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New Quay

New Quay
New Quay
New Quay
Location within Ceredigion
Population1,082 (2011)[1]
• Cardiff90 mi (140 km)SE
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townNew Quay
Postcode districtSA45
Dialling code01545
FireMid and West Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
52°12′50″N 4°21′36″W / 52.214°N 4.360°W / 52.214; -4.360Coordinates: 52°12′50″N 4°21′36″W / 52.214°N 4.360°W / 52.214; -4.360

New Quay (Welsh: Cei Newydd) is a seaside town (and electoral ward) in Ceredigion, Wales, with a resident population of around 1,200 people,[1] reducing to 1,082 at the 2011 census. Located 19 miles (31 km) south-west of Aberystwyth on Cardigan Bay with a harbour and large sandy beaches, it lies on the Ceredigion Coast Path, and remains a popular seaside resort and traditional fishing town.[2]

St Llwchaiarn's Church
St Llwchaiarn's Church


Until the early 19th century, New Quay consisted of a few thatched cottages surrounded by agricultural land, the natural harbour providing a safe mooring for fishing boats and a few small trading vessels. The New Quay Harbour Act was passed in 1834 and a stone pier was constructed at a cost of £4,700. Trading activity increased and new houses were built as economic migrants arrived. Shipbuilding began to take place and the town increased in size with the construction of terraced housing up the slopes of the sheltered bay.[3]

By the 1840s, more than three hundred workmen were being employed in shipbuilding in three centres, New Quay itself, Traethgwyn, a bay just to the north, and Cei-bach, a pebble beach further north below a wooded cliff. Here were constructed not only smacks and schooners for sailing along the coast, but also larger vessels for sailing to the Americas and Australia. At that time, as well as shipwrights, New Quay had half a dozen blacksmith shops, three sail makers, three ropewalks and a foundry. Most of the male inhabitants of the town were mariners or employed in occupations linked with the sea.[4]

By 1870, shipbuilding had ceased at New Quay but most of the men living there still went to sea. There were navigation schools in the town and many of the last square riggers that sailed the world were captained by New Quay men. The observant tourist can still see the old warehouses, now put to new uses, lengths of chain, metal rings and capstans, and a list of tolls for exports and imports can still be seen outside the harbourmaster's office.[4]

New Quay Golf Club (now defunct) first appeared in 1909. The club and course closed in the mid 1920s.[5]

There are a number of available publications about the town's history and residents.[6]


New Quay is the name of the electoral ward which is coterminous with the community. Since 1995 the ward has elected one county councillor to Ceredigion County Council. Independent councillor Gill Hopley represented the ward[7] until the May 2017 elections when she was beaten by Independent candidate Dan Potter.[8]

At the local level New Quay is represented by 10 town councillors on New Quay Town Council.[9]

Tourism and attractions

Key attractions for holidaymakers include the picturesque harbour and expansive sandy beach, as well as the ability to see the population of bottlenose dolphins that lives in Cardigan Bay. The town has a heritage centre and marine wildlife centre, as well as the usual collection of shops and restaurants. Nearby New Quay Honey Farm, the largest bee farm in Wales, has a live bee exhibition and sells honey, mead and beeswax. The outskirts of the town feature many large holiday parks and caravan sites.

The annual Cardigan Bay Regatta, usually in August, has been conducted since at least the 1870s. Events now include inshore sports (swimming, rowing, etc.) and dinghy and cruiser racing.[10]

In addition to the hospitality industry, there is still significant employment in sea fishing and fish processing.

Local facilities

As well as shops, restaurants and pubs, New Quay has a large primary school, a doctors' surgery, a small branch of the county library service and a fire station.

New Quay Lifeboat Station, operated by the RNLI, houses two lifeboats: a Mersey class named Frank and Lena Clifford of Stourbridge in dedication to its main benefactors and an inshore inflatable D class.[11] In 2014 the station celebrated 150 years of service, during which period it made 940 callouts.[12]

Public transport is provided by regular bus services to Aberaeron, Cardigan and Aberystwyth. The town has never had a train service, as schemes to open routes to Cardigan or Newcastle Emlyn were abandoned in the 1860s, and that from the Aberaeron to Lampeter branch line (the Lampeter, Aberayron and New Quay Light Railway) was never completed due to the First World War.

A few miles outside New Quay is a honey farm. There is a public park at the top of New Quay next to a tennis court.

Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas and his family lived in New Quay from September 4, 1944, until July 1945, renting a cliff-top bungalow called Majoda. There were several other families from Swansea living in New Quay, who had come after the bombing of Swansea in 1941. His childhood friend and distant cousin, Vera Killick, lived next to Majoda, whilst her sister Evelyn Milton lived further along the cliff-top.[13] Thomas also had an aunt and four cousins in New Quay.[14] He had previously visited the town in the 1930s [15] and then again in 1942-43 when he and Caitlin had lived a few miles away at Plas Gelli, Talsarn.[16] His poem Sooner than you can water milk dates from this period, as does his script for the filming of Cardigan Bay for the final part of Wales - Green Mountain, Black Mountain.[17]

One of Thomas' patrons was Thomas Scott-Ellis, 8th Baron Howard de Walden, whose summer residence was Plas Llanina, an historic manor house perched on the cliffs at Cei Bach, next to the tiny church dedicated to St Ina, and just a short walk away from Majoda. He allowed Thomas to use the old apple house at the bottom of the manor's walled garden as a quiet place in which to write.[18] It would have been an inspirational setting, and one Dylan scholar has suggested that the stories about Llanina's drowned houses and cemetery are “the literal truth that inspired the imaginative and poetic truth” of Under Milk Wood.[19] Another important aspect of that literal truth was the sixty acres of cliff-top between Majoda and New Quay, including Maesgwyn Farm, that fell into the sea in the 1940s [20]

New Quay, said Caitlin, was Thomas' kind of place,[21] and he was happy there, as his letters reveal.[22] His ten months at Majoda were the most fertile period of his adult life, a second flowering said his first biographer, Constantine FitzGibbon, “with a great outpouring of poems.” [23] These Majoda poems, including making a start on Fernhill, provided nearly half the poems of Deaths and Entrances, published in 1946. There were four film scripts as well,[24] and a radio script, Quite Early One Morning, about a walk around New Quay. This radio script has been described as “a veritable storehouse of phrases, rhythms and details later resurrected or modified for Under Milk Wood.” [25] Not since his late teenage years had Thomas written so much. Not surprisingly, his second biographer, Paul Ferris, concluded that “on the grounds of output, the bungalow deserves a plaque of its own.” [26]

New Quay is often cited as an inspiration for the village of Llareggub in Under Milk Wood.[27] Professor Walford Davies, for example, has concluded that New Quay “was crucial in supplementing the gallery of characters Thomas had to hand for writing Under Milk Wood."[28] Fitzgibbon had come to a similar conclusion, noting that “Llareggub resembles New Quay more closely [than Laugharne] and many of the characters derive from that seaside village in Cardiganshire..."[29] Writing in January 1954, just days before the first BBC broadcast of the play, its producer, Douglas Cleverdon, noted that Dylan "wrote the first half within a few months; then his inspiration seemed to fail him when he left New Quay..."[30] And one of Thomas' closest friends, Ivy Williams of Brown's Hotel, Laugharne, has said "Of course, it wasn’t really written in Laugharne at all. It was written in New Quay, most of it."[31]

Dylan's sketch of Llareggub is now online at the National Library of Wales[32] The Dylan scholar, James Davies, has written that “Thomas’s drawing of Llareggub is...based on New Quay.”[33] There's been very little disagreement, if any, with this view. A recent analysis[34] of the sketch has revealed that Dylan used the name of an actual New Quay resident, Cherry Jones, for one of the people living in Cockle Street.[35]

Llareggub's occupational profile as a town of seafarers, fishermen, cocklers and farmers has been examined through an analysis of the 1939 War Register, comparing the returns for New Quay with those for Laugharne, Ferryside and Llansteffan. It shows that New Quay and Ferryside provide by far the best fit with Llareggub's occupational profile.[36]

The writer and puppeteer, Walter Wilkinson, visited New Quay in 1947, and his essay on the town captures its character and atmosphere as Thomas would have found it two years earlier.[37] There is, too, a 1959 ITV film of the town and its people during the summer holiday season.[38]

Much of the location filming for The Edge of Love, a 2008 film based around Thomas and Caitlin's friendship with Vera Killick, was carried out in and around New Quay. It starred Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley, Matthew Rhys and Cillian Murphy. The film, said the scriptwriter, Sharman Macdonald, was a work of fiction: it was “not true, it's surmise on my part, it's a fiction… I made it up.” [39] One incident in the film that Macdonald did not make up was the shooting at Majoda in March 1945, after which Vera's husband, William Killick, was charged with attempted murder and later acquitted.[40]

