Livestock produced on the farms of Ceredigion was taken to the markets of the English borders and on to London by drovers, but their well trodden routes also attracted highwaymen. As the drovers were also financiers for the farmers, paying their creditors from the sales made in London, they established banks along the way to protect their money.
The Aberystwyth and Tregaron Bank was established in 1810. Its pound notes had one sheep, the two pound notes had two but the five pound note had only one sheep. There was a black lamb on the 10 shilling note. The Llanymddyfri (Llandovery) bank’s symbol was a black ox, while Lloyds is still recognised by its iconic black horse.
It is still possible to follow in the footsteps of the drovers across the Cambrian Mountains on foot or on horseback. They brought the animals together at collecting points before starting off across the mountains. Explore the lanes of Tregaron and Llanddewi Brefi to identify these livestock pounds – now gardens and the backyards of inns. Spot the symbol of the Aberystwyth and Tregaron bank on the wall of the original building on Bridge Street in Aberystwyth and see a banknote at Ceredigion Museum.