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

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

    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

      Various items - on the People's Collection Wales site

      • Digital copy of a colour photograph showing an exterior view of Capel Mair Welsh Independent Chapel, St Clears, taken by Robert Scourfield, 1996.
      • Digital copy of a colour photograph showing an exterior view of Seion Welsh Baptist Chapel, St Clears, taken by Robert Scourfield, 1996.
      • Digital copy of a colour photograph showing an exterior view of Bethlehem Welsh Independent Chapel, Pwll Trapp, taken by Robert Scourfield, 1996.
      • The front of Penuel Chapel, St. Clears.
      • Trinity Chapel (CM), St. Clears
      • Church, St Clears
      • RCAHMW colour transparency showing view of the chancel arch at St Mary Magdalane's Church, St Clears.

      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 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

      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
      • 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 & Travel

      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

        St. Clears Castle on Castle Wales

        Various landscapes - on the People's Collection Wales site

        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.

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



        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



        The transcription of the section for St Clears from The National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.



        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



        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 & 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........................"


        Plan of the parish of St Clears in the County of Carmarthen - on the People's Collection Wales site

        Parish map(Kain/Oliver)

        You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SN260168 (Lat/Lon: 51.822249, -4.525895), St Clears which are provided by:


        Merchant Marine

        Shipping ledger, Laugharne and St Clears quays - on the People's Collection Wales site


        Names, Geographical

        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.


        Ben Salmon Milk & Cheese Factory, Station Road, St Clears. Established 1909. Towy Valley Dairy Co. then D. M. P. Ltd. - on the People's Collection Wales site


        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

        Social Life & Customs

        St Clears fair, 1898 - on the People's Collection Wales site