Love and Betrayal at Gelli Lenor

Near the village of Llangynwyd lies the farm known as Gelli Lenor. This was once owned by Morgan James. One of his daughters Catherine fell in love with a farm labourer, Sion Bivan.

This young man was in turn besotted with the fair Catherine. This love was recognised by Catherine’s parents and heartily discouraged.

The man that they had chosen for their daughter was a widower from Ewenny, a prosperous farmer Robert Jenkins.  Catherine dismissed his attentions and told her parents that she would not marry Jenkins. To this end her parents banished Sion off their land and forbade Catherine to speak or communicate with the young man.

At this time Great Britain was at war with the American Colonists over Independence, so  a broken-hearted Sion Bivan signed up to be a soldier and went off to war, but before he left the couple managed one final meeting: here they declared their love one last time and swore to stay true to each other until Sion returned. 

Whilst Sion was away, Catherine’s parents made sure that Robert Jenkins was  given every opportunity to come to the farm and court their daughter. Catherine of course, for a while, was in fear for Sion’s life, but her father had a cunning plan: he knew that another man from Llangynwyd had joined Sion’s regiment at the same time, and he wrote to this man telling him that if he wrote back that Sion Bivan had died in battle, he would be well rewarded.

In due course that letter arrived, and Catherine was so distraught, she fainted dead away when she was given the news that her sweetheart was killed.

This news, and the constant pressure from her parents to accept Robert Jenkins’ proposals, weakened her resolve even further, and she finally gave in and agreed to marry the widower.

The wedding was arranged quickly, and the couple were married in Llangynwyd church, but on leaving the church they saw in the roadoutside a figure in uniform. It was Sion Bivan, home from the wars.  Catherine was in a state of shock, and she rushed to her lover begging for forgiveness for not waiting as she had promised, but she had believed him dead. Sion knew that it was too late and that Catherine was now another man’s wife,  and he forgave her.  The bride and groom left Llangynwyd for their home in Ewenny.

Sion Bivan stayed in Llangynwyd, he married another local girl and eventually left the village to farm some land near the Tylers Arms.

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