Our history

The hundred cries on the field

This area is steeped in history and Canllefaes has been recorded as part of it.

The name Canllefaes (pronounced KAN-KLEV-ICE) is derived from Cant Llevas or Cant Llevarvas which, we are told, is translated as “The hundred cries on the field” – a battle or war cry.

In 1136 The Welsh led by Gruffydd ap Rhys ap Tewdwr defeated the Normans at the battle of Crug Mawr here at Penparc, The Normans fled back to Pembrokeshire across the old wooden bridge at Cardigan in such numbers that they caused it to collapse.

In 1165

In 1165, Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd confirmed the lands north of the road to Blaenporth, including Canllefaes, as part of the estate of the Priory at Cardigan.

In 1538 the Priory estate was transferred to Sir William Cavendish and then became the home of Thomas Philipps and his heirs. We have not yet discovered when Canllefaes was sold from the estate.

In 1808 an historian called Merrick wrote that a druidical monument called Llech yr ast (Bitches Stone) stands in a field called Cant Llevas.


The Ordinance Survey map of 1834 shows Cen-llyfas with a building layout very much as it is today. From the 1841 and 1851 Census we know that Mrs Mary Makeig, a widow aged 65 farmed 57 acres at Canllevas or Canllevaes; We love this Christmas greetings card with a photo of the farm from 1919.

1952 - 1977 Dewi and Owena Jones

The Canllefaes Ganol (middle) farm was owned by David Owen Jones (Dewi) and Anne Elizabeth Owena Jones (Owena). Dewi and Owena moved here from a local farm, and had 4 children – Brenda, Alun, Morlais (Morley) and Idris. The farm was approximately 60 acres at this time and consisted of the farm house, out-buildings and various surrounding fields. It was mostly self sufficient with crops grown and fed to the various livestock.
Brenda (pictured) and Morley Jones have both recently visited Canllefaes Cottages in 2023 and recalled fond memories of their childhood. In some ways nothing really changes….

• Brenda used to ride the old Sow that used to live in Stable cottage – then fortunately a pig shed, not a holiday cottage
• She used to play football with her brothers but was only allowed to play in goal
• She had an artificial leg from a young age and once lost her very fancy shoe as it had fallen off (Clarkes don’t you know !)
• Morley used to do a lot of the milking, and carrying the urns up to the main road at the top of the drive.
• They had far more hens than we do today, and were a big supplier of eggs and chickens to Dewi James in Newcastle Emlyn
• Xmas was a particularly memorable point in the year when they would be a big supplier of Turkeys locally. They would bring in help from Penparc village to pluck them before the big day.

It is interesting looking back at the similarities with their bed and breakfast offering and ours from the modern day. Glad to say that fishing is still permitted on the Teifi, that we do allow dogs now, and gladly that all toilets are “flush” style ! An extra 9 holes have been added to Cardigan’s fantastic golf course and the local beauty spots remain so. Our electricity has also recently been modernised to use solar panels ! We wonder what that might look like in another 70 years !

In this photo you can see the outbuildings that were eventually converted into the cottages. See how many of these you can spot !

1. Granary was the milling room for the grain and partial grain store alongside shippen
2. Shippen was the old cow / milking shed downstairs and part of the grain store at the top.
3. Byre was built as a milking shed to a very high standard for the day
4. Stable was the Pig sty (you can just see the pigs in this shot)
5. The swimming pool was a vegetable garden
6. The pool house was the chicken shed
7. Ty Coed was a tool shed and machinery store
8. There was a building between the pool house and Ty Coed, which was used as a workshop and a garage
9. Wheel cottage and Pen-y-bryn would be built much later….
10. There was a water well out the back of the main white house
11. There was a fancy custom built greenhouse in the orchard
12. The laundry in the main house was yet to be built, and the front door didn’t exist !
13. The extension on the main house would be built nearly 50 years later by Rob and Lynne.


The farm was bought by Monica and Tom Davies who lived in Canllefaes Uchaf (highest – the farm that owns the cows you see today) to extend their land and Canllefaes Ganol was reduced to a 3 acre site and sold on to John and Sue Leigh.

1977 - 2006 John and Sue Leigh

John and Sue originally moved from London to Aberporth in 1971. They purchased Canllefaes Ganol in 1977 and moved into their Caravan on site with their 2 girls Amanda (5) and Phillipa (2).John was an electronics engineer but had never previously undertaken a building project. Armed with a “teach yourself DIY” manual, they set about renovating the outbuildings to become the “self catering site” you see today. Multiple cottage sites were few in number, and John and Sue were amongst the founding members of the Wales Association of Self Catering Operators, formed with the intention of having a combined voice when dealing with the various governing authorities.

We also think this picture captures a moment very well, with Amanda and Phillipa hard at work painting a small cupboard in the farmyard surroundings. In the background here you can see what would eventually become Shippen and Byre.
We love looking at the contrast in these pictures from when John and Sue bought the place, to current day having gone through both Rob and Lynne, then Jamie and Claire.
John and Sue’s drive and ambition was relentless over their 29 years here, with a monumental list of changes done to the site. Here are some of the highlights :
1979 completed the renovation of the main house

• 1980 Granary and Shippen cottages were completed and appear much as they are today
• 1982 Byre was renovated


1984 Stable (the pig sty) was knocked down and re-built


1994 The swimming pool was built


• 1995 Wheel cottage was converted from the “black barn”

• 2000 Ty Coed was converted from a workshop

John and Sue talk very fondly of their time here bringing their girls up, and whilst the 29 years was always eventful, there would be one event that really stood out….

