St Clears is a popular town set on the banks of the Laugharne estuary with a population of nearly 3000. It is perhaps most famous because in 1842, one of the local toll gates was destroyed in the Rebecca Riots. Old Oak Barn is situated just over a mile north of the village.
History goes back to Norman times when the castle was built in the 12th century. Only the castle mound can still be seen, which rises to approximately 12 metres and was home to first a timber tower and then a stone keep. The town, which was a Marcher Borough, grew around the castle. Below the castle there was a port on the river Tâf, which could take ships of up to 500 tons according to a plaque on the site.
It is interesting to read that the castle held out against Owain Glyndwr or Owain Glyn Dŵr, who was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales. He instigated a fierce and long-running but ultimately unsuccessful revolt against the English rule of Wales. In 1842, the town became famous for the destruction of one of its toll gates in the Rebecca Riots. The Normans also established a small priory under the supervision of the great abbey of St Martin les Champs in Paris. The priory church which is a Grade II listed building is now the parish church. It is worth a visit: it has a spectacular Romanesque arch inside.
Smaller industrial units provide the main local employment. The town boasts a good variety of local shops including two prize winning butchers, and two craft centres. There are also several pubs some of which are notable for their food. It is within an hour’s drive of two National Parks (Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire Coast), the Gower Peninsula and also the three main Irish ferry ports (Fishguard, Pembroke Dock, and Swansea).
Nearby Trefenty House became the home of a branch of the Perrot family in the 16th century, and it was here that the amateur astronomer Sir William Lower and a neighbour, John Protheroe, set up one of Britain’s first telescopes in 1609, which they used to study the craters of the Moon and Halley’s Comet.
Officially opened in October 2002 by the Minister for Culture, the West Wales Centre for the Crafts at St Clears is a purpose-built working environment for a number of craftspeople and a showcase for quality visual arts.It is well worth a visit and many of our holiday makers enjoy a stroll around the town or a walk on the new St Clears Heritage Trail.
Below we list a few welsh words which you may like to practice! You will hear Welsh spoken in the town in most shops and pubs.
Diolch – Thank you
Helo – Hello
Os gwelwch yn dda – please
Hwyl fawr – good bye
Sut wyt ti? How are you?
Farm – fferm
Tree – coed
Bird – aderyn
Flower – blodyn
River – Afon
St Clears – San Cler!!