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St Clears

"CLEAR'S, ST. (ST. CLARE'S), a parish, in the higher division of the hundred of DERRLYS, union and county of CARMARTHEN, SOUTH WALES, on the road from Carmarthen to Haverfordwest, 9 miles (W. by S.) from Carmarthen; containing 1167 inhabitants . . . The TOWN is situated at the confluence of the Guinning with the Taâf, which discharge their united waters into the bay of Carmarthen, at the small town of Laugharne, a few miles to the South: it consists of one straggling street, nearly a mile in length, neither lighted nor paved, but well supplied with water, and contains many good dwelling houses. Several respectable shops have been lately built; the old houses renovated, and other improvements made. The surrounding district is highly productive of corn and butter, which are here shipped for Bristol, Cardiff, Bridg-water, Southampton, and other ports . . . The church, which is situated on the banks of the Guinning, is of considerable antiquity. There are two places of worship for Independents, and one each for Wesleyan Methodists and Unitarians. In the parish are four day schools, in which are about 160 children. . . " [From A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (S. Lewis, 1844).]

Church History

Some church and chapel data from The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. Ed. by   I.G Jones, & D. Williams. UWP,   Cardiff, 1976. The names are those of the informants

  • St Clears Parish Church            John Evans, Vicar
  • Bethlehem  Ind                Erected in 1764 or 1765       "..... It is situated at some distance from the Town, and the congregation frequently lower in numbers from the inclemency of the weather etc...."     John Williams, Minister
  • Garddi chapel     WM                   Erected in 1810               William Mason, Deacon, Brick Maker, St Clears
  • Capelgraig      Unitarians                  Erected in 1826                  David Beynon, Minister, Pwlltrap
  • Capel Mair or St Mary's Chapel, town     Ind             Erected about 35 years ago           Joseph Williams, Minister, Clare Hill
  • Sion    Baptist      Erected in 1848     David Morris, Deacon, the Minister being from home, Victoria House, St Clears

Griffiths, G. Milwyn. A Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Carmarthen, 1710   National Library of Wales journal. 1974, Summer Vol XVIII/3. Includes the parish of St Clere's

Parish entry  for St Clears with Llanginning from The Welsh Church Year Book, 1929 (Cd by (Archive CD Books)).

  • St Mary
  • &
  • St Cynin (Llanginning)
  • Incumbent and Curates; J M James
  • Rural Deanery of  St Clears
  • Acreage 2,642 & 3,264 ; Population 931 & 307

Church Records

Dyfed FHS have photographs and data relating to various churches and chapels on their site

Parish registers: Christenings (1681-1928), Marriages (1681-1970), Banns (1937-76) and Burials (1681-1951) are at the Carmarthenshire Record Office.

Facsimile Parish registers: Christenings and Burials (1681-1813) and Marriages (1681-1813, 1837-1959) are at the National Library of Wales.

Copy ts PR index CB (1813-75) M (1682-1875) at NLW

Bishops' Transcripts, covering the period (1672-3, 1681-4, 1686-7, 1702, 1705, 1707-8, 1720, 1722, 1726-35, 1737-8, 1740-62, 1764-5, 1769-71, 1774-81, 1783-9, 1797, 1799-1800, 1802-4, 1806, 1808-33, 1835, 1837-8, 1847, 1851, 1854) are at the National Library of Wales, and have been microfilmed by the LDS.

An Index to Christenings (1813-1875), Marriages (1682-1875) and Burials (1813-1875) is available on microfiche from Dyfed FHS.

Marriage index for this parish - see Dyfed Marriages, 1813-1837, Vol. 14 - Derllys Hundred (Dyfed Family History Society, c1989)

See Bap/Mar/Bur data on FreeReg

Nonconformist Chapels:

