Boar’s Head Hotel, Carmarthen

Boar’s Head Hotel, Carmarthen

This ancient former coaching inn contains an ornate 18th-century staircase. It may originally have been a town house. The building was known as the New Inn after it became a hostelry.

The hotel’s external appearance today is mostly the result of rebuilding in the 1820s. Some of the stabling was converted to guest accommodation later that century. The Boar’s Head was still running its own “omnibus” in 1915, when one of the horses escaped from the vehicle and ran off, eventually impaling itself on railings near the railway station.

One of the hotel’s landlords was reputedly killed during a bull-baiting session, after which the sport was banned. Some historians have said bull-fighting was brought to Carmarthen by people from the Iberian peninsula who worked for the Romans. They suggested that what is now the Guildhall Square was a bullring, and that Bull Lane (off Blue Street) is a legacy of the tradition.

The hotel was run for many years by the Olive family. John Samuel Olive owned several racehorses and was secretary of the Carmarthenshire Steeplechases Committee. He had died, aged about 46, of a heart attack in 1887. The hotel was then run by his widow. Her son George Olive went to the First World War front in November 1914 with the Queen’s Westminster Rifles. Later promoted to lieutenant in the Welsh Regiment, he was wounded in 1917 in Palestine.

Another soldier connected to the building was John Davies, known as “Johnny Bogus”. He served in the Welsh Regiment in India, South Africa and Ireland before returning to Carmarthen to work at the Boar’s Head, where he was skilled in training young horses. He wore a wig to cover his baldness and told tall tales of his overseas exploits, such as of playing cricket for England while sitting on the back of a lion. He died, aged 76, in 1910.

Postcode: SA31 3AE    View Location Map

Website of Boars Head Hotel