The Extraordinary Mr. Riechaelieu
Irdan Miguel Riechaelieu was indeed "extraordinary". He appeared in court thirty times in the course of his fourteen years residence in Llanelly. His exploits were characterized by deception, violence, narcissism, dishonesty, lying, cheating and bullying combined with charm and a flare for publicity based on an unshakeable self-belief.
Llanelly in the early 1900s was a thriving, modern, busy town, with expanding businesses and an upwardly mobile population. Entrepreneurs and workers came from across the British Isles to enjoy or exploit what Llanelly had to offer: lively pubs, well-stocked shops selling a wide range of goods, markets offering country produce from local farmers and smallholders, fish and shellfish harvested from the Loughor and Burry estuaries, music halls, cinemas, concert halls, but also civic amenities, adequate housing, decent schools and, of course many, many chapels.
The exciting modern town of Llanelly was an irresistible attraction to a man like Riechaelieu. He was an energetic and often successful businessman. Devious and untrustworthy he may have been, but he was able to persuade women to not only tolerate his behaviour but to love him enough, in three cases, to become his wife. Charming to some, a blackguard to many, but always a hero to himself - a dashing imperial adventurer.
If you would like to read more about this extraordinary character, you can download the full illustrated story. This faithful and well-documented account was written by Barry Watts, MBE, the grandson of Riechaelieu's third wife, Jesse.
Note: The name Riechaelieu is also spelt Richaelieu.