Parc Y Meirw, Pembroke Dock,
Pembroke Dock WW2, Pembroke,
Puncheston, Pwllcrochan .
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Site of a tiny isolated Church an Iron Age defended settlement and a Bronze age burial mound.
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Parc Y Meirw
of the dead" a stone row placed here in the new Stone Age appears to
predict eclipses uses
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Pembroke Dock (Jottings on the History of) (c) B H J Hughes 1998
Pater Church according to Norris
Until 1875 what is now Pembroke Dock consisted of two distinct areas - the land to the north of the Barrack Hill which had been originally held by the Paterchurch family and the land to the south - East Pennar - which had once been held by the Jestington family of Eastington.
Prior to 1396, when the old Earldom of Pembroke lapsed, much of the Paterchurch land was actually the Manor of Grange of Kyngeswode held by the Earl.
What role the Paterchurches played is uncertain as they dont appear in any of the roles as holding land from the Earl but they must have been a respected family as they appear as jurors in several important cases relating to land.
The earliest record is of David de St Patrick who witnessed a grant of a farm called Russelsland to Phillip the son of Roger and his wife Alice. Another earlier form of the name, that of Patrecheryche occurs in deeds of 1289, David de Villa Pattricii appears as a juror on the inquisiion as to the lands belonging to Joan de Valance Countess of Pembroke dated Sept 20 1307. David Paterchurch held part of half a knights fee at Sageston and West Williamston in 1362. The father of Elen, David Paterhouse of Paterhouse was on a jury. In other documents during that century the name is recorded as Patrecherche. Lewys Dwnn spelt it Patrick chyrch in 1597, but it is recorded on John Speedes map of 1610 as Paterchurch.
In the early eighteen hundreds there were no traces to be found of the present Town. There was a farmhouse, the old mansion in ruins, a partly completed fort but mostly fields and meadows with the occasional cottage and lime kiln on the shore.
Morris – Map of the Milford Haven 1743
The very early history.
Until recently it was believed that the Romans never ventured further west than Carmarthen as no tiles or brick, no Roman villas, have been found but several large hoards of coins have been discovered in Pembrokeshire.
Recently however evidence that the Romans did venture further west than Carmarthen has come to light through a series of area photographs originally. A Roman road linked Carmarthen with Llawhadden and might have carried on even further west. Parts were actually uncovered during the building of the Whitland bypass.
The earliest remains that have been found in the area, that is now Pembroke Dock, are of Roman coins.
Coins of the reign of Claudius Gothicus (268 to 270 AD) and of Constantius II (337 to 361AD ), now in the National Museum of Wales, were dug up in a garden in Military Road Pennar and other coins reported to have been found in the same immediate area. This could be an indication that the area was the site of a native fortified settlement.
It can only be a guess as to how the coins came to Pennar. Was there a native fortified settlement on the headland which could have given early warning of danger to the Roman fleet, a native settlement who traded with the Romans, or did someone dropped their purse?
Mason has recorded the uncovering of the
remains of a stone build road with a stone lined ditch by workmen clearing the
One thing we do know there was plenty of in South Pembrokeshire was Saints, but
most of them wandered of to other places to spread their teachings, (were they
seeking a more receptive audience?)
One thing we do know there was plenty of in South Pembrokeshire was Saints, but most of them wandered of to other places to spread their teachings, (were they seeking a more receptive audience?)
One local saint who it is believed held land in the area was St Teilo.
According to The Landaff records he held land at Amroth and also Llanion. His mother is reputed to have had a settlement on Goldern Hill. One pronunciation of her name was Gawden.
Just over a thousand years ago the land in this area was ruled by Hywell Dda (the Good) King of Wales. He had a court at Whitland and is remembered for codifying the Welsh Law laws under which women had more rights than they do today.
In 1570s under the authority of Queen
Elizabeth I, Christopher Saxon surveyed the whole of
There are very few early records of land use in the area during the Middle ages, but because of land coming into the direct control of the Crown because of the minority of heirs, records have survived of the manor of Kingswood during the early 14 century. From the extent of the land held by the manor it would seem that much of the land which is now Pembroke Dock was part of the manor. These records do not record any land being held by the Paterchurch family.
1331 Feb 4
Fine Roll 5 Edward III m 30 (Cal p 230)
Inquisition into the Estate Aymer de Valance held on August 20 1324.
The aforesaid Earl held the grange of Kyngeswode in the said county. In which there are;
1 messuage(?) worth 12d yearly;
2 carucates of land, worth 40s each yearly;
5 acres of meadow, worth 12d per acre;
2 acres several pasture, worth 6d per acre;
and a certain ferry called "Penebroke Fferre", paying 26s 8d rent yearly at Michaelmas and Easter
Sum £ 30 13s 8d
Ministers Account 1208 No 5 m.1.
Account of Philip Denyel, reeve of Kyngiswode, from Michaelmas 1327 to Michaelmas 1328.
Recieved of Henry Aunger for certain land in Godybrok let to him for term of life by William de Valencia, 41s.
Of Philip Denyel for 6a of land near le verywill, 7s 6d.
Of Thomas de Rupe and Stephen Beneger for 100a held by them at will, 100s
Of Thomas Martin for 48a of land in Gonedoune held by him at will, 64s
Of Thomas de Rupe and Stephen Beneger for 48a in Gonedoune held by them at will, 64s
Of John Cantrel for a certain marsh (mora) and medegrip is held by him at will, 2s 6d.
Farm of the ferry there, yearly 53s 4d.
Sum of Total Receipts £16 12s 4d.
Delivered to Richard de Colyngton by the hands of the said tenants
The oldest building in Pembroke Dock is
Acc/to Mrs Peters (History of
Pembroke Dock 1905): The 1st
Earl of Pembroke, Gilbert de Clare granted it to the Commandery of the Knights
of St John, who were established at Slebech. They are credited with having built
a church and outbuildings on the land for the purpose of holding missions for
booklet “The Parish of Pembroke Dock” Silas T Phillips
(1898) quoted Archaeologia
Cambrensis Vol VI 1851 which stated that David de Patrick Church had a
residence here and that:-
daughter and sole heiress Ellen, about the 1st of Henry VI married John Adams of
Buckspool, of whose posterity in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and
Elizabeth served in Parliament for the town of Pembroke.”
The Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments (1923) in the introduction states “ It is gratifying to be able to recognise in a sadly debased ruin the tower of a church of which only the name has survived.” The evidence they quote includes a sketch by Charles Norris and an extract from Admiralty Records.
“In consequence of the passing of this Act 30 Geo. III, c. 5a, section 2a 26, of an application from the Hon. C. F. Grenville, on behalf of Sir William Hamilton for a lease of the land to dig stone, the property was ordered to be surveyed, this was done in November 1790. Skulls and other human bones have been dug up in the neighbourhood of the Tower which the uninitiated have taken as a decided proof that the tower was originally part of a church. One writer, referring to the discovery of skeletons says, "it evidently indicates that a Monastic establishment had at some early era existed there, the word Llanreath given to an adjoining hill, proving the fact; Llan meaning Church in the Welsh language."
A glance at the plan and at the parish register of St. Mary’s Pembroke in which parish the property is situated places the question beyond doubt; the skeletons were unquestionably those of extinct Adams or Patrickchurches. A number of whom must have been buried in the family churchyard situated either within or close to the building marked as ruins of a Chapel. The entry in the St. Marys register in the year 1731 speaks for itself and is as follows:- “(Indecipherable, supposed to be January) 11th Buried ye son Rogar of Mr. William Adams in their own Burying Ground.”
In his booklet “The Parish of Pembroke Dock” (1898) the Rev. Silas T Phillips recorded
that, when the Dockyard walls were built, human remains in considerable
quantities were unearthed. They had all been buried in regular order and were
removed to a neighbouring field.
further burials were uncovered by the Works Department inside the yard but it
was recorded that exposure to the atmosphere reduced the remains, with the
exception of the teeth, to dust although there was a suggestion that some
remains were stored in the tower pending disposal.
In extending the walls of the dockyard
in 1844, an old burial ground was uncovered to the south east of the tower. From
the description of the manner in which the bodies were buried, the graves were
very old indeed and unlikely to have belonged to members of the
to Sir Thomas Pasley Captain Suprentendent of Pembroke Dockyard recorded in
Archaeologia Cambrensis 1851.
“During the progress of the excavations in 1844, by workmen employed by Mr, Henderson, the contractor for the extension of the new boundary wall of the dockyard, a number of skeletons were found deposited about three feet below the surface of a meadow; near Pater Church. These relics appear to have been buried without coffins, as no vestige of any, either wood or stone, could be discovered. On being exposed to view, they were found lying with their heads towards the east, surrounded with stones rudely placed on their edges, and arranged in a coffin-like form, but without a slab either underneath or above them. Twenty-eight skulls had already been found. One of the most perfect skeletons measured six feet four inches from the ankle-bone to the crown of the head. Many speculations were indulged in as to the origin of this cemetery, which was evidently of great antiquity; it is however not improbable that, from the tower still standing amongst the ruins in good preservation, it was the burial-ground attached to some monastic institution”.
The discovery of the burials gave rise to the conjecture that the tower was part of a chapel but this was discounted in 1852 when it was reported that the tower had a vaulted structure with heavy ribs and was domestic in character. Could this have been to prevent an outcry about the buildings, which, apart from the tower, where pulled down by the Admiralty soon after, even though the Admiralty records of the survey of 1790 actually state that there was a burial ground there and that the building was at that time marked on their map as ruins of a Chapel.
More bodies were unearthed in the
extensions to the Dockyard in 1854. These were reburied on what is now the site
The tower, which stands within the old
dockyard boundaries on the southern
The buildings were probably enlarged and changed for different purposes during the centuries after they were originally built.
In 1689, “A plan of Milford Haven” a detailed map of the area was drawn by Mathew Norwood. This was the earliest known map showing the whole area of the Haven and indicates prominent features along its banks. Some of the drawings seem to represent fairly accurately the houses and churches that were there. The buildings at Paterchurch, which other records indicate had been badly damaged in the Civil war, are shown. They are the only building on the map with a tower at the eastern end and have chimneys on the roof.
Since the 16 century, there had been interest in fortifying the Haven and various plans had been proposed with the building of the two blockhouses at the mouth of the Haven in 1580 as the first practical scheme to be started. George Owen drew up plans in 1595 but these were not implemented.
In 1756 Lt. Col. Bastide, Director of Engineers, surveyed the area and advised that a series of forts be constructed around the Haven. One of the sites suggested was Paterchurch. These were modified due to the expense and after a further survey by Lt. Col. Justley Watson, three forts were agreed, of which one was to be built at the site of Paterchurch.
In 1759 there was another survey of the area by Captains Herriot and Walker. It was proposed to be purchased for His Majesty’s Service at Paterchurch point, land “for fortifying the Interior Part of Milford Haven, according to Colonel Skinner’s design”
The original area of land required by the Board of Ordinance was 63 acres which included the garden, the orchard, a wooded area, the house and farm yard. This land had been acquired by Sir Arthur Owen who had purchased the whole Paterchurch estate of 230 acres from a group of people over the years 1716 to 1718 for £2518. There had been problems with the original purchase as there appear to have been conflicting claims of ownership.
The tower and house were originally outside the fenced in area of the Yard but were eventually incorporated into the dockyard and later the crumbling walls of the old ruined mansion were pulled down and the tower left standing.
In 1832 a plan made for the Department of Ordnance showed the ruins.
In the late nineteenth century there was a back wall, about three feet from the northern wall of the tower itself and which may have been joined on to the stone staircase. It is also similar in structure and appearance to the Old Rectory at Angle. The dimensions of the building and measurements suggest that the tower could have been on the north eastern corner of the house.
General Alexander Adams may have been responsible for the addition of the oriole window on the south side of the first floor, illustrated in the 1923 Royal Commission Report. It is not shown in the in the water colour sketch of a similar view made by Charles Norris in 1812. It could however have been added later by Edward Laws, who was the occupier at the time of the tithe apportionments in 1841.
Little is known about the origins of the Paterchurch estate before 1422 but it is known that in 1422 the estate of Paterchurch, said by Fenton to have stretched originally from Pennar Point to Cosheston came into the possession of John Adam(e)s of Buckspool through his marriage to Alson or Elen the daughter of David of Patrickchurch or Paterchurch. Little is known of the antecedents of David of Patrickchurch, though records of this family have been traced back as far as 1247. After marrying into the Paterchurch family the Adams’ established their main residence at Paterchurch, and remained there until the end of the seventeenth century.
members of the family were politically active in the area. In 1588 Henry Adams
of Paterchurch, was mayor of Pembroke He was the son of John Adams who had been
MP in 1541 who had married Catherine
daughter of Thomas ap David Goch ap Meredith ap Madoc of Stapleton Radnorshire.
Henry was a JP and MP for Pembroke Borough in 1547 and 1553. He had
married Anne daughter of Richard Wogan of Boulson in 1552. Henry and
Catherine’s son Nicholas was also an MP for the Borough. He had studied at
Jesus College and was a barrister-in-law of the Middle Temple.
of John Adams appears in the list of Justices of the Peace for 1543, 1558-9 and
Adams in the list of Justices of the Peace for 1575, 1577-1607, and appears in
the list of Justices of the Peace for 1602 –1625. At the Inquisition
Post Mortem, after the death of his son Nicholas in 1628,
it was said that Henry had
seized in his demesne as of feoff and in one capital messuage called
Paterchurch in the parish of St Mary’s Pembroke and also owned other land in
the county including Buckspool. The estates that had been joined at the marriage
Nicholas Adams was mayor of Pembroke in 1603, 1608, 1614 and 1627 and married Elizabeth Powell daughter of Morgan Powell.
Elizabeth Adams, wife of Nicholas Adams esq. of Paterchurch was accused in 1601 along with Thomas Adams gent., of assaulting Richard Bathoe a cleric (PRO St Ch. 5/A41/40).
himself was no stranger to controversy as he was a strong supporter, in 1605, of
Sir James Perrot of Haroldston against Sir Thomas Canon.
Elizabeth and Nicholas had a son William Adams who was 20 years old when his father died in 1628 and he inherited the estates.
During the Civil War the estate was badly affected and suffered substantial losses. It would appear that William supported the Parliamentary side and tried to claim compensation for the damage to his property which included Paterchurch. On August l9th 1646 he brought a petition to the House of Lords stating that “When the enemy (Royalists) were in the County, he voluntarily gave way for firing divers of his houses in the suburbs of Pembroke. He was afterwards obliged to take refuge with his wife and child in Pembroke and the enemy fired his houses and corn and drove away all his cattle”
There was a certificate attached from Major General Laugharne and John Poyer attesting to his fidelity and great losses. The petition was recommended to the House of Commons for compensation but it is not known how much compensation, if any was paid
William died about 1650 and the estates were inherited by his son Nicholas.
The property must have been rebuilt because it is known that his son Nicholas lived in it and paid Hearth tax on seven hearths in 1670.
The first wife of Nicholas Adams was Frances, daughter of Rhys Bowen of Upton Castle and they had a son, Rice or Rees Adams, born about 1655, another, David, who died before 1691 and a daughter, Frances, who was alive in 1698 when her father Rice died. After the death of his first wife, Frances, Nicholas married Hester, daughter of Sir Roger Lort and they had a son Roger. As a marriage settlement to provide for any children of the second marriage, Nicholas split the Buckspool and Holyland estates from Paterchurch. Thus after the death of Nicholas, land that had been part of the Family estate since 1422 was divided.
Roger Adams, son of the second marriage, was Commissioner of Subsidies in 1692 and in 1695-6 and Commissioner of Land Tax in 1705. He married Jane Skyrme daughter of William Skyrme of Llawhaden and was Mayor of Pembroke in 1695. He died in 1708.
When Nicholas died his eldest son Rice Adams brought a Bill of Complaint against the Gwynnes, who were the guardians of his step brother Roger. In this complaint he estimated that the whole estate, including Buckspool and Holyland as well as Paterchurch brought in a clear income of £200 per annum. Rice was experiencing financial problems, due in part to bad harvests but also because of the marriage settlement of his father a considerable portion of the income of the old estate went to his stepbrother. He still occupied the Paterchurch estate but had been raising a series of short term loans using parts of the estate as security. The Paterchurch estate consisted of the tower, the house and other buildings including a farmhouse together with land around and some neighbouring properties. In 1687 Rice had borrowed £650 from Margaret Meare, who was his tenant at East Llanion using the property at East Llanion, Imble, Furzy Close and Cuckoos Wood as security for a period of twenty years. Two years later he borrowed another £200 from her for 72 acres around Paterchurch. Margaret Meares died in 1690, her heir was John Owen and Rice borrowed more from him. In 1696 he owed £350 on a £700 penalty bond which been given to cover some of the arrears and interest that were outstanding on the loans. By 1697 Rice’s debts totalled £1831 4s and he was indicted in the Court of Great Sessions. He and his wife entered into an indenture of lease and release of 230 acres of the estate with Richard Gwynne for £2,100 on October 2nd 1697 and after the debts were paid off Rice received £268 16s.
The estate in the indenture consisted of:-
“All that capital messuage tenement and lands with appurtenances commonly called and known by the name of Paterchurch and all of those closes fields and parcels of land commonly called and known by the several names of the Hill Yards The Great Park alias Great Cow Park the water park the middle and long meadow and west meadows the great croft or lays the coney gare or warren the stoney wall park, neap hay, the wood orchard, fruit orchard, gardens, fish pond and waste ground containing in the whole 230 acres of lands be it more or less. All situate lying and being in the parish of St Mary in the liberty of the town of Pembroke in the county of Pembroke between the lands of Sir Hugh Owen Bt. in the possession of Jenkin Ferrior, the lands of the said Rice Adams in the several possession of John Daniell, William Hobb and Nicholas Whelling on the south and east sides and the sea and river of Milford on the north and west sides thereof”.
Rice Adams died at Paterchurch in June 1698 and in his will he anticipates at least £500 from the sale of the real estate. He appeared to still own Imble(?), Cuckoos Wood (John Daniell), West Lanion and/or Eastermost House (William Hobbs) and Ferry Hill (Nicholas Whelling) but he had used these lands as security. The amount he had borrowed was due to be repaid before November 1707 to Margaret Meare and John Owen. Richard Gwynne trustee of that part of the estate inherited by his stepbrother Roger was supposed to pay off the debts using the funds from the sale of the 230 acres of land to redeem for Rice Adams. By the time of Rice Adams death in 1698, Richard Gwynne had not paid off the debts as agreed.
Elizabeth Adams brought a writ against Hugh Lloyd and his wife Joan in November 1701 for sitting and kneeling in a seat that went with the “demesne, messuage and lands called Llanion”, in St Mary’s Church Pembroke. At the time the Lloyds were the tenants of the property which was still part of the Paterchurch estate.
Richard Gwynne died in 1702 without
paying off the debts and in 1718, £898 12s was paid to George Owen, John Owens
son, by Thomas Gwynne. There was an
indenture passing the estate of 230 acres (excluding
According to Hon. C. F. Greville, who tried to lease the site to extract limestone in 1795 “The house has neither roof, door or windows; the wind and the thieves have been so diligent”.
After the construction of the Dockyard the building which was originally outside the Dockyard fence was used by workers in the dockyard for the storage of corn. With the expansion of the Dockyard in 1854 much of the remains of the old mansion were pulled down with the sole exception of the tower. Part of the tower was utilised as a pattern makers shop and other outbuildings were used for storage and as a plumbers workshop.
In 1905 the author Mrs. Stuart Peters wrote, “to the east of Bierspool may be seen the ruined walls of Llanion House, the original country seat of the Meyrick family. Lord Nelson was sometimes a guest at this old house, and it is said that once or twice he was accompanied there by Lady Hamilton.”
It must have been very draughty as the house would appeared to have been in disrepair by this time and there is no actual record of either Nelson or Lady Hamilton visiting this side of the Haven.
Little remains of the site of the house
today except parts of old walls which have been incorporated into the garden
walls of more modern houses and what would appear to have been a walled garden.
It stood to the east of Pembroke Dock and to reach it now one has to turn south
to the Rev. Silas T. Phillips writing in 1898.
high walls and surrounded by a belt of trees stood formerly the mansion of the
family now represented by Sir Thomas C Meyrick Bart of Bush , Pembroke and Apley
some reason for believing that the spot at one time was a possession of the See
of Llandaff and it may be that Llanion is but a corruption of Llan Ioan (Johns
Church). Perhaps successive Bishops of Llandaff felt it incumbent upon them to
maintain a priest and chapel on this remote corner of the episcopal estate –
no trace remains of a chapel if it ever existed.”
Ecclesiastical manuscripts of the see of Llandaf lay claim to the land in the area of Llonyon as part of the estate of St Teilo. There is no record of the name in the manorial records of the estate of Aymler de Valence in 1324. An early medieval Welsh manuscript records that at `Llonyon yn Penvro beehives and swarms of bees were kept, giving rise to the proverb `o heid Llonyon.
In the early 1600s the estate was held by the Bennet family who held several estates in Pembrokeshire and the name was spelt Laniell. The last of the family was Hugh who had three daughters one of whom married Bowen of Roblinston and inherited the manor of Llanien.
By 1665 the estate was owned by the Meares family. George Meares (gent) paid Hearth Tax on four hearths. Later Edward Byam, an Antiquan merchant, lived at Llanion. The house was occupied by the Holcombe family, who owned considerable land in the area, between 1751-63. By 1786 the estate had become the property of the Meyrick family and J. F. Meyrick, Esq., was described as owner-occupier of Lanion, and the land let to Thomas Kinaston. According to the Land Tax records for 1791 J F Meyrick was the owner of Llanion but he was recorded as the owner occupier of Bush and the tenant of Llanion was Captain Ackland. J F Meyrick certainly was not in residence when tradition says Nelson and Lady Hamilton were reputed to have visited. By the early part 1800s it had fallen into decay. Fenton informs us in 1811, “Lanion, a seat of John Meyrick Esq., till of late years almost constantly inhabited by a succession of different tenants, temporary residents in the county, but now unroofed and suffered to fall into decay, as Bush, his principal family residence lies so near in a situation much more commanding than the other, though in some respects inferior in point of beauty”.
Other buildings and features in the area pre-1812:
On the north side of what is now known
At Bierspool, which on old maps was called Bayards Pool, there was a very old farmhouse which had a dovecote built of limestone. This one was similar to those that have survived at Monkton and Manorbier. These dovecotes provided a supply of meat, for the owners, all the year round.
Before 1814, on what was then the foreshore at the bottom of Meyrick St, stood a thatched dwelling known as Foreshore House.
The narrow footpath from
At the west end of the shore, on land which later became part of the Dockyard, was Pater Church Battery. Started by the Ordinance Dept in 1758 as part of the defences of the Haven it was never completed as the threat of invasion had passed.
Burial places in the Town:
1731. St Mary’s register states “Jan ye 11 buried ye sonne, Roger, of Mr. Williams Adams in their own Burying Ground” [at various times remains were unearthed during the construction of the Dockyard and re interned on St Patrick’s Hill].
The early burials of Towns people were either at St Mary’s Pembroke, Monkton or from about 1818 to 1834 at Bethany [halted by Admiralty because of contamination of the water supply to the Dockyard].
1834. 26th Sept Mr. Thomas Meyrick of Bush gave the town nearly 2 acres of land free of charge. Consecrated by the Bishop of St David’s on that date. First person buried there was William Instance who had worked on the surrounding wall and died on October 11th 1834. Closed September 1869 when nearly 4000 burials had taken place.
Land Tax 1786 North Hook
J.G. Meyrick W. Roberts Buyers pool £1 10 0d
Sir N. Owen Mrs Hart Herrings Mead £0 2 0d
The King Capt. Tewing Pater Church £1 1 0d
Mr. Webb Brewhouse £0 3 0d
Mrs Bowling £0 1 0d
Sir W. Owen Mrs Parry £1 15 8d
Mr. Ferrior Pennar £2 10 0d
Alongside of Pater
A row in 1812 over the exorbitant price being demanded for the site resulted in the Navy Board seeking land for a dockyard elsewhere on the Milford Haven Waterway.
Master shipwright Mr. William Stone, of
Plymouth, gave a favourable report on land at Pater Church Point, part of which
was already owned by the Governments Board of Ordnance. They agreed to sell the
20 acres, four fields, for £3,000. The sale was completed on January 7th. 1813,
and later a further 28 acres including a stream, were bought for £5,500.
Industries mainly concentrated at Pennar:
The main industries have been concentrated on agriculture and fisheries. An old description gives a picture of what is now Barrack Hill golden with grain and when the sun is bright in the early morning it is still possible to see where the old field boundaries used to be as well as some of the old paths.
were an important export from the Haven by the 1600s when large quantities were
sent either overland or in "barkes to Bristowe". Some of the finest
oysters came from Pennar Gut. A typical cargo of 20,000 is recorded in the Port
Books as going to Barnstaple in 1592. The trade continued right up until the
1850s when the beds seemed to die out possibly killed by river pollution from
the industries and increased population of Pembroke and Pennar. Shipments went
Pembrokeshire sea trading before 1900.
Oysters were already an important export in 1600, travelling either overland or in “barkes to Bristowe” [Owen 1603]. A typical cargo of 20,000 went to Barnstaple in 1592.
The trade continued throughout the 17th
and 18th centuries. In 1662 five
shipments went to
The quantity and the quality attracted
the attention of foreign fishermen, in 1719 the Deputy Vice Admiral for the
County of Pembroke (William Lloyd) wrote forbidding them from fishing in the
branches and in the Haven itself. The foreign ships were of "great
burden" and "employed many other fishing boats to dredge for the same
oysters whereby to lade there several ships therewith and the same to export out
of His Majesty’s dominion". An early example of factory ship fishing?
1810 Mr. William Stone (Master Shipwright) surveyed the area and in October 1810 reported on the suitability of Paterchurch Point.
1812 On October 12th 1812 the
Admiralty took over, from the Board of Ordinance, a portion of land at
Paterchurch Point Approx. 20 acres in extent (part being below the High Water
Mark) through their Master Shipwright Mr. Stone
Col Pilkington acted for the Ordnance Department.
1813 March 10th Mr. Meyrick accepted £3000 for four fields to the east of and adjoining the Government Land 20 acres approx.
1814 Jan 20th Ordnance Dept. surrendered
39 acres of land to the Admiralty.
1814 Jan 20th Ordnance Dept. surrendered 39 acres of land to the Admiralty.
1814 On April 28th the
Admiralty purchased 20 acres and a stream of water from Mr.
Meyrick for £5500 and took possession on June 7th.
1822 The Admiralty purchased 37 acres 3 roods 29 perches of land from Mr. Meyrick. This land consisted of part of Paterchurch Farm and the Farmhouse tenanted by Mr. Francis White.
1822 The Admiralty purchased from Sir
John Owen (Governor of Milford Haven and Vice Admiral of Pembrokeshire) 51 acres
of land consisting of the Southern Part of what is now Barrack Hill, Cross Park,
Treowen Rd, and part of Pennar Farm.
1828 The Admiralty purchased 9 acres of Paterchurch Farm part of Barrack Hill from Mr. John Francis Meyrick.
1830 The Yard was extended - The Admiralty received 13 acres of land from the Ordnance Dept and gave them the whole of the land purchased in 1822.
There were no roads into the area the
main access being by sea although there was a track from the hamlet of Pennar
running from the old Farm house up what is now Gays lane straight across
Military Rd and down the little lane directly opposite up Kings Lane and from
there it used to go before the Defensible Barracks was built, across the Barrack
Hill. This track joined, at the old Farmhouse, the track which connected Pennar
with Pembroke. There was also another track which linked the Pembroke with
Pembroke Ferry and there was a track from that which ran past Beirspool, King
Williams Way, what is now the bottom of Waters St., then on to the bottom of
Meyrick St were there was a stream running down from the High St Ridge along
what is now Front St and then on the Paterchurch complex.
According to Mrs Peters and numerous other writers:
The harbour at Milford Haven had been
extolled by no less an authority than Admiral Lord Nelson himself. So when
negotiations to establish a Dockyard at nearby Milford Haven failed, the Navy
looked elsewhere and purchased land at Paterchurch, with the ambition of
building the only Royal Dockyard in
Nearly 50 acres of land was bought from the Meyrick estate for £8000 and work began apace, with a low paling fence run around the site and a frigate, Lapwing, being run ashore as offices.
So began an illustrious history of shipbuilding for the Royal Navy, with over 260 ships (including 4 Royal Yachts) constructed in 112 years. The development of permanent facilities in the yard, such as slipways, offices and workshops, continued alongside the building of housing for the workforce and by 1831 the town had a population of more than 3000. By the 1870s wooden ships had given way to Iron warships and slipways and workshops had to be extended to accommodate ships of up to 14,000 tons such as Repulse in 1892.
For well over a century the name of Pembroke Dock was synonymous with the Royal Navy. Ships built at the towns Royal Dockyard served in every comer of the world.
Yet, when Vice Admiral of the Blue, Lord Horatio Nelson, sailed up the Milford Haven Waterway in the summer of 1802, the area now occupied by the town was all green fields. Nelson would have seen the Government battery at Pater Point, the old mansion of Paterchurch, a few farms and cottages and the home of the Meyrick family at Llanion.
Within 12 years, however, all was to be transformed. After the negotiations by the Admiralty to buy the land at nearby Milford - where warships were already being built for His Majesty’s Navy - broke down. A new site was selected and the move saw the birth of Pembroke Dock,
Over the next 108 years, over 250 ships were to be built for the Navy - from sixth rates of 1816 to an oilier of 1922.
According to Findlay: "In 1812, a misunderstanding took
place between the Government and the late Honourable R. F. Grenville proprietor of
the land at
He goes on to say: “Since that period, as its resources became more and more available, it has continually been extending its efficiency until arriving at its present momentous magnitude; and it not rivals, but in most instances exceeds all other maritime magazines that stud our sea-girt isle, in natural advantages, as well as in cheapness of shipbuilding. It is said that King William IV., when visiting it in the position of Lord High Admiral, remarked many peculiar points of superiority, it must become of the utmost advantage to the British nation”.
What do the actual documents say?
“WE beg leave most humbly to recommend to Your Royal Highness that Your Royal Highness will be graciously pleased to establish, by Your Order in Council, the yard forming at Pater as a Royal dock yard”.
George, Prince of Wales, acting as Regent in place of his demented father, George III, gave the Royal Assent to this submission from the Navy Board and the Order in Council, signed on 31 October 1815, established not only a new royal dockyard but also a new naval town.
It was not a good time. Waterloo, fought on 18 June 1815, had ended the long French wars and ships by the hundred were returning home to pay off. The existing Royal Dockyards had now more than enough capacity to support the much-reduced peacetime Royal Navy. Pater Yard, however, had existed de facto for some years and its first two ships were well advanced. The Navy Board had committed public funds to the county twice in a decade and was no doubt reluctant to abandon its investment. The Order in Council served to regularise what had begun as a wartime expedient down the harbour at Milford.
A Royal Dockyard on Milford Haven arose from the Navy Board salvaging work from a bankrupt contractor. During the long French wars the Royal Yards did not have the resources to build large numbers of new warships, maintain the expanded fleets and cope with repair of battle-damaged vessels. Battles could not be forecast, and repair work disrupted and delayed ship building and increased the costs.
The Navy Board therefore depended on private yards where new vessels could be built without interruption. During the Seven Years War two warships were built under contract at Neyland. Richard Chitty launched the frigate HMS Milford in 1759, and in 1765 Henry Bird and Roger Fisher launched the two-decked HMS Prince of Wales on the same site.
The Navy Board looked to Pembrokeshire
again in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, contracting with Messrs Harry
and Joseph Jacob of
it please your Majesty,
certain papers were referred by us to the Commissioners for revising the civil
concerns of your Majesty’s Navy, respecting the building of ships of war at
Milford Haven, where a line of battleship, a frigate, and a sloop have already
been built, and the said Commissioners having stated in the l5th report that
timber and iron could be bought there cheaper, and workmen obtained in abundance
on lower terms than any other place where ships are generally built, which has
since been corroborated by comparing the expense of the "Milford," a
94-gun-ship recently launched there, with the expense of ships of the same class
built in your Majesty’ other Dockyards, we deemed it expedient instead of the
uncertain tenure by which the building ground at Milford Haven have hitherto
been held of Mr. Greville from year to year, at a certain annual rent, that the
same should be purchased and conveyed in trust by your Majesty to the
Commissioners of the Navy, and with this view directed the Assistant to the
Civil Architect and Engineer of the Navy to proceed to Milford and fix a
valuation on the quantity of ground sufficient for the purposes of a Naval
Dockyard, and this officer having reported that the sum of £4,455 is the full
and proper value of the piece of ground in question, which sum the proprietor
agrees to accept on condition of an Act of Parliament being procured, at the
public expense, to enable him to convey the same by a good and sufficient title;
we do humbly propose that your Majesty will be pleased to authorize us to
complete the purchase of the said piece of ground, to be employed as a Dockyard
for building your Majesty’s ships, the same to be placed on the extraordinary
estimate of the Navy, and we do further propose to your Majesty, that the
regular establishment of the Dockyard at Milford Haven shall be as follows:
Barallier, builder, with a salary of ...
£600 a year,
A Clerk to
the builder ...
Chas. Barallier assistant to builder £300
Storekeeper without a clerk
Grenville however had died on 23 April 1809. His brother, Robert Fulke Grenville, who succeeded him as a life tenant of the estate, refused to accept the price and, in consequence, an order was issued, directing the Navy Board, on 3rd August 1810, to suspend the improvements then going forward on the premises and on the l6th October 1812, finally to give up possession at Midsummer 1814.
Shortly after the agreement of 1809, the Baralliers returned to France, Louise Barallier became Principal Naval Architect at Toulon. Although Britain was at war with France, although they were Frenchmen they had been the principal Architects at one of His Majesties Dockyards.
Mr. William Stone who had come from the Plymouth Yard was appointed Master Shipwright in their place.
The Pater site was a good choice for a dockyard. It was one of the few places on the waterway where flat, land gave on to deep water and a good anchorage.
The dockyard facilities were transferred over the following few years to Government land at Pater and the last personnel finally moved out in mid summer 1814 with the completion of HMS Rochfort.
1814 Jan 20th Ordnance Dept. surrendered 39 acres of land to the Admiralty and the first building slip and the excavation of a dry dock was put in hand.
1814 On April 28th the Admiralty purchased 20 acres and a stream of water from Mr. Meyrick for £5500 and took possession on June 7th.
The proposal to the King in Council put forward by the Navy Board suggested the following officials:
Grade Annual Salary
One Master Shipwright £600
One Clerk £240
Two Clerks £160 each
One extra Clerk if necessary £ 80
One Clerk of the Check and Storekeeper £600
One Clerk £320
Two Clerks £240 each
Three Clerks £200 each
One extra if necessary £ 80
Clerk, if necessary
of Shipwrights (first class)
the Chief Constructors were the Master Shipwrights and they included William
Stone who selected the site of Pater Yard.
T Robert who was the first at Pater and actually started the new Yard.
W Edie who
was one of the original committee that formed the Dockyard School.
a leading figure in the founding of the Mechanics Institute.
W M Rice
O W Lang,
designed the Royal Yacht “Victoria and Albert” built in 1855.
Fincham who lived in
Saunders who had been a Pembroke Dockyard Apprentice.
J C Froyne
another Pembroke Dockyard Apprentice. Born
in 1834 of humble background he first went to school at Lamphey. After he
retired in 1895 he lived in Pembroke and served as a councillor and Mayor. He
was also a JP.
Boatswain was Joseph King. He has served on the “Boreas” the Agamemnon and
the “Captain” as Boatswain under Nelson and he was recommended by Nelson and
the Earl of St Vincent to the post of Boatswain at the Gibralter Yard from 9th
December 1796 to 1808. He then came to the Haven first to Milford as Boatswain
and then to Pater yard until his death on 10th June 1829. He is
buried in Monkton cemetery and he had a son who lived in the district - Joseph
Nesbit King who married Ann Gale in Pembroke on 24th March 1824.
A sketch of the Dockyard in 1817 shows a
covered slipway similar to those at
By May 30th 1814 the whole of
the establishment at
The Dockyard was governed by its own officers, Quartermen who really acted as watchmen helped to guard the establishment had wooden sheds erected for their accommodation.
