Llangain (Llansteffan)

Nearly at journey’s end…


Dylan’s mother’s family – the Williams family of Llangain – owned these cottages, known as Blaencwm. Dylan stayed here for a month in 1933 and wrote early drafts of at least two of the poems which made up his first book, ‘18 Poems‘, published in 1934. Later in 1941 his parents moved here and Dylan and Caitlin stayed with them during the summers of 1944 and 1945.

Although he probably enjoyed the time he spent here, and it was a refuge away from war ravaged London, he was critical of the place when writing to his scriptwriting colleagues describing it as a ‘rat infested cottage‘ and ‘a breeding box in cabbage valley‘.

It is worth going on into Llansteffan itself, by returning to the B4312 and turning right to Llansteffan. Alas, one of Dylan’s favourite pubs, the Edwinsford Arms, is no longer open – Dylan enthused about its ‘.…….sabbath-dark bar with a stag’s head over the Gents‘. The town sits snugly on the estuary overlooked by a fine ruined castle and it features as the location for Dylan’s short story ‘A Visit to Grandpa’s‘.

Dylan’s friend, the writer Glyn Jones, is buried in the churchyard there, and the same church has a wonderful stained glass window by John Petts. Across the estuary is Ferryside and Dylan had occasion to visit friends there too and then be rowed across the estuary.

It will be easiest to retrace your route back to the A40 and carry on east back to Carmarthen.

Just outside Carmarthen is the small village of Johnstown where Dylan’s father, D.J. Thomas was born and raised. His family were of humble, local, Welsh-speaking stock (his father worked on the railway), but David John Thomas managed to get educated and went on to University in Aberystwyth where he got a first class honours degree in English.

He then took up a teaching career in Swansea where he settled into a middle class suburb. See the Uplands Trail for more information.

Finish with a glass in the Boars Head or head back to the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea for a fresh look at the Collection – and some refreshment there!