Year of Legends 2017
Wales is having a Year of Legends 2017 next year when tourism will be thinking about promoting attractions and events to people across the world! Carmarthenshire is one of the most mythical landscapes in Britain. Its many legends give us all a sense of place and there are lots to choose from if you want to visit somewhere nearby where these stories occured.
Special events will focus on some of the great Welsh Legends for example Hedd Wyn and Hywel dda. The Year of Legends is about the old infused with the modern day. It’s about showcasing the real Wales in a way that is alive with fresh talent and ideas. It’s about being unmistakably Wales and Welsh and internationally outstanding. But the Year of Legends isn’t simply about telling a tale. It’s about immersing people in an epic story. It’s about creating legendary experiences for everyone. And finding the legend within us all!
The most local stories concern the Merched Beca or Rebecca Riots when men dressed as women in disguise and smashed up the toll gates one of which was in St Clears. In 1837 and 1838 the whole country suffered very poor harvests, worse in this part of Wales and awful rain forced farmers to buy corn at famine prices to feed themselves, their animals and their families, which further eroded what little capital they had. Grain harvests collapsed and in 1839 the first protests led by “Rebecca” destroyed the toll-gates at Yr Efail Wen in two attacks in Carmarthenshire. The next time the Rebeccas assembled was roughly three years later, when Tom Bullin was allowed to raise a tollgate by the Mermaid Tavern near St Clears. Its a great story and although true some embellishments have crept into the surviving legend.
What else is happening in Year of Legends 2017?
Maps, information and events to promote legendary walks across Wales such as the Wales Coast Path (first of its kind in the world), Glyndŵr’s Way, Offa’s Dyke Path. Legendary food experiences — will give visitors the chance to sample the best local produce, such as Welsh Mead. Storytelling sessions will be organised. Local legends will be celebrated and pop up events are being planned. Here at Old Oak Barn we are making plans to be involved as well!
Old Oak Barn is well situated for you to get involved in local and community events so watch this space for more information!
Some of the more famous legends include Twm Sion Cati,
The Lady of Llyn Fach is a wonderful example of a beautiful story – watch this short youtube video to learn a little more.
Merlin is one of the more local myths to us here at the cottage. He was it is said born and brought up in Carmarthen and some will remember the Old Oak which disappeared in 1982 and the surrounding myth.
Over the next few weeks we will be writing a few more blogs about Wales Legends and Myths.
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!!