They were assisted by a party of Royal
Marines who were accommodated in an old ship the Dragon which had been hauled
above high water for this purpose. It was also used as a
The first ships, Valorous & Ariadne
were completed by early 1816, and housing for the Dockyard workers began at
Over the next 108 years, over 250 ships were to be built for the Navy - from sixth rates of 1816 to an oiler of 1922.
In 1823 a police force was instituted to replace the caretakers who had been responsible for security in the yard. The initial force consisted of Lieutenant Weatherley RN., one inspector, two sergeants and twelve constables. The off-duty constables were expected to march with their Officer to Church every Sunday. The force was found to be insufficient and was reinforced by the addition of 500 Royal Marines from the Chatham Division complete with a Drum and Fife band that played every evening before last Post was sounded on the Market corner by Moores the Chemist. The Marines were also employed in levelling and repairing the roads in the Dockyard.
In 1832, when the Navy Board was succeeded by the Admiralty, the practise of appointing a Naval Captain to be Captain Superintendent of the Pembroke Dockyard was introduced.
The numbers of men were considerably augmented after 1815 by the transfer of now surplus craftsmen from other Royal Yards. The town planned by the Admiralty and laid out on a chessboard pattem, was originally known as Pater. A proposal to call it Melvillestown, after the First Lord of the Admiralty, received a cool reception, but ironically, it was the Admiralty which did change the town’s name. All the goods were sent to the new Dock near Pembroke; the name stuck.
The founding fathers of Pater were thus largely, but not exclusively, new men. Most established men came from the West Country, shipwrights from Plymouth Dock as Devonport was known until 1823. These Devonians and Cornishmen - the Seccombes, Saunders, Tregennas, Willings, Trevennas (and later the Trewents and Treweeks) - although of Celtic stock, nevertheless constituted the most radically distinct influx into south Pembrokeshire since the arrival of the Flemings in the twelfth century. They and their descendants, with the people of Milford, created Pembroke Dock.
The Royal Navy in 1815 was by far the most expensive single commitment of central Government and the largest industrial organisation in the world. With its supporting dockyards the Navy embraced a wider range of specialist professional skills than any other industry. Some of the innovations had great influence throughout the industrial revolution. The block making plant developed at Portsmouth Dockyard at this time was the first example of a conveyor belt system for production.
Pembroke Dock developed as a specialist
building yard but its limited facilities denied it the established status of the
Home Port dockyards which were also major naval bases with victualling depots,
rope works, block mills and other specialist facilities. Pembroke had only one
dry dock, no fitting-out basins and, apart from Hobbs Point (completed in 1832
for the Irish packet service not the Navy) and the Carr Jetty (completed in the
first decade of the twentieth century), no satisfactory alongside berths for
fitting-out newly-built warships. Before the introduction of iron and steel,
newly-launched wooden vessels were usually sent round to
Pembroke and its champions campaigned ceaselessly for improved facilities. In mid-century the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph believed that the only thing required to make the Dockyard complete is the long talked of sea wall from the Hard across to Hobbs Point, thus locking in the Pill, and making it available for a steam factory, steam basin etc. for which its leeward situation . . . so admirably fits it, which works would be a culminating point from which additional sources of prosperity would spring. The steam basin never materialised.
Even after the opening of the railway through to the Dockyard town in August 1864, Pembroke remained a frontier post. Pembroke labours under the misfortune of being 300 miles from Whitehall . It is an outpost, and only visited occasionally, commiserated the United Service Gazette in 1859, whose writer moreover considered that the increasing value and importance of Pembroke as a building yard, seems lost, in great measure on the authorities.
Mrs Stuart Peters recalled in 1905 the
visit twenty years earlier of the Chief Constructor of the United States Navy
who, she said, reported that Pembroke is the first shipbuilding yard in the
world. The visitor was Naval Constructor Philip Hichborn USN; he had written
that the best adapted of the British dockyards for building operations is
Pembroke . . . but having but one dock, no basins, and few shops and stores, is
not a fitting out yard, and can only be rendered so at very great expense.
Vessels built there usually go to
Admiral Charles Penrose Fitzgerald, who was Captain Superintendent of the Dockyard from 1893-95, sometimes thought that the Admiralty forgot altogether that there was any such place as Pembroke Dockyard . . . our insignificant little Cinderella of a dockyard did not always get everything she asked for, especially if one of her big sisters was asking for the same thing at the same time.
Even when the long-awaited jetty was being built out over the Carr Rocks after the turn of the century to provide a more efficient - but still tidal alongside fitting-out facility, The Navy and Army Illustrated was unimpressed:
The Jetty which was constructed in 1881 was built for coaling ships and hoisting of machinery and boilers in to position. The sheerlegs were believed to be the largest ever constructed at the time and were capable of lifting over 100 tons cost £110,000.
The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty
paid their annual visits of inspection to Pembroke Dockyard but they seldom
lingered. Artists of the Illustrated London News were attracted to west
Pembroke remained a Cinderella yard, a
poor relation of the
Some writers have given us vivid descriptions of the yard:
Late 1800s description of the Royal Dockyard.
“It occupies an area of eighty acres,
surrounded by a high wall, flanked by two Martello towers. There are twelve
building slips for vessels of all sizes. There is also a dry dock for repairing
them, and enormous stacks of timber of various kinds oak, deal, and larch. The
Nasmyth steam hammer and saw mill are particularly worth notice. As it is not a
fitting dock, vessels when ready are towed round to Devonport, or
Up to 1864, £175,563 had been expended in fortifying Pembroke Dock.
An interesting description of the yard was published in 1875.
“The entrance to the yard is through a wide gateway near the centre of the south wall, on the right and left of which are the houses of the principal officers who reside within its precincts - spacious and handsome buildings. The various offices connected with the several departments are imposing in appearance and neatly arranged. The Fire Engine House in the centre of the Yard is an extensive stone building, in which about twenty engines are kept in the most perfect order and ready for any emergency. It may be mentioned that the yard is plentifully supplied with water from the Government reservoirs by means of iron pipes; to these pipes fire-plugs are attached in all parts of it.”
..."workshops necessarily abound here: there are joiners, millwrights, blacksmiths, plumbers, coppersmiths, coopers, wheelwrights, painters, pattern-makers, and armour plating shops. But among the many we have enumerated, perhaps that of the blacksmiths will attract the greatest attention. Here, are about 200 busy hands all dimly seen working amid heated air smoke, and the glare of the numerous glowing fires of its forges - and on all sides is heard the din, clang and clash of hammers and machinery forging and manufacturing the various kinds of heavy iron work now so requisite in the present advanced state of shipbuilding. Here, also, are three immense steam hammers beneath whose ponderous heads ponderous masses of red hot iron are continually becoming subject to their will. Adjoining is the galvanising shop, where the process of galvanising all the small iron work to prevent it from rusting, is going on.
"At the west side of the yard are the steam saw mills, worked by the aid of powerful machinery. The sawing room is well worthy of a visit. To the south of these, where the open space is chiefly used for the stacking of wood, is a large square basin known as the pickling pond, in which the elm and pine timber is kept, to prevent it decaying before being used. Near the docks lie numberless armour plates, varying in thickness from two to fourteen inches, destined to cover the sides of those powerful ships of war, which are being constructed in the neighbouring sheds, the machinery for boring these plates for the rivets, and for shaping them to the turns of the ships sides also exists here."
The description above does not mention the four big sheds in the eastern part of the yard each about 150 feet long for the shipwrights tool chests. Inside these, rising in terraces, were hundreds of boxes containing the tool kits of the shipwrights. Three gangs of shipwrights could be accommodated on each tier of the shed. The inspectors offices were built at the north end of each tier. The original joiners shop was a lean building attached to the eastern wall of the yard.
The dockyard estimates for the year 1875 are: Salaries £11,355 (white collar); wages £103, 016 (blue collar).
A body of the Metropolitan Police exercise the functions pertaining to their office within the Dockyard: this force consists of 2 Inspectors, 3 Sergeants.”
Pembroke Dock became essentially an Admiralty rather than a naval town. The Commissioners of the Navy Board and, after 1832, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, influenced most aspects of public and private life outside the Dockyard walls. Within a few years of its foundation an Act of Parliament was passed authorising the Commissioners of His Majesty’s Navy to establish a Market at the Town of Pembroke Dock . . . and to make Regulations for paving, lighting, cleansing, and good Order of the said Town. This was followed on 10 June 1825 with an Act enabling the Corporation of Pembroke to relinquish and convey to the Commissioners of His Majesty’s Navy the Right of Letting the Stalls, Sittings, and other Conveniences in the Market in the Town of Pembroke Dock, and the Right to the Rent, Tolls, and Fees there of.
Findlay in 1875 gives a description of the market in his day:
“The Market Place is a Government Building, erected in the year 1826. It stands at the south-east comer of the dockyard but outside its walls. It is a large and commodious structure, of quadrangular form, having four spacious entrances, with iron gates, facing north, south, east, and west, respectively: the east gate way, facing Pembroke Street, is the more popular approach. The interior contains numerous stalls for butchers, and vendors of goods of all descriptions. In the centre, above the weighing house, is a building used in connection with the Government Savings Bank business, a branch of which is conducted here on Market Days.
The market is held upon Friday, but Tuesday is also nominally a market day. About noon on Friday the crowds that gather thither to conclude purchases make the scene at that time an animated one.
place, situated in Pembroke street, was a government building, erected in 1826,
but is now in hands of the Corporation. The market, which is held
on; Friday, is well supplied with meat, fish, poultry game butter,
cheese, fruit, vegetables and provisions generally”.
For some time after its construction the market building was used by the dockyard workmen to eat their dinner in the covered stalls. Short services were also held there by a Shipwright Henry Evans who was a Baptist local preacher. He later became minister of Gilgal Baptist Chapel Pennar. Unfortunately one day a man got locked in and in trying to get back to work climbed over the wall fell and broke both ankles. This led to closing down of this facility. After that, until Mrs Chatfield, persuaded the Admiralty and her husband, to convert one of the old saw pit sheds into a workmans dining-room with cooking facilities, a cook, tables and benches with also a reading room, a smoking room and a recreation room, the men had to eat out on Barrack Hill or on the pavement outside the gate.
1n 1853 the Admiralty under the provisions of the act of George III 54 C 159 July 29th 1814 undertook the responsibility for the Conservation of the Haven.
Exactly 100 years later, on the eve of the closure of the Yard, their Lordships still had a finger in every pie - almost literally.
In June 1925 the Captain Superintendent
was ordered by the Admiralty to inspect the bakeries of Mr.
F. Rogers, Water Street, Pembroke Dock, and Mr. A. Farrow,
The Admiralty and its principal officers at Pembroke Dock filled the paternalist role carried out in other communities by the local landed gentry.
The lead in founding the
The Navy also played a leading role in
founding the first parish church. The land in
Likewise, in subscription lists for good causes throughout the nineteenth century the names of Captain Superintendents and Master Shipwrights, rather than the local nobility and gentry, usually headed the lists of contributors.
Pembroke’s greatest asset and the focus of her prosperity was her thirteen building slips, many more than in any other yard, and these made Pembroke Dockyard the nations principal building yard for over a century. Nearly 250 warships and other vessels went down the ways at Pembroke in the 106 years which separated the launching of the little sister frigates HMS Ariadne and Valorous in 1816 and that of the fleet oiler Oleander in 1922.
The century of Pembroke shipbuilding witnessed the most profound developments in naval design and construction as sail gave way to steam, driving paddlewheels and later screw propellers, and wood was overtaken by iron and steel. Successive generations of dockyarders had to learn new skills. Their range and complexity increased as the technical development of war ships advanced apace after the introduction of steam in the 1850s and of iron a decade later. Traditional shipwright expertise slowly gave way to the demands of metal. The rattle of the riveting machines and the fumes from the foundries finally overtook the thud of the adze and the sweet smell of freshly planed oak and pine.
Pembroke-built vessels ranged in consequence from the little cutters HMS Racer and HMS Starling launched together on 21 October 1829, the twenty fourth anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, to the colossal line-of-battleship HMS Howe, christened by Miss Harriet Ramsay on Wednesday evening, 7 March 1860, the last sailing three-decked built for the Royal Navy. She was twice the size of Nelsons Victory and, with a displacement of 6,577 tons, one of the two largest wooden steam battleships.
Almost every major ship that went down
the ways at Pembroke Dock represented a significant advance in naval
architecture or played some remarkable part in British imperial history. The
first forty-five years saw the construction of nineteen first- and second-rates,
ships which represented the culmination of the art of wooden shipbuilding. Among
these was Seppings’ Rodney, christened by Mrs Adams of Holyland on 18 June
1833, the first British two-decked to carry ninety guns or more. She was towed
into action at
The Rodney was followed by Symmonds
outstandingly successful Vanguard of 1835, with her beam of fifty-seven feet the
broadest ship in the Navy and the broadest ever built in
Pembroke Dockyard played a pioneering role in the development of early steam propulsion. The Tartarus of 1834 was the first of a series of paddle wheel steam vessels which included the famous Gorgon of 1837 and which culminated with the launching by the lady of Colonel Ellis, Commandant of the Garrison, on Wednesday, 30 April 1851, of HMS Valorous, the last paddle frigate ever built for the Royal Navy.
Throughout the 1850s the Yard produced
the last of the Royal Navy’s great wooden line of battleships. The
three-decked HMS Duke of
Besides building; ships were also scrapped here.
When the “Triumph”, the first ship Nelson was appointed to, under his maternal uncle Captain Maurice Suckling was broken up in 1850, au immense quantity of mercury (quicksilver) was discovered between her frame timbers, evidently the remains of loot taken from Spanish merchant ships. Of course the Naval storekeeper claimed possession, but the Yardies had their share. The means for carrying the stuff away consisted chiefly of bottles, but, when these bottles were confiscated by Search at the gate, the bare pocket was used. The Dockyard workers used the mercury to silver the backs of mirrors.
Pembroke’s first ironclad was HMS Prince Consort, christened by Miss Jones [of Pantglas], a Carmarthenshire lady, on Thursday, 26 June 1862. She had been laid down as HMS Triumph, a wooden screw two-decked, but was completed as a wooden ironclad carrying 4.5-inch and 3-inch iron plates. She was followed by other interim ironclads, the Research, Zealous and Lord Clyde. The latter, with her Chatham-built sister ship the Lord Warden, were the largest and fastest steaming wooden ships, naval or mercantile, ever built. But because unseasoned timber had been used in building her at Pembroke, the hull of the Lord Clyde soon became rotten and, known as the Queens Bad Bargain, she was sold out of the Service within ten years.2
The despatch vessels HMS Iris, laid down on No 2 Slip in 1875, and HMS Mercury, laid down on the adjoining No 1 Slip the next year, were the first British warships built of steel and their marine engines made them the fastest fighting ships in the world.
During the last two decades of the century Pembroke Yard launched a series of major capital ships, beginning with the turret ship HMS Edinburgh, launched by the Duchess of Edinburgh in March 1882, and followed by the Collingwood (1882), Howe (1885), Anson (1886), Nile (1888), Empress of India (1891) and Repulse (1892). The final, and by far the heaviest, battleship built in the Yard was the Majestic-class HMS Hannibal, 14,900 tons, launched on 28 April 1896.
Over the next ten years the yard
produced a line of protected and armoured cruisers of ever increasing size. The
Drake of 1901, which was commanded by Captain John Jellicoe from 1903-4 was the
longest ship ever built at Pembroke. The last three armoured cruisers were the
monsters HMS Duke of Edinburgh (1904), her half sister HMS Warrior (1905), and
the Defence (1907). All three fought in the First Cruiser Squadron at
Some Pembroke ships made their names in
distant waters. The little Starling surveyed Hong Kong waters under Lieutenant
Henry Kellett where they are commemorated in Kellett Island, the Headquarters of
the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (long since joined to the waterfront) and in
Starling Inlet in the New Territories. On the Pacific coast of Canada, Fisgard
Island and Duntze Head honour the frigate HMS Fisgard of 1819 (which itself
recalls the French invasion of Fishguard in 1797), which served on the Pacific
Station from 1842 to 1846, and her Captain, John Duntze. On the same chart
Constance Cove recalls the visit there on 25 July 1848 of the fourth-rate HMS
Constance of 1846 which was the first British warship ever to anchor at
Pembroke ships made their mark in both
Many vessels from Pembroke Dockyard met
violent ends. The fifth-rate HMS Thetis of 1817, carrying home a valuable
consignment of gold, silver and plate from Rio de Janeiro, was wrecked on Cape
Frion in Brazil in December 1830. The big two-decked HMS Clarence, launched in
July 1827 in the presence of Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, became a
training ship on the
Some ships met their ends in collisions at sea. The Amazon, one of the last timber-hulled sloops built for the Royal Navy, was lost within a year of her launching in May 1865. She was commissioned at Devonport in April 1866 and two months later, on 10 July, she collided off Start Point with the steamer Osprey and both vessels sank. All hands were saved. The Pembroke-built light cruiser HMS Curacoa of 1917 lost all but twenty-six of her ships company when she was cut in two in collision with the Cunarder Queen Mary off the Irish coast in October 1942.
The sea also took its toll of many early
Pembroke-built sailing warships which went down the ways at Pembroke Dockyard.
The Cherokee-class sloops fared worst. HMS Wizard of 1830 was lost on the Seal
Bank off Berehaven in February 1859, the Skylark of 1826 was wrecked on the Isle
of Wight in April 1845 and the Spey of 1827 was lost on Racoon Key in the
Other Cherokees disappeared without
trace. HMS Thais of 1829 was lost on passage from
Pembroke Dockyard ships fought in most
of Queen Victoria’s little wars against recalcitrant emirs, rebellious native
chiefs and omnipresent East Indian pirates. They also fought in the great wars
of the twentieth century. The first British warship sunk in the First World War
was the light cruiser HMS Amphion of 1911, mined in the
Naval histories record the battles and the glory but the high price of Admiralty was also paid in full by the men who built these great ships and by their families. The physical hazards of working in the dockyard were many and often fatal. The Important Case Book maintained by the Senior Medical Officer in accordance with Article 190 of Home Dockyard Regulations records a long list of deaths and terrible injuries suffered by Dockyard workers. The terse clinical accounts compiled by Fleet Surgeons a century ago and the occasional moss-covered gravestone are often the only remaining evidence of tragedy. For them there were no drums and no trumpets sounded.
Industrial injuries increased in severity and frequency upon the introduction of iron and steel after 1860 with its associated foundries, forges and machine shops. Falls from staging on the building slips continued to claim lives and hernias were common. To these were now added burns, injuries with machinery and eye damage caused by flying metal during riveting. Almost every addition to the Navy List from Pembroke Dockyard was marked by a new gravestone in a south Pembrokeshire churchyard or a family cast into penury.
The Dockyard Surgery treated all injuries and serious cases were sent on board the old fourth-rate HMS Nankin, a veteran of the Second China War, which served as the dockyard hospital ship from 1866 to 1895 when facilities were provided on shore. The old Nankin was the end of the road for many.
The case of Samuel Ellis Ball, a
fifty-four-year-old shipwright, who lies in Plot G.126 just inside the gates of
The Cockchafer was launched at 9 am on
Saturday, 19 February, by Miss Philipps of
Even after the turn of the century life
in the Yard could be a brutal business. John Lewis, aged fifty-six, Established
Labourer No 595, was painting a bulkhead in the port engine room of the new
cruiser HMS Drake on 30 January 1901 when he slipped and fell thirteen feet onto
the engine bearers and then into the crankpit. He fractured his skull and is now
totally deaf. In addition he has lost his left eye which he states occurred when
The dreaded letters DD in red ink
denoted the Royal Navy abbreviation for Discharged Dead, the final epitaph of
many. William Williams aged forty-five, Labourer No 1899, from
His widow received £193 14s 11d in compensation from the Admiralty. The following January the Admiralty informed the Captain Superintendent that in future coffins for workmen accidentally killed in the Dockyard were not to be provided at public expense and, reported the Pembroke Dock and Pembroke Gazette, have directed the Yard authorities to recover from the representatives of the late William Williams . . . the cost of the coffin supplied.
The cost of coffins was a major outlay against which Dockyard workers had to make prudent provision. The Royal Dockyard Interment Society formed in about 1870 to do away with collections in the Dockyard collected weekly two pence subscriptions as an insurance against funeral costs. The scheme has proved an inestimable boon to very many families, reported the Society’s annual meeting in April 1893.
Distance from the Dockyard as well as danger when they got there was a constant problem for the Dockyarders, most of whom lived in a widely dispersed area of south Pembrokeshire. This entailed long journeys by horse or boat for the fortunate but by foot for the many. As the paternal concern of the Admiralty included basic medical care it added to the professional duties of the Dockyard surgeon.
This was recognised as early as 1841. An Order in Council dated 11 February, after emphasising that the number of artificers and workmen has greatly increased [since 1815] and the duty of the Surgeon has become more onerous in consequence of many of the men being obliged to reside at a considerable distance from the yard, proceeded to ask that the exigency may be provided for by such small addition to the salary of the Surgeon as will enable him to keep a horse for the purpose of visiting his distant patients. His salary was duly increased from £400 to £450 a year.
The Dockyard Surgeon was still doing his rounds on horseback at the beginning of this century. In his memoirs, Rear Admiral T.T. Jeans, then a young doctor at Pembroke Dockyard, recalls that houses in Pembroke Dock were so scarce that many had to live in the villages in the neighbourhood - some as far as seven miles. He considered that the long tramp to work and home, day after day, winter and summer, a tragedy in itself, was absolutely incompatible with a satisfactory days work in between. The doctors concern was, however, tempered by the tale he tells of a parson’s wife living in one of these remoter villages who, sympathising one day with the wife of a workman who had so far to go to his work, received the unexpected and illuminating reply: Well, Mum, he do rest all day. Just how hard the men worked at the Yard will be discussed later.
It was part of Surgeon Jeans duties to ride around the country to visit Dockyarders who had reported sick. During the spring and at potato time this had its lighter moments:
As I rode up a lane towards a cottage, [I would see] over the hedge, the poor sick man hoeing his ground. He would hear the horses hoof, look up, catch sight of me and dash for his cottage and his bed, where after listening to a long-winded account of his ailments from his wife and hearing the thump of his boots on the floor overhead, I would find him probably fully-dressed but minus those boots.
The late Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Chatfield, who spent his early years at Pembroke Dockyard in the 1880s where his father was Captain Superintendent, recalled how his mother initiated the soup kitchen in the Dockyard for the men to have hot soup in the dinner hour. The Pembroke Dock and Tenby Gazette reported that hundreds of the employees . . . live too far away to allow them to go home in the short dinner time granted and as a consequence they have to be content with cold lunch in the middle of the day. The soup kitchen was funded by nominal contributions from the men and from the proceeds of concerts organised by Mrs Chatfield. Over the three years of her husbands appointment fifty-seven gallons of soup were issued daily to 300 grateful men, a total of 17,000 gallons to 90,000 diners. Each man received one and a half pints of soup a day at a cost of three pence a week.
There is nothing to suggest that Pembroke men were any slower than their colleagues in other royal Yards in seeing off Their Lordships. Indeed, Surgeon Jeans was of the opinion that the well-known dockyard crawl was more apparent in Pembroke Dockyard than in any of the other three great dockyards, and that even the Dockyard shire horses adapted themselves to it:
A couple of these splendidly conditioned animals might be seen drawing, painfully and slowly, a small empty lorry, but at the first sound of the dinner bell, the drivers would slip off their harness and away they would go, helter skelter across the pieces of waste land, jumping the low chain railings in between, frisking like colts, each trying to get to the harness shed and feed before the others. I often went out into the Yard simply to watch this horse play - and some sign of active vitality.
Captain Burges Watson, Captain Superintendent just before the turn of the century, was convinced that his workforce was idle and his suspicions reached dramatic climax on 15 July 1898, when he assembled every Dockyard officer from Chief Constructor down to the humblest chargeman in the Dockyard Schoolroom. He reported that he had found a hutch in a timber stack, roofed with corrugated iron, and equipped with towels, water and pillows and in which, it seemed, men had been going to skulk, sleep and - worse still perhaps smoke, for weeks or months previously. The Dockyard Police had later found three men in there and he had discharged them. A few days earlier he had been on board the cruiser HMS Andromeda when, at five minutes to Noon, he had distinctly heard the sound of a bell, not the official bell, but a hammer striking on a shackle, and immediately afterwards nearly all hands ceased working. There were other examples of shirking. He had come ashore at the landing stage one night in plain clothes and noted that there was no sound of activity on board the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert where the night shift was on overtime but that when he got near a perfect din was set up.
Of course, this all caused a great uproar in the local newspaper with complaints that 2,200 men should not be tarred with the same brush as three errant skulkers.
The workforce was a close-knit community which any senior naval officer found almost impossible to penetrate. Surgeon Jeans observed that the workmen through inter-marriage over long years had become so closely inter-related that it was no uncommon thing to find a gang of riggers or shipwrights whose foremen and timekeepers were the fathers or uncles or brothers of most of the gang. They must have led the Captain Superintendents a merry dance (we still did as apprentices in Devonport in the 1950s).
Launching days were the highlights of the Pembroke calendar throughout the history of the Dockyard. Their importance varied with the size of the ship which in turn determined the rank of the lady chosen to perform the christening. These events are to hundreds the "sunny spots" in their chequered existence, commented the Pembrokeshire Herald in its report of the launching in 1844 of the two-decked HMS Centurion by Mrs Cockburn of Rhoscrowther.
The Yard was customarily opened to the public on launching days and the latter occasions attracted crowds of visitors and welcome extra trade in the town. The first launchings were on 10 February 1816 before an impressive concourse of spectators assembled to witness the novel event. The sixth-rates, HMS Ariadne and Valorous, built together on that first improvised slip, stem to stem, went afloat, one bows first and the other, more conventionally, stem first, a circumstance which created considerable interest at the time.
The launch of the great three-decked HMS Windsor Castle in 1852 was typical. According to one report: From an early hour on Tuesday morning conveyances of every description commenced swarming into Pater . . . and every description of passage boat from Carmarthen, Tenby, Haverfordwest and Milford and other places, lent their aid in conveying to the scene some of the thousands who, throughout the day, thronged the neighbourhood of the Dockyard.
At the other end of the scale the little
flat iron gunboats HMS Tickler and Griper, launched on Monday, 15 September
1879, were christened by two little girls, Miss E.J. Warren, daughter of the new
Chief Constructor, and Miss H.M.F. Powell, the six-year-old daughter of Pembroke
Docks second Vicar and former naval officer, the Rev. F.G.M. Powell, of
The launching process was a complicated engineering undertaking and was not always a success. The launch of the ninety-gun screw two-decked HMS Caesar in the summer of 1853 took seventeen days round-the-clock effort. Lady Georgiana Balfour, daughter of the Earl of Cawdor, christened the 2,767 tons ship on Thursday, 21 July, but the vessel stopped after sliding only half her length down the slip. Nothing could equal our consternation, wrote Captain Sir Thomas Pasley, the Captain Superintendent, in his diary, No one could guess the cause. When the tide ebbed the ships bilgeways and stem were found embedded in the mud with fifty-six feet of the hull suspended without support over the groundways.
The operation mounted over the next seventeen days to free the ship became an epic and was fully reported in the Pembrokeshire Herald. On the following day all the casks of the town were borrowed and it was gratifying to see the alacrity with which these were furnished by publicans and others - the former in some instances actually emptying both beer and porter into tubs and vats. The tide rose more quickly than expected next day, Sunday, and the Dockyard bell was rung and the [Dockyard) Battalion drums sent through the town - beating to quarters, and messengers on horseback and foot sent off in all directions. Improvisations failed and it took specially - built camels lashed beneath her counter at low water on Friday, 5 August, to move her. Across the weekend the ship moved forty-eight feet. Then, at 6.10 on Sunday evening, two hours before high water, she started to move. The Battalion drums again paraded the town. The church and chapels etc. were soon deserted. Sir Thomas Pasley recorded: And at length she came and marvellous was the excitement and loud and long were the cheers of our men who, poor fellows, have worked as hard as men could work.`
The cause was long debated. Local tradition held that a local witch, excluded from attending the launching, put a curse on the Caesar. More likely there was insufficient tallow between the sole of the ways and the launching slip and the sliding surfaces had been planed too smoothly.
The launching of minor vessels, too,
could prove disastrous on the day. The little 238-ton screw gunboats HMS Janus
and Drake were built on the same slip sharing one set of bilgeways. They were
christened at 5.30 p.m. on Saturday, 8 March 1856, by Mrs Mathias of
Much more calamitous was the accident to the new royal yacht Victoria and Albert in the winter of 1900, an event which seriously damaged the professional reputation of Pembroke Dockyard and ruined the career of the ships designer, the Director of Naval Construction, Sir William White.
The 380-foot steel yacht was laid down in December 1897 as a replacement for the veteran paddle yacht of the same name which had been built at Pembroke Dockyard nearly fifty years earlier. The new vessel, the last ship to be launched from Pembroke Yard in Queen Victoria’s reign, was launched by the Duchess of York (later Queen Mary) on 9 May 1899.
After her engines and boilers had been installed and her masts stepped under the sheerlegs at Hobbs Point, the berth had to be vacated for fitting out the new cruiser HMS Spartiate. As there was no other jetty (Pembroke’s limitations again!), the yacht was put into dry dock for completion. This was not an unusual proceeding but it led to disaster.
The completed yacht was to be floated out of the dock at dawn on 3 January 1900. As the dock flooded the ship slipped to starboard off her blocks aft with a list of eight degrees to port. The Marine guard immediately sounded the bugle call and all ports and scuttles were closed.
The caisson could not be secured at high tide allowing much of the water to escape, leaving the ship unsupported, despite the efforts of the Dockyard fire brigade pumps. Sir William White, summoned from London, arrived at 2 am on `the bleak dock-side and saw the beautiful thing heeled over with naphtha flares burning all round, a host of men climbing over her and shouting angrily. He felt the hostility in the air but was generous in his praise of the emergency measures which had been taken. It is not possible for me to over state the value of the prompt and skilful action of the Dockyard officers, he wrote, to which we owe the rescue of the vessel from a dangerous position.
The yacht was safe and watertight with damage limited to an 8-inch dent running over twenty-five feet amidships. She was ballasted with 200 tons of water and 105 tons of pig iron before the next tide, when she was floated out with a ten degree list and taken to a buoy where, on 4 January, Sir William conducted stability tests using a team of 475 men rushing from side to side.
There was a subsequent furore in Press and Parliament. An enquiry presided over by Mr.G. J. Goschen, First Lord of the Admiralty, reported on 29 April. The accident was due not to a single error or miscalculation in the general design but to an excess in weight and equipment [771 tons] distributed over a number of items. In short, the ship was top heavy.
Sir William was formally censured by the Admiralty and retired a broken man.
The hierarchy of the Royal Dockyards was
as strictly determined as the Royal Navy which they served. At the head was the
Commissioner or, after the absorption of the Navy Board by the Admiralty in
1832, the Superintendent - a rear admiral in the major yards but a captain at
Pembroke Dockyard. He commanded in all respects: Commissioner - head of the yard
- great man - remarkably great man, was the accurate description by Arthur
Jingle in Pickwick Papers of the Commissioner at
Pembroke had thirty-five Captain Superintendents between 1832 and 1926 who were borne on the ships books of the successive guardships at Pembroke which they formally commanded. Among those early Captain Superintendents were
Captain Chas Bullen who was the first, he fought at Trafalgar
Cumby who is buried in Park St Cemetery and also fought at Trafalgar
Sir Watkyn O Pell who had a wooden leg and would ride a horse around the yard and up on the hill so that he could see what was going on. It is said that the horse was so well trained that he could ride it up the gangways on to the ships.
J F Falcon
Sir Thomas Sabine Pasley - he was very involved with the early days of the National School. I shall always look back on Pembroke Yard as the most comfortable and satisfactory epoch of my life, he wrote) in his diary. His daughter, Louisa, recalled: Pembroke Dockyard was . . . a paradise to the Captain Superintendent. No telephone disturbed his equanimity or harassed his clerks. The railway did not approach within 40 miles at the date of his taking up the appointment though it had advanced to only ten miles when his time expired. Old Sir Thomas, wracked by money worries, was cheered by the Dockyard workers and sailors from the guardship HMS Saturn when he left in the Prospero steamer on 5 June 1854: At last the Yard was cleared, he wrote, and the last sound of Pembroke Dockyard that I shall ever hear died away. But the recollection will never die from my memory. I was quite over-come and felt it all very deeply . . . God bless them all!
George Ramsey was very interested in public work in the town and was one of those instrumental in the forming and building of the Mechanics Institute. His son died young and is buried in Park St Cemetery.
William Loring married while at Pembroke Dock Miss Adams of Holyland who was descended from the Adams of Paterchurch.
Robert Hall his wife was very interested in helping the poor of the town.
R W Courtney
George H Parkin was very keen on fundraising activities for the National School.
Alfred J Chatfield, his wife was very concerned about the conditions that the workmen had to eat at lunchtime and through her work a dining room was built with a recreation and reading room attached.
George Digby Morant remembered for having the ability to recognise any man who worked in the yard.
Samual Long: He and his wife organised fundraising activities to place the National School on a sound financial footing.
Charles Fitzgerald came to the Yard in 1893: Their Lordships . . . appointed me to the very best captains appointment in the Naval Service . . . Superintendent of Pembroke Dockyard . . . and a delightful two years it proved to be. A good home, an excellent garden, a nice compact little dockyard a good long way from London and the Admiralty, and the kindest and most hospitable neighbours I have ever come across. His wife was took a great interest in the Sunday Schools and there work with young people.
Chas J Balfor
Burges Watson: He and his wife were instrumental in raising the funding to install a new organ in the Dockyard Chapel. His wife was also very much involved with social work especially the Nurses Association and Home.
Charles J Barlow.
Gerald W Russell.
The reign was terminated by AFO. (Admiralty Fleet Order) 1477 dated 4 June 1926:
As Pembroke Dockyard will be reduced to a care and maintenance basis by 3lst May, it has been decided that the appointment of Captain Superintendent is to terminate on that date.
The last one Leonard Donaldson, wrote to his staff: I wish you all every good luck and trust that the Yard may before long be used for some useful purpose and bring some help to the Town and District.
Kellys Directory 1884
staff of Her Majestys Dockyard were:
Superintendent, Alfred J. Chatfield
Master, Staff-Commander John A. R. Petch
Constructor, J. C. Froyne
Civil Engineer, George Tinkler
& Cashier, A. M. Wiele
Charles Napier Pearn
Rev.Frederick William Nickoll MA
Surgean, Walter F. C. Bartlett .
to Superinterdent, Alfred Penfold
G. A. Malpas
Boatswain, John Oliver
Inspector of Police, Daniel Collins
The decline of Pembroke Dockyard began soon after the turn of the century. This was not evident to the men then employed. The armoured cruiser HMS Defence, launched in 1907, was the last major warship built at the Yard. Thereafter only light cruisers - averaging one a year - and a handful of submarines occupied a few of the slips which throughout the Great War were concerned with war repair work.
The future United States President,
Franklin D. Roosevelt, visited Pembroke Dockyard in July 1918 when he was
Assistant Secretary of the (
It was somewhat prophetic of future developments in the harbour that the very last vessel launched at Pembroke should have been an oil tanker. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Oleander, named by Mrs Dutton, wife of the Captain Superintendent, went down the ways on Wednesday evening, 3 May 1922. As she entered the water a loud cheer was raised by all present. It must have been a pale shadow of the great launching days the Dockyard had seen. She was brought alongside the Carr Jetty, that first class fitting-out jetty - the lack of which had hindered fitting-out operations for half a century - but which had come too late.
The home dockyards were all now
seriously under-employed. The machinery and boilers for the Oleander were made
The following month the Dockyard suffered a terminal injury with the burning down of the mould loft. Various newspapers reported the tragic event. Practically the whole population of the town came to witness what was, in many respects, a wonderful spectacle. A north-westerly breeze fanned the fire which consumed, not only the constructive centre of the Yard, but its archives and collections of ship models and figureheads. The best efforts of the Metropolitan Police, ship’s company of the light cruiser HMS Cleopatra in refit, and two companies of the York and Lancaster Regiment, were in vain.
