Had novelist Richard Hughes not lived here Dylan may have bypassed Laugharne. He had sought Hughes out in 1934, describing him as a novelist who wrote, 'cosmopolitan stories.' After a summer on damp Carmarthenshire farms, Hughes and Laugharne must have seemed positively exotic. Hughes (1900-1976) wrote High Wind To Jamaica aged 29. His fame and wealth enabled him to hire Clough Williams-Ellis of Portmeirion fame to alter the 1730-built house, which had previously been remodeled in Regency times and contains a chimney dating back to the civil war. Hughes lived here from 1934-1946 and immersed himself in Laugharne life despite his wife's ambivalence towards the locals. Hughes was an honorary petty constable of Laugharne - one of the ancient posts of the corporation. The symbol of office was an old chair leg with a piece of string tied to it.
Apart from In Hazard (see 'Gazebo') Hughes wrote the children's stories, Don't Blame Me! here. In July 1936 painter Augustus John visited with his mistress Caitlin Macnamara who Dylan had begun an affair with earlier that year. On the 15th Fred Janes drove Dylan here. Drinks flowed and John and Dylan ended up brawling outside a Carmarthen pub. In 1949 Dylan begged his benefactor Margaret Taylor to lease the, '...best house in the best place,' but legal issues, and a reluctance from the owner Miss Starke (whose family had lived at Castle House for centuries) to rent to another literary type meant Dylan took the Boathouse instead. In 1949, on reluctantly leaving Laugharne and Castle House, Hughes wrote, 'The mistake was to imagine it was right, or even possible, to live out one's life in a fairy-tale, which is what Laugharne is.'
Castle House rear
Chinese Chippendale staircase c. 1750 - unique in Carmarthenshire
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