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Newcastle Emlyn

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Newcastle Emlyn

Newcastle Emlyn
Welsh: Castellnewydd Emlyn

View across the Teifi valley towards Newcastle Emlyn
Newcastle Emlyn is located in Carmarthenshire
Newcastle Emlyn
 Newcastle Emlyn shown within Carmarthenshire
Population 1,184 (2011)[1]
OS grid reference
Community Newcastle Emlyn
Principal area Carmarthenshire
Ceremonial county Dyfed
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SA38
Dialling code 01239
Police Dyfed-Powys
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
Welsh Assembly Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
List of places

Newcastle Emlyn (Welsh: Castellnewydd Emlyn) is a town straddling the border of the counties of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire in west Wales and lying on the River Teifi; it is also a community entirely within Carmarthenshire. The community is bordered by the communities of Llangeler and Cenarth, both being in Carmarthenshire; and by Llandyfriog in Ceredigion.

Adpar is the part of the town that lies on the Ceredigion side of the River Teifi. It was formerly called Trefhedyn and was an ancient Welsh borough in its own right.


  • History 1
  • Economy 2
  • Transport 3
  • Demography 4
  • Sports 5
  • The legend of the Emlyn Wyvern 6
  • Twin town 7
  • Notable people 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Newcastle Emlyn, 1804
The remains of the Norman castle.

The town takes its name from the cantref of Emlyn which was an administrative district in Medieval Dyfed. The cantref was made part of the Norman March in the 12th century.

Notable buildings in the town include a ruined 13th-century castle, first mentioned in Brut y Tywysogion in 1215, when it was seized by Llewelyn the Great (Welsh: Llywelyn Fawr).[2] The castle was captured by the Welsh during the revolt of 1287-8 and also by Owain Glyndŵr in 1403.

Newcastle Emlyn has a town hall and secondary school, Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn. Attractions around the area include an art gallery, the Attic Theatre company, the National Woollen Museum. The Teifi Valley Railway is nearby, although the town has not had a passenger train service since 1952.


In 1932, the former Co-operative Group creamery was reopened by Dried Milk Products to make cheese. After new parent Unigate decided to sell-off its non-milk related dairies, it was then bought by the Milk Marketing Board in 1979, and closed again in 1983.[3] Reopened by Saputo, it today manufactures mozzarella cheese using locally sourced dairy produce, and is the town's largest employer.


In 1895, the Teifi Valley Railway of the Great Western Railway reached Newcastle Emlyn railway station.[4] Originally conceived as a 7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm) broad-gauge line between Carmarthen and Cardigan by the Carmarthen and Cardigan Railway, it was absorbed into the GWR who developed the line into Newcastle Emlyn, the company saw no point in developing the line beyond this point, and so it became a terminus.

Passenger services ceased in 1952, but goods services due in part to milk train services to the Co-op later Dried Milk Products creamery co-located at the station, which produced cheese, continued until 1973.[3] After the cessation of freight services, the lines were removed and the station demolished.[5]


According to the 1901 Census, 95.5% of Newcastle Emlyn Urban District's 820 residents aged 3 or over spoke Welsh, and until the 1961 census, over 90% of the town's population was Welsh-speaking. According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, 69% of the 950 people who lived within Newcastle Emlyn spoke fluent Welsh, although the percentage fell rapidly in the following decade to 53.7% as the town's population increased to 1,138 residents aged 3 or over by 2011.[6] The drop that occurred in Newcastle Emlyn between 2001 and 2011 was among the biggest in Wales, although not uncommon across Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, indicating that rapid language shift is occurring in West Wales. The latest estyn inspection report on the town's secondary school, done in 2012 notes that only 12% of pupils came from homes where Welsh is spoken. The rapid change in language can be attributed to immigration from English speaking parts of Wales and England. 64.8% of the town's residents were born in Wales.

Taken together with Adpar on the Ceredigion side of the river Teifi, the area's total population was 1,883 people according to the United Kingdom Census 2011.


Newcastle Emlyn has both football and rugby teams. Newcastle Emlyn Football Club are members of the Football Association of Wales and Newcastle Emlyn RFC are members of the Welsh Rugby Union.

The legend of the Emlyn Wyvern

The entrance to King George's Field in Church Lane, Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire. Holy Trinity Church is in the background on the right.

The legend of the Wyvern of Newcastle Emlyn (Gwiber Castell Newydd Emlyn) is a local tale. It tells how, on one of the fair days when the town was full of people, a fierce winged viper called a wyvern breathing fire and smoke, alighted on the castle walls and, having cast threatening glances around, settled down to sleep. Its appearance on the castle at first brought terror to all but, after the fear had died down, a few brave townsfolk sought to destroy the fearsome monster.

A soldier devised the plan of wading the river Teifi to a point of vantage on the castle side and letting a red cloak float in the river and shooting the wyvern in a vulnerable under-part of the body. The creature, so violently startled from its slumber, caught sight of the cloak and fell upon it with horrible shrieks and tore it to shreds. The assailant meanwhile, escaped to a place of safety.

The wyvern, in its death throes, turned onto its back and floated down the river. From its wound gushed forth a most loathsome venom which polluted the water and killed all the fish. The legend tells of the great joy of the townsfolk when they saw the monster dead.[7]

Twin town

Plonévez-Porzay, Brittany, France.

Notable people

People associated with Newcastle Emlyn include:


  1. ^ "Community population 2011". Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  2. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pg609 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
  3. ^ a b "Dairies in Ceredigion". Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  4. ^ "Newcastle Emlyn railway station". Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  5. ^ "About the Railway". Teifi Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  6. ^ "2011 Census results by Community".  
  7. ^ Newcastle Emlyn Millennium Edition Historical Notes About Our Town p.10, Pamela Jenkins (1999) Castle Publications

External links

  • Local history of Newcastle Emlyn
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