Laugharne (or Talacharn in Welsh) is a small town on the Taf estuary, about 15 miles from Carmarthen in West Wales. It is famous as the home of poet Dylan Thomas from 1949 until his death in 1953, and is thought to have been an inspiration for the fictional town of Llareggub in Under Milk Wood. In 1948 Thomas and his family moved to Laugharne and what was to be his final home, the Boat House (above). He also acquired a garage on a cliff a hundred yards from the house, which he turned into his writing shed and where he wrote several of his most acclaimed poems.
Other attactions in Laugharne include the estuary's birdlife, the town hall and clock tower, the castle, and many fine examples of Georgian town houses. (A castle has existed in Laugharne since before the arrival of the Normans. The ruined castle one sees today was built in the 12th century and lasted until the Civil War when it was attacked and destroyed by Cromwell's army.)
Laugharne, along with the City of London, boasts the UK's last surviving medieval corporation which was established in 1291. The Corporation consists of a Portreeve, Aldermen and Burgesses. The Portreeve being sworn in each year on the first Monday after Michaelmas at the Big Court. The Portreeve wears a ceremonial chain of gold cockle shells (the cockle industry was once a significant part of the Laugharne economy). The Corporation holds a court-leet half-yearly and a court-baron every fortnight, dealing with civil suits within the lordship, especially in matters related to land, where administration of the common fields is dealt with. The Laugharne open field system is one of only two surviving and still in use today in Britain. Customs associated with the Corporation include the Common walk (also known as beating the bounds), which occurs on Whit Monday every three years. The Corporation holds extensive historical records including the famous Charter of Laugharne.
Each spring, Laugharne hosts a three day arts festival, the Laugharne Weekend. In recent years headline performers have included Ray Davies, Will Self, Howard Marks and Patti Smith. Although the town's Millennium Hall is used as the main venue, smaller events are hosted in local venues including Dylan Thomas's Boathouse.
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