This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
CA
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Canada version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions >  Latest Articles > Carmarthenshire – Sir Caerfyrddin

Carmarthenshire – Sir Caerfyrddin
Stamp & Coin Mart

Carmarthenshire – Sir Caerfyrddin

Posted December 8, 2017   |   605 views   |   Hobbies & Crafts   |   Comments (0) Postal historian John Scott returns to Wales and to Carmarthen, where postal services began in the late 17th century giving us a wealth of beautiful and intriguing postal history to pursue

Regular readers of these potted county histories will know that I tend to choose images, not of the postmarks, but more of pictures which can be used to illuminate the subject. Whatever your enthusiasm for a particular area, if you want to engage a wider audience then my contention is that the postal history should be set in the context of the time and this is best done with the help of contemporary ephemera.

If you do not have an intimate knowledge of Wales then probably the only town which you will have heard of in this county is Carmarthen itself. The age of the settlement can be deduced from the presence of Merlin’s Cave where, it is rumoured, the water nymph entombed Merlin alive by placing a boulder over the entrance. By the late 17th century there was a post office in the town and, by the early 19th century there were two mail coaches to London, one via Brecon and the other through Cardiff. Much of the prosperity of the town derived from the coasting trade with exports of iron, lead and tin to Bristol and vessels of up to 300 tons could dock at the quay. The ‘Speedwell’ was one such small sailing vessel which sailed regularly between Bristol and Carmarthen, as well as serving many other towns in the county along Carmarthen Bay. As a result, letters from Carmarthen are not uncommon and over thirty different styles of namestamp are recorded between 1730 and 1840.

A collection of such material can be greatly enhanced by demonstrating the trades which gave rise to the correspondence but this requires a degree of curiosity about what is going on inside the letter, a feature which is still ignored by many collectors and dealers alike. The presence both of iron foundries and of a thriving agricultural sector made it almost inevitable that the town would be celebrated for its farming equipment and the business of Thomas Bright at the Old Foundry gave rise to a substantial volume of commercial correspondence.

The smaller the village the more difficult it is to find illustrative documents but, faced with a pile of mundane looking invoices, it is always worth looking out for businesses which also ran the local post office. The invoice (above) from Daniel Evans shows why the postal context is often overlooked as clearly the trade of a wholesale egg merchant was the prime activity, along with that of grocer, seed, corn and flour merchant. Gorsgoch, meaning Red Bog in Welsh, is about as insignificant as they come and, as the address indicates, came under the office at Llanybyther. The post office in Gorsgoch did not make its first appearance in the Post Office Guide until 1 January 1899 and perhaps one of our readers can narrow down the date of opening still further. The ephemera dealer attached no importance whatsoever to the activity of sub-postmaster and it is easy to see why that might be. But we all know better and all that is needed now is a postmark from its early days to complete a page with a story.

For more great articles like this get the January 2018 issue of Stamp & Coin Mart below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - Stampex Autumn 2018 Replica Edition included
FREE
Please be aware that this issue and other special issues are not included in any of the subscription options unless stated.
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.33 per issue
SAVE
38%
$51.99
Or 5199 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $ 5.33 per issue
SAVE
24%
$31.99
Or 3199 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 5.49 per issue
SAVE
21%
$5.49
Or 549 points

View Issues

About Stamp & Coin Mart

Stamp & Coin Mart is the UK's leading Stamp & Coin magazine that offers in-depth collecting articles, price guides, opinion, the latest collecting news and much more with everything you need to build your collection, every month.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Stamp & Coin Mart today.

Most read articles this month


ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER

ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER

When she took up scuba 40 years ago, Alexandra Hildred had no idea that her life would become inextricably linked with a Tudor warship. Now the Mary Rose Trust’s Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance & Human Remains, she tells STEVE WEINMAN about the lead-up to the raising of the iconic wreck, still one of the biggest such operations ever attempted. More...
The 5 Best Photography Magazines

The 5 Best Photography Magazines

Here at pocketmags.com, we have the 5 best photography magazines to inspire and inform your skills and get you snapping away with your beloved camera of choice! More...
The 5 Best Arts & Crafts Magazines

The 5 Best Arts & Crafts Magazines

From the early days of digging our hands into playdough and getting messy with paper mache, to growing up and learning how to meticulously operate a needle and thread for the very first time, we will always have the wonderful movement of arts and crafts to thank for these simple pleasures of life. More...
The 5 Best Caravan & Motorhome Magazines

The 5 Best Caravan & Motorhome Magazines

Get ready to pack your things and go - it’s time to hit the road Jack! Put the pedal to the metal and ride the route until the sun goes down - after all, it’s about the journey, not the destination. More...
The 5 Best Gardening Magazines

The 5 Best Gardening Magazines

It’s time to literally stop and smell the roses and grow a patch of paradise that you can not only enjoy but also, be the proud owner of. Give the birds and butterflies a reason to mingle amongst the tulips and a chance for your garden to be the best it can be. More...
The 5 Best Knitting Magazines

The 5 Best Knitting Magazines

To help pass a rainy day away or to practice amongst friends, knitting is one of the great historical pastimes suitable for anyone, anywhere. At Pocketmags we have the 5 best knitting magazines to help get the needle in motion! More...
THE U-BOAT COAST

THE U-BOAT COAST

The WW1 U-boats at Pendennis have been dived for many years, by many people. The site is probably the second most popular shore-dive in Cornwall. Thousands of trainees did their first open-water dives there, most seeing the remains of one or two of the U-boats. Not sure what to write into their log-books, other than 'Silver Steps’ or ‘Pendennis’, what were these subs? MARK MILBURN investigates, and believes he can now paint a clearer picture of what lies where and why More...
The 5 Best Art & Painting Magazines

The 5 Best Art & Painting Magazines

With the 5 best art and painting magazines from Pocketmags, you’ll never be stuck staring at a blank canvas for hours again. Discover the expert advice, guidance, tutorials and motivation you need to create the art and paintings you love! More...
The 5 Best Fishing Magazines

The 5 Best Fishing Magazines

Avid fisher? Or simply passionate about the pastime? Feed your fishing thrills with our 5 best fishing magazines from Pocketmags and cast your line with confidence today! More...
IMAGINE MESSI TEACHING YOU TO PLAY FOOTBALL

IMAGINE MESSI TEACHING YOU TO PLAY FOOTBALL

Not all ‘pro’ photo workshops are the same – on some you just pay and hope. But what’s it like learning to get the best from your camera under water from a recognised master? HENLEY SPIERS studies at the school of Mustard More...
Vouchers Gift Cards A magazine subscription is the perfect gift but you'll need something to show on the big day. View All
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points