the Cardigan Borough Council until 1770.”
Some parishes had no pubs or inns even though the general thought is that every village had one. Every pub also has an English name.
“Every pub in Ceredigion had an English name, and until the 1950s, almost none had a Welsh name,” said Michael.
“There is no explanation for it - you’d think they’d have had a Welsh name.
“By now, some names have been translated, but originally, they were all English such as the Black Lion becoming the Llew Du.”
In 1904, the government tried to reduce the number of pubs to stop people from over-drinking, and during the next 30 years, a third of the county’s inns shut.
The forum is keen to hear from anyone with stories about how pubs were used for anything but drinking.
Michael said: “We are aware that they were used for inquests with bodies brought to the pubs.
“They were also used for auctions and preaching on Sundays, but we need more information, so if anyone has any, please get in touch.”
County archivist Helen Palmer said: “One of the things we’re finding is that once we’ve put something online, someone correct us.
“But that’s great and exactly why the website is so useful, as we gradually evolve a really interesting, accurate and detailed social history of the pubs in our county. We are really keen to get people to send in their photos, recollections and stories.”
Information can be sent to email@example.com or by post direct to Helen Palmer, Ceredigion Archives, Old Town Hall, Aberystwyth, SY23 4RH.