Ceredigion is a great area to explore the history of Wales. Discover sites from hilltop forts to colourful harbours, from mines and mills to churches and chapels, and explore towns and villages brimming with history and character. Start with a visit to the Ceredigion Museum for an introduction to the county’s heritage and delve deeper at Ceredigion Archives, both located in Aberystwyth. Also in Aberystwyth are the National Library of Wales and the Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales, with vast collections of images, maps and documents as well as displays, exhibitions and events about the historic environment and culture of Wales.
The history of Ceredigion
Ceredigion is familiar to many as Cardiganshire and some places in Ceredigion are listed with postal addresses in Dyfed. But what do these names mean? And what is the story behind them?
Ceredigion simply means the 'land of Ceredig'. Ceredig was a son of Cunedda, a 5th century warrior king of Romano-British descent from the 'Old North' of Britain. Cunedda defended territories from the Picts and Irish invaders, established the Kingdom of Gwynedd in north Wales and gifted other territories in Wales to his sons, including Ceredig.
The kingdom of Dyfed broadly corresponded to the area of today's Pembrokeshire and was united with the kingdom of Seisyllwng, which included Ceredigion, by Hywel Dda in AD920 to form the new Kigdom of Deheubarth (the 'southern region').There was great rivalry between the rulers of Gwynedd and Deheubarth and legends grew around the princes and their exploits.
The lands of the Welshprinces were divided into administrative'shires' after the death of Llywelyn apn Gruffydd in 1282. The county town and largest port in Ceredigion was Aberteifi and it is from a corrupt form of 'Ceredigion-shire' that Cardiganshire and the nickname 'Cardi' are derived.
But the story of the land of Ceredigion is even older, with evidence being found of a human settlement of the area over 6,000 years ago in the Neolithic Age. Ceredigion's hidden history is still being revealed by archaeologists and historians at sites across the county. As well as mansions, castles and heritage centres, you can discover big restoration projects, archaeology digs and trails that will intrigue and inspire you to explore more.