This morning we left the rolling green hills and tall hedgerows of inland Wales and drive to the seaside town Laugharne, when the poet and playwright Dylan Marlais Thomas lived in a boatshed and wrote in a nearby shed. David’s great-great grandfather, Rev Gwilym Marles Thomas (see yesterday’s post) was Dylan Thomas’ great uncle, which makes David a third cousin twice removed or something to the bard. When we visited the boatshed and mentioned this relationship, the staff took our photo for their website. Dylan Thomas was born 100 years ago and there is a lot of interest in him. We felt quite proud to have such a connection, albeit it remote.
Yesterday we tracked down David’s great grandfather, the Rev William (Gwilym Marles) Thomas, one of the pioneers of the Unitarian Church in Wales. At the village of Rhydowen, we found the chapel from which he was evicted for directing the congregation not to vote for the local aristocrat, the chapel is known as Llwynrhydowen. We found his grave at the new chapel built nearby. We then had a delicious lunch in Lampeter, where we found a bookshop devoted to the Black Spot (smotyn du) movement that he had been part of. In the afternoon, we walked through a nature reserve devised around a peat bog called Cors Caron. Then drove out to the remains of an abbey, Strata Florida, before returning over a hair-raising mountain road to dinner in Llandovery.