Tabernacle

Many empty chapels across Wales have become shops, halls or houses. The Wogan St. Tabernacle was knocked down and replaced by a toilet block, and you can still see the outline of the back wall of the chapel in the pic above.

It (the chapel not the toilet block) was built in 1833 by Calvinist Methodists led by Rees Havard on land previously used by tanners because of its proximity to the river.


The wonderful pic above of a view of the Tabernacle looking down Wogan St makes it look like some sort of war zone - the pic below shows the same view today.

Ironically, unconventional Laugharne didn't take to Welsh non-conformism, and by the 1950s the Tabernacle had become the local school's over-spill classroom. Graham Thomas, a now departed local character went there. His favourite subject was, 'Trying to get out of school.' It then was a boxing club for a while.

Incidentally, Wogan St was known as Chandler's Hill back in the day and in medieval times had Flemish houses with tall thin chimneys. It was renamed after the Wogan family who had connection to the Knight Templars. They were descended from Cadwgan, son of Bleddyn ap Maenarch, Lord of Brecknock, and an 11th century Welsh king.


Dylan liked Laugharne for many reasons - the locals spoke English, they liked a beer and told great stories, a raffish literary air, strange customs, a nature lover, and from the estuary could see the Gower, his boyhood playground. But mainly he liked Laugharne because it had an undercurrent of madness and spontaneity. It wasn't dominated by dark deacons and bible-bashing clergy as other smaller towns were; in fact it was very much the opposite. Here's a good view of the Tabernacle from the air in 1955


The building was knocked down in the 60s to widen the road, but part of it remains thanks to enterprising landlord Tommy Watts who appropriated the pews where strict sermons were preached and put it to good purpose around the walls of the Brown's bar. He also used wood from the chapel's interior to enlarge the bar area.

(Use of the loo is 20p, by the way.)




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