St Martin's Church

A sculptured Celtic cross located in the South Transept dating from the 9th or 10th centuries indicates a church stood here before the current building, which is dedicated to St Martin of Tours and erected by Knight of the Garter, Sir Gui de Brienne in the 13th century. This explains why the church is outside the medieval town. Amendments continued over the centuries, but 1873 saw the last major restoration when the tower, which houses 6 bells cast in Victoria St Laugharne by an Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester in 1729, was reduced by some 20 feet. There are many interesting features, not least on the painting on the south wall of an unnamed saint by James Thornhill, father-in-law of Hogarth; and a painting of the prophet Jeremiah by American Benjamin West, who later painted George Washington. The earliest memorial wall tablet dates back to 1679.

Coleridge visited on the 17th Nov 1802 and was moved by the ancient tombstones. The earliest dates from 1749 and there are many gravestones commemorating young men lost at sea. The Lychgate was built in 1913 and features in the only known moving images of Dylan Thomas, at his funeral. Locals pondered the large turnout and there is poignant footage of his mother - a proud Welsh farm woman among the mourners. Caitlin was buried with him 41 years later. It was noted in 1723 that there was an old yew tree called Fox Tree after hanging heads of dead animals, including wolves, on it. They remained for three church services, after which a reward was paid. A wolf's head had the same bounty as that of the worst robber. More recently there was great consternation when badgers caused damage to the graveyard.

Ancient tombstones


Dylan's (and Caitlin's) grave


Jeremiah by Benjamin West



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