The Dylan Thomas Trail runs through Ceredigion, in west Wales. It was officially opened by Dylan and Caitlin's daughter, Aeronwy Thomas, in July 2003. There's a concise online brochure [41] for the trail, which is marked by blue plaques and information boards in New Quay, Lampeter and Aberaeron. There's also a detailed guide available to help visitors walk the route, as well as describing the poet's time in the area.[42]

Plas Llanina

Plas Llanina is considered a good example of a small-scale, post-medieval gentry house. It has a chequered history, including some interesting owners and various stories associated with them. It belonged to the Musgrave family from around 1630. By the end of the 18th century it had passed into the ownership of the Jones family, the last of whom was Edward Warren Jones. When he died, he left the Llanina Estate to his two godchildren, Mrs Charlotte Lloyd (of Coedmore) and her younger brother, Charles Richard Longcroft.[43] The house remained with the Longcrofts until about 1920, its last owner being Air Vice Marshal Sir Charles Alexander Holcombe Longcroft (1883-1958) who had been born and brought up at Llanina. He is considered a founding father of the Royal Air Force.[44]

Sometime in the late 1930s, the house and grounds were rented by Lord Howard de Walden as a summer residence. In the late 1940s, it was bought by Colonel J. J. Davis and Betty Davis, who later moved to Ty Glyn in Ciliau Aeron. By 1964, Plas Llanina was derelict. It was subsequently bought and rebuilt by James Maurice, a City banker.

The house sits next to the church of Saint Ina.