The serious fire . . . would have been regretted at any time, but happening just now, when the future of the Yard is in doubt, it can only be regarded as a first class calamity. The towns of Pembroke Dock, Pembroke and Neyland, with many adjacent villages, are entirely dependent on the Government Dockyard, and the heavy reduction of workmen employed, ranging from 4,000 to a matter of 1,700, has materially contributed to the attenuated resources of the whole district.”
The long and vigorous campaign to save Pembroke Dockyard has been ably documented elsewhere. A petition to Prime minister Stanley Baldwin stressed the lack of alternative employment and the economic consequences. The town would be denuded of wage earners with the transfer of 400 established men and the discharge of 800 hired workers for whom there was no other work; trade would be paralysed and there would be bankruptcy and ruin for traders; homes would be broken up and family ties severed.
The decision, however, was irreversible. The Navy simply had too many dockyards and the Admiralty had to keep a fleet together with much-reduced funds. Pembroke and Rosyth had to go. The choice was laid out starkly by the First Sea Lord, Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty, in his speech at The Lord Mayors Banquet on 9 November 1925: Whether these Yards are necessary for naval purposes, the Admiralty is the only competent judge. As to whether they are necessary for political or social reasons is for the Government to decide. The fact is that so far as the upkeep of the Fleet is concerned, they are entirely redundant.
Pembroke Dock is now almost entirely a town of unemployed and pensioners, commented the Telegraph Almanac in 1927. The direct consequence of State policy was thus to destroy a town: between 1921 and 1931 some 3,500 people, a quarter of the towns inhabitants, migrated, while in 1937 over half of the insured population of the borough were unemployed. It is now apparent that in its heyday things had been very different. Growth had continued fast down to the close of the nineteenth century, the Pembrokeshire Herald of 20 January 1899 observing: prospects for the future of the Yard are bright; it pointed out that very recently there had been only about fifty joiners in the Yard, whereas at the present time the number was 200. If we turn to the total numbers employed, then we discover that on 1 May 1860 some 1,356 worked there, a number which grew to between 2,200 and 2,500 by 1898-1899.
Wages were high compared with those of other workers: thus the average weekly wage of skilled labourers in the Yard in September 1899 was 24s, whereas the annual average weekly wage in 1898 for those Pembrokeshire farm labourers who were married and provided their own food was 15s. l0d.
There is no mistaking the calamity of 1926 for Pembroke Dock inhabitants. But a good many employed in the Dockyard, lived in Pembroke, Neyland, and in outlying villages like Llangwm, many from the country districts having been formerly employed as farm labourers. Some of the Dock yard mechanics and artisans living in these outlying rural villages rented smallholdings - a reminder once again that Pembrokeshire workers employed in industrial undertakings often had links with the land. These neighbouring towns and villages also suffered in 1926. Local farming, too, was adversely affected through the loss of demand for its produce from dockyard workers and their families. And local sport suffered through young men migrating from the district.
On 4 April 1956 the hulk of the old iron
screw frigate, HMS Inconstant, which Lady Muriel Campbell had gracefully and
dextrously launched at Pembroke
Dockyard on a Thursday afternoon in 1868, arrived at a Belgian port for
breaking-up. She was the last Pembroke-built ship afloat. On 29 June that year,
Admiral Leonard Andrew Boyd Donaldson, the last Captain-Superintendent of
Pembroke Dockyard, died aged eighty-one in a
Today almost nothing remains of those former glories. The building slips have almost all disappeared beneath new developments. A few surviving Dockyard offices, priceless examples of the stonemasons art, are slowly crumbling. The old Dockyard Chapel has been stripped of its memorial window to the lost Atalanta, its oak pews were taken away by the Royal Air Force and its famous bell, captured from the Spaniards, gone without trace.
[The bell was taken from the Spanish second-rate FENIX captured during Rodneys Moonlight Battle on 16th January 1780. The ship was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Gibraltar and was broken up in Pembroke Dockyard in November 1836 when, presumably, her bell was mounted in the recently completed Dockyard Chapel.]
At Pembroke Dock, the Royal Navy still occupies a part of the old Royal Dockyard, HM Mooring and Marine Salvage Depot and was, until recently under the command of a Resident Naval Officer, who also had the title of Queens Harbour Master.
The depot was a major employer in the area. In 1975 170 people work there - and it was the base for a fleet of Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service vessels, the largest of which was the salvage ship Garganey.
Their patch extends from the Isle of Man
to Lands End including the
They are also responsible for the laying and maintenance of all Government mooring and navigation buoys in their area, a mighty task as under each buoy is a complex system of large anchors and chains weighing up to 200 tons. All this has to be lifted, inspected and components changed, at regular intervals.
The RMAS vessels also play a key role in operations on the Royal Aircraft Establishments guided missile range off Aberporth, where HM ships are frequent visitors for trials.
The Dockyard Ghost Story
The Haunting of H.M.S. Asp
In the year 1850 a Captain Alldridge was given command of H.M.S. Asp, but he never realised how much concern that particular command was to cause him in the future. During a few convivial parties with his seafaring friends, they told him she was said to be a haunted vessel. The Captain, who was not a superstitious man laughed heartily, but from the day he took command he felt there was something strange about the ship.
He had been many years at sea and had heard all the unaccounted noises that always seem to be in a ship at night, the creaks and groaning of its timbers.
He had never heard noises like this ship made, but before long he became quite used to the sounds and paid no further attention to them.
He lay asleep in his ship one night
while it was at anchor at Milford Haven,
“Please to come on deck, sir. The look-out man has been to fetch me and he seems in a terribly shocked condition”, he said. The Captain was not at all pleased about being awakened, but he got up and made his way to the main deck. There he found his look-out man almost incoherent with terror. He insisted he had seen a woman standing on the paddle box pointing towards heaven with her forefinger. She was dressed in white.
“I am going to die for sure tonight”, he said hysterically. The Captain angrily commanded the man to assume his watch on deck and not to be so silly or he would be flogged in the morning.
He ordered the Quarter-Master to see that his command was obeyed. He added that he was not to be disturbed any more during the night about any sightings of the supernatural, or there would be trouble.
For a while, the look-out man tried his best to carry on, but he was overcome by a kind of fit and had to be carried below by his mates.
An entry in the Ships log reads “3rd December 1852 Seaman Ferris has been charged with deserting lookout duty. During a summary hearing it was alleged that the figure of a woman appeared on the aft deck beckoning and pointing below deck. On medical evidence the accused was found to be sober but emotionally disturbed”
This was not the end of the haunting. The woman appeared to other members of the crew, and, just as on the first occasion, she silently pointed heavenwards.
Some of the sailors were terribly frightened when they saw this woman, but did not dare to say anything about it in case the Captain had them flogged. The others shrugged it off as imagination or too much rum.
During the time the ship was anchored in
He was so frightened when he heard this disembodied voice that he fell down the companion way ladder, injuring himself slightly
When the captain came on board the steward told him the disembodied voice which had spoken to him. The captain was angry at first but the man who had a ghastly look on his face begged for his immediate discharge from the Navy. The captain thinking that in this state the steward was useless granted his request, at which the man rushed off to collect his belongings while the captain signed his discharge papers.
The steward did not want to spend another night on H.M.S. Asp, and left as soon as he received his discharge.
News that the ship was alleged to be
haunted reached the
After interviewing the sailors, the Vicar said he was sure there was a ghost on board, but the Captain refused to let him carry out any form of exorcism, telling him that if the Captain was not afraid of the ghost, then surely the sailors were not either.
The ghost certainly caused the Captain much inconvenience during the years he commanded the Asp.
Several of his men who had told him the same story about seeing the ghost asked for their discharge. He had to let them have their discharge because if he did not so great was their terror that they ran away.
The strange thing was that each man told the same story of seeing a woman dressed in white pointing upwards to heaven. She appeared in many parts of the ship, and at all hours of the day.
The Captain remained sceptical about any ghost being on the ship, until one night when he began to change his mind. He was awakened by a sensation of a hand being placed on his leg above the bedclothes. The touch was icy cold even through the thick woollen blankets, and the cabin had become very cold.
He rang loudly for the Quarter-Master in case someone had been playing a joke, but there was no sign of anything anywhere. This incident happened a few times, but the Captain was a brave man and he did not bother very much. At last something happened to really disturb him. He awoke to find a hand smoothing his forehead. He said afterwards that every hair on his head stood up in fright and he leapt out of bed, but there was no one around. Now the Captain, too, was not very happy about the ghost, but he was afraid to tell any of his contemporaries in case they laughed at him.
In 1857 the ghost left H.M.S. Asp, never
to return. The ship had been taken during the autumn of that year to Pembroke
Dock for repairs. On the second night after the ship had docked, a sentry swore
he saw a figure climb onto the paddle-box of the ship. He noticed it was the
figure of a woman, pointing upwards, which then stepped on shore and made
straight for him. He was not aware that he had seen the ships phantom. To him it
was just a female figure who had no business on the ship. Pointing his musket,
he shouted, “Who goes there?” The figure took not the slightest notice and
continued to advance. It walked straight through the barrel of the musket, which
the man dropped in terror as he ran to the guardhouse. The sentry standing next
to him stayed at his post, although he had seen the whole eerie happening. He
was made of sterner stuff than his comrade. He fired his musket to attract the
attention of his Guard Commander. A third sentry, who was on guard some distance
away from the other two, had an even worse experience than either of them. He
saw the figure of a woman dressed in white walk past him and make its way
towards the ruins of
The apparition walked into the disused churchyard, and the sentry, who had climbed the wall, saw exactly what happened. The figure climbed on to an old grave, and, standing in the centre, pointed a finger towards heaven. Slowly, slowly, with arms upraised, it sank into the grave, passing through the black gravestone, vanishing from the sentry’s sight.
The Guard Commander was told by the sentries what they had seen, and although it seemed unbelievable, he wrote a report of the incident. The ghost never haunted H.M.S. Asp again and the strange noises of the night ceased.
The once sceptical Captain Alldridge became very anxious to find out whom the woman had been when she was alive, and eventually found that H.M.S. Asp had once been engaged on mail packet duties between Port Patrick and Donaghadee.
After one journey a stewardess whose duty it was to check all the cabins immediately the passengers had left the ship, was on her rounds. She went into a cabin and saw a beautiful, dark-haired girl lying on a berth. She thought the young lady had been asleep and not realised the ship had berthed, as she appeared to be wearing a long white night-dress.
The stewardess went to wake her, when to her horror found that the girl’s throat had been cut and she was a horrifying sight covered in blood.
No one ever found out who the girl was, nor was the murderer ever found.
The macabre discovery by the stewardess
was talked about all over
Captain Alldridge told the Admiralty about the haunting of H.M.S. Asp, and of the tragedy he had unearthed after a great deal of enquiry. H.M.S. Asp was thoroughly searched, but nothing was found to be amiss. She was then refitted throughout.
She was handed back to Captain Alldridge, and during the whole of his command of her that followed there was no disturbing happening of any kind, and the strange noises ceased.
He sometimes wondered whether the cruelly murdered womans ghost had left her grave near Pembroke Dock and journeyed on the Asp in the hope of bringing her murderer to justice, but had eventually given up in despair.
THE EARLY DAYS OF THE TOWN (Mrs Mary Peters 1905).
early dwelling-houses were built in the town, tanks were attached for the
collection of rain-water. In addition to these tanks, there were wells of spring
water for the use of the public. One was the Fountain Well, at the top of
reservoirs were built with earth taken from the Barrack Hill after it came into
the possession of the Government, when they excavated and levelled a portion of
it in connection with the Defensible Barracks.
years the water question was a grievous one; at one time the town practically
suffered from a water famine, and whenever there was a spell of dry weather it
was very scarce.
Mr. James Williams, J.P., of London Road, agitated for a long while to have this state of things remedied, and was
successful in getting a supply of water by means of a tunnel bored in the
eastern side of the hill, near
after this Councillor W. Davies, JP, of
has never been systematically drained, but this is now being done.
which was begun in 1900, has proved to be difficult and very costly. It is,
however, hoped it will be completed, and all the connections made, in less than
two years. The estimated cost of the drainage scheme and the waterworks combined
the improvements of the town must not be forgotten the Jetty, constructed to the
west of the Dockyard, on the principal portion of a dangerous mass of rocks
known as the Carrs. The Jetty was built for the purpose of coaling ships and the
hoisting of boilers and machinery into position on the ships. The sheer legs
erected for this purpose are reckoned to be among the largest ever constructed,
and are capable of lifting over 100 tons. The cost of the Jetty was £110,000.
William Street there is a large yard, formerly used in connection with a
business carried on by the late firm of Messrs. Jones and Johns Government contractors. This firm built barracks at Dublin, Devizes and
Cardiff, also the early brick huts at the Hut Encampment and did work at
different times on all the forts at Milford Haven. They, too, erected the
cottages at Llanion and many of the houses in
the number of volunteers who in the year 1824 came to Pembroke Dock, in response
to the invitation from the Admiralty were three Freemasons from Devonport,
namely Mr. William Hutchings, who was grandfather of Mr.
James Hutchings, J.P., of
which bears the name of the Loyal Welsh Lodge of Wales, was numbered in its
earliest days 79. In 1832 the number was changed to 525, and still later (in
1863) to that which it is at present, namely 378. The charter for the lodge was
granted by H.R.H. the late Duke of Sussex on October l, 1824. The first meeting
of the lodge was held on September 24, 1824, with eleven members. The first
Worshipful Master was Dr. Thomas, JP., of Officers Row. He continued in office
from 1824 to 1826, and upon his vacating this honourable position was presented
with a beautiful gold medal from the brethren. It cost £10, and was enclosed in
a velvet lined case with a crystal glass cover.
Chapple occupied the chair of office in 1826 and 1827. In 1830 Mr. William
Hutchings worthily filled this important post, and during his time of office was
most assiduous in the cause, and was thoroughly conversant with the rites of the
order. It often times fell to his lot to instruct the brethren in the
inauguration of new lodges, which in those days of inconvenient travelling made
the carrying out of such duties no sinecure.
William Cook succeeded Mr. William Hutchings as Worshipful Master.
was removed in later years from the
many removals, the Freemasons decided to build a permanent place wherein to hold
their lodge meetings. A suitable site was chosen in
prayer and the singing of an anthem, the laying of the chief stone was proceeded
with. Previous to its having placed in position, some papers and documents were
laid in a prepared cavity. These were a copy of the Pembroke Dock Gazette, a
list of the officers and building committee of the Loyal Welsh Lodge, the bylaws
of the Provincial Grand Lodge and of the Loyal Welsh Lodge; and a programme of
the days proceedings. A plate was placed then to cover over the cavity, and the
stone was laid by the Rev. David Bowen, of Monkton, Deputy Provincial Grand
Master, Past G.C., of
corner-stone was laid to the right of the foundation-stone by Colonel Meyrick,
C.B., and one further on, to the west of the building, by Lord Kensington, D.S.O.
An address was then given by the Rev. David Bowen, and after two hymns and the
National Anthem had been sung, the Freemasons again formed in processional
order, and returned to St. John's Schoolroom to conclude the business of the day.
Tuesday, January 24, 1905, the new Masonic Hall was formally opened by Mr. H.
G. Truscott, G.M. 1904. In honour of the occasion the Freemasons
presented Mr. Truscott with a handsome gold jewel in a velvet-lined case,
inscribed as follows: Presented to
Brother H. G. Truscott by the Brethren of the Loyal Welsh Lodge, No.378,
At a lodge
held on the same day, Mr. Levi
Phillips was installed as Worshipful Master for the coming year of office (1905)
by the retiring Master, Mr. H. G.
Architects who designed the new Masonic Hall were Messrs. G. Morgan and Sons, of
mention should be made of the roll of the Masters in the lodge-room, which is a
complete record from 1824 to the present time. The back of the frame bears this
statement in illuminated lettering:
WELSH LODGE 378 of FREEMASONS.
was presented to the above Lodge by Bro. B. Mules, J.W.
It is made
from the following historically connected woods:
are from an old lintel brought from one of the old temples in Palestine: the
pillars and arch are part of an old beam from the Cathedral of St. David’s; the
small frame on the top of the arch is from a portion of H.M.S. Bellerophon,
which conveyed Napoleon I to England, and contains the likeness of the first
Master of the Lodge, the late P.M. Doctor Thomas.
metallic steps are part of the Atlantic cable which conveyed that truly masonic
message from her Majesty the Queen to President Lincoln of America Glory to God on high, peace on earth and goodwill towards men.
by Bro. P.M. Neil Boyle, P.P.G.P.
Independent Order of Rechabites Friendly Society was introduced into Pembroke
Dock as an outcome of a series of temperance meetings held here in the early
forties. The first meeting of the institution was held on October 12, 1842, in
the house of a Mr. Gribbell, at the corner of Commercial Row, now occupied by
Mr. Tucker, hairdresser and tobacconist. The members were there duly initiated
as members of the Rechabite Order, Tent No.890. The Tent is a branch of the
Salford Unity of Rechabites. It was decided that the newly formed Tent should be
named the Superb. The name was suggested by the launch of a vessel so called
from the Dockyard about the same time; subsequent events have proved that the
title was a happy and appropriate one.
Tent, No.890, I.O.R.S.U. continued meeting at Mr.Gribbells house for nearly two years; but as its members increased, the
place became too small to accommodate them, and so they removed to Mr. Tregennas
Members flowed into the Juvenile Tent so rapidly that in 1851 it was found necessary to divide the Tent into two sections, junior and senior, but both forming one society. At the age of sixteen years the members desirous of joining the Adult Tent are transferred to it from the Juvenile Tent. It is gratifying to know that this takes place in nearly every case. In 1887 the Superb Tent was registered under the Friendly Societies Act of Parliament. The number of its members at the present day is about 400; the Juvenile Tent has about half this number.
25, 1902, the Superb Tent of the Independent Order of Rechabites celebrated its
diamond jubilee, when a special service was held at the parish
year 1845 a great temperance orator named Scott came to Pembroke Dock, and
through his earnest and eloquent speeches many joined the ranks of total
Mr. Tregenna, Mr. Davies and Mr. Lewis, who were at that time great workers in
the temperance cause, united with others in promoting a movement whereby a
special building should be erected for the furtherance of the cause.
Accordingly, a site was secured for the purpose, and the Temperance Hall was
built in 1845-1846. The late Mr. John Hall advanced the money needed for the
carrying out of the work. It is recorded that in or about 1868 the late Mr.
William Griffiths of
death of Mr. Griffiths, a tablet was placed in the Hall, where it still remains
to his memory. It reads as follows:
Tablet is erected by the Temperance Society as a token of their esteem for
William Griffiths, late lessee of this Hall, and in remembrance of his zeal in
the Temperance Cause.
Temperance Hal1 was primarily intended for temperance meetings only, but it was
however, afterwards used for various purposes. Since it was first built it has
been lengthened, and has had anterooms added to it, and has been otherwise
improved; but it is still inadequate to the needs of the population.
various temperance societies have done splendid work in the town. Among others
who devoted almost their lives to the cause, a special reference must be made to
Pembroke Dock Independent Order of Good Templars, Lodge No.57, started on
September 12, 1872, at the Temperance Hall.
of Friendship Lodge was formed a year afterwards in the schoolroom of Meyrick
Street Congregational Chapel. It was broken up about fourteen years ago for a
short time; an attempt to re-establish it was made in the Primitive Methodist
of the Good Templars known as Victoria
the Good was opened in February, 1902, by the late Barrack-Sergeant Wilde, who
was a Crimean veteran, and who also went through the Indian Mutiny.
29 in the first year of the reign of Queen
Noble Grand, and subsequently Grand Master, was Dr. J. Sumpter, who lost his
life by accidently falling over the trench of the Defensible Barracks. The Loyal
Victoria is the older lodge of Oddfellows, No.1822.
Christmas Eve, 1844, the Loyal Prince Albert Lodge of Oddfellows No.3836, held
the first meeting at the Rose and Crown Inn. Mr. Johnson, of
Thomas, J.P., was the first Noble Grand. It is note-worthy that Dr. Thomas took
a prominent part in nearly every institution in his day; as it h as been
quaintly said by an old inhabitant who knew him, Dr. Thomas was the front marcher
in most everything. The Grand Master of the district when the Prince Albert
Lodge was first opened was the late Mr. Samuel Jenkins.
moneys of the funds, which amounted to £10, were placed in the Savings Bank by
Dr. Thomas in April, 1845. Fifty years after the society was founded, it
numbered 140 members; at present there are about 450 members belonging to this
the Ancient Order of Druids was represented in this locality, but the society
has long since been broken up. The late Mr. W.D. Ivemey, C.C. was a member of
this Order, and there is in existence in the town an old certificate that
belonged to Mr. William Pagett, of
Pembroke, which states that he was initiated into the mystical rites of this old
British Order on April 29, 1844.
Mr. Robert Lanning, once Town Clerk of the borough, and Dr. James Bryant, of
Pembroke, held leading positions in this institution. The Ancient Order of
Foresters started about 1845 under the name of the Court Star of Pater. The
courts were first held at the old Foresters Inn in King Street, but were
afterwards removed to the Royal William Inn in Pembroke Street, now known as the
White Hart. The Court Star of Pater was dissolved about two years ago or rather
late forties there were a few members of a purely Welsh society called Ivorites,
who held meetings at an inn which once flourished in
Mechanics Institute had its beginning in a small way. Two Dockyard officers,
named respectively Mr. Abethel and Mr. Chevalier, assisted by a committee,
started it in 1850 in the, interests of the young men of the town. It was held
first in a room of a house in Lewis Street belonging to the late Mr. Thomas
Dunbar Harris. Mr. Harris was appointed Librarian, which position he held for
up-wards of thirty-two years. Upon his retirement in September, 1882, he was
presented with an illuminated address and a purse of gold on behalf of the
members of the Mechanics Institute. The new venture which was started flourished
well, and with the increase of members the room in Lewis Street became too small
to hold them; consequently it was decided at a meeting in January, l862 to erect
a more commodious building. A committee was formed to further the matter, and
Mr. (Now Sir Thomas) Meyrick granted
the site of the present building in Dimond Street for a term of ninety-nine
years at the nominal rent of half a crown per annum. Many prominent ladies and
gentlemen took up the matter heartily. A subscription list was opened to raise
£700, the sum necessary for carrying out the work. On June 7, 1862, the
foundation stone of the present Mechanics Institute was laid by Mrs. Ramsay, who
afterwards became Lady Dalhousie. To assist the funds of the new building, a
grand bazaar was held in the town in June, l863, of which the late Countess
Cawdor, the Lady Frederick Kerr, and Mrs. (now Lady) Meyrick were patronesses.
Institute was first erected many improvements have been made, and much more
money expended on the building. It has a good circulating library, with an
opportunity given of changing books four times in the week, namely, on Monday,
Wednesday, and Saturday evenings and Friday afternoons. There is a billiard-room
on the premises, also a large reading-room, open from 9.a.m. to 10.p.m. daily,
where papers and magazines are freely provided. The subscription necessary to
become a member is but small - six shillings per year - and may be paid weekly
or monthly. It is impossible to say what an immense benefit this institution is
to the town, particularly to the younger portion of its inhabitants. Mr. John
Llewellyn is the present Librarian.
the Pembrokeshire Permanent Benefit Building Society was started by Mr. Henry
Trevena, of Laws Street South, who is now the only one of the first directors still living. He has held
several positions in connection with it. Previous to this society there had been
three others in the town, but the methods by which they were each carried on
societies the monthly takings were put up by auction, and the highest bidder
obtained the money, so it is very easy to see that such methods were sure to
have proved means of discontent. The first meeting of the present society was
held on January 13, 1863, in the late Mr. W. J. Davies’s auction-room, Queen
Street East, when sixteen members were present; and on February 20, 1863, the
Pembrokeshire Permanent Building Society was fairly launched. The meetings
afterwards were held at the Temperance Hall for many years, until the present
fine Building Society Office, which was opened July l, 1892, was erected in Bush Street West. The members of this society up to December, 1904, numbered 1797, and the
income for the past year amounted to about £32,000.
secretary was the late Mr. John Mumford; next came Mr. W. Mathias, and after him
Mr. John Butler. Upon his death the secretarial duties were taken over by Mr.
Joseph Snoddy, and are still carried out by him with care and efficiency.
present president is Mr. Richard Cornish, of Gwyther Street North. Upon the death of the late Mr. D. Hughes Brown, solicitor, which occurred in
January, 1905, Mr. F. W. Merriman, was appointed his successor to this society as
legal advisor, March 18, 1905.
in the early sixties there was a bank in Commercial Row, managed by the late Mr.
James McLean. It was called the Milford Haven Bank, and was the first to be
established in the town. Afterwards it was the South Wales Bank, and finally
became a branch of the
National and Provincial Bank also have a branch in the town. It was opened in
the Ladies Association of the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed; the
prime mover in the work was a lady named Mrs. Taylor, wife of Captain Joshua
Taylor, R.N. She lived at Llanreath, and the committee meetings for many years
were held at her house. After the removal of this lady from the town, she was
succeeded as secretary by Miss. Morris, of
1860s the Pembroke Dock Society for the Relief of Distress was established.
Previous to this a small number of charitably disposed people had started what
was known as the Culm Society, which, as its name shows, was formed to provide
fuel for the poor in the winter. The relief society is said to have originated
in the following way: One cold and stormy winters night the late Mr. William
Dawkins, of Albion House, met Mr. John Walter, of the Dockyard, in the street;
during their conversation they decided that the Culm Society was inadequate for
the needs of the poor people, and that something should be done in the way of
assisting them also with food. The outcome of this was the forming of the
Society for the Relief of Distress, which is the oldest charitable institution
in the town. The first meeting of the Society for the Relief of Distress was
held in the late Mr. W. J. Davies’s sale room in Queen Street East. Of all in
the town who were pre sent at that meeting, the Rev. William Evans, M.A. is
the only one living. The first president of the society was Mr. Meyrick of Bush.
The first chairman of committee was Mr. W. Mason, J.P., of London Road. Its
first secretary was the late Mr. John Walter, whose headstone in the
of the late Mr. Richard Harwood, formerly manager of the London and Provincial
Bank, the late Mr. Isaac Smedley, J.P. the late Mr. William Lawrence, and
Alderman McColl, J.P., C.C. must be specially mentioned in connection with this
institution. During the Coronation celebrations, the society distributed special
relief, together with portraits of their Majesties King Edward and Queen
Alexandra, as a remembrance of the auspicious occasion.
26, 1868, a Vestry Meeting was convened at St. Johns Church for the purpose of
determining whether a Burial Board should be provided for St. Johns parish. It
was decided that this should be done. The late Dr. Fitzroy Kelly in the chair on
the occasion. The first business meeting of the Board was held in the Vestry
room of the church on April 1, 1860. The first clerk of the Burial Board was the
late Mr. W.G. Phillips, (Gazette Office). He was appointed to the position on
April 10, 1869. The first members elected were the late Captain Cocks and
Messrs. J. Morgan, Cornelius Williams William Dawkins, William H. Lewis, James
Howell and R. Bonniwell. The solicitor was Mr. G. Whitley Dunn. The architect
was the late Mr. K. W. Ladd, at one time Borough Surveyor. The late Mr. Cornelius
Williams for many years was clerk of the Burial Board; upon his death he was
succeeded in this office by his son, Mr. A. Williams of Commercial Row.
Pembroke Dock and Milford Haven Chamber of Commerce, originally called the
Chamber of Trade was established on June 21, 1882, with the object of promoting
the trade of the town. The first president was the late Mr. J. H. Teasdale, who
held the office from 1882 to 1884. The first secretary was Mr. T. G. Hancock.
After he vacated this office, it was filled by the late Mr. David Jenkins who
for many years was a most indefatigable and faithful official, sparing neither
time nor trouble in the carrying out of his secretarial duties. The present
secretary is Mr. F. W. Merriman, solicitor, who has but recently been appointed,
and the president is Mr. D. V. Morcombe. Since the Chamber of Commerce has been
established, it has been instrumental in bringing forward many benefits to this
district. Amongst other things may be mentioned the Jetty, which undoubtedly was
the outcome of an agitation on the part of its members for the building of a
dry-dock. The naval authorities thought that a jetty was more necessary than the
dock, hence its erection. Some credit also must be given to the Chamber of
Commerce for the new stone barracks that are being built to take the place of
the old wooden huts. The weekly half-holiday, which is such a boon to the young
people of the town, and the Wednesday half-day excursions to Tenby, also owe
their origin to this institution. To it, too, must be attributed the better
postal service, the reduction of railway rates, and many other matters affecting
the trade and prosperity of the town.
two political clubs in the town.
Conservative Club was formed in the Masonic rooms, Royal Edinburgh Hotel, in
1886. In the year 1894 Lord Cross, K.G., formally opened the present
Conservative Club, Bush Street which is built on the site of the old joint-stock
shop, the premises here an early Cooperative Society, that many years ago
existed in the town, transacted their business.
Liberal Club was opened in 1887 at the corner of
Pembroke Dock Co-operative Society was started at the corner of
Dock Police-Station was built in 1889 in Charlton Place. Before this place was
erected, the house in
year 1893 the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes was formed, under the Grand
Surrey Banner, at the Pier Hotel. In 1894 it was transferred to the Grand Lodge
of England, and called the Royal Pater Lodge. In 1900 the lodge removed from the
Pier Hotel to the Market Tavern in
lodge was made in 1902 in addition to the Royal Pater, and called the Sir Thomas
Meyricks Lodge, under the Grand Lodge of England. The meetings of this lodge are
held in the Bush Tavern. There are in connection with it forty members.
commemorate the late Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee at Pembroke Dock, the
Nurses Home and Meyrick Wards were erected in North Park Street. Alderman S. J.
Allen, of Cresswell Buildings, was mayor at the time, and to him the credit of
the institution must chiefly be given. The foundation-stone of the building was
laid on April 12, 1898, by Sir Thomas Meyrick, who gave the wing of the building
which bears his name. Three memorial stones were also laid at the same time,
which are engraved with the names respectively, of the following ladies: the
Lady Victoria Lambton, sister of the present Earl Cawdor; Mrs. Burges-Watson,
whose husband was at that time Captain Superintendent of the Dockyard; and Mrs.
S. J. Allen.
splendid new hospital, on the Fort Road, which stands on an area of 6 acres 13 perches, is of quite recent erection.
completed in 1902 at an estimated cost of £17,500 and is the property of the
was erected, the sick and injured Dockyard men, who were hurt or taken ill
during service hours, were attended to in a small hospital in the Yard, which
was used after the old Nankin was discarded. The Nankin was a wooden two-decker
fiftygun frigate. It displaced the old Saturn, which had formerly been used
as a hospital ship. In 1867 the Nankin was docked and fitted up for hospital
purposes, and was used to this end for many years; lying off in the stream, she
was long a familiar and picturesque object. The Nankin was eventually sold out
of the service to Mr. George Harris, broker, of
The reason for Pembroke Dock is indicated in its name: it was developed as a dockyard town early in the nineteenth century, no more than two miles away from the established market of Pembroke. Whereas the latter was located on a narrow tidal pill leading off the Milford Haven waterway, Pembroke Dock was built on a low platform on the southern shore of the main estuary from which ships could be directly launched into the deeper waters of the channel. It was not built by a private entrepreneur as a commercial undertaking but by the Admiralty Board for the Royal Navy and, interestingly, it was to retain a military role long after the dockyard itself had outlived its usefulness.
Shipbuilding for the Royal Navy had
commenced in Pembrokeshire in the mid eighteenth century at Neyland and in the
late eighteenth century at Milford, downstream of the subsequent developments at
Pembroke Dock. When the yard at
Prior to the building of the town, the land - known as Paterchurch was largely in agricultural use for centuries under the Adams Family until their debts became to great when it was acquired from the new owners by the Meyrick family. However, the Ordnance Department already had a foothold there, having purchased part of it at Paterchurch Point as the site for a fort - which was started but not finished - in the 1750s. Initially, in 1810, an area of just over twenty acres was earmarked and purchased for the new venture, but this proved to be far too small and over subsequent years the Admiralty Board progressively extended its holding by taking in more land from the Ordnance Department and the Meyricks. The dockyard itself was marked out and fenced off in 1812 and then given a stone boundary in 1814 (which was replaced by a much more substantial structure between 1830 and 1832).
While it was the intention to move
operations upstream in 1813, this was delayed until 1814 because of work in hand
In these early days there was little residential accommodation in the immediate vicinity, with the workers in the yard having to travel daily from Milford and from other settlements on both sides of the waterway, but plans were afoot to create an associated new town.
The first houses in the town built after
the opening of the Yard were built by Mr. Lowless,
John Narbeth (Carpenter) and John Jones, started on the 14th May 1814
they were completed by the 25th September and were occupied by Mrs
Thomas, (wife of the foreman of Shipwrights,) Mr. Thomas (foreman of
Blacksmiths) Mr. Clun (Issuer of Stores) and Mr. Honeydear (Publican). These houses were built in Front
John Narbeth of Pembroke recording in his diary:
year of the Lord 1 January 1813 began the enclosing of the new Dockyard, Pater,
and the fitting up of workshops for the men and sheds for all sorts of
materials; there was a temporary dock dug out to take in a 74 old gun ship for a
storehouse, and the upper deck for offices for the Builder and Storekeeper; the
yard enclosed with wooden palings.”
January 1814 the whole of the workmen were able to come there to commence their
shipbuilding with Mr. Roberts as
their builder, and not so much as one house on the spot, only Paterchurch farm,
so poor old Pembroke was well filled with both officers and men for a few
14th day of May 1814, Mr. Lowless and myself left poor old Pembroke
to commence its rival, so on that day was the first shaving cut and first window
frame made by John Narbeth, and by September 25th 1814, was the first
four houses ready. Mrs. Thomas the foreman of Shipwrights wife came to take
possession, and we drank to the success of the first house in Pater.
Thomas, foreman of Shipwrights; Mr. Stephens, foreman of Blacksmiths; Mr. Clun,
issuer of stores; and Mr. Honeydear, public house; were the first four
inhabitants of the new town, Michaelmas Day 1814. After that we built a public
house for Mr. Phillips on the corner of
1815 February 22 Cresswell Quay.
Extract from a letter from Hugh Wilson to J Harcourt Powell, Esq. .....The dockyard being so nigh will certainly improve the property at Pembroke, but great exertions are making to build houses adjoining the yard. There are now near one hundred building and engaged to build on Mr. Meyrick's property and the continuance of building there will, it is thought by everyone; keep the rents from advancing very rapidly at Pembroke...
(Harcourt Powell MS unnumbered).
In June 1815 the Mayor of Pembroke requested help from the Navy Board to repair the old track which connected Pembroke with the new yard and which was being increasingly used by the work force who were lodging in Pembroke town. Previously it had only used as a means of communication with the farm buildings at Paterchurch. This request was refused but the following year the matter was again raised. It was agreed that if the parish would keep in good repair the whole of a road from the “Lodge” to farmer Whites house at Paterchurch (which stood at the top of what is now Sunderland Ave.) then the Navy Board would contribute £200 towards making the road.
By 1817 the framework for the town was set down outside the east wall of the dockyard in a grid-iron arrangement of streets, some quite spacious, running north-south and east-west. The Admiralty Board and the Meyricks (the latter still retaining much of the vacant land adjacent to the dock) granted leases to an army of small builders who gradually lined the new thoroughfares with houses, sometimes in piecemeal fashion. The original leases from the Admiralty were for 60 years at 6d per foot but those from the Bush and Orielton Estate were for length of three lives with the addition on one in certain conditions.
Building commenced along the waterfront
in what is now Front Street then Thomas Street after Thomas Meyrick After the
building of Front St., houses were built in Kings St, Queens St., Commercial
Road (now Commercial Row and Bellevue Terrace/ Tregennis Hill (Tregennis Hill
was so called because a Mr. Tregenna occupied a house at top of it and his son
was a prominent contractor and built forts down the Haven), Pembroke St., Cross
By 1816 the new Yard was expanding
rapidly and more men were required. Work in the other major Royal Yards was
slack and there was an immigration of large numbers of skilled tradesmen and
their families, from the other Royal Dockyards, about 1816 necessitating a
massive house building programme. Houses were erected as fast as possible many
with the aid of the dockyard workers who worked on them after a days work in the
yard, but even so some were occupied before they were completed and many were of
very poor standard. Back Cottages (
This was the basic orientation of the grid layout which was to be extended eastwards and southwards. After the end of the Napoleonic War, the Yard time was, in the first instance, reduced to five and a half days a week, and later to five days a week. Tradesmen now and again, having to do labourers work in the Yard and the gardens were becoming very important as a source of food. The wages of the Tradesmen dropped to 19s per week and that of the Labourers to 10s.
with obtaining a site for a Chapel had an influence on the early town
construction. Bush estate was loath to provide a site but Orielton Estate was
more receptive, also the Corporation had made a decent road leading from
Pembroke through - Furzey (High Street), caused the construction of the town,
for the time being, to move to Bethany Square as its centre. In 1818, cottages
were built along Pembroke road, north, near Bethany Chapel, and in 1818 Bethany
Chapel was erected - the first place of worship to be erected in the new town.
