Parts of the Town Hall date from the 18th century but we know the clock tower was built in 1746 and renovated in 1908. It served three purposes but only one remains. Upstairs is where the court meet every other Monday to discuss the affairs of the Laugharne Corporation. There is a grand jury of 20 men, and a foreman with a Portreeve in charge. The Portreeve is like a Mayor and wears a chain of golden cockleshells. Laugharne is the only place in the UK that still carries out the old ceremonies, which adds to the township's, 'otherness.' The corporation owns lots of land and property and was established in 1307. Every year on 'Big Court Night' the portreeve is carried thrice around the Town Hall, before setting off to Browns to buy everyone a drink. Here are Phil Wilson, the current portreeve, and Don Avery, the previous incumbent in the chair.
Town Hall (c. 1920 above)
Whilst the Town Hall is on the corner of Market St. and Market Lane, the market died out in the 1850s. Prior to that the quaint cobbled lane behind was known as Hangman's Lane. There was a grand a mansion owned by Madame Bevan - one of the great education reformists of her day - between Market Lane and Victoria St, which fell into disrepair in the 1850s after a dispute over the will and was demolished. The 3rd purpose of the Town Hall was to house a cell where troublemakers would be locked up. Legend has it that the last person to be locked in the cell overnight was a drunken Chinaman back in the 1970s. The cell contains a fibre-glass figure of Waldo Williams from Under Milk Wood. 2nd Voice talks about a man being, '...as tall as the clock tower,' and that the clock, '...tells the time backwards,' both references to Laugharne Town Hall.
Clock face and mechanism
Repairs c. 1908
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