Welsh Journals

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pyramidic with a tendency for the outline to bulge a little above the medial line of substantial squires. There was only one peer, and he owned 42,890 acres with an income (according to the Domesday) of £ 10,579 per annum. This was the Earl of Lisburne, and his estates, though not the largest in the county, were commensurate with and probably sufficient to maintain his port and station as the premier landowner in the county.13 Below the Lisburnes in rank came a group of great landowners, four in number, who were commoners owning at least 3,000 acres with a rental of at least £ 3,000. At the head of these was the Pryse family of Gogerddan with estates totalling 26,684 acres and an income of £ 10,634, the lands covering much of the northern part of the county and bordering on those of Trawscoed. The Powell family of Nanteos owned 21,933 acres with an income of £ 9,024, the estates being rather more scattered, extending from the north of the county towards Tregaron in the south-east, which borough had traditionally been included in the Nanteos fief. J. B. Harford, of Falcondale, in the Lampeter region, had an estate of 5,782 acres and an income of £ 4,256 per annum, and the Alban Gwynne family of Monachty, near Aberaeron, 3,794 acres with an income of £ 3,678 per annum. A feature of the above analysis is that these five landowners held between them roughly one-third of the total acreage of the county (excluding waste), and that three of them-Lisburne, Pryse, and Powell -held, by far the greater part of this.14 These men were, therefore, heads of the county's premier families. The nature as well as the extent of their estates needs to be understood if their social standing and political power as a governing group are to be appreciated. The estates of the topmost three were all in the upland region extending like a crescent from the north to the south and south-east, and including the lead-bearing hills as well as the relatively good agricultural valleys. The Harford and Gwynne estates were somewhat different in character, depending less on mineral deposits, and typical, therefore, of the profitable estate-farming of lowland mixed agricultural economics- much nearer to the £ 1 an acre annual value to which landlords of this type aspired. The houses of these gentry-centres of estate manage- ment-reflected their status in society, and, if we may judge by the amount of rebuilding, their aspiring ambitions as well. The old ancestral homes had either long since been demolished and rebuilt or, as at Trawscoed, incorporated into more magnificent buildings set in parkland and surrounded by walls to keep in the game and keep out the lower orders. Below these was a much larger group of squires, families with estates of from 1,000 to 3,000 acres, or quite often very much more, but whose