In the mid eighteenth century, Rhydfendigaid was a small, remote rural settlement. Today, it is a substantial community, better known as Pontrhydfendigaid, or simply Bont for those who know the place well. It is situated in the foothills of the Elenydd mountains near the remains of the celebrated Cistercian abbey of Ystrad Fflur (Strata Florida). The village probably owes its existence to the Abbey which was founded in the 12th century.
About three miles above the village, high up on the Elenydd mountains, the river Teifi has its source in Llyn Teifi, one of six lakes known collectively as Llynnoedd Teifi (Teifi Pools). It flows westwards through the village, effectively, splitting it in half and acting as a boundary between two adjacent parishes - plwyf Caron to the south and plwyf Gwnnws to the north. The town of Tregaron lies five miles to the south of Rhydfendigaid, while the village of Ffair-rhos is a mile or so to the north and Ystradmeurig roughly two miles to the west on the road to Aberystwyth and Cardigan Bay (click here to see google map)
Edward Richard Grammar School (1957)
(Picture from the ‘Outline History of the School’ by Rev. W. M. Davies)
Edward Richard, the bard has been reviewed by Saunders Lewis in his book ‘A School of Welsh Augustans’  ; he (Saunders Lewis) describes the first of Edward Richard’s two famed pastorals as having a :
. . . thoroughly native air, its geography. . . definite and familiar.
In fact, the bulk of Edward Richard’s published work  has a distinct local character, with the lowlands and mountains around Ystrad Meurig and Ystrad Fflur as their main settings. This makes his work especially interesting, because it sheds a little light on this remote corner of Cardiganshire, as it was some 250 years ago.
Edward Richard’s earliest surviving literary activity dates from 1760 when he wrote his first song about Rhydfendigaid, or to be more precise, about a new stone bridge - being built at that time - over the river Teifi (over the ‘blessed ford’). Evidently, this was seen as a historical investment in the future of the village and, in fact, it did lead to some significant changes, especially, in the physical environment of Rhydfendigaid, The content of the following web-pages is primarily concerned with this development. It is not an in-depth study or a, particularly, wide-ranging one - it is simply an attempt to add a little to what is already known about the Rhydfendigaid bridge and to explore some ‘not-so-obvious’ issues associated with this 18th century enterprise.
While Edward Richard is the source of much information, it is worth emphasizing that this is not the place to read about the life and work of the bard – for that see ‘Edward Richard of Ystradmeurig’ by D.G. Osborne-Jones , and ‘A School of Welsh Augustans’ by Saunders Lewis .
A list of the topics explored here is given below. To access a specific subject, simply click the appropriate text :
Saunders Lewis, A School of Welsh Augustans, Wrexham, 1924
Yr Eos: sef gwaith awenyddawl Mr. Edward Richards, I. Bugeigerdd; II. Bugeugerdd; III. Can y Bont; IV. Ateb i Gan y Bont; V. Emyn neu Hymn; VI. Marwnad Iorwerth Rhisiat, [sic], Carmarthen, 1813. Caneuon y Bont are the first Welsh pastorals in the classical style.
D. G. Osborne-Jones, Edward Richard of Ystrad Meurig, Carmarthen, 1934
Ystradmeurig was once the home of Edward Richard a renown 18th century teacher and bard. In 1734, he opened a school at Ystradmeurig which became widely known and acclaimed.
As a teacher, Edward Richard was recognized as a pioneer of higher education in Wales and he was responsible for educating many students who went on to play an important part in various spheres of life. Evan Evans (Ieuan Brydydd Hir), a pre-eminent Celtic scholar, was probably his most outstanding student