There was already a National Society school in Llandygwydd as well as a large parsonage, built in the 1840s, and to which substantial improvements costing £ 150, were to be made in the late 1870s. 'The new vicar.might be a peasant at heart, but at least he had to give the appearance of being a gentleman., 24 An Anglican church building with tall, slender spire, National School buildings and a parsonage of near mansion-like proportions all nestled in line and close proximity to each other in the secluded dingle of Llandygwydd, potent symbols of hierarchy and order. There were also four mansion houses within a radius of two miles of the village, the resident fam- ilies of which played prominent roles in parish and church affairs. These were all tangible, visible representations of social stability as well as of the authority and pre-eminent social roles of parson, schoolmaster and squire in the community. How was the building of the new church paid for? Llandygwydd parish, covering over 5,600 acres, was, and is, one of the larger parishes in south Cardiganshire. Its population in 1851 stood at 1,063 souls, 583 of whom were female and 480 male. It was entirely rural and agrarian in char- acter with most of its people living in scattered and often remote homesteads; Llandygwydd and Ponthirwaun were the only hamlets entirely within the parish. Over 27% of the population was supported directly by agriculture, either as farming families, mostly tenants of the Blaenpant estate, or as farm labourers, cowmen and dairy maids. Gentry households in the parish provid- ed employment for no fewer than seventy-two people, over 6% of the popu- lation. Just under 6% were engaged as general labourers: nearly 6% were craftsmen and women, while about 9% were listed in the 1851 Census returns as 'scholars', most of whom attended the British National School in Llandygwydd.25 Samuel Lewis in his Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1849) stated that the parish's 'lands are inclosed and in a high state of cul- tivation' and was impressed by the 'groves of oak-trees and other majestic timber' that lined the hill slopes in 'the southern portion of the parish'. Moreover, it was a parish which abounded with 'gentlemen's seats and pleas- ant villas'. Blaenpant mansion he singled out for special mention, 'a hand- some mansion, beautifully embosomed in woods of stately growth, and surrounded with flourishing plantations', and with 'an extensive and val- uable library'. A photograph in the Tivyside Photographic Souvenir in 1860 showed that Blaenpant had been considerably enlarged and was a large eighteenth-century house of two storeys, an attic storey, a range of six win- dows and with a maze of domestic buildings behind the mansion house. Carlisle wrote of the parish: 'This is a very extensive well-cultivated and