  • Sion (Baptist, bef 1848), St Clears town                    Records with those of Salem (Llanfihangel Abercowin)             SN27661628   Built 1848, rebuilt/modified 1887 & renovated in 1927/8.  Still open 1998   Coflein   
  • Trinity Welsh CM chapel, Station Rd, St Clears             SN28271654     Built 1829/30, rebuilt 1872 and restored 1924.    Still open 2000       Coflein    
  • Bethlehem (Independent, c1696), Pwlltrap            Births and baptisms (1770-1837), burials (1831-37) PRO RG4/4446?, RG/4023 and RG4/1689, LDS 815972, IGI               On Dyfed FHS              Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006) 
    Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for this chapel (in Welsh ) - with translation by Maureen Saycell (April 2009)
  • Capel Mair (Independent, 1820):, High St, St Clears              Records with those of Bethlehem              SN27971588    Built c1816, rebuilt/modified 1862  Coflein                  Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)
  • Capel-y-Graig ( Unitarian, aft 1800), St Clears             1832 and 1881 deeds, NLW Ms 674A; douments and deeds NLW Ms 4457            SN2515  Built 1827 & situated somewhere between Capel Mair and the school. It closed in 1901,       Coflein       
  • [Penuel] Garddi Chapel / Trinity (Wesleyan Methodist, c1807?), near St Clears village            Records with those of Ebenezer (Carmarthen)             SN27941597      Built 1810; transferred to English circuit? or sold to another denomination in 1885    Coflein

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of St Clears which are provided by:

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales., byJones, I.G. & Williams, D.   UWP,   Cardiff, 1976.  These statistics for this parish are extracted from this book which in turn got them from the 1851 census itself;

  • Area 2534 acres; Population 562 males, 678 females, total 1240

Places, villages, farms etc within St Clears as shown on the online parish map from the CD of Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. (Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R.). (Extracted by Katherine Hocking)

  • St. Clears (58):- Backe,  Bwlch-y-domen, Clog-y-fran, Gors, Pen-y-coed, Picton ferry, Pwll trap, Sabuton, St. Clear's, Woolstone.

St. Clears Castle on Castle Wales

St Clears - on Wikipedia

"Saint Clears is a long straggling village, at the junction of the river Cathgenny with the Taf. Immediately on the banks of the former, and not far from its junction with the latter, stood the castle, of which not one stone is left; but the artificial tumulus on which the citadel wa placed, and the other broken ground, mark its ancient site."
The Itinerary Through Wales and The Description of Wales by Giraldus Cambrensis (1188). The text is that of Sir Richard Colt Hoare who published an English translation in 1806, chiefly from the texts of Camden and Wharton . This extract is from the foot-notes in the Everyman's Library edition, (ed. Ernest Rhys) 1908.


Hunt, E.C. Directory and Topography for the Cities of Gloucester and Bristol: and the towns of Carmarthen, Kidwelly, Laugharne, Llanelly, and St. Clears [etc.]., London, B.W. Gardiner (1849) iv, 558 p.

Pigot & Co. South Wales Directory for 1830. Here are Extracts relating to St Clears, Laugharne and Neighbourhoods

Pigot & Co. South Wales Directory for 1844. Here are Extracts relating to Saint Clears and Neighbourhoods


Pike, Jonathan. Dyfed Apprentices in Eighteenth Century Bristol. Dyfed FHS Journal 5 (Aug. and Dec. 1996). [Powell Family of St Clears, Meyler Family of Haverfordwest, Protheroe Family of Molleston, Bowen Family of Pembroke]

Richards, Christopher. A City Break - 1873 Style. Dyfed FHS journal, Vol 8/9 Aug 2005. Diary entries of Thomas David Rees of Great Bishop's Court farm, near St Clears re visit to  London

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which St Clears has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


St Clears War Memorial - on the Roll of Honour site

Williams, Eric I. Reflections of a country vet. Llandysul: Gomer, 1996. viii, 168p: ill, map, ports; 21cm. [ISBN 1859024866]

St Clears. Yr Ymofynydd (Llandysul: Gomer Press) 28 (1928).

Land and Property

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Ryder Davies collection of St Clears documents   1833-1902  
  • Castell Gorfod Estate records 1552-1990      "The Castell Gorfod estate was acquired by the Buckley family in 1871, when James Bevan sold it to James Buckley of Penyfai, Llanelli. The Castell Gorfod estate had previously been owned by the Bowen family of Llwyngwair............"
  • Thomas, B. D. R., collection of White Lion Inn papers  1876-1963     "The White Lion Inn, Pwll-trap, near St Clears, Carmarthenshire was owned by James Thomas, innkeeper and farmer, until his death in 1875. The property passed to his granddaughter, Elizabeth James and her husband William James........................"


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SN278163 (Lat/Lon: 51.818685, -4.499859), St Clears which are provided by:

Public Records

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • St Clears Parish Council Records  1853-1996 (accumulated 1894-1996)

Held at Carmarthen Archives;

  • Vaccination register, Carmarthen Union, St Clear's Division 1875-1877

[Gareth Hicks:  20 Dec 2012]