Laugharne was a major port in Tudor times and the 6th largest town in Wales; bigger even than Cardiff. Boats brought grain from Bristol for use in the 4 town mills, tobacco from Virginia, coal from Kidwelly and local linen and limestone from Coygan quarry were shipped out. The area from Cockleshelly (opposite the castle at the foot of Sir John's Hill) to Black Scar (opposite the Boathouse) formed Laugharne Bay. A tsunami devastated the Bristol Channel in 1607 (over 2000 people died) causing substantial silting and by 1880 the sea was noticeably receding. Laugharne was still a working port as late as 1925 when the road to St. Clears and its railway station was rebuilt with Portland Stone. Coal lorries started rumbling into view and the ancient sea-port was doomed.
By the 1960s the fishing beds receded. Brixham boats trawling on an industrial scale off Tenby meant Dylan's 'dab-filled bay' no longer offered employment. People still remember the old salts on the Grist, staring wistfully out to sea. The area has changed dramatically; in the 50s the Mackrelle stream was culverted and the old bridge demolished to create a car-park, but take care, the area still floods during spring tides when Laugharne and the sea reunite. Local boats like The Lively, The Brothers, The Skidaddle, The Towy, The Sarah Ann, The Leena and The Nautilus traded with channel ports but only one sea-faring business survives: Broadsword skippered by Denzil Brown can be hired for 2 hour evening trips and carries up to 12 passengers. To book please call 07815-428-907
Now - a busy car park
Then - The Leena (on the right), one of the last trading boats
Then - The Quay c.1920
Today - The ringed building was once the Three Horseshoes pub
copyright © 2020 Laugharne Lines
all rights reserved