  1. ^ a b "Town and ward population 2011". Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  2. ^ AA Book of British Villages. Drive Publications Limited. 1980. p. 293. ISBN 9780340254875.
  3. ^ Jenkins, J. Geraint. Ceredigion: Interpreting an Ancient County. Gwasg Careg Gwalch (2005) pg. 63.
  4. ^ a b Jenkins, J. Geraint. Ceredigion: Interpreting an Ancient County. Gwasg Careg Gwalch (2005) pg. 64.
  5. ^ "New Quay Golf Club", "Golf's Missing Links".
  6. ^ (1) S. Passmore (2012) Farmers and Figureheads: the Port of New Quay and its Hinterland, Grosvenor House. (2) R. Bryan (2012) New Quay: A History in Pictures, Llanina Books. (3) W. J. Lewis (1987) New Quay and Llanarth, Aberystwyth.
  7. ^ "Ceredigion County Council Election Results 1995-2012" (PDF). The Elections Centre. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Ceredigion County Council Election 2017: The Results". Cambrian News. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Council". New Quay Town Council. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Cardigan Bay Regatta in its 126th year". New Quay Yacht Club. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
  11. ^ "New Quay Fleet". RNLI. Archived from the original on 28 September 2008.
  12. ^ "New Quay RNLI mark 150 years of service". Wales Online. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  13. ^ There is more on Thomas' friendship with Vera at [1] Vera and Evelyn's mother had been born in Llanarth, the next village to New Quay. See Thomas (2000) pp27-28.
  14. ^ The aunt was Elizabeth Ann Williams who had married his mother Florence’s brother, John Williams. Elizabeth came to live in New Quay in the 1920s with her daughter, Theodosia, who married a master mariner, Thomas Legg, in 1930. Their three children were born and brought up in New Quay. Thomas Legg’s parents, Captain George Legg OBE and his wife, Margaret, also lived in New Quay. For more on Thomas’ New Quay relations, see pp106-115 of D. N. Thomas (2002) The Dylan Thomas Trail, Y Lolfa. George and Margaret Legg are to be found in the 1945 Register of Electors for New Quay.
  15. ^ D. N.Thomas (2000) A Farm, Two Mansions and a Bungalow, Seren pp45-49
  16. ^ D. N.Thomas (2000) A Farm, Two Mansions and a Bungalow, Seren pp51-77 and pp79-80
  17. ^ Sooner than... is reproduced on p189 of D. N. Thomas (2000) A Farm etc. It can also be found on p618 of Dylan Thomas' Collected Letters. On Wales - Green Mountain, Black Mountain, see D. N. Thomas (2000) p57.
  18. ^ D. N. Thomas (2000) A Farm etc. pp45-51
  19. ^ J. Ackerman (1998) Welsh Dylan p127, Seren.
  20. ^ see Passmore (2012), p26.
  21. ^ C. Thomas (1986) Caitlin: Life with Dylan Thomas, p92 Secker and Warburg.
  22. ^ see, for example, his letter to Vernon Watkins, November 28, 1944 in The Collected Letters ed. Paul Ferris, 2000, Dent
  23. ^ C. Fitzgibbon (1963) The Life of Dylan Thomas, pp266-67, Little Brown.
  24. ^ Our Country, Suffer Little Children, Twenty Years A-Growing and The Unconquerable People.
  25. ^ Walford Davies, in W. Davies and R. Maud eds. (1995), Under Milk Wood: the Definitive Edition, pxviii , Everyman.
  26. ^ P. Ferris (1997) Dylan Thomas: The Biography, p4, Dent.
  27. ^ See D N Thomas (2004) Dylan Remembered 1935-53, vol 2, pp285-313, Seren, as well as S. W. Rhydderch (2015) Ceredigion Coast: Llareggub and the Black Lion in A Dylan Odessey: 15 Literary Tour Maps, ed. S. Edmonds, Literature Wales/Graffeg.
  28. ^ W. Davies and R. Maud, eds.(1995) pxvii, Under Milk Wood: the Definitive Edition, Everyman.
  29. ^ C. Fitzgibbon (1963) The Life of Dylan Thomas, p237, Little Brown.
  30. ^ D. Cleverdon (1954) The Radio Times, January 22
  31. ^ D. N. Thomas (2004) Dylan Remembered 1935-1953, vol. 2, p187, Seren.
  32. ^ "Dylan Thomas and the map of Llareggub | The National Library of Wales".
  33. ^ See Davies (2000) p103-104.
  34. ^ See Analysis of Llareggub sketch
  35. ^ This was Dan Cherry Jones, a general builder in New Quay. He had married Phyllis Cherry in 1933, and was known thereafter as both Dan Cherry and as Cherry Jones
  36. ^ D. N Thomas, (2019) Llareggub and the 1939 War Register, at Llareggub/1939 War Register
  37. ^ W. Wilkinson (1948) Puppets in Wales, Bles.
  38. ^ Howells, Myfanwy (1959). "Ceinewydd 1959". YouTube (in Welsh). ITV Cymru/Wales Archive / National Library of Wales.
  39. ^ Macdonald's comment is at
  40. ^ D. N. Thomas (2000) ch.4 with further information at D. N Thomas (2002) ch.4.
  41. ^
  42. ^ D. N. Thomas (2002) The Dylan Thomas Trail, Y Lolfa.
  43. ^ Phillips-Evans, J. The Longcrofts: 500 Years of a British Family (Amazon, 2012)
  44. ^ see


R. Bryan (2012) New Quay: A History in Pictures, Llanina Books.

S. Campbell-Jones (S.C. Passmore) (1974/75) Shipbuilding at New Quay 1779-1878 in Ceredigion, 7, 3/4.

J.A. Davies (2000) Dylan Thomas’s Swansea, Gower and Laugharne, University of Wales Press.

C. Edwards-Jones (2013) New Quay Wales Remembered, Book Guild Publishing.

J.G. Jenkins (1982) Maritime Heritage:The Ships and Seamen of Southern Ceredigion, Gomer

W. J. Lewis (1987) New Quay and Llanarth, Aberystwyth.

S. C. Passmore (1986) New Quay at the time of the 1851 Census, Ceredigion, 3,5.

S.C. Passmore (2012) Farmers and Figureheads: the Port of New Quay and its Hinterland, Grosvenor.

S. C. Passmore (2015) The Streets of New Quay

S. W. Rhydderch (2015) Ceredigion Coast: Llareggub and the Black Lion in A Dylan Odessey: 15 Literary Tour Maps, ed. S. Edmonds, Literature Wales/Graffeg.

D. N. Thomas (2000) Dylan Thomas: A Farm, Two Mansions and a Bungalow, Seren.

D. N. Thomas (2002) The Dylan Thomas Trail, Y Lolfa.

D. N Thomas (2004) The Birth of Under Milk Wood in Dylan Remembered vol. 2 1935-1953, Seren.

M. de Walden (1965) Pages from My Life, Sidgewick and Jackson.

W. Wilkinson (1948) Puppets in Wales, Bles.