Dyfed

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Dyfed. County of south-west Wales, extant between 1974 and 1996. The name given to the new county under the Local Government Act of 1972 was derived from that of the post-Roman kingdom which was derived from the tribal territory of the Demetae. Unlike other Welsh kingdoms there is evidence of a strong Irish influence, attested by a memorial stone at Castell Dwyrain to a possible early ruler Voteporix. The kingdom subsequently became part of the kingdom of Deheubarth. Norman occupation transformed the area into a series of lordships.

At the statute of Rhuddlan in 1284, the county of Cardiganshire was created, and by the Act of Union with England in 1536, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. It was not until 1972 that these were united as a new county and given the name Dyfed. The Local Government Commission argued that there was a common historical tradition and a ‘unity of interest both social and economic, which rests on a geographical basis’. But though there was a tradition of unity, it had been greatly changed by the industrialization of the south-east, and intercommunication was poor. The county had little in the way of contemporary common interest and 400 years had created different loyalties. There was strong identification with the old counties, especially in Pembrokeshire, but little with Dyfed. In April 1996 authority reverted to the former three counties and Dyfed as a formal administrative area ceased to exist.

Harold Carter