Bethany Chapel, with its cemetery was lighted inside by tallow candles that
smoked needing deacons to go round, during the singing of the hymn before
the sermon, with a pair of “snuffers” to lop off the burnt wick. The houses
of Belle Vue terrace, described as one of the prettiest places in Pembroke Dock
were built in 1825. Cottages nestling into the hill side to the east of Barracks
Hill, surrounded by gardens full of fruit trees, terminating at the bottom with
a row of tall trees.
after the first Wesleyan Chapel was built at the top of the row (Tregennis
Hill), on the north side, just outside Mr. James Biddlecombe’s garden, on the
edge of the Barracks field.
It was a
small place, but it had a gallery, and a choir sat in it.
In 1820, Cross
Park houses were erected, and the big houses in the square followed.
Caledonia”, Inn; with its sign of a kilted Scotchman, the “Cambrian” Inn,
Phillips Grocery Store, Barclays School (the present “Caledonia”) Glanvilles
Grocery, Tregennas workshop and school were the first Temperance meetings were
held. In the early days of the town Bethany Square was
one of the important places of the town were the people met and talked in the
Most of this was demolished with the building of the Defensible barracks.
[Acc/to Mrs Peters.]
town of Pater increased in size, a proper place for sepulture became necessary.
In Monkton Churchyard, and in that of St. Mary’s, Pembroke, many of the
earliest inhabitants of the town found their last resting-places. Bethany Chapel
(built in 1818) was provided with a grave-yard wherein many were buried, but it
was deemed expedient that a special place should be set apart for burials.
growth of the town in three decades, the reaper Death had gathered in so many
lives that the old burial ground became too crowded, and it was therefore
necessary to provide a new cemetery. On October 2, 1869, this new cemetery was
opened. But before the cemetery was formally opened a few internments took
place. The Rev. Eliakim Shadrach, a much revered minister of
early 1830s smuggling was rife as was wrecking in some parts of the county, The
Preventative Officers were keen to catch a man called Truscott who they
suspected of smuggling and tried to trap him.
A quantity of tobacco had been smuggled in to South Cliffs and one of the
Preventative Officers, posing as a customer had persuaded Truscott to deliver it
to Bentlass. That night Truscott, his friends, the tobacco and Truscott's young
son who had just been taken along for the trip were waiting in Pennar Gut near
Bentlass, they were approached by a boat load of Preventative Officers, rowing
with muffled oars, Mr. Larkin in charge. Truscott spotted the Preventive
Officers boat and he and his friends started rowing as fast as possible up river
towards Pembroke. The preventive boat was rapidly overhauling them so the young
boy jumped out of the boat and tried to swim towards Jacobs Pill. According to
his account at the trial, the mate of the preventative boat shouted three times
for him to stop before shooting him in the back of the head and killing him.
There was a tremendous outcry throughout Pennar and the whole area, with
From 1830 onwards development also occurred in the Melville Street/Albion Square area close to the south-east corner of the dockyard. It was in this part of the town that the Market House was built in 1826 after the objections from nearby Pembroke had been resolved. When the market was first proposed in 1817 the Corporation of Pembroke objected and finally the mayor of Pembroke wrote to the Officers of Pater Dockyard:-
Pembroke 12 September 1818
Having been informed that the Government have held out an inducement to those persons who are inclined to take lots for building houses at HM Dockyard Pembroke that a market place is to be built and a market established there. I request to know if that be the case, and if you have felt it your duty to acquaint the proper departments of the state that H M Dockyard being situated within the liberties of this Borough, where there is a market established by law, that the establishment of another market at H M Dockyard would be an unlawful infringement and injury to the Franchise and Revenues of this Corporation
I have the honour to be etc.
Anthony J Stokes
Mayor of Pembroke
Officers of H M Dockyard Pembroke
The following year an act of Parliament was passed (George III 59, C C XXV) giving powers to the Admiralty to build a market place and to make bye-laws for the good rule and government of the town.
original landing place for the area was enclosed within Dockyard, but this was
not really available at full tide owing to the accumulation of mud.
To replace this and to facilitate the bringing of produce to the market
from across the water, the Government built the Hard in 1827.
to Mrs Peters (The History of Pembroke Dock). An eyewitness stated that the work
of making the Hard was done by the men of the Dockyard, assisted by the marines,
and the materials used for it were the refuse stones and rubbish left from the
excavations made in forming or extending the Yard.
to this Hard were made by James Huzzey, the lessee of Pembroke Ferry, who
claimed the exclusive right of ferriage who summoned the Admiralty for
infringing on his rights. The case was heard at Haverfordwest and Mr Huzzey lost
1826 the Admiralty built the market hall
paying Pembroke Borough £3000 compensation
for the right to sell goods (this right had previously belonged solely to
the Freemen of Pembroke). The building cost £4630 5s 7d in 1827.
The foundation stone was laid in the
Further enhanced means of transport were implemented in the 1830s.
The Mail Service had previously run from
Milford Haven but it was decided to improve the roads to Pembroke Dock so as to
avoid the long hilly road from Narberth via Haverfordwest to
A large hotel, with stables, was built by the pier also a house for the Superintendent of Packets.
For many years after the Government placed a rope across the road once a year to preserve their rights.
1836 the new mail service started. The
Mails were brought from
In 1837 the service was taken over by
the Admiralty but by 1848 other routes to
A Steam ship service was introduced between Bristol and the Haven. Once a fortnight the “Frolic” a steam packet travelled from Haverfordwest, calling at Pembroke Dock, Milford and Tenby to Bristol. Unfortunately on 16th March 1831 she was wrecked on the Nash Sands. All 71 people on board died including several from Haverfordwest and the son and daughter of Mr. Henderson of Bangeston who was a local government contractor.
[Acc/to Mrs Peters.]
year 1830 the foundation stone or the pier at Hobbs Point was laid by Captain E.
J. Savage, R. E. The contractor was Mr. Hugh Mackintosh, of
Point it is believed is so named because a certain Mr.
Nicholas Hobbs once possessed land in this neighbourhood -
object of the Government in building the pier was to further the packet service
to the South of Ireland, through South Wales, and to make it more expedient for
the mail-coaches; but the public were not slow to see the great convenience of
such a landing place, and many applications were made for the use of the same.
Upon conditions these were granted, and to the present time the townspeople and
general public enjoy the privileges thus obtained. The Government once a year
place a rope across the road in order to preserve their rights.
time the pier nearly became lost to the public. 0n August 13, 1896, a deputation
of the Town Council Water Committee, with Mr. A. McColl as chairman, waited on
Mr. Austen Chamberlain, then Civil Lord of the Admiralty, relative to the water
supply of the town and the proposed closing of Hobbs Point Pier to the public.
plan of the laying on of the water had been shown and satisfactorily dealt with,
the matter of the closing of the pier was brought forward. Upon conditions the
deputation received an assurance that the closing order should be suspended for
six months. A second deputation, consisting of Messrs. McColl, Sketch, S. J.
Allen, and Hulm, again waited on Mr. Austen Chamberlain in March, 1897, with the
result that the closing order was extended to January l, 1898. In December,
1897, Mr. J. Allen, then Deputy Mayor was in London on private business, when
he found that, although the Corporation had made all the necessary arrangements
with regard to the water-supply, the Local Government Board, in whose hands it
then lay, had not so informed the Admiralty. They, thinking that the Corporation
were the defaulters, determined to issue the final closing order of Hobbs Point.
Mr. Allen saw Mr. Austen
Chamberlain, and placed the matter before him in the right light; consequently
the closing order was unconditionally withdrawn.
pier was completed, the
packets - viz., the
sailing packets were later discarded for small steamers named respectively the
Adder, Advice, Jasper, Prospero, Pigmy, Donkey and Viper. A reserve steamer, the
Firefly, was moored off Barn Lake in case of emergency.
coaches were drawn by four horses, which were changed at different
posting-houses on the road, and ran as far as
passengers for the royal mail-coaches became very scarce, and they ceased to run
to Hobbs Point. After that time the mails were carried by a four-horse coach to Narberth Road
(now called Clynderwen) where it met the royal mail. The coach was owned by a
man named Benjamin Davies and driven by his son-in-law John Thomas. After the
By 1831 the towns population was 3,076.
That was the year of the very hard fought parliamentary election between Sir John Owen of Orielton and Colonel Grenville of Milford. Haverfordwest was the polling station and large quantities of beer and food were supplied to influence the voters. Sir John’s supporters included the colliers, many of whom worked in his mines and for intimidation only, one would hope, they marched round with their picks on their shoulders. Of course the other side was supported too. Grenville’s supporters included the Shipwrights who entered the fray carrying their adze. Many fights were won by the Dockyardies. It is said that both gentlemen nearly ruined themselves with the expenses of this election which was won by Sir John Owen.
The old lock up stood at the top of Brewery Row. Reputed to have been a miserable den with an iron studded door, the inside was sufficiently terrorising to expiate the fault of any poor unfortunate prisoner who was incarcerated therein. Attached to the lock up was the local pound with a strong iron spiked gate.
A description of the town in 1834 reads:
Pembroke Dock, sometimes likewise called
PATER, or PATERCHURCH, is situated on the southern
There are twelve slips for ship-building, which is at present the only business carried on in the yard, though, from the low price of labour in this part of the country, and the facility of obtaining materials of all kinds, it is in contemplation to introduce other branches of labour for the naval service. There are at present on the stocks, and in different states of progress, the Royal William of one hundred and twenty guns ; the Rodney, of ninety two gun; the Forth, of forty-six guns; the Andromache, of twenty-eight; the Harrier, of eighteen; and the Cockatrice schooner: the number of men employed at present is about five hundred.
Besides the Government establishment there is a small private dock, and it is probable that the Irish packet establishment will be removed from Milford to this place, with a view to which alteration a very fine jetty is now being constructed at Hobbs Point, a few hundred yards to the east of the dock-yard, from which new roads have been formed, connecting it with the main road from Carmarthen, in a new line avoiding both Narberth and Haverfordwest, by which route the mail will save a distance of several miles.
About a mile to the east of the dock-yard is Pembroke ferry, belonging to the crown, and held by Sir John Owen, Bart., who underlets it at an annual rent of £200: it forms the shortest and most usual line of communication between Haverfordwest and Pembroke, the distance between which places by the ferry is only ten miles, but by Narberth twenty-five : the fares are one-halfpenny for a foot passenger, one penny for a man and horse, and one shilling per wheel for carriages.
The regularity of the streets suggests
at first sight that development took place in a much more structured way than
was the case. The reality was that numerous builders were engaged in the
process, and terraces were often formed by the coalescence of individual or
small clusters of houses, rather than built in their entirety by one person at
one time. This is revealed in the Registers of Building Plans which show that
many lessees and/or builders applied for building approval in a particular
street and that their applications were spread over months and sometimes years.
As an example, one of the present-day main thoroughfares - Dimond Street - was
built piece-meal, the south side of the street completed almost fifteen years
before the northern part. In Market St one plot was not built on till 1847 and
Princes St still had plots vacant in the 1840s.
For a long time the northern side retained a high, thorny hedge - an
incongruous sight in the centre of the thriving and developing town. By this
process, a town of over 11,000 inhabitants (that is, Pater Ward of Pembroke M.B.
in the 1901 Census) came into being during the nineteenth century. What was
built was not particularly impressive, rows of terraced houses of one or two
storeys with slate roofs. The town was built basically to accommodate large
numbers of workers in industrial employment. Most streets were lined by two
storey, single-fronted houses but showing some variation, especially over the
course of the century. In general, those built in the early days closest to the
waterfront and dockyard (such as Front Street, Brewery Street and Clarence
Street) were small and had plain facades. Those built later in the century,
while retaining the same overall structure, were larger in their internal
dimensions and had bay-windows. An interesting and distinctive form of
working-class housing was the use of the single storey cottage, particularly
characteristic of the outer parts of the town (for example, in High Street and Waterloo), where four rooms were built at street level.
Certain areas had far grander houses witness Officers Row, (
At this time every woman walking about the town had to wear clogs or pattens to keep their feet and dresses clear of the mud because the streets were not very well made up. At night a lantern was a necessity as piles of culm and slime for mixing into fuel, would very often be left in the street overnight. Water had to be fetched from wells and rain water collected in tanks. The Admiralty had their own supply having driven tunnels into Barrack Hill to collect it. They also purchased the right to the springs at Bethany Corner from Mr. Tregennis for £200 had piped it down to their reservoir at the top of Charlton Place. These springs had previously fed a stream running down, in a deep ravine, were Tregennis Hill is now. As the town grew, facilities followed. At the start there was skeleton shopping provision in Commercial Row, these included Trewent drapery shop, Clougher’s book shop, the Royal Oak Hotel and general shop kept by Nathaniel Owen, where at first the leading hands of the gangs used to distribute the wages; and Moores the Chemist. Friday St., so called, was where goods were sold before the Market was built. The name was later changed, in 1827 to Clarence St in honour of the visit of Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence (later William IV) who came to witness the launch of the “ Clarence”. With the towns spread westwards, the centre of commerce gradually shifted in that direction, until Queen Street and Dimond Street, and the spurs leading off them, became the main shopping artery.
After a period of stagnation the town had started spreading eastward in 1836 mainly due to the increase in size and therefore employment brought about by the Dockyard expansion.
Queen St East, part of
and Lewis St
were built about this time. It had been intended to build a row of better
houses up the
London Mail Coach arr. 12.34, dep. 01.32. distance 273 miles, Postal Charge 1/2d
free deliveries of letters daily.
Point was made a
additional 1/2d. charge.
Telford surveyed the Hobbs Point - St. Clears road as an alternative to the much
criticised Milford - St. Clears turnpike. In 1833 his road from Hobbs Point was
under construction but the funds held by the Turnpike Trust for completion
were inadequate and according to the 1846 Report of the Commissioners on
Highways in South Wales further moneys (the amounts quoted by different people
giving evidence to the Commission conflict) were secured against a charge to be
levied on letters carried from Ireland to South Wales. The 1/2d. surcharge Act
was passed on 22 June 1836 and applied to letters coming into Milford;.
Probable period of use Jul. 1836 to Dec. 1839.
Waterford Packet had to come to
first magistrates in the town were Dr,Thomas and Mr. Propert. Dr.Thomas resided
in Officers Row and subsequently in Charlton Place. He was also a Town
Properts house magisterial business was conducted. The house that he occupied
was the small one now adjoining Albion Square Chapel. It was at that time, with
the exception of the Albion House, the only building in the square. It had as at
present, a small court of grass and flowers in front, and in addition to this a
similar one at the side, which has since disappeared.
guardians of the peace were two or three constables.
One was a
retired sergeant named Gilfillan, another was Lipton and one was named George
Young, familiarly known as Old Young. The duties of these men were manifold, if
light. George Young also acted as sanitary inspector, for which duty he received
£5 a year. At the top of Brewery Row formerly stood the old lock-up. It was a
miserable den with a nail studded door. Attached to the lock-up was a small plot
of grass, secured by a strong iron spiked gate; this was the local pound. To the
delighted curiosity of small children very occasionally a stray quadruped might
have been seen inside.]
In 1843/4 Mr Edward Laws, Naval Storekeeper of Pembroke Dockyard and a trustee of the Bush Estate was selected as Mayor of the Borough, he was also the chief magistrate for Pembroke Dock.
The next one, in 1860, was Mr James Cocks a master mariner and timber merchant. He died age 89 in 1891.
In 1870 Samuel Jenkins an ex Dockyard official and landlord of the Victoria Hotel was Mayor (he later was landlord of the Bush Hotel) and he was followed in 1872 by William S Lewis a draper of Pembroke St.
The growth of the town depended on improvements inside the dockyard and the build-up of military support. The presence of the dockyard created the need for armed protection, and from the early years there was a military presence in the town. Early in the century they were housed in an old vessel but permanent barracks and fortifications were soon needed. The three most important developments for the overall shape of the town were the Defensible Barracks, the Pennar Barracks and the Llanion Barracks. Work started on the first in 1844 on the top of the hill - which became known as Barrack Hill - immediately behind the dockyard; the second was completed before the end of the century for the Royal Engineers; and the third replaced a hut encampment for the Crimean War at Llanion overlooking Hobbs Point.
With the demolishment of the houses by
the War Department to provide a clear field of fire from the Barracks, many who
had lived in Wesley Row,
But there were times of unemployment, and migration in and out.
1851 Census Pembroke Dock
Hawgood William (37) 474 - Shipwright - 23 Dimond St P/d born Dale
Martha (38)474 - wife - born Dale
Anne Jane (6) 474 -scholar - born P/D
Susannah (8) 474 -scholar - born P/D
Eleanor (11) 474 - scholar - born Milford
Henry (13) 474 - scholar - born Dale
Thomas (34) 406 Tailor Master - 14 Lewis St - Pembroke Dock - (was he one who became a Mormon)
Mary Ann (26) 406 - wife - born
Henry (5) 406 - scholar - born Dale
John (10m) 406 - born Marloes
Margaret (3) 406 - born Walywins Castle
Elizabeth Edwards - visitor - age 14 - unmarried - born Marloes
This part of the family emigrated to the
William Hawgood was blinded in one eye in the Dockyard and later became mine host at the London Coffee House, Picton Terr, Neyland.
Land was purchased at Llanion for the use of the army and a site near Hill Farm was also purchased with the intention of building a Military Hospital. Land was purchased at Pennar Point, a bridge built to connect Cross Park with Pennar, and a road built to connect this bridge with Pennar point. The original intension was to bridge the mouth of Pennar Gut and then continue the road linking all the Military Forts down to Angle.
The use of culm for fires going out of
fashion by the 1850s and a coal yard was established at the top of
By the end of the nineteenth century the main features of Pembroke Dock were in place,
(i) an enclosed naval dockyard, and associated fitting-out facilities on the waterway;
(ii) to the east of this yard a grid-iron town, with its streets (some spacious) lined by rows of terraced properties, these showing some variation in size and style. Residential development had also spread up the hill to the south, with streets leading off the road to Pembroke and towards Pennar;
(iii) Shopping facilities were located in Commercial Row and the Market House nearby, and along the main thoroughfares to the east, especially the Queen Street/Dimond Street axis;
(iv) large tracts of land at the edges were given over to military uses, most notably at Barrack Hill, Pennar and Llanion;
(v) the Pembroke and Tenby Railway, which had opened a station in Pembroke Dock in 1864, was extended through the town, cutting across some of its streets en route, into the dockyard, with a secondary spur to Hobbs Point, in the early 1870s.
Among notable buildings and services were the Mechanics Institute, Dimond St whose foundation stone was laid by Mrs Ramsey wife of Captain M Ramsey (Later Earl of Dalhousie) in June 1862. The land was leased by T C Meyrick for 99 years at 2s 6d per year. It contained a Reading room, a library of 3500 books and a small museum. Members paid 6d per week.
Mechanics Institute situated in Dimond street, the foundation stone of which was
laid June 2nd, 1862 contains a fine reading-room, which is well supplied with
the daily and weekly newspapers and periodicals: the library contains about
4,000 volumes, and there is a small museum in connection with it.
The Government Savings bank in the Market.
London and Provisional Bank situated at the corner of Dimond St opposite the Royal Hotel.
The Post office in Lower Meyrick St.
[Acc/to Mrs Peters.]
The first post-office, as may be expected, was a very unpretentious place of business. It was held in a small house on the site of the present building occupied by Mr. Henry Lewis, opposite the market house. The postmaster who kept it was a Mr. Tribble. The office was afterwards removed to the Mail-coach Hotel, Hobbs Point; from thence it was transferred to a house on the site of the present Pier Hotel. At both these last named places a Mrs. Williams did duty as postmistress. For a time she also kept it in Commercial Row, and while it was held as a general office at the Mail-coach Hotel, a post office branch, or receiving house, was, for the convenience of the public held at the stores of Mr Nathaniel Owen in Commercial Row. After this the post-office was for many years kept by the late Mr. George Thomas Husband of the Clarence Inn, at the top of Pembroke Street. Letters were delivered once daily at 7 pm. The office was finally removed to its present position in Meyrick Street North. Originally on this site stood a public-house called the Lamb and Flag kept by one Tom Harris, who was also a haulier; afterwards it passed into the possession of a Mr. Joseph Briggs, of the Bush Hotel; it was next to an office for the Great Western Railway Company before it was taken over by the Post Office authorities].
The Temperance hall in
The Albion Hall in
Kellys Directory 1884.
station was in
of Pembroke Dock ecclesiastical parish 1096 acres and the population in 1881 was
11,662. The Parish Clerk was Thomas Williamson.
1872 April 22nd
by Order made by Queen Victoria in the Royal Court at Windsor that on and after June 30th
1872 the County Court should be held at Pembroke Dock instead of Pembroke. The
County Court Room was next to the Victoria
Pennar became part of Pembroke Dock about 1870 and, at that time, was a thriving community with shops, pubs, places of worship, several smallholdings and allotments.
In 1875 the town was described as well
lit with gas and pretty regularly built. The principal streets are Dimond St,
Queen St East, Commercial Row, Pembroke St, Bush St, and Meyrick St.
The water supply other than that to the Government dwellings was from wells and by tanks attached to the houses. It was believed to be adequate by the town council.
The town had at that time two weekly newspapers The Pembroke Dock and Tenby Gazette and the Pembrokeshire Advertiser.
Acc/to J. A. Findlay writing 1875.
1871 census population nearly 12,000.
Inhabitants consisted principally of tradespeople and dockyard artisans and comprise persons from nearly all parts of the UK mainly brought hither by the Dockyard and the Garrison.
Districts of Pennar, Bufferland and Waterloo are the more recent additions to the Town
It was essentially an English speaking Community.
Principle Landowners: T C Meyrick Esq., Mark Antony Saurin of Orielton and the Government.
“Seen from the harbour the town makes
a considerable appearance. The Dockyard presents a chief feature with its lofty
and uniform range of tolerably handsome sheds covering the numerous slips whose
entrances are skirted by the waters of the Haven. Beyond it crowing the summit
of the hill to which they give their name stands the Defensible barracks. Away
to the left the continuous elevations of
Seem from the Barrack Hill looking to the North we see the Dockyard beneath us. The building sheds rise majestically and barrier like along the waters edge; while from their dark roofs most profusely skylights twinkle in the sunshine. To their right a long slender structure with its roof and portions of its sides composed wholly of glass (The Glass House) is not without some pretension to beauty. Extensive and imposing blocks of stone buildings occupying the middle of the yard-devoted to various purposes - next to arrest our notice and holding an elevated central position on one of these, the Clock is seen-from which the time of day is readily made out.
Nearer, fine plantations of high trees separate the well built officers residences from the parts just described. In the south-east corner stands the Chapel of the yard, with its small square-set tower surmounted by a cupola, and cross; and at our feet is the pretty entrance to the Establishment. All these catch the eye, and exquisitely combine to render this portion of the picture a most attractive and pleasing one.
Turning from the Dockyard we will now enumerate some of the objects which strike us as most prominent in the second part of the picture.
At the foot of the Hill are the National
Schools, containing a crowd of bright, happy-looking, and intelligent children;
and near to them the Victoria
Still further beyond, the wooden huts of the Military encampment dot the grassy slope which terminates in the Admiralty Pier at Hobbs Point, - where a pair of immense “sheer-legs”, form a fitting completion to the picture, which has now been described”.
Up till the 1880s the road connecting Pennar with Pembroke Dock was little more than a mud track a "bitter experience on dark damp nights" and down to Lower Pennar and the Ferry was described as "a double source of danger and disgrace". Soon after a decent road was constructed with the main aim of conveying goods and manpower the new Torpedo store at Pennar Point.
1881 The Corporation bought the Market hall from the Admiralty for £4000. The Corporation later covered it in.
In the latter part of the century there was much rebuilding. Many of the early houses which had become more or less slums were replaced. The old cottages of Nailers Lane, (Wellington St.) Back Cottages (Park St) and Front St. as well as Pigs Parade (Bush St) were some. The Admiralty sold its land in Pembroke St, Market St, Princes St, Cumby St and Victoria Rd making these sites freehold which encouraged owners to spend money replacing and refurbishing properties in these streets.
In 1884 according to Kellys directory 49 public houses are listed in as being in the town
1887 and 1889: Mr. William Seccombe the then Mayor had placed a number of seats on Barrack Hill.
Dock, or Pater, is a ward of the municipal borough
of Pembroke, from which it is distant by rail 2 and by road 3miles; in 1844 it
was formed into an ecclesiastical parish from St. Mary, Pembroke: the
inhabitants , consist chiefly of trades-people and dockyard artisans. The
government dockyard here possesses great natural advantages and occupies
8o acres of ground surrounded by a high wall with a formidable fort facing the
water, for its protection; on Barrack Hill, immediately behind (from which the
entire yard can be overlooked), are strongly fortified artillery barracks
mounting guns facing every point.
place, generally called “Little England beyond Wales," was originally a
farm with a house and church, then designated “Pater church," and was
the residence of William de Paterchurch, a follower of William the Conqueror: in
1812 surveys were made, and in 1814 the nucleus of the present government
dockyard establishment was formed.
Pembroke and Tenby Railway Company have a line direct into the yard, thus
avoiding the transhipment of heavy stores at the passenger station. Though the
vicinity abounds with magnificent views in land and seaboard scenery, Pembroke
Dock itself has few attractions for the visitor, except the government yard and
beautiful Haven, which is capable of floating the largest ships at neap tide and
across which steamers are continually plying to and from Neyland (or New
Milford) in connection with the Great Western railway station, which is situated
at the end of Dimond street, and
affords communication with every part of the North of England and the Midlands
by the Central Wales line.
Kellys Directory 1884.
Mr John Arlow
Mr Henry Banner
Mr George Cousins (he was also a baker)
Queen St East
Mr Henry Elliot
16 Prospect Place
Mr William Emmerson
South Meyrick St
Mr James Findlay
17 Water St
Mr Samual Frise
Mrs Catherine Gibby
Mr Robert Court Griffiths
1 Victoria Terr
Mr Richard Hall
South Park St
Mrs Mary Hancock
Miss Emily Hussey
Queen St West
Mr William Hyde
Queen St East
John McBean (also boot maker)
Mr John Meyrick
Mr David Nicholas
Mr William Page
Mrs Jane Louisa Price
Arms Lower Meyrick St
Mr Albert Saxby
Queen St East
Mr Sydney Webb (also photographer)
Mr John Williams
travelling companies of players acted in wooden theatres at the lower end of the
cottages of Lewis Street, where, among other dramas, the tragedy of Maria Martin
was enacted in all its horrors, and was a favourite play, being at that time
quite up-to-date. One of the most patronised of these theatres was known as
Cardonis. Following these, other temporary playhouses have stayed here at
recently the Queens Theatre has been erected in Queen Street East; the
proprietor is Mr. Walter Canton.
circus was the first that came to the town, and made a great display. Waxwork
shows and travelling menageries were sources of much wonder and delight, and for
many years stood in the Station Field. This field has almost entirely
disappeared; Apley Terrace and Hawkestone Road
cover the greater part of it.
travelling show that visited the town some years ago was very amusing. A
loud-voiced showman invited the public inside to see a living head without a
body, which was picked up rolling down the sandy plains of Africa. The deluded
person who paid the modest entrance fee of twopence was rewarded by seeing the
head fixed in a box-like arrangement which hid the lower part of the body of a
local celebrity, best known by the name of Pyot, the dialect word for the
roundabout that visited Pembroke Dock was pushed round by boys, who for this
work were rewarded by getting a free ride after a certain number of turns. An
improvement on this was the whirligig, which was manipulated by some person.
After this came the roundabout worked by a pony, then the steam-horses, finally
leading up to the gorgeous gondolas and moving animals belonging to Mr. H. Studt.
These latest improvements in the way of whirligigs and the revolving gondolas -
Venice on land - are each accompanied by a powerful organ; the motive power
which produces the music is the same as that which drives the other mechanism,
and the illuminant is electricity. Mr Studt represents a family who for many
years have paid occasional visits to the neighbourhood. He is well known for his
generosity in assisting many local charities.
On May 14,
1904, Colonel Cody (Buffalo Bill) brought his gigantic show of the Wild West
here, and his North American Indian, Cossack, and other daring riders. They gave
their magnificent display of horsemanship and marvellous shooting in a large
field nearly opposite Bierspool Farm.
early eighties bicycle races were held in the streets of the town, the cycle
being then the old high-wheeler; some time after these races took place, a
cycle-track was made on the ground leading from the Fort Road to old Pater
Battery. June 28, which was then kept as a holiday, being the Coronation day of
Barrack Hill, the cricket-field, and the field opposite Bierspool, all come in
for a fair share of patronage in an athletic way. But in addition to these
places, the athletes of the town have now a splendid ground for football,
cricket, and other games, situated on a piece of Government land opposite the
County Intermediate School. The ground was leased at a low rental on condition
that sports and other amusements were to be held there, but that it was not to
be let to any circus or travelling show. The Athletic Ground is greatly
appreciated by the young men of the town.
three tennis clubs, and courts laid out for the game at Llanion, Bierspool, and
processions have been formed in connection with the different societies, such as
those of the past in which the Foresters took part in their gay regalia and
feathered hats; and of the Rechabites, who, when they paraded the streets in the
seventies of the last century, never marched without carrying aloft on a stick a
small cask, open from end to end, showing, to use an Irishism, this best way of
filling it. But besides, and without taking into account political
demonstrations, Pembroke Dock people have witnessed many sights of interest in
their town. There is a tradition that, when King George IV, died, the day of his
funeral was observed by a procession of people, who marched round the Market
Place and through the few streets that were then built in the town. Queen
centenary of Wesleyan Methodism in 1839 was commemorated by a demonstration of
Sunday-school children connected with this denomination - each child received on
the occasion a medal to mark the event.
14, 1849, the royal yacht, the first Victoria and Albert, with Queen Victoria,
accompanied by the late Prince Consort, the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII),
and the Princess Royal (the late Empress of Germany), came into Milford Haven.
Queen Victoria appeared on the deck of the vessel, attired in a dress of a dark
material, with a white shawl loosely thrown around her shoulders, and wearing a
white straw bonnet trimmed with blue, and with blue strings. Numbers of small
boats put out to see the yacht, and Earl Grey, in response to the cheering of
the people in them, brought His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to the side
of the yacht for them to see. He was dressed in a sailor suit, with a broad
white hat. A Welsh girl, habited in native costume, went on board the royal
yacht, with a present of butter for Queen
7, 1858, the coming of age celebrations of Thomas Charlton Meyrick, Esq., (now
Sir Thomas Meyrick, Bart. C.B) took place. A dinner was held at the
Consort died on December 14, 1861. The sad news did not arrive in the town until
the following day (Sunday). The body of the late Prince was interred at Windsor
on December 23 (afterwards removed to Frogmore), and Pembroke Dock, together
with other places in the kingdom, observed the day as one of national mourning.
marriage of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark took
place on March 10, 1864, and was, of course, the occasion of much rejoicing. The
children from the various Sunday-schools assembled together and marched through
the Dockyard and principal streets of the town, headed by the Rechabite band.
The band of the volunteers also accompanied the procession. This regiment held a
grand parade and review on the Barrack Hill that day. All the children were
decorated with a white silk ribbon rosette, bearing in the centre portraits of
the Prince and Princess. The houses were illuminated in the evening - one house
in Prospect Place noticeably so, having fixed to it a large Prince of Wales’
plume lighted by gas. There was a bonfire on the Barrack Hill. A ball was held
at the Victoria Hotel the same night. The Robert Raikes centenary of
Sunday-schools was celebrated on June 28, 1880. It was a date to be remembered
by the children in the town. Hundreds of them, accompanied by bands, marched
from Albion Square, through the Dockyard and the principal thoroughfares,
forming a gay pageant as they walked, wearing their bright centennial medals.
They disbanded and went to their Sunday-schools for tea, afterwards meeting on
the Barrack Hill,
1887, the Jubilee demonstration commemorated on Tuesday, the fifty years reign
of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria. A huge procession, headed by the 8lst Loyal
North Lancashire military band, formed between
death of Prince Albert Victor, the late Duke of Clarence, on January 14, 1892,
and his funeral, which took place at Windsor on January 20th were befittingly
commemorated at Pembroke Dock. On the day his remains were interred an
impressive service was held at St. John’s Church, when the Mayor and
Corporation and representatives of the army and navy were present. The sermon
was preached by the Rev. W.R. Lloyd, then curate in charge. On July 6, 1893, the
occasion of the marriage of the Duke of York and Princess Mary of Teck, Pembroke
Dock was decorated and illuminated. On the Barrack Hill, a bonfire was lighted,
and fireworks were set off by Mr. K. McAlpin and Mr. Joseph Tucker, of
Commercial Row. Many of the townspeople wore a white rose, the York emblem, on
celebrations of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on Tuesday, June 22, 1897,
were carried out on much the same lines as on Jubilee Day, 1887. The Sunday
schools assembled in a field east of
procession started the Sunday-school officers distributed medals to the
children; then God save the Queen and God bless the Prince of Wales were sung.
The same marshals were in attendance as in 1887, with the addition of Mr. James
Eastlake Thomas. Inside the grounds of the Dockyard the English and Welsh
National Anthems were sung, after which the children proceeded in marching order
to the Barrack Hill, where All hail the power of Jesus Name, the National Anthem
and the Doxology were again unitedly sung under the direction of Mr. Fred
Sanders, and conducted by Mr. D. A. Andrews. The children afterwards dispersed to
their own schools.
It is not
to be expected the town has escaped all calamity. January 1866, Bush House, at
that time the residence of Mr. Meyrick, the owner of the estate, was burnt down.
The fire broke out at five o’clock in the evening through some inadvertence.
A beam in the chimney caught fire. There was a strong westerly breeze going at
the time, which fanned the flames and caused them to spread quickly. The
Dockyard men living in the district of Pembroke, who were returning home from
work, rendered great assistance, as did also the soldiers of the 6th Royal
Warwickshire Regiment, but all to no purpose, as far as saving the mansion went,
although they were able to remove many valuables to places of safety. The fire,
happily, was not accompanied by any loss of life.
biggest fire that has occurred in the early town was that which destroyed the
Emporium drapery establishment in Bush Street, then owned by the late Mr. David Jenkins. About ten o’clock on the night of
July 12, 1880, the first alarm was given. The flames increased so rapidly that
they grew beyond control, and the whole of the house was soon on fire, and was
completely burned. Unfortunately, a young man named Richards, an assistant in
the business, lost his life in the burning building.
premises now known as Morriss Temperance Hotel was once an outfitters shop, and
as such was greatly damaged by fire.
drapery business of Mr. Thomas Phelps, which was at one time carried on in
Commercial Row, suffered greatly from a destructive fire. The conflagration
spread until it reached the ironmongery establishment of Mr. J. Phillips next
door, and did immense mischief. In consequence of this fire both these
businesses were discontinued.
threatened the destruction of Mr. J. Hancock’s drapery establishment, in
Dimond Street, but, fortunately, it was subdued before it had taken too great a
unfortunate daughters of the late Mr. William Henderson, of Bangeston House,
lost their lives by the foundering of a steam packet called the Frolic, which
was wrecked off the Nash Sands (Glamorganshire), September, 1831. This ship was
comparatively new, having only been in use about a year for trading every
accident, resulting in the loss of nine lives, happened on Friday afternoon,
February 8, 1889. It was market day and the weather was very stormy. The
market-women were returning home across Bentlass Ferry, and the boat was heavily
laden, with, amongst other things, a sack of flour. While proceeding across the
water, just before reaching the other side, the boat capsized with all her
living freight, and the seven women and two men of whom it consisted were
drowned. The sadness of the disaster was added to by the thought that they were
within one would have surmised, such easy reach of help, and the tide, at the
time was but at low ebb.
volunteer fire-brigade was formed in the town in 1897, and paraded for the first
time in the Mayors (Mr. William Davies) Procession to Albion Square
Congregational Church in 1898. It also marched in Alderman McColls mayoral
procession in 1900 to St. Andrews Chapel, and likewise took part in the
historical pageant in Coronation year, 1902. The late Mr. D. Hughes Brown, Mrs.
