St Clears

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St Clears
Welsh: Sanclêr
St Clears is located in Carmarthenshire
St Clears
St Clears
 St Clears shown within Carmarthenshire
Population 2,820 (2001 census)
OS grid reference SN275165
Community St Clears
Principal area Carmarthenshire
Ceremonial county Dyfed
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CARMARTHEN
Postcode district SA33
Dialling code 01994
Police Dyfed-Powys
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire
List of places
UK
Wales
Carmarthenshire

Coordinates: 51°49′14″N 4°30′15″W / 51.82043°N 4.50424°W / 51.82043; -4.50424

St Clears (Welsh: Sanclêr) is a small town on the River Tâf in Carmarthenshire, Wales. According to the 2001 UK census, it has a population of 2,820 people, most of whom are Welsh-speaking, although there is a marked difference between the southern and northern ends of the town in percentage terms[clarification needed].

History[edit]

The Norman St Clears Castle was constructed in the 12th century. The castle mound can still be seen. The town, which was a Marcher Borough, grew around it. Below the castle there was a port on the river Tâf, which could take ships of up to 500 tons according to a plaque at the site. The castle held out against Owain Glyndŵr.

Nearby Trefenty House became the home of a branch of the Perrot family in the 16th century, and it was here that the amateur astronomer Sir William Lower and a neighbour, John Protheroe, set up one of Britain's first telescopes in 1609, which they used to study the craters of the Moon and Halley's Comet.[1][2]

In 1842, one of the local toll gates was destroyed in the Rebecca Riots.

The building of the railway was responsible for the decline of many of the small ports along the Bristol Channel coast, and St Clears was no exception. The railway passed about 2 miles north of the castle, and new building at the north end of the High Street spread eastwards along Pentre Road, and then northwards again to the station. Pentre Road is now the main commercial centre of the town, and was formerly part of the A40 road until construction of the dual carriageway bypass.

The town's cattle market was important until its closure, but the town still has a large agricultural cooperative store. The town has also hosted an oil distribution centre and milk processing plant. Now smaller industrial units provide the main local employment.

St. Clears was home to professional photographer Stanley Phillips M.I.B.P.[clarification needed] Stanley's photographs document life in St Clears and the surrounding area. Phillips was also a film maker and his films are now stored at the National Library of Wales. He worked closely with Colonel Buckley and E.V. Williams, both keen film makers. Colonel Buckley's work is also stored at the National Library of Wales. A permanent exhibition of Stanley's photographs and film is on show at the Mezzanine in St. Clears. The exhibition contains some photographs of famous people including the aviator Amy Johnson, World War I flying ace Wing Commander Ira Jones, and racing drivers Sir Malcolm Campbell and J. G. Parry-Thomas, who both attempted world land speed records at Pendine Sands.

Amenities[edit]

Church of St Mary Magdalene

There are a variety of local shops including two prize-winning traditional butchers and two craft centres. There are also several pubs.

St Mary Magdalene's parish church is a grade II* listed building.[3]

The town also contains a large bilingual primary school, Ysgol Griffith Jones.

The surrounding countryside is mainly rolling grassland consisting of moderate sized fields with well kept hedges. The main agricultural enterprise is dairying, but sheep and beef are very important as well. The soils are deep and productive and will grow good crops of potatoes and cereals, and the climate allows fruit growing as well. Although most of the land is farmed commercially the area is a haven for wildlife.

For holiday makers St Clears has a range of Bed & Breakfast, self-catering accommodation and campsites. It is within an hour's drive of two National Parks (Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire Coast), the Gower Peninsula AONB and also the main Irish ferry ports (Fishguard and Pembroke Dock).

The highlight of the farming year is the St Clears YFC annual show which is held in May.

Trains travel through St Clears, but have not stopped at the town since the 1960s. A local campaign group is attempting to persuade the Welsh Assembly and Network Rail to reopen the station.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Trefenty: Some Observations and Reflections
  2. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press 2008
  3. ^ "Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, St Clears". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  4. ^ BBC NEWS | South West Wales | Station campaign picks up steam

External links[edit]