The history of Llanrhidian village dates back to ancient times, with the Iron Age hill fort of Cil Ifor Top overlooking the settlement. The village church is dedicated to the Celtic Saints Illtud and Rhiadian and there are standing stones on the village green near the "Welcome to Town" public house, 'where village statesmen talked with looks profound, and news much older than their ale went around'. The pub name symbolises the spirit of a welcoming inn and was shared with at least two other ale houses on the Gower Peninsula, at Llangennith and Rhossili.
Our 'Welcome' is the only one of these to survive, and this is remarkable considering its age - it dates from around the 18th Century. The Alehouse Recognisance on display records Philip Morris as alehouse keeper in 1827, with sureties provided by John Rees, a farmer of Llanrhidian and Frances Adams, a currier (saddler) of Swansea.
The Welcome was well known in the nineteenth century as the meeting place of the "Gower Association for the prosecution of Felons' - and held their inaugural meeting in the house of George Williams, inn holder 1810. They were a group of local landowners and gentry who offered rewards for the apprehension of criminals in the locality, before the regular police service began. The last case they dealt with was for sheep stealing in 1856 (the wool industry and weaving industry were important aspects of the local economy). The group continued to hold their annual dinners at 'The Welcome' until 1892, when they were disbanded. No doubt because of this long association, The Welcome is said to have acted at times as a gaol and courtroom - the present alcove being the gaol area with the courtroom in the room above.
The standing stones on the green are reputed to have been used as whipping posts! The wrongdoers no doubt received a particularly 'Warm Welcome' at the inn.
Llanrhidian, in common with other Gower villages, held fairs on the green, with the three ale houses. The Welcome, The Dolphin, and the Cross Inn all sharing in the conviviality. The Welcome was also frequented by carters on their way to Llanmorlais for coal, and inquests and auctions were held here - in 1880 an auction was held for the Lower Mill in the village.
The pub has been altered and expanded over time, with adjoining cottages being included, but the resident ghost is still very much at home
The spook known only as Henry has been observed sitting in the pub dressed in Regency clothing. He is rumored to be an old coachman who sat in a chair in the old living quarters. The beer used to be served directly from barrels behind the bar - very convenient for him to help himself! He must have been a womaniser, because the only people ever to see him have been women.