The exclamation mark is pertinent as Island House is impossible to date: remains of a Roman baths and round tower were found in the garden; the wall facing the road is partly medieval (and as thick as the castle) and there were Tudor and Edwardian alterations. The house was so-named because the Mackerelle and Corran rivers flowed either side and the sea regularly encircled it. Records state it stood between 'Earth Lake' and 'Mill Orange'. In 1903 Major Congreve (1862-1923) moved in. (He was a friend from Indian Army days of Colonel Bolton of Elm House and had previously lived in Fullerton.) It was an artistic household as the Major played banjo and sang whilst his wife played piano, and both were skilled water-colourists. Regular rehearsals and soirees took place well into the 1930s. Island House now stands silent.
Major Congreve's son John, born here in 1912, died in the Battle Of Algeria in 1942 aged 31. According to Steve John's remarkable research, 16 men with a Laugharne connection died in WW2 including Thomas Essery 'Tim' Rose-Richards (third from the left above), born 1902. His father, Major Thomas Picton Rose-Richards, former MP for Mid-Breconshire, retired to Island House. Tim raced at Le Mans five times (coming 3rd in 1931-1933) and entered two Grand Prix, finishing 4th in Dieppe in 1934. When war broke out he joined up for the Navy at the age of 37 and flew the incongruous Supermarine Walrus which operated from HMS Daedalus. During the Battle of Britain on the 7th October 1940 a German bomber was forced into the waves. Tim and his crew went to the rescue but were shot down. The bodies of the crew were never found.
c.1900 - with the now-demolished Tabernacle visible - see 'Toilets'
c.2010 (pic by Humphrey Bolton)
c.2006 - This remarkable house hasn't been occupied for a number of years and is in a sad state of disrepair. (pic by Stuart Logan)
Island House - the hall
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