David's Organic Farm Holidays

Gwarmacwydd House and the Rev. Richard Bowen Jones

There has been a farmstead here since 1785. This property was very small and originally called Dwrdy or Madwrdy.

In 1840 Richard Bowen Jones (RBJ) became Rector of Cillymaenllwydd with Castell Dwyran and  shortly after purchased the property. He secured permission from the bishop of St David’s to build a “small” residence. The style of construction was influenced by Richard Bowen Jones position as a local rector and his connection with St David’s as a Surrogate(deputy Bishop).

The house is oriented exactly on a line East To West,  and originally had the footprint of a cross.

The front door is arched, and there are arched windows on the south and east elevation.

Transoms & mullions of the windows, particularly on the west elevation, form a cross.

We also believe that RBJ constructed the outbuildings, now the Barn & Tower cottage and the Mill & Old Cowshed. The stone is dressed Pembrokeshire limestone, and the work is of a good standard.

We believe he remodelled the original 1785 dwelling as servants quarters and a coach house, now the Coach house and the Barn cottages. They are attached to the main house, almost, but not quite, at a right angle as clearly the rector wanted his house to be orientated as a traditional church.

We also believe RBJ had visions of  Gwarmacwydd as a small country estate, he landscaped the garden,  plated the trees in the garden and the fields in front of the house, and constructed the ponds in front of the house, which were not just ornamental, but farmed fish, trout or carp, for the table.

He also created the name Gwarmacwydd. We don’t know what it means, but members of his family suppose that because his grandfather Edward Jones Bowen came from Wernmacwydd also known as Gwernmacwy, which goes back to the 16th century, he chose to name his own house as Gwarmacwydd to avoid confusion, but still show a connection with his ancient welsh family home.

According to local ledged RBJ bought Teak from the Great Easter, for the front door and the internal doors , also  windows and shutters for the house. This is plausible because the ship was berthed in Neyland at least twice for repairs and refurbishment in between 1860 and 1861, also his wife Clarissa Gibbs Garrett was from a wealthy & connected shipping family.

There is also a local tale that RBJ had a coffin made long before his death, which he kept under his bed, regularly making sure that he still fitted into it.  

By all accounts RBJ was well educated, respected, and widell connected,  yet formidable man. He was classically educated and had a MA(hons) from Jesus College Oxford, and was a local Justice of the Peace, Magistrate and School Governor. When he died on 9th May 1887, aged 75, a notice if his death was printed in the Auckland Star, yet the epitaph, commissioned by his eldest  son Vaughn, a Physician, inscribed  on his tombstone in Castell Dwyran churchyard reads

'Here Lie the Remains of 'A Classical Ass'

The Accursed of his Sons by the name of 'Jar ass'

In the Earth he is Ammonia and Triphosphate of Calcium

On the Earth a 'Home Demon' and a 'Ferocious Old Ruffian'.

His wife Carissa lived to be aged 96 and was also buried at Castle Dwyran Church. There is a tablet in Llanboidy church to her memory, also we believe commissioned by her son Vaughn.

'She was a good woman, a dear kind and old mother - a gentlewoman in every sense and meaning of the term'.  

When we first saw  Gwarmacwydd in 1985 it was in a sorry sate, but the influence of RBJ who had died just over 100 years earlier was still very evident.