The Laques

The mother of King Henry 11 (the 'king' celebrated by King St) was from Flanders and when it flooded in the 12th century Henry encouraged Flemish people to come to Laugharne and breed with the Welsh, to dilute their 'antisocial' traits. The plan was unsuccessful as those inter-marrying with the locals carried the risk of being ostracised, and there also were language difficulties. So, as is the Laugharne way, the incomers and locals just fought.

However Flemish weavers, dyers and lace-makers thrived just up the valley heading north from the township due to a good supply of spring water, a harbour for exporting and a similar climate to Flanders. Laques is Latin for 'lace' and pronounced 'lakes'.

Their presence is partly responsible for the lack of Welsh in the area. Incidentally, only 5% of people in Laugharne ever spoke Welsh. A matter commentated on by Dylan in his 'strangest town in Wales' letter from 1934. Whilst much of Carmarthenshire was first language Welsh, Dylan fell in love with Laugharne as it was a Welsh town with fluent English-speaking barflies who told stories of characters and old sailors who spoke of lands far away.

Weavers' dwellings followed the Maquerelle (Mackarelle) Lake down to the Grist. The stream was culverted (above) in the 50s and diverted into the River Corran.

If you walk up The Laques the last building on the public footpath before Hudgen field (below) - a medieval open field (and the only one in Wales) - was once a Flemish cottage which still has an ancient well.

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