Ferry House

A survey in 1592 refers to Laugharne Ferry, but there may have been a ferry since time immemorial. Before the days of motoring the ferry was the quickest way for workers to get across to Black Scar across the Taf estuary, then Llanstephan and across the Towy estuary to Ferryside and then beyond to the industrial valley of Gwendraeth.

Tourists would also journey across, and Dylan journeyed by ferry when arriving in Laugharne for the first time in 1934.

These pics show Dylan, Caitlin, one of their children and possibly Dylan's benefactor, the actress Margaret Taylor on the ferry in the late 1930s. Happy to be corrected on this!

People wanting to cross would ring the bell at Bell Cottage (now gone) opposite. If the tide was out the ferryman would give you a piggy-back across the sticky muddy slopes. In the pic below you can see the Ferry House, the Boathouse and the original Cliff House.

It was once two buildings: the house and the Ferry Inn. The pub was tucked away and it had a reputation of serving beer on a Sunday; which was illegal as the county was 'dry'. Dylan spoke of, '...the speakeasy across the water.'

A man drowned here in the early 1800s in Bunny Saer's pool... or was it called Buenos Aries pool?

No-one seems to know, but sometimes half-remembered information is better than cold hard facts. One theory is that the victim was a Mr Saer; another that it was named after the Argentinian trading ships that moored near here.

Ferry House was demolished illegally c.2000 and has remained an eyesore ever since. The company that owns the chalet park on the hill wanted to build a breath-taking structure that looked like books on a shelf which would then mirror the water. Sadly, the application was turned down.

The Roberts family lived here for decades. There were three brothers: Jack the eldest who rowed the boat and stayed at home; Na, a gardener and labourer who tended fishing nets; and Dai, a friendly chap, who went round Laugharne and St. Clears with homemade wicker panniers of fish. The pic is of Jack carrying a youthful Dylan Thomas, with the Boathouse in the background, and the pic below is from 1935.

There was also a disabled sister called Bella and her 'deaf and dumb' son, Booda. He was a well-known figure around Laugharne and became a friend of the Thomases. In 1953 he was accused of murder (see 3 Clifton St). Kitty John, who is mentioned elsewhere, and was a relative, remembers that her father did the Roberts' books as they couldn't read or write - 'Every Sunday we'd go to Ferry House. I wouldn't let my dad go alone coz of the dark! One lamp; Bella in bed; all the men smoking pipes.'

Artist Marc Rees on the estuary

The Ferry House in the 1970s, and below the site today, looking down from Cliff Path.

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