Like Cardigan, Lampeter was a strategic point for the Norman invaders and a castle was built next to the two rivers of Teifi and Dulas. However, the castle did not survive its retaking by the Welsh and it was destroyed by Owain Gwynedd in 1187.
In 1282 Lampeter fell under the English rule of Edward I. It did not have a great impact on the Welsh language and culture of the area, which continued to thrive. What it did bring was trade and the establishment of regular markets for trading goods and annual fairs. For example the large Dalis horse fair, for trading horses, continued until 1939.
By the 1800s Lampeter was a centre for agriculture as well as crafts and services to the local area. There were several woollen mills as well as the usual trades of the day such as blacksmiths, a leather tannery, saddlers and bootmakers. It also became the gathering point for the local drovers, who met at Lampeter, to walk their livestock all the way to the markets of south east England.
The University at Lampeter was established in 1822 by Bishop Burgess of St David’s and named St David’s College. It was designed by Charles Robert Cockerell and built on the foundations of the old Norman castle. It originally provided education to members of the clergy but evolved into a centre for areas such as Archeology, Theology, English, Chinese, History and the Classics and today offers a broader curriculum. It is the oldest University in Wales and the third oldest in the United Kingdom, after Oxford and Cambridge. Lampeter is also the smallest University town in the UK. In the 1850’s Rev. Professor Rowland Williams introduced Rugby Union to the campus and the University’s rugby team became the first Rugby Union team in Wales. The University is now known as the University of Wales Trinity St. David after merging with several college campuses across Wales (Carmarthen, Cardigan, Swansea and Llanelli).
The high street of Lampeter is full of your everyday conveniences set amongst historic architecture. The farmers market still runs on a bi-monthly basis with an array of local produce from independent Welsh sellers. And there are plenty of traditional pubs and independent cafés dotted around the town to rest, replenish and get together. For example the Town Hall Café-Deli, Conti’s Café ( famous for its gelato) and the Black Lion Royal Hotel. As with the other larger towns in the area Lampeter has a host of amenities including, a combined Primary and Secondary school, Drs surgery, Sainsbury’s supermarket, Fire Station, Post Office and banks.
Lampeter hosts many events including a local Eisteddfod, food festival, beer festival, harness racing, cattle marts, horse fair and antiques auction. There is also a museum, a Welsh quilt centre, a town heritage trail and a nearby theatre.
For further information on the history of Lampeter please click here.
Please visit the council website for more information.
For tourist information please click here.
Lampeter is the hub of a network of local bus services to Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Tregaron, Llandovery and Carmarthen.