J. Allen, and Mr. McColl were the first promoters of this fire-brigade. By 1906
because of lack of support, the fire-brigade was disbanded.
It was not
until the year 1861 that a purely local newspaper was started in the town. Until
this time the only one bearing on any local matters was the Pembrokeshire
Herald, which was in existence in 1844, and is still flourishing (published at
Haverfordwest by Mr. J. T. Morris).
Electric News, started in 1855 in the year 1870 became incorporated with the
year 1861 the late Mr. W.G. Phillips founded the Pembroke Dock and Tenby Gazette
- now called the Pembroke Dock and Pembroke Gazette - as a Liberal paper. This
weekly newspaper, issued every Thursday at one penny, was started in
Pembroke Dock and Pembroke Gazette was followed by the Pembrokeshire Advertiser,
and by the Free Press, which strictly speaking was a Pembroke paper, but which
contains much Pembroke Dock news, and had a large sale in the town. The
proprietor was Mr. Ivor Ward Davies.
Pembrokeshire Times began its existence as the Tenby Telephone, and was for some
time edited in Bush Street, Pembroke Dock, by Mr. William C. Harris. It was printed by Mr. Alfred Cozens,
station-master at Lamphey.
1880 and 1882 a halfpenny paper existed for a short time only. It was called the
Pembroke Dock Express.
Pembroke Dock Journal was first published on January 24, 1901. It was started as
a penny weekly paper, afterwards for a short while it was sold for a halfpenny,
but after a few months reverted to its original price. The paper is published
Wednesday at the Journal office, North Meyrick Street, by its owner, Mr. W. G. Dobson.
Post was the Conservative local paper. First published from the Weekly Post
offices in Bush Street, January, 1904, edited by Messrs. John Thomas and Son.
profession was represented in the town by Mr. H.A. Jones-Lloyd, solicitor
(offices Bush Street, Mr. F.W. Merriman of the firm of Messrs. George Thomas and
Merriman, solicitors (offices, 11 Meyrick Street North). Mr. W.G. Wynne, son of
Major Wynne of Mellaston, has recently been admitted a solicitor and has
purchased the practice of the late Mr. D. Hughes Brown of Meyrick Street North.
Mr. F. S. Reed, solicitor of Pembroke, has an office in Dimond Street of this
members of the medical profession are: Dr. H. D. Reynolds, MRCS., LRCP.; Dr. E.
Saunders, MRCS., LSA.; Dr.Geoffrey Stamper, MRCS. LSA.; Dr. R. H. Williams, MRCS.
Dr. W. B.
Wall, MRCS., LRCP., of Pembroke has a consulting-room at Pembroke Dock.
Over the course of the century its population grew far outstripping the neighbouring town of Pembroke. It had a very mixed population in terms of origin in that while a large part of it was drawn from the locality - born and bred Pembrokeshire people - there were significant numbers of families from much further afield, particularly those with craft skills who had come from other dockyards in Britain, and those who were billeted at the barracks and remained.
However, all was not well in 1914, when
the centenary of the town was marked by a programme of celebrations, which
included the unveiling of a monument in
The announcement was made on 2 September 1925 that the dockyard would close, and, despite protests and deputations, the closure order was implemented the following year. The impact was considerable - the raison d’être of the settlement had been eliminated.
The closing of the Yard in 1926 hit
Pembroke Dock hard. Many of the skilled craftsmen left the area, unemployment
was rife and there was less opportunity for the trade training of the young men
of the area as well as the loss of the educational excellence of the
Some skilled tradesmen were taken on by other dockyards while many others drifted away in search of work.
Amongst those who remained, unemployment was rife, for there was no real substitute for the dockyard. Partial salvation came in the early 1930s with the establishment of an RAF flying-boat base there. But, even in 1937, the number of insured persons registered at the Labour Exchange was 2,590 and of these 53.7 per cent were unemployed. The whole town had looked to the Dockyard and only three areas in South Wales had higher percentages of unemployment.
Fortunately, the military presence was retained, and strengthened in one respect with the conversion of the eastern part of the yard into a flying boat base by the Royal Air Force in 1930.
Another visitor who stayed awhile was the German Spy William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) who lodged at 26 London Rd.
The Second World War consolidated the town’s military role with all of the armed services using it as a base or as a fuel depot. This military function was a double-edged sword for it attracted the attention of the German air force, and the town and its fuel tanks suffered badly from bombing.
Pembroke Dock, with
The war left the town with many scars; 122 houses were not rebuilt out of 203 severely damaged by bombing.
Considerable repair work was carried out with the help of the War Damage Commission
The slow task of rebuilding a bomb scarred town began in the late 1940s. There were many reminders of what the Dock had gone through in the war years, like the discovery of an incendiary bomb in the top storey of a house in King Street. The Guardian reported: This house was badly damaged on 11th June 1941 and some repairs are now being made ....
The Temperance Hall was later rebuilt as the Pater Hall and is now the offices of Pembroke Dock Town Council.
A prefab estate was built at Britannia
and from 1946 to 1949 three large housing estates were constructed in Pennar, at
Hawkstone Road and the Green, Pembroke, then part of Pembroke Docks Llanion
The new vigour injected by the 1939-45
War was not to last and the post war period witnessed the steady closure of the
various military installations - the RAF base in the dockyard, the army barracks
and the naval fuelling facilities. Three factories were established at
However, by the late 1950s the full impact of these closures on the economy of the town was in part cushioned by the other developments which were occurring around the Milford Haven waterway. Large numbers of jobs were created in the construction and operation of oil-based industries and residents of Pembroke Dock, like many other local settlements, were drawn to the new plants for work. To an extent it became a dormitory town, offering little employment within its own confines, beyond its shopping, transport and general service functions.
Some relief came to the area in the 1960s when Ferry Lane was chosen as the site of a large factory to manufacture nuts and bolts.
The Barracks and the land attached to it were sold in 1967 by the Ministry of Defence to the District Council and leased by them for a period of 60 years to the South Pembrokeshire Golf Club.
Communications between the north and
south of Pembrokeshire always had been complicated by the Milford Haven
Waterway. The car ferry link between Hobbs Point and Neyland was the shortest
route to the county town of Haverfordwest. 10 miles
as against 22 miles for the
road journey via Carew and Canaston
But the project was overshadowed by an
accident on the Pembroke Ferry side, where a section of the bridge collapsed
during construction work and four men were killed. It was some 18 months before
work re-commenced and the new
By this time, the new county
June 1975 an area of the older houses in Pennar which had been considered for
clearance was declared a housing action area with the aim of improving the
housing in the area for the benefit of the inhabitants.
New community and town councils were also created. But it was not until 1986 that Pembroke Dock gained its own town council, under later Boundary Commission proposals.
During the period 1983-86, South Pembrokeshire District Council concentrated resources on repair and improvement grants. Housing action areas were set up and over 1,600 repair and over 1,100 improvement grants were processed to the great benefit of the older houses of South Pembrokeshire. A substantial number of these grants were made to homes in Pembroke Dock.
The town had been boosted in 1979, with
the inauguration of the B&I ferry service between Pembroke Dock and Southern
Ireland. But, sadly, in 1983 the company ended its service to
The fortunes of Pembroke Dock have, in recent years, fluctuated with the fortunes of the oil industry. One result has been the development of new specialist construction and fabrication skills among the local workforce, leading to the establishment of local engineering companies.
The run-down of major contracts encouraged South Pembrokeshire District Council to seek to diversify local employment opportunities.
In April 1984, an Enterprise Zone was
established with six sites in Pembroke Dock. Priority was given to land
acquisition, the removal of eyesores and the provision of proper industrial
services and factory units. The derelict fuel storage tanks at Llanion and
The old wooden barracks at
Near Hobbs Point, a wide range of
activities was carried out at the Offshore Centre of the Mainport Group. This
base was established in 1974 and had served as the supply base for
Near Hobbs Point, a wide range of
activities was carried out at the Offshore Centre of the Mainport Group. This
base was established in 1974 and had served as the supply base for
In 1986, work commenced on a new deep-water port in the Dockyard and there was a proposal to build a rail-link container terminal on part of the Bierspool Enterprise Zone to operate in conjunction with this new port. The construction of the port has involved the removal of nearly 200,000 cubic metres of rock and sand from the dock frontage, giving a water depth of 7.6 metres. A 198 metre pier head will be capable of receiving ships of up to 228.6 metres long. Unfortunately in 1992 the company running it ran into financial difficulties.
The Dockyard is the base of the Milford Port Authority’s subsidiary company, Marine and Port Services, which provides for ships stores, rope running, jetty teams and can carry out boat repairs.
In May 1948, the Pembroke Dock branch of RAFA officially formed and took over their new HQ, a hut in Cumby Terrace given by the Station, CO. Group Captain R.V. Brougham. The building was named Brougham Hall after the C.O.
of the past
In the grounds of the Health Centre is a small stone plinth with the legend P & T R C commemorating the PEMBROKE & TENBY RAILWAY COMPANY in 1864,
In the middle of the roundabout, is a small brick building which contained pumping machinery, next to the Police Station is the CRITERION CORNER. Two hotels, the Pier and the Criterion, stood here. One night during the last war, an aerial mine demolished both buildings, with great loss of life.
General Gordon (who was slaughtered at
Old Grammer School (1904) - the Coronation.
Old Town Cemetery, Park St headstone (in the north west corner) of Captain Cumby, who fought with great valour at the battle of Trafalgar, in which Nelson was killed.
Co-op Building (1892).
from record D/LLO in County Records Office Haverfordwest
The Orielton estates in Pembroke Dock (Pennar and Llanreath) and Monkton formerly the possessions of the Owen Family were purchased in 1856 & 1857 by Miss Jane Martha Jones of Cilwendeg, with part of the compensation money paid by the Government for the Skerries Lighthouse of Anglesey (D/LLO/284)
These estates and the Cilwendeg estate passed to her niece Margaretta Sutton Saurin wife of Mark Antony Saurin.
In March 1947 during a dreadful winter, Pembrokeshire was lashed by hurricane strength gales, 90 mph gusts being recorded at RAF Pembroke Dock. A Sunderland was one casualty after, it is believed, a collision with a small craft.
The New Year of 1948 was ushered in at
And in September 1948 the RAFAs Battle of Britain Ball was held in the RAF sports hangar. The Battle of Britain Queen that year was Miss Rona Hill, 1/lst Avenue, Britannia Estate.
Other Shipbuilding and Industries in the Area:
1700s shipbuilding in Pembroke River near Bentlass.
1700s Shipbuilding and boat building at Pembroke Ferry by the Allen Family.
1780 “Prince of Wales” built for the Admiralty at what is now Neyland.
1784 “Triumph” built for the Admiralty in same yard.
Mr. William Robinson.
In Pembroke Dock the first yard was that
of Mr. William Robinson in
1850s Mr. Richard Allen had a yard on the west side of Water St. He built the Arethusa for Captain Pring of Brixham.
1856 Mr. Allen formed a partnership with
Mr. James Warlow. The firm called Allen and Warlow built vessels until
1868.Among them was the Carmarthenshire the first merchant vessel to enter Yokohama
In 1868 the firm became Allen and Long for about three years. Then Richard Allen and Son, Shipbuilders. The firm was appointed contractors to the Trinity Brethren for the repair of Lightships and were also Admiralty Contractors. They built and operated a steamer called Wave which ferried people to and from Landshipping and other places on route on a Friday for Pembroke Dock market.
1873 Richard Allen died and his son Mr. S R Allen JP inherited, he moved the business to Lower Meyrick St.
1858 1860 Messrs McMaster and Co built
1873 1879 The Pembroke Dock Co Operative Shipbuilding Co employed about 100 men on the site at the bottom of Meyrick St. They failed and the vessel on the Stocks was completed by McMasters and Co.
1888 Messrs J & W Francis Shipbuilders of Milford started a business at Front St.
Saw Mills Front St.
Established by Mr. A.B. Harris who took over the saw pits of Mr. William Robertson Timber Merchant and Shipbuilder.
It was sold to Messers McMasters & Co and then to Messers Robinson Davis & Co of Cardiff present owners Jewsons,
Jacobs Pill Pennar: In 1874, the Milford Haven Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. Ltd (Jacobs Pill), leasing land and properties from the Orielton Estate. This Company had a very impressive Board of Directors including Admiral Lord Clarence Paget as Chairman, Sir William Brett as Secretary, Mr. E. Reed MP, E Barry RA, JT Emmerson JP and J Hall. A large shipbuilding Yard commenced at Jacobs Pill and built the Hei Yei a corvette for the Japanese Navy launched in 1877. Another ship built there was the Acorn. The last work carried out was the building of a Caisson for the Government, the yard closed in 1884. [acc/to the estate map the yard was on the Pennar side of Jacobs Pill].
Deeds D/LLO/59 66 County Records Office
Haverfordwest Milford Haven Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd (Jacobs Pill)
leased many properties in
Company went into liquidation in 1885 as part of the liquidation settlement the company assigned to Saurin its foreshore right in front of Fleet St. which it had acquired from the Board of Trade.
Thomas Cromwell in 1539 proposed the fortification of the Haven and two blockhouses were started at Angle and Dale but not completed.
In 1595 George Owen prepared a plan for the fortification of the Haven but it was not carried out.
1643 Richard Steele, a royalist engineer constructed Pill Fort near Milford Haven - it did not hold out for long.
In 1689 The Privy Council discussed the problem of the defence of the haven and an engineer was sent to survey the area but no further action was taken.
In 1748 Lewis Morris carried out a survey of shipwrecks and navigation in the haven and suggested that a small fort be built on Stack Rock - nothing was done.
1757 Lt. Col. Bastide (Director of Engineers was sent to survey the area and advise on suitable sites for forts and batteries.
He suggested - Dale point, Great Castle Head, West Angle, Popton Point, Paterchurch and Neyland and a floating battery anchored 500yds north of Chapel Bay. The effective range of the cannon was about 500yds so there were areas not covered.
An alternative plan provided for a fort at Paterchurch point, one at Llanion Point and one at Neyland. The Ordinance department was put in charge of construction and land purchased. Only one the Paterchurch fort was started but it was not completed. The Paterchurch fort that was started stretched from the Carr Rocks to the foot of St. Patricks Hill and the walls were built in the form of a zigzag with a total area of 10 acres. When the remains of this fort were demolished in 1836 during an expansion of the yard, the masonry of parts was so good that it to be blown up to remove it.
From 1801 to 1803 batteries of guns were sited at Milford Haven to defend the dockyard one at Hakin Point and one on the site of St. Katherine’s Church. It is not recorded what guns were actually sited there.
With the Dockyard moving to Pater in consideration was given to fortifying the area and in 1830 work was carried out at Pater Fort. It was garrisoned in 1831 but in 1836 it was dismantled. No record is available as to what armament was installed.
In 1840 work was started by the
Admiralty of the Paterchurch Battery and completed in 1842 and mounted 23 guns.
It was taken over by the Ordinance Department in 1855 and renovated in
accordance with plans drawn up by Lt Gordon of the Royal Engineers. Until 1855
it was only entered through a gateway via the Dockyard and in charge of a Naval
Gunner. The last one was a Mr
Turner. It was used by the Royal Dockyard Battalion from 1847 to 1857 and in
that year, on its being taken over by the Ordinance Department a gateway was
made so as to allow entry to the
For the army garrison the defensible barracks was erected above the town work commenced in 1844 and the army took possession on 25th November 1845. This barracks was not designed to mount artillery but a Gun was fired daily at noon and at 9.30 pm from it.
This needed according to the original plans a clear field of fire with no buildings encroaching on it surrounding the Barracks and the War department drew up proposals to clear all building to Llanreath at the west, to the stream of water running at the south and east of Cross Park, to the road at Tregennis Hill (all the houses built on the west side) and down to Victoria Rd on the north.
Farmer Whites house and all the farm
buildings were the first to be cleared as the lease had expired. All the other
buildings were held on leases with unexpired portions and the tenants were asked
to sell. It would appear that
pressure was brought to bear on many of the tenants especially those who were
working for the Admiralty and the houses were demolished. All the houses on the
west side of Tregennis Hill, much of
Two were constructed between 1849 -57 either side of the dockyard. One to the South West, was designed to accommodate 1 x 32pounder + 4 x 12 pounder brass howitzers and the other by Front street, 3 x 32 pounders.
Pennar Torpedo Stores and Magazine near Pennar Point.
Submarine mining experiments were carried out and all the equipment necessary to mine the haven was stored here.
In 1875 Findlay records:
The Garrison comprises Artillery infantry of the line and forms part of the 24th Brigade depot. The total number of men of all ranks, including those in charge of the forts down the Haven, is about 1,500, the larger portion of which occupies the Hut Encampment and the Defensible Barracks.
The Hut Encampment is situated upon a acclivity on the north-east side of the town. It was formed about the time of the late Crimean War. It consists of a large number of huts, built chiefly of wood, arranged in parallel lines - those of the officers standing separately from those of the non-commissioned officers and men and those devoted to hospital purposes from both.
A large stone-built residence for the doctor - formerly used as a hospital, a fine brick canteen and a splendid gymnasium; besides schools, ball-court, etc. There is also a capital parade ground, with plenty of space for field, exercises, and a most capacious magazine for the storage of the War material necessary for the troops in this district.
The Defensible Barracks, standing on the summit of a hill overlooking the town, are always most conspicuous and striking objects. They are visible at a distance of, several miles. From their elevated position, they command the town - a large portion of which lies at the foot of the hill, the harbour, and the country in all directions: they would in case of actual necessity be well adapted for purposes of defence.
They are strong and well-constructed buildings, erected in the year 1844, occupying an area of 6,000 square yards. The outworks are strengthened by ramparts, loopholes, for small arms, and an entrenchment thirty feet wide and twenty feet deep. The outer boundary of the entrenchment was formerly unenclosed, which made it very unsafe for persons approaching it after night had set in; and during the first occupation of the defences by detachments of the Royal Marines (Plymouth Division) some twenty-eight or thirty years ago, several unfortunate members of that corps lost their lives through falling into it, as the grave-stones erected to their memory in the Old Burial Ground only too truly testify.
The barracks, occupying the centre of the works enclose a large quadrangular area and are reached by a drawbridge. The Royal Artillery has for many years occupied them. The armament at present consists of twenty four pounders (used only for firing salutes), likely shortly to be replaced by much heavier ordinance. From here a gun is fired morning and evening - sunrise and sunset - daily throughout the year, as is usual in most garrison towns.
Pater Battery is situated at the
1899 quarters for married artillerymen were built on the east side of the Barracks on the site of some very old cottages.
The need to garrison regular troops on a permanent basis did not arise until the establishment of the Admiralty dockyard at Pembroke in 1814. Originally the Yard was under the care of caretakers, then a small force under a naval lieutenant was formed.
Eventually it was decided to protect the yard with a force of 500 Royal Marines. These men were to be accommodated in HMS Dragon, a hulk deliberately run ashore near the developing dockyard. This accommodation was used until the Defensible Barracks were opened. Work on Defensible, which overlooked the dockyard, had commenced in 1844 and possession was taken at 3 p.m. on 25 November 1845. This was signalled to the spectators by the hoisting of the Union flag; meanwhile, the workmen who had been employed in the construction enjoyed a substantial dinner. When the barracks were ready for occupation the Marines, drawn from the Plymouth, Portsmouth and Woolwich Divisions, gratefully moved in.
The Royal Dockyard Battalion.
This was a force of volunteers formed from the Dockyard employees. It is believed that every man who was fit in the Yard, except for one, volunteered. It was raised in 1847 and consisted of eight companies of artillery and infantry combined and one company entitled the boat brigade. The salaried Yard Officers formed the Officers of the battalion and the instructors were professional soldiers. The Yard Officers appointed the non-commissioned Officers from among the volunteers. The uniform consisted of a blue frock coat and trousers, red facings, brass buttons and a spiked helmet. They drilled for two hours, twice a week and were paid sixpence an hour. Some afternoons were given over to target practice and once a year a field exercise was held to which the general public were admitted. Blank ammunition was used for these field exercises but there was the one occasion when a ramrod was fired off by mistake narrowly missing the Commanding Officer.
practice by the infantry was much encouraged by setting apart certain afternoons
during the summer months for the purpose. The place selected for the firing was
Llanreath Point, just a little to the west of Mr. David Price’s house. The
target was fixed along the beach to the south.
deal of rivalry existed between the companies which was fostered by the officers
in giving prizes, and it was a remarkable fact that the company possessing the
greatest number of shipwrights was the premier shooting company. The leaden
bullet used at that time was five-eights of an inch in diameter.
the regiment by boats, which also conveyed the field guns, was the normal
practice. One occasion stands out.
Field Day in the summer o 1853 was announced to be a special one. The troops
were to be conveyed across the water with every equipment for service. The day
arrived with a beautifully fine morning, which induced thousands of spectators
to cross over to Neyland,
after the Crimean War, it was decided that the Battalion had outlived its
usefulness and it was disbanded.
BUTTON REVEALS ITS SECRET. BY ROY LEWIS.
an appeal for help in tracing the history of the Royal Dockyard battalion
button, readers of the Western Telegraph were quick to respond, and thanks to
their interest and co-operation the following account has emerged.
BATTALIONS ARE RAISED.
lst 1848 permission was granted to raise a new Defence Force under General Order
No 586, the title of this force was the Dockyard Corps raised specifically for
the defence of Ports where Royal Dockyards were located. These were Portsmouth,
Devonport, Sheerness, Chatham, Woolwich, Malta and Pembroke Dock.
latter the 8th Battalion was raised from volunteers employed in the Dockyard and
comprised sections specialising in gunnery, military engineering and boatwork.
The guns used were those left by the Pater Artillery Volunteer Corps who had
operated out of the Pater Fort, before being disbanded to make way for the new
salaried Yard officers formed the Officers of the 8th Battalion, and the first
Commanding Officers were also Superintendents of the Yard, the first was Colonel
Gordon Thomas Falcon, followed by Colonel Robert Smart.
officers who served throughout the life of the 8th Battalion were, Major George
Chiles, Major Richard Bonniwell, Captain John Davidson, Captain James Edwards,
Captain Richard Kneebone, Captain Robert P Saunders, Acting Captain Robert
Harwood, Acting Captain William Cambell.
Walter Gillie, Lt. John Venning, Lt. James Potter, Lt. Alister Andrew McAlpin,
Lt. Henry Tremain, Lt. William Edward Seccombe.
uniform was designed for the Battalion, and when on parade they presented a
grand sight as it consisted of a double breasted tunic of a super fine blue
cloth with red collars and cuffs, 15 gilt buttons bearing the inscription
"Royal Dockyard Battn" with fouled anchor and a cypher VR in two rows
down the front, their original head dress was a blue shako which was later
changed for a spiked helmet.
Officers wore a 31 inch blade sword which bore the inscription "Royal
Dockyard Battn" and the men were issued with a sword bayonet and the
Brunswick rifle which was the first breech loading rifle adopted by the army in
AND FIELD EXERCISES.
with all the other Dockyards, training was carried out after normal working
hours, and usually involved attendance for two hours twice a week.
encourage the Volunteers they were paid 6d an hour.
practice for the men was encouraged setting aside afternoons in the Summer
months for that purpose. The place selected far these firings was Llanreath
point, and targets fixed along the beach.
year field exercises were held to which the public were admitted In 1853 a
special day was announced, this exercise was to be held across the Haven on a
field at the Gale near Great Honeyborough.
In 1857 it
was decided that the Royal Dockyard Battalions were no longer required, and with
the exception of
Pembroke Dock Battalion were disbanded the Pater Volunteer Artillery Corps were
reformed, and they continued to serve until 1861.
Dockyard battalions were never intended to be used as front line troops, their
primary task was to defend the Dockyards, but in the event of invasion they were
expected to assist the Coastal Defence Units.
grateful thanks to Mr Ron Watts, Mr John Worley and Mr Basil Hughes of Pembroke
Dock who provided so much of the information - their knowledge of Royal Dockyard
Battalion has proved invaluable.
Regiments of the Line pre Crimea war.
1n 1850 the Royal Marines, who had
formed the Pembroke Dock garrison since the first houses were built around the
dockyard thirty-five years previously, were replaced by regiments of the line.
General Gordon, destined to die at
Militiamen formed the Pembroke Dock
Garrison for most of the time of the Crimea War, and from all accounts they were
ill disciplined. Many were billeted on the townspeople, who were pleased, when
the war ended and the militiamen departed. The Royal Monmouth Militia had to
march from Haverfordwest in a blizzard to Pembroke Dock and moved into the
Defensible Barracks the same day that the
Regiments of the Line post Crimea war.
From 1856 to 1861, regiments stationed at Pembroke Dock included the Monmouthshire Light Infantry and the green-uniformed Montgomery Rifles. In 1861 batteries of the 15th Brigade, considered to be an elite corps, arrived, to be followed by the 62nd Wiltshire Regiment early in 1865. This regiment had its own band; it played at the unveiling of the memorial to the Prince Consort on Castle Hill, Tenby, by HRH Prince Arthur, later Duke of Connaught.
The Royal Warwickshire Regiment whose soldiers rendered valuable assistance when the original Bush House at Pembroke, seat of the Meyrick family, caught fire in 1866 succeeded the Wiltshires. Despite their heroism and that of others, the stately building was destroyed. The 103rd Foot, also known as the Bombay Fusiliers, occupied part of Defensible in 1871 and two years later a warm welcome waited the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers whose Commanding Officer was a Colonel Prevost. Even in a town used to the pomp and splendour of the Victorian military, this regiment attracted considerable attention, not least because of the handsome goat that invariably led ceremonial parades.
The Holy Boys of the 9th East Norfolk Regiment followed the Fusiliers. Their fine band under its dashing Italian Bandmaster, Signor Bonicoli, a member of the Regiment, created a big impression. There followed the 95th Derbyshire, the 54th Dorsetshire and 4lst Welch Regiment, the last-named commanded by Sir Hugh Rowland, VC. It, too, had a goat as its mascot.
The 36th Worcester Regiment was in residence at Defensible from 1877 to 1879. Its soldiers were the last in Pembroke Dock to have a green facing on their uniforms and to wear the old shako-style headdress. The Regiment was also the last to attend services in the Royal Dockyard Chapel. For some unknown reason Dr Ring, the Dockyard Chaplain had objected to the presence of troops in the Chapel. The military took offence and ever thereafter attended Divine Service in the Parish Church of St. John.
In 1880 a hutted encampment was created to lodge an overspill of men from Defensible. This was on land overlooking the present Pier Road at Pembroke Dock, just below the future site of Llanion Barracks where building was due to begin in 1889.
One of the encampments first occupants
was the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, whose Commanding Officer,
Colonel Luke O’Connor, was a remarkable man. Commissioned from the ranks, a
difficult achievement in those days, he had won the VC in the
In 1883, after a tour of duty in
Next into Defensible came the 8lst Loyal
North Lancashires. During this regiments stay the Rev. Stuart Patterson, the
Garrison Chaplain, discovered among its possession a Bible on which George
Washington, first President of the
In December 1891 the 88th Connaught
Rangers under Sir George Larpent stepped ashore at Pembroke Dock in a snowstorm,
in marked contrast to the heat of
After the departure of the Connaughts,
the artillery took over garrison duties until 24 November 1893, when the trooper
Himalaya again put into Milford Haven, this time with the 4lst Welch Regiment
On St. Davids Day 1894 the regiment indulged in traditional celebrations and that night there was a grand banquet in the officer’s mess. In the early hours of the following morning, by which time the mess was unoccupied; it was ravaged by fire. Many valuable items, including the mess silver, were destroyed, and for some time afterwards the officers dined at the Pier Hotel and, subsequently, in a spacious room in the old Pembroke Dock library, specially converted for the purpose. It was still in use as an officers mess room in the early years of this century.
On 17 August 1895 the paddle steamer Cambria brought the 2nd Battalion of the Devon Regiment (11th Foot) from Ilfracombe. They were commanded initially by Colonel Kinder and then by Colonel Bullock, who was to achieve fame in the Boer War by refusing to surrender. He was only taken prisoner after being knocked unconscious.
When the Devons left the 2nd Battalion
of the 24th South Wales Borderers (the 24th Regiment of Foot) replaced them.
Every Pembrokeshire schoolboy knew about this regiment and its heroic defence of
the Rorkes Drift mission station in
Another replaced one regiment from the
Principality, when the 1st Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers arrived from
Ludgershall, Salisbury Plain, on 5 September 1899. Its stay in Pembroke Dock was
brief for, on Sunday, 22 October, the regiment entrained for Southampton on its
The Royal Welsh Fusiliers were swiftly
replaced by the 3rd Battalion of the Welch Regiment (Royal Glamorgan Militia),
said to be the largest militia battalion in the British Army at that time. These
soldiers occupied the hut encampment; their stay was brief for they were soon on
their way to
Although condemned some nine years earlier by the Duke of Cambridge, then Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, the huts had remained in use and the decision was made to extend their life until the new barracks, able to accommodate two battalions, was ready. Building commenced in 1899 and was completed in 1906. There were a number of innovations, not least a commodious mess hall for the soldiers. At Defensible and the hut encampment, they had slept and eaten in the same barrack-room, a practice that had been common throughout the British Army until the modernisation of barracks and the construction of new ones like Llanion. The new messing arrangements, therefore, were warmly welcomed. Each barrack-block had a veranda so that the men could sit and chat in the open air, and the large gymnasium could also be used for concerts, balls and other entertainments. Houses were built for married personnel who wished to bring their families to Pembroke Dock.
The opening of Llanion Barracks signalled the gradual demise of the sixty-year-old fort at Defensible. It had served its purpose well, quartering throughout Victoria’s reign many thousands of troops in defence of the Royal Dockyard. It would never again be the principal source of accommodation for regiments garrisoned at Pembroke Dock, although right up to the early 1950s it continued to be occupied from time to time by various small units of the regular army, and local territorials.
Scores of Pembrokeshire men enlisted at
the Llanion Barracks during the Great War, and after the War distinguished
regiments continued to serve two to three-year stints at Pembroke Dock. In the
mid-1920s the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and their goat, came back! Between then and
the outbreak of the Second World War, a number of regiments were stationed at
Llanion Barracks including the East Lancashire, the Essex, the Royal Fusiliers,
the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and The Buffs. The latter formed the
In October 1943 the first foreign troops
to be stationed at Llanion Barracks moved in. They were American GIs of the
110th US Infantry Regiment, which formed part of the 28th US Infantry Division
Off-duty the GIs made many friends, and laid on parties for hundreds of local children over the Christmas period, 1943. They also challenged the Pembrokeshire Home Guard to a shooting match, believing that their riflemen - in the best tradition of the American frontier - were second to none. In fact the old timers of the Home Guard won!
On 1 April 1944 the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, paid a surprise visit to the 110th Regiment. Mr. Joe Gough of Pembroke, then a detective with the Pembrokeshire Constabulary, recalled:
It was not until the day before, that we were informed Eisenhower was coming. I was detailed, along with a colleague, Jack Evans, to act as the Generals civilian police escort. He arrived by train at Tenby and was met by a delegation of top US Army brass. From Tenby our police car led a fast convoy of American military vehicles, with motor cycle out-riders, to the headquarters of the 110th Infantry Regiment at Llanion Barracks, Pembroke Dock. There the soldiers were lined up for inspection and afterwards Ike asked them to gather round so he could address them. I was struck by the friendly rapport he had with the men.
The 110th Regiments Intelligence Officer was Major (later Brigadier General) Robert M. Gaynor. He remembered that day at Pembroke Dock thus:
“It was chilly and damp and the troops had been standing on the barrack square in the rain and windy gloom for some time. They were a bit displeased but Ikes appearance, with his overwhelming personality, quickly changed the mood and most of us remember the occasion with great satisfaction.”
For his part, Ralph Johnson of
After the inspection Ike stood in a jeep
and used a bull-horn to speak to us. Later he walked through the re-formed
ranks, chatting briefly here and there. He spoke to the soldier next to me and
asked “Are you ready”? The answer had to be “Yes”. Before leaving he
shouted farewell and added Good luck! See you when we cross the Rhine, and
we’ll all have a drink together. Sure enough, on the day we did make the
Eisenhower also visited other units of the 110th Infantry scattered around Pembrokeshire, including the regiments Cannon Company, whose members were billeted in Cresselly House, Cresselly. A member of the domestic staff was Miss Martha Davies, who later became housekeeper and did not retire until the mid-1980s. She recalled:
We were aware someone very important was
going to arrive, and there was great excitement when General Eisenhower was seen
stepping out of his car. The American soldiers paraded on the lawn and I watched
from the staircase window as he inspected them. The General had a most engaging
smile and impressed us as being affable but determined. I remember that
miniature Stars and Stripes were attached to the mudguards of his staff car.
After seeing Ike I think we all sensed it would not be long before the invasion
There was another very important visitor to Pembrokeshire round about the same time. Prime Minister Winston Churchill watched invasion exercises on the beaches at Amroth and Wisemans Bridge, accompanied by senior British and American officers. Mrs Olive Cook, whose parents, Jack and Artie Mathias, then kept the Wisemans Bridge Inn, recalled:
There was tremendous excitement when it
was realised the great man himself was in our midst. He and his companions
stopped by the
On 14 April 1944, only a matter of days
after its troops had taken part in the D-Day rehearsals witnessed by Churchill,
the 110th Infantry Regiment left Pembrokeshire under the cover of darkness for a
military camp close to
It has been estimated that of the 5,000 men who left Pembrokeshire with the 110th Infantry Regiment on 14 April 1944, only some 500 were still fit for combat duty by the end of that year. In the Huertgen Forest alone, the 28th Division suffered a minimum of 6,184 casualties after beginning the battle with its maximum infantry compliment of 15,000 men. A regiment of the 2nd US (Indianhead) Infantry Division, previously stationed in Northern Ireland, replaced the 110th Regiment in Pembrokeshire for some months, before itself leaving for Europe.
After 1945 British soldiers returned to
Pembroke Dock for peacetime garrison duty. The town turned out in force in the
mid-1950s to welcome the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment, whose CO was
Colonel Cowie. Among the regiments younger officers was Lieutenant John Davey, a
local man from Lamphey, who had won the MC in
Llanion Barracks became surplus to military requirements in 1966. Eight years later, and following local Government reorganisation, the former head quarters buildings and officers mess were taken over by the newly-formed South Pembrokeshire District Council as its headquarters.
The old barrack blocks with their verandas, such a luxury for the troops who occupied them for the first time in the early part of the century, were converted to flats, and the guardroom eventually became a pub of that name! Other buildings were leased or bought, one being taken over by the Department of Social Security. Cars now park on the former barrack square where Eisenhower inspected his invasion troops.
During the early 1970s Defensible was been the headquarters of South Pembrokeshire Golf Club. It was sold to an English-based company in 1985 by South Pembrokeshire District Council, that Authority having previously used the barracks as a works depot and stores.
The departure of the army in the 1960s, together with the earlier closure of the RAF’s flying boat base in the town in 1959, dealt a severe blow to the local economy. It also signalled the conclusion of the military connection with Pembroke Dock; a connection which had spanned 152 eventful years. A colourful era had come to an end.
[Info from Jack Vincent.
Pater fort: Garrisoned in 1831 but was dismantled in 1847.
Then was used by the Dockyard Battalion.
Captain Wright R.M. and Commander Jennings R.N. appointed to form battalion 19/4/1847.
Terrier Captain was George Chiles (Dockyard Store Keeper). Drills were every evening and Saturday afternoons and the men were dockyard employees. The men wore a special uniform and had a band led by a Mr. Ribbon.
The threat of invasion was still real at that time and considerable efforts were made to protect the yard. A network of Fortifications was constructed, to form a chain of defence, not only to protect from seaward attack but also from landward invasion.
An earlier battery on Paterchurch point was improved and Martello towers were built on the south west and north east corners of the Dockyard walls, themselves heightened and strengthened.
