This film is part of Free

Coracle Men of the Teifi

Craftsman John Christmas Thomas demonstrates how to make a coracle step-by-step, and Cyril Jones and Will Jones instruct learners how to manage one on the water.

Home movie 1959 8 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


John [Jack] Christmas Thomas (1904-1980), master-maker of coracles, spent most of his adult life working on the roads for the council but upon his retirement he and his wife opened a cafe in their home village, Cenarth - 'The Coracle Cafe'. In this film, Jack demonstrates how to build one of these traditional vessels from scratch. Two other coraclemen also feature - Cyril Jones and Will Jones - instructing learners in the art of paddling a coracle on the River Teifi, Cenarth.

Will Jones, a coffin and cabinet maker by trade, was one of the two sons of David Jones, the local blacksmith. He and his brother John [Jack] were the last, licensed coracle fishermen on the Teifi. Will's face became well known after being used on tourist board posters and he was a favourite in advertising films. NB: The soundtrack is of very poor quality (it has been recorded through the projector whilst the film was playing) but J. C. Thomas's wife, Myra, can be heard speaking.