Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire. The origins of Carmarthen are wrapped in the usual legends. One thing, however, is certain. This was the site of the Roman Mondunum, the furthest West of the big Roman bases. There were undoubtedly Roman roads and camps beyond Carmarthen, though Moridunum was more important as a road junction and port. The site has now been built over, but one side of the Roman station probably followed Priory Street. The Avenue, East Parade, and Priory Field formed the rest of the square. The site was occupied from the 1st to the 4th century. Nothing now remains above ground.
With the Dark Ages, the legends gather. Carmarthen became in Welsh Caerfyrddin (Merlin's City). The great enchanter who plays a notable part in the Arthurian legends, was supposed to have been born near at hand. He uttered numerous prophecies concerning Carmarthen, including the famous one about the oak tree at the end of Priory Street:
When Merlin's oak shall tumble down,
Then shall fall Carmarthen town.
The stump of the tree is now embedded in concrete and held together with iron bands. The fall of Carmarthen is clearly imminent.
Under the early Welsh rulers of South Wales, Carmarthen retained its importance, and the “clas” (monastery) founded by St Teulyddog lay just outside the Roman walls. It received special mention and protection in the laws of Hywel Dda. With the coming of the Normans in the 11th century, the “clas” was displaced. William Rufus built the first castle, and the Normans lost no time in setting up a priory. This was linked with Battle Abbey in Sussex and later became a house of Austin Canons. The settlement around the castle became known as New Carmarthen; the one around the priory and the old Roman station was Old Carmarthen. The priory was never large, but had a high reputation for hospitality and learning. Here the famous Black Book of Carmarthen (1105) was written. It is the oldest known manuscript in the Welsh language and contains a priceless collection of early poetry. It is now in the National Museum of Wales at Aberystwyth. The priory was dissolved in 1539, and not a trace of it remains.
There is more to be seen of Carmarthen Castle.
Nearby towns: Burry Port, Kidwelly, Laugharne, Llandeilo, Llandysul, Llanybydder, Newcastle Emlyn, St Clears
Nearby villages: Abergorlech, Abergwili, Abernant, Allt-Walis, Ammanford, Brechfa, Capel Iwan, Cilrhedyn, Cross Hands, Cwmorgan, Cynwyl Elfed, Dryslwyn, Ferryside, Gelliwen, Gwyddgrug, Llanarthney, Llanddarog, Llandefaelog, Llandowror, Llanfynydd, Llangain, Llangendeirne, Llangunnor, Llangynin, Llanllawdog, Llannon, Llanpumsaint, Llansadurnen, Llansteffan, Llanwinio, Llanybri, Meidrim, Merthyr, Nantgaredig, Newchurch, Penboyr, Pendine, Pontarddulais, Pontyates, Pontyberem, Rhydargaeau, Saint Ishmael, Talog, Trelech, West Cilrhedyn
Have you decided to visit or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a bed and breakfast (a B&B or b and b)
- a guesthouse
- a hotel (or motel)
- a self-catering establishment, or
- other accommodation