Hutted encampments of Infantry and Artillery had been scattered around the town, and permanent barracks were built for them at Llanion, on the Barrack Hill and at Pennar.
Further down the harbour, forts were built at Scoveston, Hubberston, South Hook, Stack Rock, Angle and East Blockhouse.
It is obvious that Pembroke Dock was built with just one aim in mind, so the announcement of the closure of the Dockyard in 1926 was a grievous blow, and unemployment remained high in the town throughout the thirties.]
Army - Vernon Scott
Snow flurries gusted across Pembroke Dock on a bleak, bitterly cold February morning 132 years ago as the 31st East Surrey Regiment prepared to leave the town. The men had breakfasted early and at first light they were assembled on the Defensible Barracks parade ground, stamping chilled feet on the frozen square.
As the light strengthened, orders were barked, the troops snapped to attention, and with their commanding officer at the lead, they tramped out across the drawbridge and began descending the Barracks Hill in orderly ranks to the Royal Dockyard below.
The year was 1855 and from garrisons throughout the nation Queen Victoria’s soldiers were off to the Crimea. The 31st East Surreys had received their embarkation orders only a week or two earlier. Although the notice was short there had been time for an officers ball to which all the gentry of Pembrokeshire had been invited.
It was by all accounts a damned swell affair, with a band brought down from Cardiff to play for dancing and enough fine Food on the tables to have fed the whole of Pembroke Dock. There were some hungry bellies in the town which could have done with it too.
Meanwhile, the enlisted men had said their farewells at a much humbler level. They had swarmed into the smoky inns and taverns of the dockyard town and those of nearby Pembroke to drink, wench and make merrie.
The snow had thickened by the time the regiment reached the Royal Dockyard and there amidst much excitement and tokens of grief from wives, families and sweethearts, the men embarked upon the troopship Imperadore bound for the Crimea.
The majority of the soldiers had never
heard of the place. The war there was the first major military engagement in
which the British Army had been involved since
As the Imperadore slowly moved away from Pembroke Dock in the swirling snow, a young lieutenant in the Royal Engineers and who was attached to the East Surreys, looked back searching for the barracks on the hill.
His name was Charles Gordon and long before the turn of the century he was to become the best-known general in the Imperial Army. He was also to die a martyr in the Sudan at Khartoum. As an officer he had been privileged to live out while at Pembroke Dock and had lodged in a house at the top of Lewis Street. He was a man who kept to himself and was not altogether popular with his fellow officers. Many who watched the regiment depart Pembroke Dock on that cold grey morning had frequently seen him walking to and fro at the foot of the Barracks Hill studying a book.
When his papers arrived from the war office summoning him to the Crimea for active service with the 31st East Surrey Regiment, he was reported to have exclaimed with despair “I have received my death warrant!”
From the high stem of the Imperadore, Gordon continued to look back at the sloping town of Pembroke Dock and the barracks atop the hill, until a thick blanket of snow cut both off from his view. He never saw then again.
Work on the building of Defensible had begun 11 years before, in 1844. Mr. James Cole, a mason who worked on the battlements during the construction and who remembered seeing Gordon walking to and fro studying a book, he was still alive and residing in the town when the First World War started in August 1914.
Those who are familiar with the barracks and admire their size and strength may be unaware of the remarkable fact that they were completed in just 12 months, the contractor, Thomas Jackson, handing them over to the military on November 25th, 1845.
According to records ... Possession was taken at three o’clock in the afternoon and was officially indicated by the hoisting of Her Majesty’s (Queen Victoria) flag amidst deafening cheers from hundreds of spectators. A substantial dinner with a liberal quantity of double strength Welsh ale was given to the workmen.
These men deserved their reward, too, because even in this day and age, with all the contractors mechanical aids, it is doubtful whether such a substantial fortress, capable of accommodating a regiment of soldiers, could be completed in 12 months.
Its first occupants were the Royal Marines of the Portsmouth Division, transferred there from the guardship Dragon moored off Pembroke Dockyard. They were shortly joined by two companies of the 14th West Yorkshire Regiment.
For several years after the military take-over; the trench or moat around the barracks was not enclosed ... "presenting a great danger to the unwary, particularly on pitch black nights".
Several marines, returning to quarters much the worse for wear after over-indulging, toppled over the moat and were killed. Their headstones with suitable epitaphs, are still to be seen in the old town cemetery (now a garden of rest) in Upper Park Street, and one reads:
To the Memory of John Harding. Late Private Royal Marines who was accidentally killed by falling into the entrenchment at the Fort Barracks, Pembroke Dock, October 10th 1850 age 32.
The verse underneath, obviously composed by someone with a very dry sense of humour, says:
The Lord direct our feet and guide with gracious care.
in even step we danger meet
in every path a snare.
Then reader pause whoe’r thou art,
as thus my grave you view
remember thou from life must part
and perhaps as quickly too!
A local GP named Dr. Sumpter, who at that time was widely known in the district, lost his life through similar circumstances while returning from a professional visit to a patient in Pennar one night. He never recovered from the shock of the 30 feet fall and died from its effects.
Following the departure of the East
Surreys to the Crimea, subscriptions were raised among the young men of the
Royal Dockyard and the town in general, in aid of the wives and families left
behind. One of the men behind this charitable gesture was a Mr.
Thomas Collins of
During the Crimea Campaign the Defensible garrison was composed entirely of militiamen who ... not only enlivened the town with a drum and fife band, but made it lively for the inhabitants in other less acceptable ways; for the militia were often times a very rough class of men, who were much given to practical joking and disquieting pranks. These men were more in number than the Defensible fort could accommodate; consequently some had to be billeted on the townspeople who doubtless were not sorry when their uninvited guests took their departure.
Between 1855 and 1861, the regiments garrisoned in the town were the Royal Pembrokeshire Artillery, the Monmouthshire Light Infantry, the Hampshire and Antrim Militia, the Montgomery Rifles, who wore a green uniform and the Royal North Gloucestershire Regiment.
This regiment, which afterwards became
known as the 4th Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment were, together with the
Monmouthshire Militia, the first occupants of the wooden huts or hut encampment.
These were built during the time of the Crimea War on the sloping ground
After 1861 came the crack 15th Brigade
to the Defensible Barracks. They were considered an elite corps. When they
completed their garrison duties at Pembroke Dock they proceeded from Defensible
Barracks by way of Commercial Row,
Because of the death, which occurred at the time, of Queen Victoria’s husband Albert, the Prince Consort, the band played with muffled drums. The soldiers of the 15th Brigade were ferried out to the troopship Tamar, lying off Hobbs Point.
They were succeeded at Defensible in 1865 by the 62nd Wiltshire Regiment ... which arrived at Pembroke Dock to the inspiring strains of its own band. Within a matter of months this band played on the occasion of the unveiling of the Prince Consort’s memorial on Castle Hill, Tenby, by His Royal Highness Prince Arthur, later titled Duke of Connaught.
Various regiments followed the Wiltshires, induding the 58th Depot, the 13th Light Infantry, the 103rd Foot, the 1st Battalion the Royal Welch Fusiliers, the 9th East Norfolks (known as the Holy Boys), the 95th Derbyshires, the 54th Dorsetshires and the 36th Worcestershires. These soldiers went into the local record book as the last stationed in Pembroke Dock who wore green facings on their uniforms and who had the old shako, a stiff military cap with a peak and a small upright tuft at the front, for headwear. They were followed by the 7th Royal Fusiliers.
In the 1880s, the 81st Loyal North
Lancashire Regiment succeeded the 101st Royal Munster Fusiliers (the first
all-Irish regiment to be stationed at Pembroke Dock). Their stay is of some
interest because during this time the garrison chaplain, the Rev. Stuart
Patterson, discovered in the regiments possessions, a Bible on which ... the
first President of the
Kellys Directory 1884.
ENGINEERS STAFF- SOUTH WALES DISTRICT- Pembroke Dock.
Col. Commanding, A. T. Storer R.E.
Brevet Colonel, Sir A. W. Mackworth bart.
There was a particularly joyous welcome in Pembroke Dock for the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Foot (later the South Wales Borderers) who less than a decade earlier in January 1879 had fought off King Cetschwayo’s Zulu Impis at the siege of Rorkes Drift in Natal, South Africa.
A number of survivors of that heroic stand, in which 11 Victoria Crosses (the most earned by a British regiment before or since in a single engagement) were won, came to Pembroke Dock with the 2nd Battalion.
The 24th marched from Brecon and en-route to Defensible Barracks, halted for a rest at Pembroke Castle. There, they were officially welcomed by the Mayor, Samuel J. Allen, in the presence of thousands of people.
In the castle grounds they were ... regaled with refreshments before moving on to Pembroke Dock, preceded by the Mayor and Corporation in four horse brakes and accompanied by the band of the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Welsh Regiment (E. Company). The streets were thronged with people and the town was gay with decorations for the occasion.
Forty-three years after the departure of
the East Surreys for the Crimea, the people of Pembroke Dock turned out again to
see off to the Boer War in
This is not a complete list of the regiments garrisoned at Defensible between 1845 and the Boer War in 1901; suffice to say that the old barracks although sections of soldiers continued to be quartered there, took second place to Llanion Barracks after these were opened in 1904.
Today, 142 years after the men who built Defensible were treated to a substantial dinner and double strength Welsh ale, the fort is said to being converted into hotel accommodation but many plans for its use have been proposed and failed. It is also the headquarters of the South Pembrokeshire Golf Club,
In the main wall of the front structure, above the drawbridge, is a tablet which reads:
Victoria Regina 1844.
This and the odd bullets, cap badges and tunic buttons, which are still occasionally washed to the surface by the winter rains that lash the Barracks Hill, are all that remain to remind the golfer and stroller of a proud and distinguished past when practically every major regiment of the line was garrisoned at Pembroke Dock.
Footnote: Pembroke Dock continued to be a garrison town until the mid 1960s. Since 1974, Llanion Barracks have been the headquarters of South Pembrokeshire District Council.
shore at Pennar Point (or Pennar Gut) are torpedo stores and magazines.
Submarine mining experiments have been carried on in connection with this
station, and all appliances are kept there for mining the Haven in case of need.
At present these submarine mining works belong to the War Department, and Royal
Engineers are established there. But in the near future it is thought that the
Admiralty will take over from the War Department all these works. These
arrangements are understood to be part of a new scheme for the defence of
Milford Haven, and will probably be developed on lines suggested in a Parliamentary
statement made by the Right Hon, Arnold-Forster, Secretary of State for War.
transfer should take place, it may eventually happen that a torpedo depot will
be established in the neighbour hood of Pennar Gut. This has, it is believed,
been under consideration, and a part of the Pembroke river already been surveyed
for this purpose.
has been expended on the various buildings in connection with this establishment
at Pennar, the total cost approximately being £17,000.
eighteenth century a fort was built at Pater Point, and for a time is said to
have been garrisoned, but little is recorded of it. When the Yard was
established, it was necessary it should be protected. The Dragon was converted
into a temporary barracks for some 400 or 500 marines. Shortly after a small
force of artillery was quartered in a house on the road leading to Llanreath,
and consisted of six gunners and a sergeant. When this contingent was removed,
the house was occupied by the master-gunner of the station.
movement at Pembroke Dock was first started in 1859, when meetings were held in
the Temperance Hall. Mr. William Harries, of Walwyn House, was one of the first
members enrolled. Mr. Edgecumbe Chevalier was Captain, and Mr. McAlpin, father
of Mr. K.McAlpin, Borough Surveyor, was Lieutenant. The men wore a gray uniform.
It was known in 1860 as the 2nd Pembrokeshire Rifle Volunteers. The first review
was held at Portfield, Haverfordwest, About two years after the regiment became
changed to that of the Pembroke Dock Volunteer Artillery, commanded by Mr.
Chevalier; but upon this officer leaving the town Mr. J. Richardson was made
Captain. Dr. Feynolds was Surgeon; the sergeant-majors were Mr. W.H. Lloyd and
Mr. George Sloggett. Mr. Richardson held command for some years; afterwards it
was passed over to Mr. C.A. Christie, who kept it until the regiment was
disbanded in 1884 outside the old Pater Battery. Mrs. Ramsay presented a silver
bugle to this corps on July 10, 1861, and some ladies in the town worked a set
of colours and presented them to the Volunteers. The colours were subsequently
handed over to a late Vicar of St. Mary’s Church, Pembroke, by Captain
Christie. A new company the C Company, 1st V. B. Welsh Regiment, was started in
Pembroke Dock in 1904, with Mr. Treweeks, Pembroke, as Captain, and Mr. W.
building of the new military barracks commenced in 1899, to be completed in
1906. They were built on most modern principles. At one time the soldiers had to
sleep and eat in the same barrack room, but in these new buildings a proper and
commodious room was set apart for meals. Colonel Bulman, D.S.O., the commanding
officer of the 53rd Shropshires, presented the men of the regiment with some
steel engravings, including a portrait of His Majesty King Edward lll., for the
adornment of the dining-room. The barracks are rendered fire-proof as far as
possible. Each block was provided with a veranda where the men can walk out. A
new parade-ground completed. The drainage system is perfect, and on hygienic
principles. When the barracks were completed, they could accommodate two
battalions of soldiers. A new hospital is to be erected to replace the one that
is in existence at present. There is, too, a garrison prison to be built, where
prisoners can be kept for short-sentence terms, instead of being sent away to
other military towns, which will be a great saving to the Government, as each
prisoner thus sent costs £4 to £5.
also in contemplation a church for the convenience of the troops; but as yet
nothing definite is known of it. The gymnasium, where the soldiers get physical
training, was built some time after the Hut Encampment was formed. It is a fine
structure, and is occasionally used for balls, concerts, and other
entertainments. There have been modern houses built within recent years for the
married soldiers. There are to be built officers quarters, a library, and a
recreation-room, as well as a new canteen.
at a little distance from the barracks lies the military cemetery, where many a
soldier has been laid to his last resting-place by his comrades, who with arms
reversed and muffled drum followed his body to the grave. The largest funeral
that has taken place in this cemetery was that of Colonel Isaac Moore, 13th
Depot Battalion, who was buried October 14, 1868.
quarters for the married artillerymen were built on the eastern side of the
Defensible Barracks. Formerly some very old cottages stood on the site of these
buildings, and were pulled down for the military structures to be erected.
Battery was built by the Admiralty in 1840-1842 on the western side of the
Dockyard. WiIliam Henderson was the contractor. In 1856 it was taken over by the
Ordnance Department, and renovated from plans prepared by General Gordon. It
mounted twenty-three guns. In this place the Milford Haven and the Plymouth
Division Submarine Mining Militia were first formed. It was afterwards much used
by the Pembroke Dock Artillery Volunteers for practice and drill. The battery
was dismantled in 1903. When it was pulled down, some of the stones were
obtained by permission of the Admiralty to go towards the building of
St.Teilo’s Church. A question in connection with this was raised in Parliament
by Mr. Wynford Philipps, the county member, as to the legality of the matter;
the reply was given to the effect that if any religious denomination had applied
for the stones for the same purpose, the request would have been granted.
Martello towers were built in 1850-1851; the contractors were Messrs. Joseph and
A portent of the military flying use of the Haven came in May 1912, when the Royal Navy brought a unique monoplane to Dale. This was the Burney X2, an advanced design equipped with hydrofoils. Tests were carried out through out the summer in the sheltered Haven waters, these coming to a premature end in September when the aeroplane, with Lieutenant G. Bentley Darce in the cockpit, stalled and crashed while being towed aloft, happily without injury to Darce. The following summer an improved version, the X3, was brought to Dale and initial tests proved satisfactory. However, while engaged in taxiing trials the X3 was wrecked on a Haven sandbank, so effectively ending these experiments - the first recorded uses of the Haven for military aviation.
The outbreak of war in August 1914
brought a new menace, the efficient and ruthless German U-Boat fleet which had
great success against British maritime trade. To counter this major threat and
to protect the merchantmen, and later the convoys, close to shore, air stations
were set up all around the British coast. Pembrokeshire, strategically located
at the junction of some of the most vital sea trade routes, was well placed to
provide a measure of protection to shipping, and the war years saw the
establishment of two Royal Naval Air Stations within the County boundary. First
to be set up was the air station at Sageston, near
MAS Pembroke operated various types of non-rigid blimps, the first Submarine Scout (SS) type being equipped with an aircraft fuselage slung underneath as accommodation for the crew of two. Later, the more efficient and better equipped Coastal type airships - with twin engines and a purpose built car for the crew of three - were introduced at the station. In 1917 land planes were added to the complement, the first flight being made by Sub Lieutenant Allaway on 29 April in a Sopwith 12 Strutter biplane. Allaway became a casualty later in the year, lost on a flight from the station, and there were also losses among the airships, both aloft and on the ground.
The second air station was established at Fishguard in 1917 and operated seaplanes - initially Fairey Hamble Babies and Short 184s - on similar patrols. Attacks on U-Boats were made by aircraft from both stations and in May 1918 Pembroke airships flew 15,000 miles of patrols. An additional type of aircraft was introduced at Pembroke in 1918, namely, DH6 training machines which, although unarmed, added to the deterrent against the U-Boats. MAS Pembroke had a complement of over 400, plus a contingent of some fifty women personnel. With the Armistice, both Pembrokeshire air stations were run down and subsequently closed, but it was not until March 1920 that the last servicemen left the Pembroke station. The site returned to agriculture, only to be re-claimed for service use less than twenty years later.
Many of Pembrokeshire residents had
their first close contact with aeroplanes through the flying circuses run by
personalities like Sir Alan Cobham. Several such circuses visited Pembrokeshire
in the 1930s. Pioneer flights over considerable distances were now much in vogue
and Pembrokeshire had visits from various aviators attempting to break yet more
records. Amy Johnson, doyen of a generation becoming increasingly air-minded,
briefly visited Pembrokeshire in 1933, prior to a flight with husband Jim
Mollison from Pendine in Carmarthenshire to the USA in a De Havilland Dragon
biplane. In July 1931 two American aviators made a landing at Moylegrove after a
trans-Atlantic flight, fog forcing them to make an unscheduled stop in west
The county boasted one resident
aeroplane in the mid-1930s, that belonging to the Earl of Essex who lived at
Lydstep Haven. He kept the machine in a shed at Manorbier. And the 1930s craze
for home building examples of the French designed Flying Flea reached west
Royal Air Force.
During the lean post-war years of the
1920s Pembrokeshire saw little aviation activity, the occasional flights through
to the newly-independent
Pointers to the future came in September
1925 when one of the first of the Royal Air Forces new
In 1927 Press speculation was predicting
an RAF station at Pembroke Dock with a complement of 1,000 men, and the
following June five
By mid-1929 the Pembroke Dock Air Base
was being talked about in definite terms with the imminent transfer of part of
the former Royal Dockyard - closed in 1926 - from the Admiralty to the Air
Ministry. This did not, in fact, happen until April 1930, when the new RAF
Pembroke Dock station was established under the RAFs Coastal Area. The embryo
station had an engineering officer, Flight Lieutenant Bill Liniker, as its first
CO. A small contingent of RAF airmen, several RAF Police and Air Ministry
officials made up the rest of the RAFs initial presence. From these small
beginnings RAF Pembroke Dock was to develop into a major flying-boat station,
responsible for guarding the vitally important Western Approaches to
Pembrokeshire’s Press, quoting no less an authority than a June 1931, issue of the London Times, reported that a flying-boat squadron, No. 210, had been temporarily removed from Felixstowe, Suffolk, to Pembroke Dock where it will be based until 30th September.
In June 1931 a newly-formed squadron, No
210, moved from Felixstowe to Pembroke Dock, bringing two
Throughout the 1930s RAF Pembroke Dock
grew ever larger. A major building programme was put in hand; two huge hangars
were constructed along with a slipway and accommodation blocks for the airmen.
From these early beginnings, Pembroke Dock - or PD as it was known with affection amongst the flying-boat fraternity - was to become the largest operational flying-boat station in the world and over which the RAF Ensign was to fly proudly for 29 memorable, historic, testing years.
As early as 1925, a year before the Dockyard closed, newspapers were carrying references to air visitors to the sheltered waters of Milford Haven. And by 1927 there was informed speculation as to Pembroke Dock becoming an Aerial Mail Base.
In November 1927, the West Wales Guardian was confidently predicting that in the near future a seaplane base would be established at Pembroke Dock with an RAF strength of about a 1,000, speculation fuelled by the arrival of flying-boats on exercise that same month and in June the following year.
The Air Base question rumbled on in the newspapers throughout 1929, it becoming something of a local issue in the General Election in which Major Price was defeated by Major Gwilym Lloyd George. The new M.P - warned in the August that the civilian population (of Pembroke Dock) ... will not find compensating employment in the substitution of the air base for the Dockyard.
The New Year was, at last, to see the much heralded air station become reality but it was left to another Fleet Street giant, The Observer to break the news. The local Press quoted the Observer in April as saying Pembroke Dockyard will henceforth be an RAF station ... The Air Ministry will use the place as a base for flying-boats and seaplanes.
By March 1931, figures were being quoted, £107,000 for the accommodation of flying-boats at Pembroke Dock. The Labour Notes column in the Guardian commented: The sum is not a large one to a town that has been used to receiving £200,000 a year from the Admiralty, but the really important point about it is that this is a beginning.
When the main contingent of No. 210 Squadron arrived in June it was met at the railway station by a large number of town people, anxious to see the new men in blue. The RAF, as with all servicemen, soon settled into their new surroundings, forming sports teams and beginning a series of dances at the Temperance Hall. These were immediately popular, attracting patrons in their hundreds, with the Arcadian Dance Band (directed by Roy Roberts) providing the music.
No. 210 Squadrons temporary stay was, in January 1932 made permanent and soon afterwards the unique floating dock, used for maintenance of flying-boats on the water, was towed into the Haven. It was to be a feature of the waterway for over six years.
By September, the Guardian was able to report that tenders were being invited for new barrack blocks at the station, This work requiring considerable demolition of old Dockyard buildings The much-needed slipway was built the following year and the first of the huge hangars, still standing today, was to rise above the waterfront soon after.
There was a gradual rise in the numbers of personnel at the station which in its early years, was commanded successively by Wing Commander Bob Leckie, Wing Commander Arthur Harris (Later famous as Bomber Harris) and Wing Commander R.H. Kershaw.
A pre-war tradition began in May 1934, when the first of Pembroke Docks Empire Air Days was held at the RAF Station and attracted a very encouraging attendance of over 5,000.
In January 1935, RAF Pembroke Docks rugby team scored what must have been a very satisfactory win over another and long-established flying-boat station, Calshot, by 17 points to 6. On the soccer field there was success too - 5 goals to 3 over Andover to reach the semi-final of the RAF Junior Cup.
By now, the long serving Southamptons
were giving way to four-engined Singapores, four of which were ferried out to
Singapore by 210 Squadron crews. Sadly only three made it. The fourth crashing
This prompted the Bubble and Squeak correspondent of the Guardian to reflect - being an old man with a long memory. I have been wondering whether we shall see a repetition of the Bellerophon and Thunderer which came here as guardships but which one day said Ta, ta, see you later but never came back. Sometimes the Admiralty acts very quickly and perhaps the RAF is learning some of the tricks. I hope my fears are in vain.
That same year a farsighted statement was made by a Home Office official during a conference at Haverfordwest: - No part of Pembrokeshire is immune from air attack by 300 m.p.h. bombing planes - he said. Four years later the unnamed official was to be proved painfully right, especially where the townspeople of Pembroke Dock were concerned.
With war clouds looming on the European
horizon the pace of activity quickened at RAF Pembroke Dock with much building
work being carried out. Late 1936 saw the emergence of No. 228 Squadron, a unit
which was to be long associated with PD. Also back in commission in 1937 was the
Dockyard Chapel located within the RAF station and which was to become
well-known to thousands of servicemen as the
All roads led to Pembroke Dock in June 1937, when the RAF Station was again open to the public. This Empire Air Day attracted between 4,000 and 5,000 people, many of them travelling in the 500 cars which passed through the Dockyard gates. The air display cane to a thrilling climax when a Scapa flying-boat, representing hostile aircraft, was attacked by two Wallace biplanes and shot down in flames. All good stuff in 1937 ... before long this would become all too real for PDs flying-boat crews!
The shape of things come arrived in
August 1937, when Caledonia, one of the first of the Empire Class of
flying-boats, touched down on the Haven during a proving flight around the U.K.
The large metal Seaplane was the forerunner of her military sister, the
In March 1938, the Guardian reported the arrival of four of the latest type of flying-boat. No names were mentioned but they were in fact, Supermarine Stranraers for No. 228 Squadron.
The Guardian also commented under a heading -Tide on the turn for Pembroke Dock-, on the various military building works in the area. In the Air Station, buildings worth tens of thousands of pounds have been and are being erected. There can be no doubt that the Air Ministry have planned a big future for this base, and the giant hangar which is now being built must mean there will soon be additions to the present squadrons.
Empire air Day in 1938 saw the official debut at PD of the magnificent Sunderland; an aircraft which was to serve at this station for 19 illustrious years, The first Sunderland, which had been at Pembroke Dock during the previous week, returned to the station on Air Day morning and took off and landed several times, The Press reported that the silver giant showed her paces over Haverfordwest, Milford Haven and Tenby as well as. Pembroke Dock. Also on view - sadly for the last time at a local air Day - was the floating dock, soon to depart for pastures new.
The Air Day Sunderland left PD soon after and was delivered to No. 230 Squadron in Singapore, on the way breaking all records for the flight.
A Sunderland of No. 210 Squadron was to
make less welcome headlines in September 1938, when the machine crashed in the
Haven with the loss of two lives. There was more sadness as the year ended when
the Commanding Officer of 210, Wing Commander W. N. Plenderleith collapsed and
died suddenly at the early age of 39. The military funeral at Llanion
The 7,250 people, who flooded into the RAF station for Empire Air Day in May 1939, were thankfully unaware that they were witnessing the end of an era. This was just three short months away from war.
On Empire Air Day, the
In June the Press recorded that the new wireless station near Imble Lane is nearly completed. The towering pylon has lighting equipment fixed and can now be seen for miles on both day and night:
The wireless station came on the air just in time, for the balloon was to go up just a few short weeks later.
After so many days of tension that dread announcement (of war declared) on Sunday morning did not come as a surprise and found South Pembrokeshires twin towns grim and resolute. So reflected the West Wales Guardian of 8th September 1939 as Pembroke and Pembroke Dock geared themselves for war.
With the war came the censor and the censor was to prove mightier than the pen. What would have made headlines in peacetime was absent from the local newspaper columns in wartime.
RAF Pembroke Docks first fatal wartime
Sunderland crash on 18th September was not reported at all, but the succession
of funerals with full military honours at
What did get headline treatment was the
rescue of the 34 man crew of the steamship,
For this rescue the pilots of the two Sunderlands Flight Lieutenants Thurston Smith (228 Squadron) and Jackie Barrett (204 Squadron), were awarded D.F.C.s.
Pembroke Dock on a decidedly-chilly December day in 1939 was a long way from home for 200 Australian airmen who arrived at the RAF Station to join the new Aussie-manned Sunderland squadron. The censor’s iron hand relaxed to allow the Press fair rein on this story. Pembroke Dock was not mentioned by name but the Station Commander, Squadron C.O. and, surprisingly, the squadron number, No. 10, were all reported.
- Gee, its cold in this place - said one Aussie. We don’t mind the rain but this frost, ugh! Then there’s this crook blackout – that’s one of our grouses, commented another. - But for all that I sampled a few of the beauties of the locality these last few nights. This was not elaborated on, nor was any explanation needed!
In the early months of the war the road up the aisle was a busy one for so many couples who tied the wedding knot before the war intervened too much in their lives. Many RAF personnel from Pembroke Dock were married in the first months of the war, but were soon to leave their brides behind as postings took them many miles from PD.
Pembroke Dock was no longer
Pembrokeshire’s only air base; just five miles to the east the former World
War One airship station at Milton was being hastily transformed into RAF Carew
Cheriton. This was the first of several land stations to be built within the
county during the war years. Yet, for all its military importance, the Haven -
with its flying boats, naval base, fishing fleet and convoy assembly point - was
totally undefended. No anti-aircraft guns were in position locally as the war
progressed to its first anniversary, a fact cruelly exposed by the Luftwaffe on
19 August 1940 when three Junkers Ju88 dive bombers flew with impunity up the
Haven and bombed the Admiralty oil tanks at Llanreath. The resulting
conflagration was the largest oil fire ever seen in
Pembroke Dock town, so vulnerable near
its dockyard and air station, was severely hit in sustained raids in May 1941;
indeed, the community was one of the hardest hit per head of population in the
whole of the
The last pairing of Pembrokeshire air
bases was on the north-west side with St David’s in partnership with nearby
Brawdy; the former opened in autumn 1943 and the latter early in 1944. Here
operational tasks were undertaken mainly by
Pembroke Dock flying-boat station was credited with many U-Boat sinkings from mid-1943 onwards, but the cost was very high in both men and machines. As a station it was known through out the Service simply as PD and it is always remembered with great affection by those who had the privilege of being posted to this Haven base. Men of many nations flew from Pembrokeshire air stations, and Pembroke Dock had the distinction of welcoming the first US Navy squadron to operate in the European theatre when VP-63 flew their Catalina flying-boat into the Haven in May 1943. History was also made the same month when an Australian Sunderland pilot Fg. Off. Beresford made a successful landing on Angle airfield after sustaining a damaged hull in a take-off at sea.
Although principally a county of RAF stations, the Fleet Air Arm operated from local air bases too. For a time they used Angle and in 1943 took over Dale. They also established a seaplane training station at Lawrenny, operating Walrus amphibians and later Kingfisher floatplanes from the upper reaches of the Haven from 1941 to 1943.
With the wars end the majority of local airfields became surplus to requirements. Although many of the wartime structures have been removed over the past forty years and more, most of the runways remain as large and almost immovable reminders of the front line air role that Pembrokeshire played in the Second World War. There was short lived speculation in the papers of mid-1946 over the proposed move of Short Brothers, makers of the Sunderlands, from Rochester to Northern Ireland. Pembroke Borough Council invited Shorts to establish part of their plant at Pembroke Dock, but the aircraft company said a polite “No thanks” - choosing Belfast.
Aviation in Pembrokeshire after the war
years has mainly been centred on two of the airfield sites - Brawdy and
Haverfordwest - plus the flying-boat station at Pembroke Dock. RAF Pembroke Dock
continued its association with the mighty
It was not quite the end of the
Sunderland saga locally as, in March 1961 a Sunderland latterly operated by the
French Navy was donated to The Sunderland Trust for preservation and display at
Pembroke Dock. This grand old lady was displayed just inside the old RAF station
wall until 1971, the salt-laden atmosphere of its external location having taken
a great toll of the airframe in that time. The aircraft was transferred to the
In 1945 there was an impressive ceremony
All was not forgotten however as for many years Pembroke Dock held Flying Boat reunions attended by many veterans from all over the world. A replica of the memorial window was erected in the Pembroke Dock Library and a marvellous photographic exhibition was mounted in the Pater Hall.
For twenty-five years the Fleet Air Arm controlled Brawdy, the station being known as HMS Goldcrest. From 1952 it was an active naval airfield, flying a variety of front line and training aircraft in support of the then considerable carrier fleet. The decision to end fixed-wing flying in the Navy led to the axing of NAS Brawdy in 1970, the station returning to its former owners, the RAF. In 1974 RAF Brawdy became the home of the Tactical Weapons Unit, transferring from Chivenor, and for the next eighteen years until 1992 it provided much of the sophisticated weapons training required by fast jet pilots in the Service.
PDs last Sunderlands left the Haven within days, some to Wig Bay, Stranraer, for storage and others to the Far East to join the RAF’s last flying-boat unit. Flight Lieutenant A. Ford flew the last aircraft out of PD en route to Singapore.
Churches and Chapels.
The Dockyard Chapel.
The first Services were held on the frigate Lapwing which had been run aground and was used as offices and storerooms. Up to about 1820 these were conducted by the Vicar of Pembroke. After this ship was broken up in 1828 the Services were held in a wooden building but the increase in the numbers made it imperative that a larger building be constructed. The site chosen was in the north east corner of the Yard and work started in 1831. Consideration was given to future installation of heating by banking up the site before constructing the building. The design was very plain with very large windows. The three west doors are approached by two flights of steps. The interior had a gallery on each side and at the west end, the main floor had a nave two side aisles chancel with choir stalls and a sanctuary in a recess. It was capable of seating 1100. Most of the pews were box pews with doors. The reading desk was a two decker, the Chaplain reading the prayers from the upper box and the clerk leading the responses from the lower. The pulpit was very high, reached by a winding staircase and when in it the preacher was at the same height as the gallery. Up till 1857 it was the custom for the Chaplain to read the prayers in a white surplice and during the singing of the psalm before the sermon change into a black cassock to preach. Right from the very beginning the Chapel was renowned for its choir, and sang at the visit of the Duke of Clarence in 1827. The choir occupied the west end gallery and in 1836 an organ was installed in this gallery. A large painting representing a dove descending from the clouds towards a chalice obscured the east window. In later years a stain glass window replaced this painting.
It was expected that the marines and Dockyard Policemen not on duty marched to the chapel every Sunday morning as well as the crews the “Royal Sovereign” and the Irish Mail steamers in harbour. All Dockyard apprentices were expected to attend and after the opening of the National School the Master, Mistress, and pupil teachers. In the early days of the Sunday school held in the national school all the pupils after attending Sunday school were marched down to the chapel for the morning service.
In 1844 Mr William Edye Master shipwright drew up plans for landscaping the grounds around the Chapel with trees and shrubs.
A Coat of Arms belonging to the yacht Royal Sovereign was affixed to the west gallery in 1850 when that yacht formerly the Royal Yacht of William IV was broken up. The bell was taken from the captured Spanish cruiser El Phoenix (renamed Gibralter). It appears that the building was never actually consecrated during the time it was used by the Admiralty but it is said this omission was rectified in 1927 but no trace can be found
According to the census of Religious Buildings in 1851 the Dockyard Chapel could accommodate 800. This census also lists it as not being consecrated or licensed with an average attendance of 250 in the morning and 100 in the afternoon. The Chaplain of Her Majesty’s Dockyard was J H Mallet. A Tablet in memory of Edward Laws who died in 1854 was placed on the south wall. This was destroyed in the 1970s.
Gas lighting was installed in 1874 and the afternoon services replaced by evening services. A small font was installed at the entrance to the south aisle in 1875
A Description of 1875:
A spacious stone building. It is entered by 3 doors at the Westem end which are approached by flights of stone steps. Above the centre entrance is a small square set tower having a hemispherical summit surmounted by a cross within is one small bell. The church consists of a nave, a singularly small chancel, side aisles and galleries. In the west gallery there is a fine organ in front of which the members of the choir sit. The interior has an exceedingly neat and pleasing appearance, the roof is lofty and having a large flat ceiling unsupported by pillars, it is well worthy of attention. Above the communion table and covering the east window is a handsome painted screen, its subject intended to be emblematical of Christianity. There is also a handsome pulpit reached by a winding staircase and balustrade. There is one tablet affixed to the south wall.
Dockyard church is a plain building, erected inside the walls of the Royal
dockyard, and consisting of a small chancel, nave, aisles, with galleries, the
west gallery containing a fine
organ: above the centre entrance is a small square tower, surmounted by a cross
: the church was built for the officers and workmen of the dockyard, for whom
seats were appropriated in the area: the north and south galleries are set apart
for the sailors and soldiers of the garrison, the public are permitted to attend
any of the services, there are seats for about 1100 persons. The Rec. Fredrick
William Nickoll M.A. is the chaplain, appointed in 1881.
From 1885 onwards various alterations to the internal arrangements took place and included reducing the height of the pulpit, doing away with the clerk leading the responses, panels on which were painted the Ten Commandments and the Lords Prayer were removed. The Choir and organ moved to the main body of the church, galleries shortened and pews removed and replaced.
While Captain Kelly was Superintendent
of the Yard the Training Ship “
of Pembroke Dock – Silas T Phillips 1898
Government building it neither secures nor claims episcopal oversight and
consequently has never been consecrated. Baptisms celebrated there, were
registered in the Parish Church Register.
Electric light was introduced in 1905 and all gas fittings removed.
