The passing of Lord Dinefwr

View of the Dinefwr estate

View of the Dinefwr estate

Today the last Lord Dinefwr was laid to rest.  With the ending of hereditary peerages so passes the last Lord into history, whatever your political views on the peerage bestowed from generation to generation today an era has ended. I think it could be argued that no harm could have been done in allowing the title at least to remain.


The Rhys family has through many centuries held sway over the county of Carmarthenshire and their seat Newton House is set in the Dinefwr estate which also houses castle ruins and an iron age hill fort. The estate is now in the care of the National Trust who have done a magnificent job in bringing it all up to a superb standard making it a must for tourists when they venture this far west. It is sad that our inheritance tax laws mean that so many great estates are no longer affordable and so with their passing so goes so much of our history and heritage. 

The wake was held within Newton House and a stream of cars proceeded and followed the family cortège into the grounds today. The sun made an appearance over a frosty landscape chilled by the north wind. Black mountain was again coated in a snowy top and the day remained dry for the occasion. All in all the weather and surroundings appeared to match the sobriety of the day. We never knew Lord Dinefwr but felt a sadness as his coffin passed us as yet another part of our unique history slipped quietly and sadly away.

Having witnessed the arrival of the coffin we retreated to the comfort of the Angel for lunch and returned home full (and sleepy) to work the afternoon away.

Walking the dogs in the semi light this evening I wondered at a world so taken with the financial crisis that surrounds us and imagined what a government (of any party) could do in the wake of a financial tsunami. They must do something but whatever they offer can only be a gesture and what they give in one hand they swiftly remove with the other.

The semi light offered a wonderful view of the countryside and made me think of our neighbour counting his sheep this morning and making sure they were all safe. Hearing the horse in the field opposite whiney hello, the dogs pulling me back down the hill eager to say their hellos to the visiting black cat that had caught their attention on our way out.

Now tucked up warmly with the fire glowing we can enjoy a quiet evening in with a glass of red and a venison sandwich for tea. Decadence at it’s best. We even have chocolate for afters. I understand chocolate goes well with venison.


11 thoughts on “The passing of Lord Dinefwr

  1. Hi Wendy
    Thanks as always for your comment. I am bursting with thoughts today. Even if your politics doesn’t agree with the sentiment (lords and things) , and I’m not sure mine does, I was moved by the occasion.

  2. I agree – it’s a shame that these sections of our heritage are dying out. And while the National Trust does a grand job of looking after these estates…something is lost. It’s as if by preserving objects and rooms, hiding them away behind red velvet ropes, they are denying our history the chance to decay naturally.

    Anyway, I was just popping by to thank you for mentioning me in your list of blogs (Tree of Happiness). I didn’t notice it until today – I’ve been extra busy with all things academical.

    And those pasties that you’ve been posting lots of photos of look scrummy. (Only 11.15am – not time for lunch yet!)

    Right, must return to the academic grind – 1000 words written, another 2000-odd to go. I am finding the concept of Regionalism as it Relates to Furniture History a rather abstract one.

  3. Hi Rebecca
    I don’t think I even know what ‘Regionalism as it Relates to Furniture History’ is? I can guess a bit. Welsh dressers (key words Welsh -where it’s from and dresser what it is?? That’s fairly regional?? Good luck, I’m glad I don’t have to come up with essays anymore 🙂


  4. That’s right. Although we would need to look at dressers from all over the British Isles, analyse their designs, formulate regional patterns and compare them with each other, both in and outside their respective regions. For instance, Scottish dressers have their plates leaning forward onto rails, whereas most English dressers lean theirs back, with a slot to hold them in place. But that was probably much more information than you wanted. This is my third last essay EVER. Thank-goodness.

  5. Hi – I volunteer for the National Trust and whilst they do a good job of preserving a lot of our heritage, something indefinable goes when the family’s no longer there.

  6. Hi Rebecca
    Glad to know the educations not wasted!

    Hi VP
    The house was empty and falling apart to be fair to Nutty T but you are right.


  7. Found this site almost by accident. I remember my father, David Thomas (sometimes known as Davy or Dai) who was born in 1900 telling me that as a young man he worked for Lord Dinefwr. I believe my late grandmother, Mary Thomas (nee Parry) was from the Llandeilo area. Dad was a saddler by trade although I don’t know whether it was in this capacity that he worked at Dinefwr.

    • Hi Liz
      Fantastic as we always walk around nutty trust places trying to feel the soul of the place which does involve who worked there, what did they do, where did they come from, how long were they there etc, etc. But it is always difficult to do so when you know so little and whilst a lot is known about Lord Dinefwr I think it would be true to say virtually nothing is known about his staff. We happened to try to visit Newton House on the day of his funeral (not surprisingly perhaps it was closed but then we didn’t know it was his funeral) and as we came out his funeral cortege was going in and it seemed strange to me that a Lord had an ordinary funeral and hearse and not something a lot grander.
      We would love to know more about your grandmother and dad with photos as well if you happen to have any with anything on the history of Llandeilo as it seems a lovely old town losing its identity under modernism.

  8. Although I am very grateful that you express such kind and noble sentiments, following the death of my cousin Richard Dinefwr, I am glad to inform you that he was not the last Lord Dinefwr, he is succeeded by his son Lord Hugh and were that not the case, he would be succeeded by other members of the family.

    Yours sincerely


    Alexander Talbot Rice

    • Good afternoon. Thank you very much for the clarification. I think that what my wife really should have referred to was the removal of hereditary peers from the house of lords as for many years they have been a very valuable brake on the excesses of the house of commons.

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