Clerical Legends

Taken from Notes by Canon Patrick Thomas

Before cars became commonplace Llanfihangel was a trifle 'anghysbell'(off-the beaten-track) and the prospect of being sent there - and then forgotten about - was regarded with horror by many ambitious clergy (students at Lampeter are alleged to have had a Litany which ended 'From Llanfihangel Rhos-y-corn….save us, good Lord'). It is said that Bishop John Owen once visited the. parish, early in this century, to conduct a .Confirmation. The Vicar at the time had been in Llanfihangel for several years and was desperate for promotion. All day he held forth to the Bishop about the remoteness of the parish and the inconvenience of living there. That evening .the Bishop somewhat wearily asked 'the Vicar to take him to the top of the Mountain, When they reached the crossroads the Bishop asked 'Where does that road go?' - pointing in its direction, ‘Lampeter, my Lord replied the Vicar. 'And that one?1 ‘Llandysul, my Lord. 'And that one?' ‘Llandeilo, my Lord’. ‘And that other one?’ ‘Carmarthen, my Lord’. ‘I see you're very central here’ commented the Bishop drily.... and the Vicar was left in Llanfihangel for a few more years.

A Visitation

Remoteness had its compensations particularly if the Vicar was a keen fisherman or a good shot. It is said that one conscientious Archdeacon decided to pay an official visit to. the parish to check up on the then incumbent. He rang the Vicarage doorbell, but there was no reply. As he turned to go away he noticed a rather rough-looking countryman, unshaven, with a cap over one eye, and a shotgun over his arm, strolling along the road towards the Vicarage. 'Have you seen the Vicar?' the Archdeacon asked this rather dubious-looking individual. 'I think he's out' Was the answer - 'but I'm sure he'll be back if you call again in half-an-hour or so'. As the Archdeacon walked off, the countryman suddenly leapt over the hedge and stealthily made his way to the back-door of the Vicarage. He hastily shaved, washed, and changed into his clerical frock-coat and collar - and when the doorbell rang once more he was there to open it with a carefully calculated look of astonishments 'Why, Mr Archdeacon…what a pleasure… and what a surprise’.

Children of the Parish

A more reliable guide to the spiritual health of the parish than the clerical folklore just mentioned is provided by the number of clergy brought up in the Church. These included the Reverends Thomas Thomas, David Collwyn Morgan, Thomas Morgan Jones, Griffith Jones and D.S. Jones  and the Reverend Jim Lloyd, born in Brithdir. A retired clergyman who is a son of Llanfihangel Vicarage is the Reverend Harold Jones, former Vicar of Llanllawddog. The number of ordinands produced by the parish testifies to the thriving condition of the Church at the turn of the century, with a large Sunday School containing, it is said, at least a hundred scholars. This continues today with the recent ordination of Reverend Lynn Chambers who was curate in St Peter's Carmarthen before becoming Priest in chareg of this parish in 2008.