Parish History

The history of the present day Catholic Church dates back to the days of Lady Catherine Ashburnham who had a private Chapel at Pembrey House. Her first Chaplain was a Belgian Priest who was succeeded by Fr Jarvis who also served as Parish Priest.

A disused school in Morlan terrace was used as the first Church, but in 1933 a move was made to a corrugated iron hut in Pencoed Road. This building had previously been used as a skating rink, church hall, the local HQ of the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) and a military canteen during the First World War.

In 1964 a new Church, situated a few yards behind the old hut Church was opened. The old building was then demolished to make room for a Church car park. The Church, opened by Bishop Petit, houses a Lady Chapel. The Stations of the Cross and the statues are carved in wood and are the work of Italian craftsmen.

When Fr. Owen Basil Rowlands began his ministry in the Parish in 1927 he celebrated Mass once a fortnight at Tumble. He would walk a distance of 10 miles along the Gwendraeth Valley to Tumble before retracing his steps back to Burry Port. At first Mass was celebrated in the hall at the Old Tumble Hotel, the altar was in the club boxing ring, later a small Church was built at Tumble where Mass was said weekly by Fr. Rowlands who by this time had a car.

During the Second World War the Church at Tumble moved to Kidwelly where it did sterling service, then in 1975 Bishop Langton Fox opened the modern Church (Our Lady & St Cadoc) which stands there today.

In 1961 a Church was built in Pontyberem (Eglwys Y Groes).

The Priest in charge of Burry Port, for many years had to say four Masses on a Sunday, two at Burry Port, one in Kidwelly and one in Pontyberem. Pontyberem transferred to the Parish of Llandeilo in 1989.

Prime benefactor of Burry Port Church was Lady Howard Stepney.

Parish Priests

1917-1927 Fr Jarvis
1927-1933 Fr Owen Basil Rowlands
1933-1936 Fr Thomas Williams
1936-1938 Fr John Tole
1938-1951 Fr Wilfred Brodie
1951-1954 Fr William Cubley
1954-1957 Fr William Andrews
1957-1975 (died) Fr James Howard
1975-1982 Fr David Bottrill
1982 Fr Bernard Norris
1982-1986 Fr Sylvester O'Donnell
1986-1988 Fr Michael Lewis
1988-1994 Fr Michael Burke
1994-1998 fr Peter Allen
1998 - Fr John Patrick Thomas

(To be Continued...)