The Siege !

Canllefaes Ganol was also famous for a day, appearing on the national news…..Sue recalls :

It was a cold Wed evening in November 1993….there was a knock on the door. The lady on the doorstep was asking if she could rent the Byre cottage for a few nights. This was of course not an unusual request, but what transpired was anything but ordinary ! 

When the guests arrived that evening, Sue came to show the lady to her cottage, walking past their van on the way. Sue thought it strange that she was unable to see who was in the van, almost as if they were deliberately trying to conceal the people inside. Something just didn’t seem right. Regardless, Sue handed over the keys to the cottage and went about her business. 

The next day whilst weeding the gardens she noticed another car coming down the lane. The gentleman got out of the car, did not acknowledge her and just walked down to the cottage. She made sure to mention this to John that afternoon, again something just didn’t feel right.

On the third morning, Sue could hear a helicopter overhead and called a local friend to ask if she knew what was going on. Apparently there was a police search underway, a van had been stolen recently and ditched into a nearby field and they were searching the local area.

Sue had been listening to the news on the radio that morning, and happened upon the story of the moment – a man had broken out of prison, met up with his then-partner and abducted his two children from his first wife and gone on the run. With her women’s intuition going into overdrive, she immediately called the police. It couldn’t be could it ? She was told in no uncertain terms – “GET OUT NOW”.

Within minutes, the start of what would eventually become a large contingent of armed response unit started to arrive and had surrounded the place, occupying the main house and cottages. The escapees refused to leave, and took to pulling down the interior doors within Byre and using them to board up the windows.

British Telecom arrived promptly and installed a phoneline that could be used to communicate with the cottage.

Eventually after a prolonged stand off, the occupants realised that they were not going to win, that the children were in danger, and they gave themselves up.

The British press arrived on mass, with satellite dish-laden vans parked on site, news reporters everywhere looking for an exclusive interview with the now able to return John and Sue.

After the excitement died down, the cleanup process began….court hearings were set, those concerned were returned to prison, children returned to their home….and Canllefaes Ganol would be forever famous, at least for a generation or two, as “the place where they had the siege !!”.

It wasn’t until 6 months later when Sue and John were spring cleaning the cottage that they pulled the bath panel to find a hidden knife  ! 

2006 - 2019 Rob and Lynne Mansfield

In April 2006 Robert and Lynne Mansfield took over Canllefaes Ganol and lived here with their six children – Amy, Georgia, Sadie, Ruth, Joseph and Benjamin who all went to the local schools. Originally from Oldham near Manchester, they moved here to start a new life and their extended family followed them here shortly after. Rob and Lynne continued where John and Sue left off with the improvements and renovations here at Canllefaes Cottages :

• Added an extension to the main house
• Converting Penybryn from a workshop into a cottage
• Modernising the electrics into the cottages
• Adding the hot tubs to Wheel, Penybryn and Ty Coed

Lynne became a keen guides leader, and Rob was heavily involved in the local community and cricket club. When Jamie and Claire took over in 2019, they moved out to the beautiful village of Llangrannog.

2019 - Present Day - Jamie and Claire Cunningham

After 13 happy years, Canllefaes Cottages were taken over by Jamie and Claire Cunningham, along with their three daughters Lainie, Rosie and Daisy. They had originally lived in Solihull near Birmingham and had holidayed most years in Cardigan Bay. They saw Canllefaes Cottages (as I’m sure you do) as an opportunity to escape to the beautiful welsh countryside. They currently live here on site along with our hens, Crystal our double doodle, Finn our pomsky and our 3 cats – Loki, Odin and Jake.
It was probably not the best timing of purchasing a self catering holiday business ! COVID19 hit just 4 months after moving in with enforced lockdowns, closure of pubs, shops and beaches.  Not to be deterred whilst faced with these global events, Jamie and Claire continued to put their stamp on the place :
2020 saw the cottages painted inside and out. We love Aberaeron and this become our  inspiration, with the bright colours providing that feeling of being by the seaside. Many of the the cottages also received new bathrooms and kitchens, and a sprinkling of our own style.


2021 saw the introduction of the chickens and closing off of the dog field and wood store, with a big focus for us on being dog-friendly cottages. It also saw the start of some of the landscaping of the beds and gardens across the site.

2021 Byre renovation

2021 also saw the start of the Byre renovation, knocked back to a shell inside and fully modernised with airy vaulted ceiling, velux windows and refit throughout.


In 2022 the games room / workshop was added to the bottom of the site, providing some fantastic facilities for our guests to use all year around.


2023 saw the final site renovations taking place, landscaping the corner of the site and converting it into the sunset / firepit area as it is today, a place where adults can chill after a hard day entertaining the kids.
In 2023 the Solar panels were added. We wanted to do as much as we can to ensure that West Wales remains an unspoilt destination for many years to come and we will see a continuing push for sustainability over the coming years.