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Windsor Castle #2

WINDSOR  CASTLE, (near Llanarthne, Wales)



Why would the drovers give the nickname “Windsor Castle” to a tiny alehouse?


Irony?  Corruption of another name?  



Or, as Robin Dale of Bourton-on-the-Hill believes, neither of these: it earned its name because the drovers felt safe there1.  Their persons were not threatened, their beasts were in enclosed fields, their money was under the floorboards... This would be especially true of English drovers, and it was they who christened the place, write Tom & Delyth Jones in Llanarthne Past & Present (2002)



The tiny wreck with a grand name is at GR SN568187, two miles south-east of Llanarthne on the River Towy (#1).  The lane that runs past it eastwards from Paxton’s Tower was once a Roman road2, say the Joneses.  The Royal Mail changed horses there - it was a busy place - but for drovers it was a toll-evasion route: there is a Tollgate Cottage on the B4300 just north of Penrhiw. 



WC, downgraded to ‘Cottage’ on the 1890’s map (#2), is in a hollow near Cefnberrach Chapel (#3).  Again the Joneses: “4d of bread & cheese and 2d of ale, then to Fisher the smith at Penrhiw Forge before the metalled roads began.”  And after Penrhiw? - behind Golden Grove park to Ffairfach, then up Bethlehem Road to Llangadog Common.



But John Evans, the landlord had to close the doors for good in 1859.  There had been a religious revival the year before, and drink was now The Devil.  But there was another reason...



...Widow Mallie Williams had lived in Plasbach – see LH top of map – since 18383.  She kept 5 cows, some steers and pigs.  She had gone (in 1859) to order a new butter barrel from the cooper, but hadn’t turned up to collect it.  The cooper’s son was sent to Plasbach to deliver the barrel and found...Mallie’s strangled body.  The cows and steers had gone.  Had a drover done it?



Suspicion and fear led travellers to avoid the area, and the inn with the grand name was forced to close.



1 There are two other “castles” under investigation.  Watch this space!

2 Only military ones had to be straight.  Others were local tracks upgraded.
3 The Roman road still goes past there - see #4 

Windsor Castle #2 image 1
WC Today
Windsor Castle #2 image 2
1890's OS Map
Windsor Castle #2 image 3
Cefnberrach Chapel
Windsor Castle #2 image 4
Roman Road past Plasbach