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The ghosts of Llanelly House



screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-12-06-48GERAINT HOPKINS is known in many parts of the world as ‘The Snakeman’. He has appeared in films and on TV on numerous occasions.

Geraint’s passion for snakes and other creatures, which at best are most people’s worst nightmares, extend into the paranormal, ghosts, ghouls and the macabre. ITV’s Phillip Schofield named him the ‘Gothic Ghost Hunter’. Geraint is able to tell many a story of ghosts who frequent a large number of properties across Wales but more specifically in his home town of Llanelli.

The Herald caught up with the Gothic Ghost Hunter at one of his spooky retreats, where he spilled the beans on one such ghost, who is rumoured to haunt Llanelly House.

Mira Turner was a servant at Llanelly House in the mid 1800s. Nothing unusual about that. Numerous girls went into servic e in the large houses in the Llanelli area at that time. There were even hiring fairs around the county where parents would take their sons and daughters in the hope that they might find work on a farm or at one of the large homes.

Mira would have gone into service, possibly as a naive young woman housed in a small room at the top of the building, where other servants might have dwelled. Of course, if you throw a lot of people together of the opposite sex, something will inevitably develop.

The theory Geraint puts forward is that Mira had a relationship with the house butler, Charles Howells. As anyone who ha read a trashy novel or watched old films knows, the butler always ends up ravaging the young servant girls or the lady of the house. It is a plausible theory so far.

Geraint claims that Mira has haunted Llanelly House since her death in 1851. The sightings have been handed down through history. They range from members of staff at the house claiming to have seen Mira walking down the stairs to recent visitors claiming that they felt a cold presence in the building.

Stories have circulated that Mira had taken a quantity of the poison laudanum after being found to be with child through the attentions of the butler. One explanation suggests that she fell down the stairs at Llanelly House having taken the poison. Geraint asserts that there is a definite presence on or around the stairs at Llanelly House.

Another version of the story is that having taken a swig of the poison, which we cannot rule out was not put there by that cad the galloping butler, poor Mira leapt from the window and landed with a splat on Vaughan Street. A recent local press release hailed a photograph of the said ghost, which had been taken by an ‘elderly gentleman’ who believed he had captured the ghost of Mira Turner. The internet quickly revealed the photo to be the product of that horrifying ghoul ‘an app’.

There is a record of Mira being buried on August 9, 1851, that we are certain of. She was a mere 22 years of age and her body lies in an unmarked grave near to the Georgian House. Cleaners, painters and decorators and other upright tradesmen and women of the town have said that they have caught sight of Mira at the house.

Geraint had the opportunity to look investigate the house long before what it is today: fully restored and the centrepiece in Llanelli’s history trail.

Armed with a ghost buster’s toolkit and enough electronic gadgets to fill a Maplins store, Geraint left no table cloth unturned as he crept through the house in search of vibrations, smells and gusts of wind. It is a good job he hadn’t visited The Herald offices or he would have found all of that in abundance.

Geraint has not been able to go back to the house to investigate since the renovations have taken place. However, the area of Llanelli in which the house is situated is synonymous with ghosts.

Geraint told us that there is also a horse drawn coach, which has been seen careering out of control down the hill at Gelli On and in some instances has driven clean through and out the other side of those who claim to have seen it. The coach, he told The Herald, was part of the funeral cortège of Sir Thomas Stepney, another name associated with Llanelly House.

The Herald has been known to frequent Llanelly House on occasions and we have indeed been up the stairs and into many of the rooms for various exhibitions.

In relation to the Sir Thomas Stepney coach, we were told: “You could hear the hoof beats pound as they raced across the ground. And the clatter of the wheels as they spun round and round. And the horse galloped into Stepney Street with a crest upon his chest. It was the funeral coach of Stepney and the fastest in the west.”

There really is only one way to find out if this is truly a tale to be feared.

Llanelly House is open for business most days and hosts a range of exhibitions upstairs and downstairs.

Geraint’s last words of warning to us were: “If it vibrates, smells bad and you feel a gust of wind, get out of there quick.”

Wise words, whether you suspect the presence of the undead or not.

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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital



WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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M4 closed westbound following lorry fire near Swansea



A SECTION of the M4 near Swansea was shut on Monday (Aug 8) due to a vehicle fire.

The westbound section of the motorway, between junction 47 at Penllergaer and junction 48 at Hendy closed.

Emergency services were called to the scene, and there was queuing traffic in the area.

Traffic monitoring service Inrix reported: “M4 Westbound closed, queueing traffic due to vehicle fire between J47 A48 (Penllergaer / Swansea West Services) and J48 A4138 Pontardulais Road”

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Police appeal after Llanelli assault: victim required hospital treatment



DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating an assault which occurred on Regalia Terrace, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire at about 12.05am, Sunday 3rd July.

The victim required hospital treatment.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the person in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the person is, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at:, by emailing or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DP-20220703-011

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting

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