Old Ball Court & Boatshed

This was the last building Dylan Thomas passed as he set off on his birthday walk on the 27th October 1944. The origin of the name is a mystery, but one theory is that it was built on the former Tudor tennis type court of Gosport House.

Old Ball Court (for that is it's name), a Grade-11 listed building, was one of four grain warehouses in Laugharne (the Spar building is the only other one that remains) and was semi-derelict by the 1980s when it was converted into a private house.

In front of this former warehouse a lime kiln was built in 1761. It probably was the growth of the lime trade that had accelerated Laugharne's expansion as a port. In the second half of the 16th century liming of the fields began to increase farming yields and enable more land to be cultivated. Boats were the cheapest way to transport the coal and lime needed, as they were very heavy. The boats could then return laden with agricultural produce.

Lime kilns began to dot the shores and riverbanks and were in use until cheap imports of fertilizer in the late 19th century became fashionable. A ruined kiln lies just beyond the sewage works, which, for obvious reasons, doesn't feature on this map.

To the right is the 'Dutch barn' shaped Boatshed, owned by author Richard Hughes (Castle House/Gazebo) in the 1930s. Hughes was a keen sailor and there are artefacts in the shed dating back to his time.

It now belongs to Harbour Master Denzil Brown and houses his boat, Broadsword (below), in the winter months.

This is the launching of a boat called The Tern from the Boatshed in the 1950s(?).

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