Frank Owen remembered the Chapel:
Situated at the east end of the Royal Dockyard, standing in its own grounds and approached from the corner of Commercial Row stood the Royal Dockyard Church. It could be easily identified from sea or land by the domed tower at its west end. The Church stood at the end of the Senior Officers Houses and was approached by a road flanked by high trees. This road terminated in a wide forecourt presenting a tall building with wide steps which led to the bell Tower and the entrance. Here, right up to the closure of the Dockyard Mr. Lewis would welcome you with dignity and present you with your hymn book and psalter - this between his duties as verger and Bell Ringer.
The church possessed only one bell, as
The last resident Royal Naval Chaplain was the Rev. R D Gilbertson MA whose father was well known in Pembroke as a solicitor and clerk to the Castlemartin Division which covered an area from Angle to Penally. Understandably, most of those who worshiped at the Church were associated with the Dockyard and on Sunday mornings, the front rows were occupied by uniformed officers of the Royal Navy, the Resident Officers and their families. The remainder of the congregation consisted of the lower ranks and various officials of the civilian branches seated strictly according to rank. This may sound rather snooty but the Dockyard boasted some of the finest craftsmen in the country and there was enormous pride attached to a man’s craft or trade.
When all were assembled there would be heard the stirring sound of the band of the resident battalion which was stationed at Llanion Barracks. Led by the Drum Major and to the tune of its Regimental march the detachment detailed for Church parade would march with pride along the Avenue then enter the Church and occupy the pews at either side, towards the rear to allow for reassembly after the service. The band would be in the balcony and play for the service, accompanied by the civilian organist and by instrumentalists who were associated with the choir.
The choir was made up of many of the most talented vocalists and musicians in the area under their Choir Master, Mr. Thomas Handcock of Cheriton House, Water St. Mr. Hancock was an imposing gentleman of great personality and musical genius, Stocky with wild hair and goatee beard, he controlled his choir with a baton of iron. Known as “T G” he inspected applicants for the choir, tested them and then gave them a trial run. Boys on acceptance were paid 2s and 6d per quarter - It worked out that if a boy gave 1d per service for the collection, he just about broke even at the end of the quarter but if he spent his money on Mrs Rogers home made toffee on the way to Church then he had to be well practised in the art of shaking the collection bag to give the impression that he had dropped in a few coins.
Although Mr. Hancock was Organist and Choirmaster, other talented musicians, Mr. Reginald Calver, Mr. Frank James and Miss Ivy Lewis - all first class organists, assisted him. There were also a number of ladies choristers.
At the closing of the Dockyard and the Church all these fine trained choristers were in great demand and invited to join the choirs of other churches and other denominations carrying on the traditions which they had learned.
Later the building became the
England Services were held after the school was built from 1844 to 1848 in the
National School prior to the opening of St. Johns
by the passing of an Act (6 and 7
amendment was proposed by the late Mr. Cocks, that the sacredness of the
burial-ground should not be interfered with, and that other ground should be
selected for the church. This was seconded by Mr. Glanville, and carried by a
August19, 1846, Mr. Meyrick, the owner of the Bush Estate, conveyed through
Edward Laws, Esq., a site for the erection of a new church. On this site some of
the very oldest inhabitants of the town remember there was once a rope-walk,
owned by a man named Eldridge.
for the building of the church was staked out on Wednesday, September 4, 1846,
and the foundation stone was laid on September 21, 1846 by Lord Auckland, at
that time First Lord of the Admiralty. He was accompanied by Sir Charles Adams
and Captain Berkeley, subsequently Lord Fitzhardinge, and other gentlemen of the
Board of Admiralty. The Mayor and Corporation were also present. It was an
occasion of much rejoicing and ceremony. The Superintendent of the Dockyard, -
Captain Falcon, after Lord Auckland had spoken, gave a short address. The Royal
Marines formed a guard of honour, and the band of the 37th Regiment was present
and added to the general effect. The architect was J. Harrison, Esq., and the
contractors were Messrs. Jones and Griffiths.
of the church was £3,500.
September 9, 1848, the
consecration of the church Pembroke Dock became ecclesiastically a new parish,
that of St. Johns.
incumbent, the late Dr. George Fitzroy Kelly, is still remembered by many as a
preacher of great ability, with an attractive personality; and he gained the
affection of a11 his parishioners. He died January 25, 1878 aged seventy-seven
years, and was buried in the
FITZROY KELLY, M.A., LL.D The first, and for thirty years, Vicar of this Parish.
January 25th, 1878.
Christ, and Him crucified.
three years that the Rev. Frederick Glyn Montague Powell, MA., was Vicar of the
parish, St. Johns Church was restored and reseated, and also provided with a
heating apparatus. The church was re-opened on Sunday, January 4th1880, and on
that day the military attended this place of worship for the first time, having
previously gone to the Royal Dock yard Chapel.
schoolroom, a detached building standing in the church grounds, was erected when
the Rev. John Seymour Allen was Vicar. Mr. Kenneth McAlpin was the architect and
contractor. It was opened, by the late Right Rev. W. Basil Jones, Lord Bishop
three memorial stained windows in the church. The first was placed there in
memory of the late Isaac Smedley, Esq., J.P., who was a devoted Churchman. The
Glory of God, and in Memory of ISAAC SMEDLEY, J.P., of Water Street in this
town, who entered into rest. June 12th, 1896, aged 55 years.
Window was erected by friends who admired him for the services rendered to the
Church, the poor, and the public.
inscription on another window is as follows:
Honor and Glory of God, and in Loving Memory of RICHARD AND AMELIA JANE JENKINS.
This window is given by their daughter, Phoebe S. Mathias, A.D.1899.
perpetuate the memory of the late Dr. James F. Stamper, M.D. a memorial window,
the work of Mr. C. E. Kempe, was placed in St. John's Church, inscribed thus:
Glory of God, and in Memory of JAMES FENTON STAMPER, M.D., J.P.
entered into rest May 22nd, 1900, aged 52. He was a devout Churchman, a loyal
friend, a skilful physician, and a good citizen.
of this window was defrayed by voluntary subscriptions.
his life when he fell into the moat at the Defensible Barracks).
seven mural tablets in the church, one in memory of the family of the Properts.
It will be remembered that Mr. Propert is mentioned in an earlier chapter as
being one of the first magistrates of the town.
tablet is in memory of one Lewis Davies, who was killed in an attack on pirates
off the coast of
also one erected to Henry Groves, an early inhabitant of the town, and a former
tablets are fixed in the chancel to the memory of a family named Shawe Jones. A
grant was given to this family by the Secretary of State for War for rights to
be buried in the military cemetery.
September, 1849, the weathercock was fixed on the church.
the town clock was placed in the
was built by Messrs. P. Conacher and Son, Huddersfield. It cost £360, £100 of
which was given by Mrs. Thomas McMaster. The organist was Mr. H. Taylor, of
years only one bell announced the time for service which was hung in the year
1848. To commemorate the Coronation of King Edward VII., a peal of bells was
placed in the tower. The bells were first rung on September 29, 1902, on the
anniversary of the opening of the church. The makers of the bells were Messrs.
Mears and Stainbank, who also had made the first bell in 1848. The cost of the
complete peal of bells, which was £403, was principally defrayed by public
subcription, but two were entirely given, one by the Rev. J. W. Longrigg, M.A.,
a late chaplain of the Dockyard, and the other by members of the Teesdale
Vicarage is a handsome stone residence standing in its own grounds within the
church enclosure, and was erected in 1857. Many years before the erection of
this building a limekiln stood on the site. It is said to be haunted by a little
the Vicarage being built, the first clergyman, Dr. Kelly, resided in a house in
Bush Street, now occupied by the firm of W. T. Smith and Sons, wine and spirit
baptism recorded in the register of the church was that of William Henry Budge,
son of George and Harriet Budge, on November 29, 1844. The first baptisms that
actually took place within the church walls were on October l, 1848, and were
those of Elizabeth Sarah, daughter of William and Jemima Earwaker; Thomas John
son of William and Marianne Morris; and Dorothy, daughter of John and Elizabeth
Nicholls. The first marriage that was solemnized was by license, on October 3,
1848. The contracting parties were Ann Elizabeth Spriggs, of Pembroke Dock, and
James Thomas of Haverfordwest. The officiating clergyman was Dr. Kelly.
William White, K.C.B., LL.D., F.R.S., Director of Naval Construction, was
married in this church to Miss Martin, daughter of a former Master Shipwright of
Patrick’s Church (see PENNAR)
years there was a small mission cottage in Pennar, purchased through the
instrumentality of the Rev George McHugh, one of the earliest curates in the
parish. In this cottage services were held regularly, and were well attended.
Later the Rev. F.G. Montague Powell interested himself in getting a large wooden
building erected in the garden of the mission cottage, which for a time served
its purpose very well as a temporary place of worship, until St. Patrick’s
Church was erected. The foundation stone of this church was laid on May 1, 1894,
by the late Lady Catherine Allen of Woodfield, mother of the Rev. John Seymour
Allen, M.A., who was the Vicar at that time. The total cost of St. Patrick’s
Church was £2,324. The architects were Messrs. Nicholson and Son,
Saturday, June 13, 1903, Mrs. F.C. Meyrick, wife of Colonel Meyrick, C.B., laid
the foundation-stone of St.Teilo’s Church near Waterloo, and it was opened for
Divine worship on February 9, 1904, the name-day of the old welsh saint, by the
Arch deacon of St.David’s. This church was built principally with stones
removed from Pater Battery, to which reference is made previously. The carting
was freely done by Messrs. Brown, of
chapel in the town was
original Bethany Chapel was smaller than the present one which was erected
later. It was surrounded by a stone wall 7 feet high, with heavy wooden gates,
which enclosed a burial ground, where many of the earliest inhabitants of the
town were buried. The road by the side of the chapel, sometimes called
Bufferland Lane, was at that time private property, and was owned by Mr.
Barclay, schoolmaster. It was shut off from the public by gates at both ends.
stream which still meanders slowly at the back of the gardens in
pastor of Bethany Chapel was the late Rev. Gabriel Devereux, who was a saintly
character, and whose ministry was much appreciated and long remembered by many.
He died January 12, 1833, at the early age of twenty-six years, and was buried
in the graveyard of the chapel.
building became very dilapidated; it was therefore pulled down and a new
structure erected in its place. The new building was extended 4 feet further out
than the old one. The grave of the Rev. G. Devereux by this extension became
actually enclosed within the chapel walls, and because of this a tablet was
placed to his memory above the spot where his remains lie buried. Some time
after Mr. Gabriel Devereux’s death the Rev. John Morgan was pastor of Bethany. He was an able and scholarly man, who for a time also conducted an excellent
middle-class school He was followed, in 1845, by the late Rev. H.J. Morgan, who
was known as a powerful preacher and a strong theologian. He remained here until
1867, when he removed to
first Bethany Chapel was built, the placing of the windows was left until the
last. This was because at the commencement of its erection the window-tax was in
force, but before the building was completed it was repealed. So the fore
sightedness of the Baptists in this direction was rewarded.
foundation stone of the present building was laid by Miss. Rose Reed, daughter
of Sir E.J.P Reed, K.C.B., M.P in
the year 1877, on the morning of the day that the Japanese vessel, the Hei-Yei,
was launched at Jacobs Pill. When the chapel was rebuilt, the old lease was
yielded to the Ordnance Department, who had taken over the Barrack Hill from the
Admiralty in 1830. The Government wanted the approaches kept clear for a
gun-range, and therefore desired to annex some of the surrounding property,
which belonged to Sir John Owen of Orielton. To meet their ends, they offered
compensation and lease renewals to all who occupied the land which they
required. The old Board of Ordnance stone which marked the boundary of the
Government property in the direction of
September 14, 1904, the memorial stones of a new schoolroom were laid,
respectively, by Owen Philipps, Esq.,
early 1840s, owing to a misunderstanding between the late Rev. John Morgan
(described as a very stern and fiery man) and his people, a great many of the
members of the church and congregation left during his pastorate. There being no
other Baptist chapel in the place, they held their meetings, at first in the
malt-house, now the Criterion, at the corner of Llanion Terrace, and afterwards
in a billiard room on the premises of Mr. William Robertson, timber-merchant
and shipbuilders, in the lower part of North Meyrick Street, near the site of
the sawmills so long belonging to the firm of McMaster and Co.
of the town at that time was commonly known as The Quarry. A church was formed,
and deacons were elected, whose names were Messrs. W. John senior, Samual Allen,
George H. Davies, Thomas Brown, John Peters, and W. John junior. In 1844 the
church was admitted into the Baptist Association of the county. The late Rev.
John Rees, of Upton and the Rev W.H. Thomas of Water Holmes, took great interest
in the young cause, and frequently preached in the room at The Quarry.
Chapel was built in 1845. The first minister was the Rev. D. L. Pughe, who is
reputed to have been an able preacher. He remained about four years, and removed
to Builth, Breconshire. He was succeeded by the Rev. Evan Davies, whose stay was
only two years; he was followed by the Rev. T. Thomas, whose brief pastorate
terminated in 1854. In October, 1855, the Rev. W.F. Bliss entered upon his
pastoral charge of Bethel. He laboured with much acceptance in the church for
ten years. Mr. Bliss was a very cultured man. He kept a middle-class school for
boys in the town which proved to be of great service. From 1865 to 1868 the Rev.
J.D. Williams was minister. He was followed bv the Rev. E. Roberts, who came in
1869 and removed in 1873.
an interval of three years before the calling of another minister, and during
that period the chapel was rebuilt.
erection of the new building, before the old ceiling could be removed, some of
the supports gave way, and it fell in. Fortunately, the accident occurred in the
dinner-hour, when there were but few workmen on the spot, or the consequences
must have been very serious indeed; as it was, among a few who were present, two
or three men were severely injured.
of the new chapel certainly far exceeds that of the former structure.
minister of Bethel was the Rev. R.C. Roberts, who was educated in Llangollen
College. He came here in 1876 and has perserveringly carried on his duties since
then without a break. He wrote a
History of the Baptist movement in Pembrokeshire.
Gilgal Baptist Chapel – See PENNAR
before Pater existed, John Wesley had visited Pembroke several times, and
preached at St.Daniel’s Church and in the Town Hall, Main Street, about the
year 1763. Pembrokeshire and Brecknockshire were then divided into two circuits,
really the only two in Wales.
after the formation of the Dockyard, the Wesleyan Methodists began to hold
meetings in a house at Pembroke Ferry, under the leadership of Mr. Richard
Allen, father of the late Richard Allen, shipbuilder. Mr. R. Allen senior was
the first follower of John Wesley in the immediate district, and was a man of
strong personality. Among others who preached at the Ferry was the notable Billy
Dawson, who, detained there on his way to Haverfordwest by the inclemency of the
weather, gave his memorable sermon from the subject, Death on the Pale Horse.
which consisted of sixteen members was formed, and afterwards met in the house
of Mr. James Allen,
chapel, which was named Ebenezer, was opened for Divine worship in 1820, having
been in building about two years. All the work that could be possibly done by
those interested in it was voluntarily given.
opening it had a church-roll of something like sixty members. The singing was a
special feature in the services. Mrs. John Rixon of Pembroke, widow of the late
Mr. John Rixon, Mayor of the borough 1899-1900, sang as a girl in the choir,
which was led by a band of instrumentalists. Every effort was put forth by its
members to be in their places in time, for to be five minutes late or to be
absent without leave meant a possible penny fine. The preachers who at first
conducted the services in this little chapel were itinerant ministers, who rode
long distances from one
of time the worshippers at Ebenezer increased to such an extent that sufficient
sitting accommodation could not be found. It was therefore thought advisable to
build a more commodious place of worship, so in 1846 a site was obtained in
marriage in Wesley Chapel took place on August 27, 1850. Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the
bride and bridegroom, were presented with a Bible, a hymn-book, and one
sovereign on the occasion.
year 1865 Wesley Chapel was extended westwards. At the time the foundation-stone
of this extension was being laid which ceremony was performed by Mrs. Jonas
Dawkins - an accident occurred. The platform which had been erected for the
purpose gave way, and many were precipitated to the ground. A few people were
slightly hurt, but, happily, no serious results followed from the mishap.
thought wise to get a renewal of the lease at this time, and it was granted by
the trustees of the Bush estate for ninety nine years.
enlargement of the chapel was not completed until 1867.
was further improved between the years 1882 and 1885 by the construction of a
new entrance-lobby, by the alteration of the old fashioned high-backed seats,
and in many other ways, which rendered it more comfortable for the worshippers.
It is the largest place of worship in the town. The ministers, according to the
Wesleyan system, remain only three years in the church.
Trinity Chapel Pembroke Ferry.
seventies some of the Wesleyans again commenced regular services, and formed a
society at Pembroke Ferry.
Mr. W. Lawrence of Queen Street East, had the interest of the work at this place
greatly at heart, and by his unwearied efforts the present little place of
worship, was built at a cost, exclusive of the school-room, of £170.
corner-stones of this chapel were laid on November 10, 1879, by the late Mrs.
Evans, of Trinity Wharf, Mrs. W. Lawrence, Miss. Trayler, and Miss Green, each
lady giving a donation of £5.
Mr. Ladd was the architect, and the late Mr. Thomas Thomas, of Queen Street
East, was the builder.
service was held in the chapel on August 12, 1880. The sermon was preached on
the occasion by the Rev. Josiah Cox, who was at that time superintendent of
Mr. Lawrence, superintended the good work carried on at Trinity Chapel for many
years, and gained for himself the title of the Bishop of the Ferry, by which
name he was still affectionately remembered by very many.
succeeded by Mr. Miller, who during his time did much good work.
Pennar Wesley Chapel built in 1870. (See PENNAR).
years ago an old sail-loft in the Front Street was taken to carry on mission
work in that part of the town, where much good is being done. In connection with
the work, Miss. Barret, Mr. John
Green, and others, deeply interest themselves, and their efforts are greatly
appreciated by the people dwelling in that neighbourhood.
Dockyard was transferred from Milford, half a dozen Congregationalists, who had
come up from that town, met in a room in the Front Street to hold their
services, and once every month went into Pembroke to receive the Sacrament from
an ordained minister of that place; but seeing that the Baptists and Wesleyans
had built churches of their own, the Congregationalists set their minds on
erecting a chapel.
was some difficulty in obtaining land for the purpose of building a place of
worship, two cottages which belonged to a Mr. Wilkins, of Llanbwm, were secured
this minister came the Rev. Mr. Lewis, who was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas
Williams, of Merrivale, Templeton, known generally as the Rev. Thomas Williams
the second. This minister was the father of the late B.T. Williams, Esq., Q.C.,
County Court Judge,
After a few years the Tabernacle was enlarged by removing one of the sides of the building and making it wider, so that, literally it was as broad as it was long. Still the congregation became too large for the increased accommodation, and, after much prayerful thought as to the advisability of erecting a more commodious church, they decided to do so.
Albion Square Congregational Church.
much deliberation to arrive at this decision, for a debt of £140 still remained
on the Tabernacle. However, they purchased a piece of leasehold property from
Thomas Meyrick, Esq. for the term of ninety-nine years, for which they paid £561.
of ground consisted of the house once occupied by the late Mr. Propert, J.P.,
and a portion of adjoining ground. Where the chapel now stands originally grew
trees and plants, which formed Mr. Propert’s orchard, and which opened out to
Albion Square by a wooden door.
of erecting this new place of worship, the Albion Square Congregational Church,
was £3,940, which included the fees of the architect and clerk of works and
legal and other expense.
foundation-stone of the present handsome building was laid on June 28, 1865, by
Mrs. Jenkins, of London, in the presence of a large assembly, including the
Mayors of Haverfordwest, Tenby and Pembroke. The architect, R.C. Sutton, Esq.,
presented Mrs. Jenkins with a handsome silver trowel with which to lay the
stone. In a prepared cavity beneath the foundation-stone was placed a bottle
containing a copy of the Patriot and the Christian World, together with a few
coins and documents of Church matters.
was opened for public worship on Friday, June 28, 1867. The late Rev. E. Paxton
Hood preached in the morning and evening, and the Rev. D. Anthony, B.A., then of
Tenby in the afternoon.
Eliakim Shadrach, was the pastor at the time the present chapel was built. He
was a saintly man and an excellent preacher, and was much beloved by his
people. On the north wall of Albion Square Chapel is fixed a tablet to his
memory, on which the following words are inscribed.
In Remembrance of:
E. L. SHADRACH, For forty years a faithful Minister of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Shadrach came the late Rev. Dr. Davies and the Rev. J. R. Webster.
J. E. Griffiths who was born at Neath. In 1867 Mr. Griffiths entered Bala (now
Bala Bangor - College), where he had a very successful course and obtained a
first class diploma. In 1870 he entered his first pastorate, at Vochriw near
Merthyr. In 1877 he removed to Lion Street Congregational Church, Blaenavon,
where remained until August, 1886, when he commenced his present ministry at
Albion Square Chapel, and ably, faithfully, and consistently preached the Gospel
in that place. During his pastorate he had the satisfaction of seeing the
extinction of the chapel building debt. Special services were held on the
occasion, from Sunday, June 18, to Wednesday, June 21, 1899. On that day a big
social tea took place, which was followed in the evening by a meeting at which
Mr. Isaac Samuel, who was at that time treasurer of the church, announced that
the whole of the debt had been completely cleared off. This debt, since the year
1865, had by accumulation of interest and incidental expenses increased to the
sum of £6,389.13s.
latter part of 1897, Albion Square Church was closed for renovation, and at the
same time a splendid new organ, made by Messrs. P. Conacher and Co., of
Huddersfield, was erected in the north end of the building; the old one had
previously stood near the south wall. A platform was also made below the pulpit
for the choir. The cost of the new organ and renovation combined was £700; the
organ alone cost £432. The talented organist was Mr. William G. Phelps, of Laws
had sittings for 1,350 people, but has held upon special occasions 1,500. The
improvements were completed, and it was re-opened for Divine worship, on
February 9, 1898. Amongst the many zealous workers in Albion Square Chapel,
special reference must be made to the late Mr. James Hancock, Mr. Richard Allen,
and Mr. Joseph Lewis, who were truly pillars of the church; also to the late Mr.
John James, who passed away at the advanced age of eighty-seven. He was foremost
in every good movement connected with the cause, and was the senior deacon for
many years. Mr. I. Samuel and Mr. H. Pinch, have also done much good work in
connection with the church.
Salvation Army Barracks.
erection of the new Congregational chapel the old Tabernacle was vacated, and
subsequently became requisitioned for other purposes. It was for some years used
as a public hall, and afterwards as the Salvation Army Barracks.
Upper Meyrick Street Chapel.
In 1843 a
dissension arose amongst the Congregationalists worshipping at the Tabernacle,
and some of the members decided to separate themselves from the mother church.
They obtained a piece of land in Meyrick Street South
whereon to build another chapel.
foundation-stone was laid on February 12, 1851, by W. F. Moart, Esq., London, and the church was opened on Wednesday, December 3, 1852, when special
services were held. The Rev. J.D. Davies, of Albany Chapel, London, preached in
the morning, and the Rev. D. Rees, of Llanelly, in the evening of the day. The
services were continued on the following Sunday, December 7, when the Rev. J.D.
Davies again preached.
was renovated in November, 1889. The first minister of was the late Rev.
Josephus Williams, who prior to his pastorate in this place of worship had been
minister of the old Tabernacle,
was the Rev. W. A. Edwards, who was born at Aberdare, Glamorganshire. He studied
Gershom Chapel Queen Street East.
some of the members and adherents of the West Gate Church, Pembroke, who resided
at Pembroke Dock began to hold services in a private house belonging to one of
their number in Market Street, and afterwards in a large room in Melville
Street. These services were conducted alternately by the Rev. John Davies, of
Mead Lodge, and the Rev. William Powell, of Pembroke.
however, were taken to build a chapel, and a site was obtained in Queen Street
East. The responsibility of this undertaking fell chiefly on the Rev. John
Davies, who was appointed in 1835 home missionary for Pembroke and its
neighbourhood by the South Wales Association of the Calvinistic Methodist.
chapel, which is known as Gershom, was opened on Christmas day, 1838. It is a
quaint little building, standing a short distance off from the street, with, to
the modern eye, a somewhat strange arrangement of pews. In 1844 Mr. Davies
became its recognised and settled minister. He remained at Pembroke Dock until
was most faithful in his labours. After his removal, he served various churches,
and died at
1853 the Rev. Lewis Evans became pastor of the church, and faithfully fulfilled
this duty for nearly eleven years. He died October, 1863. The congregation, who
mourned the loss of a Christian minister, placed a tablet to his memory on the
south wall of St. Andrew’s Chapel, which bears the following inscription:
of THE LATE REV. LEWIS EVANS, who presided over this Church during a period of
eleven years and entered into his rest October l6th 1863 aged 41 years.
Tablet is erected by the church and congregation aided by his brother ministers,
as a token of the love and esteem which they cherish for him. In life he was
faithful, diligent, and blameless, always abounding in the work of the Lord; and
in death he was more than conqueror, through Him that loved him and gave Himself
for him: changing the cross for the crown, and the sword for the palm of
Andrew’s chapel was built, this memorial was removed from the oId chapel, and
placed on the south end wall of the new place of worship.
William Evans, M.A. commenced his labours on January 1st 1865, having previously
served at St. Johns
William Evans is a native of Glamorganshire, and is the grandson of the late
venerable William Evans, of Tonyrefail, a name that is known and honoured
Mr. Evans settlement it was decided to erect a larger place of worship.
Accordingly, St. Andrews Chapel was built. The foundation-stone of this
beautiful church, which is built in the Italian style, was laid in August, 1865,
by Mrs. Ezra Roberts, wife of one of the firm of Davies and Roberts, who
constructed the Pembroke and Tenby Railway. The chapel was opened in November,
1866. Mr. Evans continued his ministry at St. Andrews until 1875; when he
removed to Aberystwyth, where he remained six years as pastor of the English
Calvanistic Church. During his absence the Rev. John H. Griffiths, M.A.,
officiated as minister for the greater part of the time. He is now in the
W. Evans, M.A., returned to his former sphere at Pembroke Dock in
April, 1881, and continued to faithfully serve St Andrew's
south end of St.Andrew’s Chapel is a very beautiful stained-glass window
representing the Prodigal Son meeting his Father. This window was given in 1882
by the late Captain Cocks, who attended this place of worship. In addition to
the tablet raised in remembrance of the Rev. Lewis Evans, there is a brass
memorial tablet placed on the walls to the late Mr. James Owen.
these words are engraved:
of JAMES OWEN, R.C.N.C,
and Office-bearer of this Church, who died 20th June, 1902, aged 55 years.
the Officers of the Chief Constructors Department, H.M. Dockyard, as a mark of
respect and esteem.
tablet has been placed in this chapel:
memory of JAMES DAVIES,
years a Member and Deacon of this Church, and a faithful Sunday school
Superintendent, Who died 28th September, 1900 aged 61. This Tablet is erected by
his two daughters.
was built in 1896. The organist was Miss. Gertrude Webb, of Bush Street, who is
a young lady of much musical ability.
In 1883 a
branch Sunday-school was opened at Llanreath, in the house of Mr. Peter L.
Jones, now of Belmont House. In 1885 a chapel was opened for Divine worship,
when the Rev. D. Saunders, D.D., preached, who had also preached at the opening
of St. Andrews Chapel. Since then the Llanreath chapel has been enlarged, and
there is now a prosperous church, with a flourishing Sunday-school, there, and
the good work carried on is universally admitted to be of great blessing to the
growing village on the hill.
Gershom Chapel Primitive Methodists.
Calvinistic Methodists vacated Gershom Chapel in September 1866, it was taken
over after a time by the Primitive Methodists, who hitherto had worshipped in a
little chapel at the top of South Park Street, which was approached by a flight
of steps. This chapel was afterwards sold, and turned into a public-house known
as Temple Bar. Prior to this, a few of these Methodists met for worship, in
St Mary s Church Roman Catholic.
the forties a few followers of the Roman Catholic faith met for worship in a
house in King Street, which house subsequently became the Eagle Brewery, where
the late Rev. John Thomas, B.A., of Liverpool, was born.
Roman Catholic priest who lived in the town was the Rev. Father Lewis, whose
custom it was to preach on Sunday afternoons in the open air at the top of
Pembroke Street. Mainly by his efforts St. Mary’s Church was erected in North
Meyrick Street during the years 1845 and 1847. The church was dedicated on
Thursday, August 29, 1847, and on the occasion the Rev. Father P McDonnel gave a
special address in the evening to a crowded congregation. The church, which
stands in its own grounds was enlarged and renovated by the untiring zeal of the
Rev. Father Oliver Murphy, who succeeded the Rev. Father Lewis. On the walls of
St. Mary’s Church hangs a memorial tablet to a lady who was buried within the
building. The tablet bears the following inscription:
the Memory of ANN MARTHA DARBY,
beloved wife of ABRAHAM DARBY RN.
born May l6th, 1814 and died March 2nd, 1849, and was ill four years.
funeral of this lady was the first that took place in the town according to the
rites of the Roman Catholic Church. It was on March 9, 1849. The procession
solemnly march ed through the streets of the town from the house, which is said
to have been in Llanion Terrace, to the church, and was accompanied by the two
priests (the Rev. Father Lewis, and the Rev. Thomas Sick, from St. Bernard’s
Monastery) and two acolytes. The body, covered by a pall, was borne by six naval
officers, wearing mourning scarves and hat-bands, assisted by the deceased lady
s three medical attendants, who also wore deepest mourning. Large numbers of
people followed the procession with marked respect. The body was brought into
the chapel, and there laid to rest. An extempore address, given by the Rev.
Thomas Sick, was intently listened to, and made a deep impression on his
congregation. The building was crowded almost to suffocation.
Father Murphy came as a young and genial priest to Pembroke Dock from Kilkenny
in the year 1850, and after forty-four years of residence in the town he passed
into rest, March 14, 1894, having borne an unblemished character, and won the
good feelings, not only of his own flock, but of the whole of the townspeople.
In what esteem he was held was shown on the day
funeral. His mortal remains, by special permission granted by the Home
Secretary, were interred in the adjoining church grounds: Amidst a huge
concourse of people, his body was borne to its last resting-place by the sailors
of H.M.S. Rupert, port guardship at that time in Milford Haven. The band of the
Welsh regiment played the Dead March in Saul. So large was the crowd on the
occasion of this good mans funeral that at least two people died from the
results of the crush.
headstone which marks the grave of the Rev. Father Murphy, are these words:
Affectionate Remembrance of The REV. FATHER OLIVER MURPHY.
Kilkenny 17th March l825. Ordained priest at Kilkenny May 1850.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Pembroke Dock from 1850 until his death, 14th
March, 1894. R.I.P. De Profundis. Eternal rest give unto him, O Lord, and let
perpetual light shine upon him.
officiating and resident priest of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in 1900
was the Very Rev. Dean V.J. Kelly. He came to Pembroke Dock February, 1900. The
Dean is a cultured writer and scholar. He studied at
Salvation Armys advent to this town took place on January 21, 1883. The first
Captains name was Henry Gover.
years the Army held their meetings in the Albion Hall which had formerly been
the old Tabernacle of the Congregationalists. The hall has now disappeared, and
houses have been erected on the site. The Salvation Army then held services in a
large room attached to the Albion House.
On May l,
1883, General Booth visited the town, and spoke in Albion Square Chapel. The
building was so crowded that many failed to gain admission. Since the formation
of the Army in the town it has done much good.
body of the Plymouth Brethren meet for worship in an anteroom of the Temperance
Hall, and also a few of the same denomination hold meetings in a room in the
lower part of Commercial Row which they call the Gospel Hall.
Parish of Pembroke Dock – Silas T Phillips 1898.
of Pembroke Dock
Majesty sanction was published in the London
Gazette on June 3rd 1844. The boundaries were defined as
“ All that part of the said Parish of St Mary, Pembroke bounded on the
north, North – west and south by Milford Haven and on the east by am imaginary
line commencing at a point at the southern end of Imble Rd and thence extending
northward along the middle of such road as far as the middle of the high road to
Pembroke and thence eastwards along the middle of such last road to a point
opposite to the middle of the road leading to Pembroke Ferry and thence towards
the north-west along the middle of such road as far as the road leading to
Carmarthen and then in a straight line across such last mentioned road and along
the western boundary of a certain meadow called Patch so far as the high water
mark at Llanion Pill”.
Places of Worship.
The total capacity of the places of worship in Pembroke Dock according to Findlay in 1875 was 6620.
1824 - The first Anglican Church Services to be held in the new locality were conducted on board the Naval Frigate H.M.S. Lapwing, moored close to the foreshore, when the Vicar of St Mary’s Pembroke officiated. Later, a wooden Church was erected in the South East corner of the yard to be replaced in 1834 by the stone built imposing Chapel."
1834 The cemetery in
The Parish of Pembroke Dock – Silas T Phillips 1898.
13 Rev George Fitzroy Kelly first incumbent of the Parish and from this date
baptisms and burials were registered in the registers of the district of St John
but until a new church was built marriage had to be celebrated at St Mary
Pembroke. The new incumbent lived with the captain Superintendent of the
Dockyard and he conducted services in the National School. At that time no
evening service was held in the Dockyard Chapel.
St John’s Church.
1844 - by Act (6 & 7) VICTORIA, the area under the description of Pembroke Dock was included in the Municipal Borough of Pembroke and was described as the Pater Ward, a District for the purpose of Local Government and so for Ecclesiastical purposes a new Parish (as soon as a Parish Church was consecrated).
Under an Order in Council on 23 May,
I844, Pembroke Dock was formed into an ecclesiastical district, called the
District of Pembroke Dock, and the Rev. George Fitzroy Kelly was in Nov. 1844,
appointed as the first incumbent and remained in office until his death in 1878;
the headstone of his grave is close to the Llanion Cemetery Chapel entrance.
Pending the building of a new Church, the Vicar resided at the residence of the
Capt. Superintendent of the Royal Dockyard and conducted Services at the National
1846 - The land upon which
On September 21st, the Ceremony of
Consecration was arranged. At this time Pembroke Dock had become one of the most
progressive Towns in
Scholars of the National School, Architect & Builder, the Mayor and Corporation with mace bearers, Military Officers of the Depot & Garrison in full dress uniform, Naval Officers in Port in uniform, the Rev. Dr. G.F. Kelly, MA. (First Incumbent of the Parish) and Churchwardens, The First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Auckland with Sir Charles Adams and other gentlemen of the Board of Admiralty
At the site, Lord Auckland was greeted by the hoisting of the flag of the Admiralty and received by a guard of honour composed of a detachment of Marines, the Enclosure being kept by the 37th Hampshire Regt. The Rev. James Allen read the inscription on a parchment which was placed in a sealed bottle with the customary coins.
When the stone had been well and truly laid, Lord Auckland delivered an address and he was followed by Captain Falcon M, then Captain Superintendent of the Royal Dockyard.
A plate was placed over the cavity in the stone and then walled over. It is believed that the stone lies near the tower door. The plate covering the hollow stone was inscribed “This corner stone of St John the Evangelist was laid on the 21st of September A.D. 1846 by George Earl of Auckland G.C.B. First Commissioner of the Admiralty, James Pack Harrison Architect, David Griffiths Mason, T. Maples Clerk of Works.”
Services were being held at this time in the National School but on the 18th March 1847 the congregation was so great that, at a Funeral, the floor started to collapse The Rev. G F Kelly who was preaching was obliged to “suspend” the service. This increased the urgency for the opening of the Church.
In Sept., 1848, the Church was consecrated by Bishop Thirlwall. The resultant building costs amounted to £3500 and this sum was chiefly collected through the efforts of the Allan family and the Dean of St David’s. The exterior has walls of trimmed and dressed limestone a triple ridged roof and a square tower.
The interior of the Church with its
fifteen arches supporting the roof and tower, consisted of chancel, nave, north
and south aisles and vestry with a square tower and later a chiming clock. The
columns are of dressed limestone. The original windows were fitted with small
squares of tinted glass. The weathercock was fixed to the top of the Tower in
1848. The floors were of concrete with pine pews. The choir sat at the back of
the church, children under the tower and an orchestra accompanied the choir and
congregation. The original entrance
was on the south side was designed without steps. The development on
Mrs Ann Powell was appointed sextoness and carried out those duties for 33 years.
