The Pelican

Another of Laugharne's lost pubs (closed c.1912), the Pelican was named after Francis Drake's flagship, which was later renamed Golden Hind when he took the Spanish shilling. Dylan's parents rented the ground floor from the Williamses of Browns Hotel in May 1949 when Dylan moved to Laugharne.

Dylan visited his father every morning to do the Times crossword in D.J.'s study (below) before popping across the road to Browns. It has been suggested that his father was his best friend, and certainly his intellectual equal. Dylan's father introduced Dylan to Shakespeare and Anglo-Welsh poetry when he was an infant, and became Head of English at Swansea Grammar School. A thwarted man, he knew he could have achieved more, perhaps become a Professor or a lecturer, so encouraged Dylan to follow his dream of being a poet and a writer.

The upstairs neighbour, Dai Thomas Small Coal, remembered Dylan's mum disliking the theory that her son's brains came from his father's side. D.J. 'Jack' Thomas' slow death from cancer in this room in December 1952 prompted the poet's most famous work, 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night'.

D.J.'s death from throat cancer hit Dylan hard, and a broken heart was just one of a number of causes of Dylan's death - life-long asthma, depression, exhaustion, Caitlin's plan to leave him for a lover in Italy, morphine, possible diabetes, gastric problems, obesity, and of course partying in a dangerously smog-bound New York all contributed. But the idea that Dylan drank himself to death is incorrect.

Arthur Miller said on hearing of Dylan's death, 'A week on a farm and he'd have been as fit as a pig.' He should never have left Laugharne for that last trip to the US.


Eleven months later Dylan's coffin was manoeuvred in through the study window. The American 'go large' sized coffin was too big to fit down the hallway. A friend remarked on seeing Dylan's body in the open coffin in D.J.'s study, 'He'd never have been seen dead in that tie.'


Dylan's wake for family and close friends started in the Pelican kitchen. Everyone else was in Brown's.


Aeronwy, Dylan's daughter, writes (in My Father's Places) that her grandfather's study (to the left of the front door as you look at the house) was out of bounds to most people and that D.J. hid there when his wife's 'prattling friends' visited.

Aeronwy often stayed with Granny (Florrie) when life in the Boathouse became tense. She remembers large hams 'like off-colour bagpipes' hanging in the cellar. One tea-time, her mother, Caitlin, arrived in a yellow blouse with tulip red spots and a red dress - 'I wondered why she was always dressed in party clothes'.

D.J.'s desk which had come with the family from Swansea was taken to the Boathouse when Florrie moved there in 1953. It is still there today. Before the current owners took possession, the Pelican was owned by Liz Sewell, mother of actor Rufus. The house has since been fully renovated and as at Feb 22nd 2021 had just been sold.


In the cellar is a wine-rack for 365 bottles (geddit?!), and a bar in the shape of a boat. In the 2014 NTW play Raw Material: Llareggub Revisited, local man John Bradshaw played the role of Captain Cat (above). Bottles in the wine racks had numbers, and the audience was asked to call out a number. John would then regale that particular tale. He learned 4 but the perception was he had a story for every day of the year. The play was a series of art exhibits where people could wander around Laugharne with a map. In the Pelican a coffin jutted out of the window. Inside were crumpled up pages of the Under Milk Wood script with a small boat riding the paper waves and a video of Michael Sheen reading 'Do Not Go Gentle' on the TV.




During the Laugharne Weekend of 2014 Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson painted these remarkable images on boards covering the Pelican windows. The images depict David Icke (who rudely failed to turn up at the Laugharne Weekend and didn't tell anyone), a lizard (see David Icke), Evans The Death, Florrie Thomas (Dylan's Mum), a post-coital Caitlin & Dylan and the Grim Reaper. You can make your own minds up as to what is about to happen to Mr Icke.

A few years ago there was scaffolding outside the Pelican, so Dave who owns it allowed us to take some pics from the roof.




There's something pleasing about the Laugharne roofs in this pic. And finally, overlooking Brown's Hotel.






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