The Parish of Pembroke Dock – Silas T Phillips 1898.
every legal document described the church as
Churchwardens elected on 12 October 1848 were Mr James Jennings (Chymist &
Druggist) and George White. Patronage of the new benefice was vested in the
Crown and the bishop alternatively.
the Church floor was of concrete. The Pews were deal and capable of being
fastened to prevent the entry of all but those who rented them. There were no
choir stalls in the chancel.
In 1867 a
building was provided at a cost of £96 9s 4d for Sunday School purposes. This
building in King Williams Street later became a warehouse.
The damage done to the west end of the Church presumably by an earthquake
was repaired and the chancel screen erected – the screen cost £100 and was
dedicated on Feb 1st 1894.
The capacity given in the 1851 census of religious buildings was free 500 other 375 and the average congregation 400 + 79 scholars in the morning and 750 + 62 scholars in the evenings.
A site for the Vicarage was purchased
for £80 in 1857 and a stone residence standing in its own grounds within the
Church enclosure was erected. Previously a limekiln stood on the site.
The cost was £1100. Until the building of the Vicarage, the Vicar Rev.
D. Kelly resided in the house now occupied by Mr.
John Roberts, Undertaker, in
A harmonium was purchased was purchased
for the Church in 1858 and was played by Miss Adeline Grove. This was replaced
in 1860 by an organ. On the building
of St Teilos Mission Church this harmonium was moved there The organ installed
in was by Vowles originally made in 1819 and has two manuals and fourteen stops,
at present (1998) it is installed in St Patrick’s church. It was fitted in the
southeast corner of
The Rev. John Nicholas was the first Curate to be appointed in 1861 followed by the Rev. C D Quinland and the Rev. Geo. E. McHugh who lived up in Pennar. He married the daughter of the Chief Constructor at the Royal Dockyard, Mr. Fincham and with the help and patronage of his father-in-law the Rev. McHugh commenced cottage lectures and a Sunday School at Pennar.
An attempt was made to provide accommodation for a Sunday School in King William St. (Gas House Lane) in 1867 but with little success.
1878 - The Vicar the Rev. Dr. George
Fitzroy Kelly died at the age of 77 and was buried at
He was succeeded by the Rev. F. G. Montague Powell MA. The Rev. A Wilson was Curate.
The Vicarage was enlarged in 1878.
On 16 July, 1879, a faculty was granted for the restoration of the parish church, included the installation of stained glass windows, some by Kempe, a carved pulpit of marble and bath stone, new seating, ornamental tile floor covering, a handsome reredos, patent heating apparatus and the building of a new North Porch.
On the 3rd of August 1879 wore surplices for the first time and moved from the south aisle to the Chancel.
The Church re-opened on 4 January 1880 after refurbishing which cost of £1500. After the restoration. Weekly Eucharists were introduced and the Infantry Bn., stationed at Llanion Barracks was present having previously attended Sunday morning Service at the Royal Dockyard Chapel. The pew rents had been abolished which meant that more seats were available for the poorer members of the congregation. The Rev. F G Powell resigned and on December 14th the Rev. John Seymour Allen became Vicar. He was related to the Allans of Cresselly.
The Schoolroom and Hall by the church was completed in 1883 at a cost of £1300. The design was by Mr. K. McAlpin.
In 1884 there was a robed choir of forty and the present organ was installed in 1890. It was purchased at a cost of £360 from Messrs Peter Conacher.
church of St. John was built in 1848, at a cost of £3000, Which sum was
collected chiefly through the exertions of the Dean of St. David’s and other
members of the Allen family: the site, consisting of half an acre, was purchased
from the Bush estate and conveyed to the vicar
and churchwardens : the church consists of chancel, nave, aisles and
vestry, with 1 square tower and chiming clock
It is built of finely chiselled limestone, and has seats for 801 persons,
so arranged that everyone is within easy hearing of the preacher : the organ,
with 14. stops and double manual, is by Vowles: there is a surpliced choir of
forty voices: in 1879 the church was beautified and improved internally at a
cost of £1500 the alteration comprised stained windows, carved pulpit of marble
and Bath stone, new seating, ornamental tile flooring, a handsome reredos and
patent heating apparatus: the money was borrowed by the Rev. F. G.M Powell,
vicar, and repaid partly by him and partly by` his successor, the Rev. J.
Seymour Allen. The Vicarage is a handsome structure of hewn lime stone standing
in its own grounds, adjacent to the church, with which the style of architecture
harmonizes. The living is a vicarage gross
yearly value £370 with house, in the gift alternately of the Crown and the
Bishop of the diocese, and held since 1880 by the Rev. John Seymour Allen: MA of
Baliol College Oxford, F.R.G.S.
the vicarage and the church stands the parish room and Sunday school, a very
handsome edifice in complete accordance with the church: it was built in 1883
according to the design of “Mr. K. McAlpin C.E. at a cost of £1,300,
collected by the present vicar, the Rev. J. Seymour Allen: it consists of a main
room and two class rooms, and is capable of seating 400.
Connected with the church is a wooden mission building, at Pennar, with accommodation for 200, here services are carried out almost precisely as at the parish church: it is contemplated to build a new church of limestone here, towards which a fund has been started.
The Chancel screen was erected and dedicated on 4th February 1894.
Later that year on August 31st saw a new Vicar the Revd Silas Thomas Phillips and the following year saw the first use of the High Altar and the dedication of the new St Patrick’s Church. This was also the first year that women became members of the Choir. They were seated in what is now the Lady Chapel.
On 1st July, 1898, a faculty was obtained for the erection of a new east window in the parish church, which was dedicated on September 29th 1898
The peal of eight bells was installed in 1902. Much of the cost was raised by public subscription but one was paid for by Rev. J. W. Longrigg MA. RN. the Dockyard Chaplain and another was given in memory of Joseph Teasdale JP.
On Sunday October 22nd a Service of Thanksgiving was held for Peace on our Coasts on the Sunday after the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
On 28th April the Rev. Silas Phillips died and on August 19th Rev. David L Prosser became Vicar. He later became Bishop of St David’s then Archbishop of Wales.
1915 Daily Eucharist started March 28th.
After the First World War the old choir vestry was converted into the Lady Chapel and the names of those who died from the Shropshire Regiment are remembered on the oak panelling there. It was dedicated on October 5th 1919. The Choir then used what had been the Clergy Vestry and a new Clergy Vestry was built above the old one.
The Roll of Honour of the Town inscribed on the Screen of the Lady Chapel
Oct 19. Stanley Dier.
Oct 26. Edward Bowmaker.
Oct 28. William Lynn Allen.
Oct 28. Charles George Williams Andrews.
Oct 28. Alfred Henry Bull.
May 13. Tom Ashton.
William John McCarthy.
Edward John Beavil.
Arthur Benjamin Stephen Mules.
May 28. William Stephen Chivers.
Aug. 10. Bertie Thomas Ashmore.
Aug 27 Arthur E. Ridout Thomas.
Sept. 18. Thomas Lloyd.
Sept 25. Joseph George Watson.
Sept 28. Thomas John Birmingham
Oct. Albert Edwin Williams.
March 13. John Alfred Griffiths
March 28. Thomas McCloghrie
March 30. William John Beddoe
May 31. John Hubert Rogers.
Albert Victor Searle.
July 16. Lewis Canton.
July 26. D. Aubrey Williams.
July 28. Albert Victor Adams.
Sept 26. George James Rich Saunders.
Nov 3. Fred Brooks.
Nov 13. David Edgar Evans.
Jan 25. William George Hobbs.
Feb 12. John Martin Evans.
March 20. Sidney Thomas Elliott.
March 26. William Arthur Picton.
April 19. Albert S. Lloyd.
June 7. Frank Manning.
July 9. Reginald George Thomas.
July 16. Samuel George Turner.
Aug 5. James Wood.
Sept 12. Albert Hugh Bunt.
Sept 20. Ernest Norris.
Sept 21. Frederick James Thomas.
Oct 21. John Mason.
Oct 30. T. Howard Williams.
Dec 5. James Edgar Ball.
Jan 20. Walter I. Phelps
Jan 22. John Clements.
April 2. Thomas Alan.
April 18. Harry Pugh.
April 23. Frederick George Truscott.
May 27. John Henry Dawkins.
Bertie Theodore Pinniger.
July 7. Frederick James Bunt.
July 20. Albert John Moffatt.
Aug 21. Robert Matthew Ingledew Leonard.
Sept 2. John P. Joseph Phillips.
Sept 17. Gilbert John Jones.
Sept 26. Edwin Skyrme.
Oct 4. Stewart Thomas.
Oct 9. George Price Davies.
Oct 23. Lewis James Thomas.
Nov 5. Owen Magall.
Nov 6. William Jones.
Nov 10. William George Bevans.
Nov 25 Henry Lloyd,
Dec. 5. Edward Farrington.
Dec 27. Frederick James Jones.
Feb 26. William John Davies.
Frederick John Scurlock.
The Roll of Honour of the KSLI.
Memorial Panels on the north side of the Lady Chapel St Johns Church Pembroke Dock.
To the Glory of God and in Memory of their Comrades especially those who were confirmed by the Bishop of this Diocese, this screen is dedicated by the Officers and men of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry who went from Bush Camp in this Parish to the Great War 1914-1918.
Arthur Longmate; David Haddon; William Coombes; Edwin J. Herbert; Percy Mackenzie; Victor Leaver; William H. Fletcher; Ernest Thomas; Lionel J. Morley; Frederick Beech; Harry Bostock; Harold Grice; Frederick Stephens; Alfred H. Lowe; Albert Henshall; Samual Hallan; Henry Fleming.
Phillip Preece; William Fox; William Stockton; John W. Higgins; George Kniverton; George Brinsley; Joseph N. Scudmore; John W. Johnson; Henry J. Haver; Joseph Cotton; George H. Williams; Charles E. Burgwin; Edwin Noble; William Carter; Jesse Haynes; James H. Green; James Evans; Ernest Cashion; Harry Grimshaw; Edward P. Davies; William E. Cornes; Charles Ogden; Ernest Breeze; William Southerton; Richard Lloyd; William G. P. Brown; John W. Langford; Walter Crowther; John R. Suchon; Gordon Drury; Samual Thompson; George E. Lawley; James H. Correll.
Cecil Lines; John Richards; William H. Richards; George J. Turner; John Taylor; Harry Macdougall; George H. Price; Thomas N. Brassington; Stanley E. Davies; James Maney; Samual Bower; William Kelly; Herbert Goostry; John J. Sawyer; William Rimmer; Albert J. Johnson; Jeffery Ryder; Harold W. Symonds; George H. Roberts; Thomas Francis; Thomas Evans; Clarence J. Reynolds; Wallace Taylor; John Brick; James T. Walton; Percy Simmonds; William Roberts; George Haynes; Robert Daniels; Richard Woodruff; Charles Oliver; Lewis J. Gilbert; Cadwell Anderson; Edward H. Owen; George Bloomfield; John T. Latham; Walter Warhurst; John Tunsdall; James Norris; John S. Josephs; Albert Lewis.
The names are carved on 8 oak panels.
Rev. Prosser had been instrumental in organising fundraising in all the Churches through the war years to build a new schoolroom at St Patrick’s. This was completed in 1924.
In a letter written January 19th 1924 he states that he had recently sold one of the little camp churches built on War Department ground and vested in himself personally. The highest bid he received was £15 – Was this the one on Bush Camp?
In 1926 the Dockyard closed, Unemployment and depression hit the town and many tradesmen left the for other Government establishments. The Dockyard Chapel also closed and many of the Choristers transferred to St John's choir.
The Rev. Prosser was followed by the Rev. J. Davies whose Scottish Terrier is said to still haunt the Vicarage.
He was followed by the Rev. D. D. Bartlett who served the Church during the Second World War. During that period one of the Air Raid Shelters for the town was the Vicarage basement. After a period of illness he left the town and the Rev. J. T. Morgan who had been Priest in Charge of St Patrick’s was appointed Vicar of Pembroke Dock. He had the reputation of being vitriolic and not very tolerant.
He was followed by the Rev. D. J. Stevens who had previously been involved with Mission work. After his death the Rev Alan Thomas was appointed Vicar in 1977.
Dock, St. John.
Perpetual Curacy or District Chapelry (Peel Parish) District assigned out of the
parish of St. Mary, Pembroke, by Order in Council, dated 23rd May, 1884 (Gazetted
3rd June, 1884).
of the Incumbent amounts to £291 gross, and consists of the following annual
received from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
paid by the War Office.
N.B. - A
sum of £12 16s., with interest, is payable every year until 1909 to the
Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty, dated 4th September, 1878, for £384 for
altering and enlarging the Parsonage.
under the Order in Council of 23rd May, 1884, and
annual grant undcr Order in Council of 27th July, 1863.
is a Rent-charge on the
three Curates who are licensed at £120 each.
Parish Church with a burial ground about 1 ½ acres in extent, which was closed
for burial in 1863. A piece of land was bought for £50 from the trustee of the
will of Mr. Thomas Meyrick, as a
site for the Church, and conveyed to the Commissioners for building new Churches
on l4th August, 1846. Another piece of land was bought from Mr.
Thomas Meyrick for the nominal consideration of 10s. and conveyed by
Deed, dated 19th September, 1834.
present Church was consecrated on 29th September, 1848, and the burial ground on
26th September, 1834.
Mission Church of St. Patrick’s, Pennar, which was consecrated on 11th July·,
1895, the site of which was conveyed by the War Office on 25th April 1895.
Mission Church of St. Teilo, which was licensed on 8th February 1904.
Parsonage, with garden, &c., containing altogether 37 1/2 perches. The site
was bought in 1857, by the Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty for £80, and they
also spent £8 10s. on costs of conveyance in the; same year, and £594 0s. 1d.
on building the Parsonage. These three sums, amounting to £682 10s. 1d., were
made up as follows-
given by Bishop Thirlwell in 1855;
grant in the same year out of the Royal Bounty money to meet such gift;
1d. interest thereon.
above the, sum of £384 was raised by mortgage in 1878 for altering and
enlarging the Parsonage.
informed that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners paid £150 in 1858 and £200 in
1859 from the Gally Knight funds towards the cost of the Parsonage, but I cannot
find any record of such grants in the Annual Reports.
St Patricks - (See PENNAR).
Mission Room at Llanreath
The Rev F G M Powell contemplated the building of a Mission Hall at Llanreath. Several open air meetings were held there on summer evenings after Evensong at S Johns. Eventually arrangements were made to use a room erected by the Calvanistic Methodists but numbers dwindled and the mission closed.
The funding of this Church was quite
unusual. With the exception of a few free gifts the cost was met by the
quarterly offerings of the congregations of
1912 February 7th St Teilo’s schoolroom opened.
St Teilo’s. May 1923 (extract from the Parochial Magazine).
Annual Easter Vesting proposals were made to alter the seating of the Choir with
a view to enabling all worshippers to kneel during the services and to make the
approach to the altar rails easier. The proposals were carried into effect but
the alterations did not in any way help matters and so the seats were returned
to their old position. It has been suggested that the taking away of a complete
row of chairs could help the kneeling; considerably. To make the approach to the
Altar easier it is really necessary to build a Chancel but that is out of the
question at the moment when all should be helping St. Patricks with the building
of the School. It is a question that might be faced as soon as things settle
meeting held on Tuesday night (April 24th) it was decided to discontinue the
Bible Classes during the Summer and autumn months.
night (April 24th) the Deputy Assistant County Commissioner of Boy Scout
movement together with Mr. Cohen of Milford Haven addressed the Scouts in the
School. Both speakers set high ideals before the boys and if their advice is
followed then St. Teilo’s troop would contribute considerably to the efforts
to make our nation Godlier, purer, and more peaceful than it now is.
Gilgal see PENNAR.
Until the creation of the Dockyard the only schools in the area would have been in Pembroke.
A Grammar School was established there in 1690 and was housed in part of the old Town Hall (pulled down in 1820). It was a "free" school usually the schoolmasters were clerics and was described as "excellent" in the eighteenth century.
With the new influx of population in the early nineteenth century, there rose a demand for education. Several small private schools were set up including two by what is now Bethany Corner but which used to be Bethany Square.
1815 school opened by Mr. J Allen assisted by his son John and daughter Elizabeth, who taught the girls, in Kings St.
schoolmaster in the town was a Mr. John Allen, and his school was started in the
following way: After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the prospects of the
farmers were gloomy indeed. Mr. Allen, who at that time farmed the whole of Mr.
Barlow’s parklands at Lawrenny, seeing that his agricultural occupation was
but a waste of time and energy, moved into the small town of Pater, and opened a
school in Middle or King Street, assisted by his son John and his daughter
Elizabeth, who took charge of the girls.
flourished well, and the tuition given to the scholars was much in advance of
were the boys who were taught at Mr. Allen’s school that afterwards passed
into the Dockyard and successfully, John Allen junior, after the death of his
father, continued to run the school.
were the boys who were taught at Mr. Allen’s school that afterwards passed
into the Dockyard and successfully, John Allen junior, after the death of his
father, continued to run the school.
In 1847 the Inspectors report says:-
A long room of the master’s dwelling house on the first floor is the place where this school is kept, and is exceedingly well adapted for the purpose. The master is experienced in teaching but his course is very limited.
The furniture consisted of one desk for the master with four long desks and twelve benches for the scholars but no blackboard or maps of any description.
The house is in good repair but the schoolroom and furniture had the appearance of having been much used. The parents of his scholars were tradesmen, mechanics, farmers and a very few of them labourers. Matthew 5 was read well by many of his pupils and questions answered. Some arithmetic questions were worked out and many of the copybooks were exceedingly well written and clean.
School at the bottom of Charlton Place Mr. Issacs.
School in very large room built for the purpose opposite Bethany Chapel by Mr. Tregenna, premises later used by a Mr. Jane and then a Mr. Whale.
Tregenna opened a school in a very large room built for the purpose opposite
Bethany Chapel. His school-room at that time was the largest building in the
town; temperance festivals, chapel tea-meetings, and other large gatherings,
were held there. A Mr. Jane afterwards occupied the premises and kept a school
of some note; he dignified the place by giving it the name of Jane’s Academy.
Also a Mr. Whale conducted a school for a short time in the same place.
This School was in High St. Mr. Barclay was a man of scientific and advanced ideas. His school was where the Caledonian Inn, High Street, now is. He had a galvanic battery which he used occasionally to allow the boys to try. He oftentimes talked to them about electricity, and told them that this force had great possibilities which he would never see come to light, but that they might.
In 1847 it was inspected.
The school was held in Mr. Barclay’s dwelling house in a back room. The furniture consisted of 3 desks, 1 table 6 benches 1 small map of the world and a blackboard. He said that he had more maps, a pair of globes and astronomical apparatus. Mr. Barclay had received a good education and had, many years ago, been delivering lectures on astronomy and natural philosophy in the principal towns of Great Britain and Ireland.
His scholars are limited to twenty and consisted of farmers, tradesmen and mechanics sons. There was one adult here studying navigation who seemed to have made considerable progress considering the short time he had been under instruction. The manners of the lads were very rude and they amused themselves by mimicking their Master.
All in the school read Matthew Chapter 4. The copybooks of some of them were exceedingly well written Could answer questions on Astronomy and navigation as well as trigonometry, some of them exhibited a good taste in linear drawing.
these schools were other minor ones kept respectively by Miss. Copplestone, Miss.
Harrison, Miss. Furlong, Miss. James, and a Mr. Hitchings.
old schoolmaster, Mr. Newman, who kept a school for boys in North Park Street,
was remembered by some. He had a wooden leg, having lost his own in the American
War during an engagement between the British frigate Shannon and the American
dame-school conducted by a Mrs. Bennett flourished, too, at this time in the
Morris kept a school near the old Fountain Well in Upper Park Street; he
afterwards removed to Queen Street, and there a large loft at the bottom of his
garden was used as his schoolroom, and was approached by a ladder from the back.
William Thomas also kept a school, and was sometimes assisted by his brother,
who afterwards became a well-known preacher in the Calvinistic Methodist
denomination - the late Rev. John Thomas, B.A., of Liverpool. The school was
Raynes kept a mixed school in Commercial Row. Miss. Pearn had a school for
girls. Mrs. Ellard also kept a school for both boys and girls in
knowledge, apparently, was not unknown in those long ago days, for the
children taught by Miss. Slocombe,
Gayton, also, who lived in
house immediately next Wesley Chapel, where for many years the Wesleyan
ministers resided, a man named James formerly kept a school for boys.
private schools were those of Mrs. Groves, Bellevue Terrace; the Rev.W.B. Bliss;
Miss Canham, afterwards Mrs. Venning; the Misses Burgess, in
time a Miss King kept a school in
school was conducted by the Misses. Edwards at the bottom of Tregennas Hill.
They subsequently removed it to
same street, also, Miss Barclay, daughter of the Mr. Barclay already mentioned,
had a flourishing school.
schools for girls were presided over by Mrs. Eastlake, in the upper house in
Charlton Place; Miss Ruth Allen, in Lewis Street; Miss Rowe, in Laws Street,
subsequently in Bush Street; also by the Misses Davies of Upper Meyrick Street,
as well as the Misses Davies of Cleddau House, Bush Street, who afterwards
removed to Water Street.
Hickson kept a boys school in
1847 State of Education in Wales - Pembroke Dock.
Miss Capplestone’s School.
The schoolroom was part of a well built house, in excellent repair. The furniture was composed of a square table 5 benches and three chairs also in good repair. Neither maps, prints nor lessons on boards were to be seen.
The scholars were tradesmen and mechanics children but not one was capable of reading in the Scriptures. Those present were mere infants.
Miss Furlongs School.
This is held in the room of an inn, which is in good repair. The furniture in the schoolroom consists of three tables, six chairs, five benches and a sofa but no maps of any description. The mistress is the innkeeper’s daughter. The scholars are for the most part tradesmen’s children and very young. A part of the Romans chapter 4 was read. The copybooks were tolerably well written considering that the scholars were so young.
Miss Harrisons School.
This school is conducted in the first-floor room of a well-built and substantial house; but the room is by far too small to contain all the scholars. Few were present, in consequence of the severe weather.
The furniture consisted of one large box, one square table, and six benches, but no maps of any description, nor lessons on boards.
Tradesmen and mechanics children were the scholars. Considerable time is devoted in this school to sewing. Writing is not taught.
The 5th chapter of Romans was read, but not with ease.
George Hitchins School.
This school is kept in a very dirty room on the first floor of the master’s house. The grate and many parts of the wall were very much out of repair.
The furniture consisted of a small desk for the master, three broken desks for the scholars, and five equally bad benches, at the sides and in the middle of the room. The master made great exertions to keep his scholars quiet and silent, while I was there, but they cared little for him, though he used the flat ruler upon some of them. The scholars were the children of mechanics and labourers.
They read the 12th chapter of Romans. There are 12 months in a year - named them correctly, and the number of days in each month, but did not know the number of days in February when it is leap-year, nor the reason of leap-year. Only one copy-book of those I saw was well written.
Miss James School.
This school is kept on the ground-floor of a dwelling-house. Here the mistress lives with her mother. Sewing and reading only are taught. Very few were present, in consequence of the severity of the weather.
The furniture consisted of seven chairs, two benches, and many kitchen articles, but no cards, lessons on boards, prints, nor maps of any kind.
The greater part of the scholars are of the labouring class.
A part of the second chapter of St. Matthews Gospel was read, but imperfectly and no answer could be had to any question proposed by the mistress or myself upon it. Writing is not taught. The scholars present were young children.
Mr. Neumans School.
This school is held on the ground-floor room in the master’s dwelling-house. The house and especially the schoolroom were in bad repair. I found the master who has a wooden leg, without a coat, and four scholars without shoes sitting near a small fire.
The school furniture consisted of two tables and four benches; in another part of the room were jugs, fuel, baskets, turnips, and many other miscellaneous articles. The scholars were labourers children; none present could read in the Testament. Copy- books were very ill written.
Miss Pearn’s School.
This school is held on the ground floor in a well-built house.
The school furniture consisted only of a few low benches, a large table, but no maps, nor any lessons for the use of infant-schools.
The mistress is a young woman living with her parents, and teaches sewing as well as reading. There was not one present that could read in the Testament, and, on my requesting, the mistress to put some questions to them her mother said. They are little bits of things they cannot answer any questions.
A back room in her parent’s dwelling-house is the schoolroom. Five small benches composed all the furniture.
Mechanics and labourers children were the scholars, with one or two tradesmen’s.
None present could read the Scriptures, or answer any questions except repeating a few religious sentences by rote, and reciting some short pieces of poetry, which last they did correctly. Writing is not taught.
Miss Slocomb’s School.
When I entered this school I saw the mistress busily engaged with a trowel in her hand, plastering the partition- wall, which was quite out of repair, and the scholars, without any books in their hands looking at her. The schoolroom is a ground room in her father’s dwelling-house. One table, two benches, three chairs, and a coffer made up the furniture.
The scholars were labourer’s children. None present could read the Testament; those who were reading in the Spelling -book had a variety of books, and no class could be formed. The mistress said they were too young to be questioned, and declined putting any questions to them.
Mr. Wm. Thomas’s School.
This school is kept in two rooms at the back of the dwelling- house in which the mother of the master lives. The furniture consisted of four tables, two small benches, three chairs, but no maps or lessons on boards of any kind.
The master commenced his vocation of teaching at the early age of thirteen, in consequence of his father’s death. He continues to attend Mr. Barclay’s school in the evening. He had a good control over his pupils, and is assisted by his mother when all his scholars are present.
His scholars are tradesmen, mechanics, and labourers children many of them are very young. A part of the 1st chapter of St. John was read tolerably well by many.
Nathan John, B.A. Lond., started a commercial and preparatory school for boys,
which had been a much-felt need ever since Mr. Bliss’s school had been closed.
Mr. John first opened his school in
In 1905 there were only four private schools in the town namely, one kept by Miss. Radmore, established many years ago in Laws Street South; also in the same street Miss. Jenkins conducts a school for girls; and Miss B. Grieve has a school for small children in Bush Street. In an anteroom of the Temperance Hall there is a school for boys; Mr. F. Bowden is the master.
1847 Sunday Schools.
I visited this school on the 27th December, in the after noon. It appeared well conducted, and the teachers of a superior class. I saw hardly any lads above 13 or 14 years old among the scholars. I was told that at that age they expect to become teachers directly, and left in disgust if not appointed.
They appeared all to be reading. They showed a good deal of Scriptural knowledge in their answers, but not much intelligence. The school appeared to be well conducted.
I visited this school, after leaving Bethel Sunday-school, from which it differed little.
I visited this school, in the morning. The business of the school was commenced at 10 minutes past 9 by singing a hymn. The 18th Psalm was then read, and an extempore prayer delivered, as such prayers always are very fluently, by one of the teachers. Nearly all, if not quite, all the children could read. I saw no ill-clad children, those who cannot afford decent, or even good, clothes for their children, will not send them to school: there are a good many such.
has been stated, it will be seen that good private schools were not lacking from
an early period in the history of the town; but it came to be felt that there
was a necessity for an efficient public elementary school, and a movement was
set on foot to establish such. Accordingly, a committee was formed, and to this
committee, which included Captain S. Jackson, who was the Superintendent of the
Dockyard at that time, Messrs. William Edye (the Master Shipwright), Thomas
Pretious, John Adams, the Revs. R. Bloxham, C. Phillips and others, the
Government granted the lease of a piece of land at the base of the Barrack Hill
for the purpose of erecting a National School. The deed of conveyance was made
on June 1, 1841, and the ground was let at a peppercorn rent for 1,000 years.
Superb was launched on September 6, 1842, a grand bazaar was held in the
Dockyard in order to raise funds towards the building of this school. Captain
Jackson and Builder Edye were the principal promoters of this bazaar, and
interested themselves in it accordingly.
about the year 1845 the
time the educational state of affairs in the town made great progress, and from
this school many lads were turned forth who subsequently gained high positions
the Kensington students obtained their successes through the grounding received
I visited these schools (for the boys and girls separately) on the 18th of January. The Schoolhouse, which is of two stories, is built against the hill on which the Barracks stands. The ground being higher on one side of the building than on the other rooms which appear from the front to be upon the ground-floor appear from the back to be upon the first floor, and those which from the back appear to be upon the ground-floor from the front are underground. Hitherto the two schoolrooms have occupied the upper floor, one at each end with separate entrance, and the master and mistress have lived on the ground-floor; a change was however being made by which the whole of the upper floor will be appropriated to the boys schoolroom, what is now the. Masters house converted into a girl’s schoolroom and a new house for the master erected on the east side of the present one. The ground at the back is terraced, and contains the master’s garden, the out buildings (which are very inconvenient) and a small-enclosed yard for the children.
I attended a little to some of the other classes while at their work. They appeared to be going well.
The master had a good method of conduction of the school. All the scholars were kept employed. The master’s manner appeared to me to be rather confused and nervous at times.
After the monitors had collected books and slates, and given in the numbers present of their classes some explanation of absence was asked and the school class by class dismissed.
The school has some tendency to become a preparatory school for the Apprentices school in the Royal Dockyard. Many of the scholars are the children of Shipwrights and as such are eligible to be apprentices.
The Boys school could accommodate 295 with an average attendance in 1904 of 180. The Headmaster in that year was Mr. H. Hinchliffe assisted by Mr. H. M. Milburn, J. Griffiths, W. G. Griffiths, and H. Williams.
The 1847 Inspection records:
I was present at the opening of this school in the afternoon. The girls entered very slowly and quietly. They began by repeating Grace after meat. The afternoon was given up entirely to sewing except for the teachers who sew for the first hour and a half then cipher and write for the last hour. I heard 24 girls read from Acts they read slowly, distinctly and well. They answered questions well, especially their senior teacher who appears to me in every way qualified to make an excellent schoolmistress. A few sums were worked both on slate and mentally quickly and correctly. They sang in very good time. Nothing could exceed the neatness and regularity, which appears to pervade this school.
The Girls school was held in the downstairs or basement area of the building and will accommodate 225 girls. In 1904 the average attendance was 153. The headmistress was Miss D. Edwards and the assistant mistresses Miss M. Fisher, E. Griffiths, and E. Davies.
Mason says that this was held in a new wing that had been built in the playground in 1894. He describes it as a spacious room partitioned off for the convenience of teaching and it would accommodate 220. Miss M. Jenkins was the headmistress assisted by Miss M. Grimes, C. Roch, M. Ogleby.
suggestion of forming this school was heartily taken up, especially by the
workmen of the Dockyard. A committee was formed, with Mr. Bonniwell at its head.
A site was secured in
Chapel was in building at the same time as the school, and between the site of
that and of the school two sawpits were made respectively for each place, where
planks were sawn for the erection of the buildings. The school was built with
ordinary stone and mortar. During the latter part of the year 1847 a terrific
storm raged over the town, and the west pine end of the
The first Master was Mr John Adams who had a reputation of being very quick tempered and fond of the use of a ruler although regarded as an excellent headmaster. There were four pupil teachers, Thomas Watkins, John Jenkins, Ebenezer Jones and Henry Roach. Mrs Adams was headmistress of the Girls school assisted by three pupil teachers, Jane Phillips, Jane Thomas and Jane Thomas.
When inspected by Mathew Arnold, then
Inspector of Schools, it was pronounced the first school in
In 1854 Mr Adams was appointed
headmaster of the Goat St School Swansea and Mr and Mrs Cocks replaced the
Adamss. Mr Cocks was appointed Postmaster of Pembroke Dock in 1871 and Mr
William Williams became Headmaster and Miss Mumford headmistress. In 1872 the
British schools (but not the National school) became Board schools under the
provisions of the Education Act of 1870. By
January 7, 1873, the Borough of Pembroke School Board had taken over the
members of the School Board were Mr. Joseph Richards, chairman; Mr. John Owen,
vice-chairman; the Rev. C. H. Phillips, and Messrs. T. Ormiston, R. Collins, J.
Logan, W. Smith, J. Rowlands, W. G. John; and the clerk of the Board was Mr. R.
Lowless. When the old
It was found that the numbers of children in the area who had been excluded from education because of the lack of funds was quite large when the numbers in Pembroke were taken into consideration. Until 1889 the syllabus at this and the National school, especially for the boys, was built around the subjects required to pass the examination papers set in the dockyard for entering as apprentices. In 1889 the Schools Board, despite great opposition, introduced a wider syllabus to include more commercial subjects as not all pupils were able to gain employment in the dockyard.
of the increase in the population of Pembroke Dock and its neighbourhood, it
became necessary to erect more schools; consequently a girls and infants school
was opened in Pennar on January S, 1874, and in 1877 a fine school, with several
class rooms, was opened for boys only, in Albion Square.
1892, a school was built in Llanion, which has proved of great service to that
boys left the
was enlarged in 1896, and it was further enlarged at a later date.
passing of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, steps were taken to establish
one of the county schools in this town. The school was first opened at the
old.Victoria Hotel, which had become vacant, with Mr. T. R. Dawes, MA. Lond., as
its Headmaster, and Miss.
I. A. Perman, MA. Lond., as First Mistress. The school began with about eighty
pupils. In due course a suitable building was erected, which stands to the east
autumn of the year 1901 the old
school was designed by Messrs. George Morgan and Son,
structure, which is named the
Coronation School is quite one of the finest, if not the finest, school in the
Principality; and being the most imposing structure in the town, it is much to
be regretted that it is not in a more prominent position.
On the day it was opened the children of the various schools, wearing
distinctive ribbons, assembled in Albion Square, from whence, accompanied by the
teachers and headed by the temperance band, they marched in procession to
Meyrick Street, where they were presented with round tins of chocolate which
bore a portrait of the King. After receiving these, the children dispersed. The
Mayor of the borough (Mr. W.M. Griffiths, 1903-1904), the members of the
Corporation, as well as many of the members of the old School Board, marched
from the Council-chambers in the market house. Upon their arrival the opening
ceremony took place. Brief speeches were made by the Mayor and others, amongst
whom were Sir Lewis Morris and Mr. Bancroft, H.M. Inspector of Schools. Sir
Lewis Morris presented medals to some of the children for regular attendance.
Mr. A.J. Adams and Mr. W. Williams were the headmasters of the Coronation
School. After the opening of the new school, the girls and the infants were
transferred to Albion Square, and the boys to the Coronation School. In closing
the words of Sir Lewis Morris used on the occasion of opening this school are
most appropriate: The progress of Welsh education is more like a fairy-tale than
one of real life. And in this progress Pembroke Dock has made and kept for
itself a foremost place.
Albion Square School.
Built by the School Board in 1876 and opened in1877. This was one of the schools built to cope with the large numbers of children who had not been able to obtain education due to financial reasons. It had originally been intended to build it in Upper Gwyther St., to cater for the children from the east end of the town but suitable arrangements for the land could not be agreed on and the present site was offered by the Admiralty for a sum of £240. Originally this was a boys school. In 1889, when the School Board introduced the new curriculum, this school was divided in two. The “Higher Grade” for boys, with Mr. W. Clemmow B.A. as Headmaster. Included among the subjects taught were book-keeping, French, shorthand and chemistry. The Junior school again for boys, had Mr. W. Williams as Senior Master. It was enlarged eastwards in 1896. With the building of the Coronation School the boys were transferred there and Albion Square School became a Girls School. The part used by the senior girls would accommodate 180 with an average attendance in 1904 of 162. Miss C. J. Griffiths was the Headmistress and Misses A. C. Cullen, E. Eynon and A. R. Evans were the assistant mistresses. The infants portion would accommodate 230 with an average attendance in 1904 of 167 Miss P. C. Rogers was the headmistress and Misses F. Devonald and F. Davies were the assistant mistresses.
Albion Square School - extracts from the Log Book - (Format used as per the Log Book).
DECEMBER 1877 School opened - Mary Anne Edwards Headmistress, Myra E. Rowe
appointed pupil teacher - 66 pupils
1878 - Little boy from first class died after a short illness.
1878 - Half day holiday Wednesday - Launch in Dockyard.
1878 - 152 children.
l8TH OCTOBER 1878 - Songs sung before Inspector – Twinkle, twinkle little
star; Little Bo Peep; Children go; The North wind.
15TH DECEMBER 1878 - Small attendance due to frost and snow.
19TH DECEMBER 1878 - Severe weather - Broke up for two weeks.
16TH MAY 1879 - Small attendance - Circus in Town.
15TH AUGUST 1879 - Half holiday Wednesday - Regatta in Town.
1ST - 5TH
SEPTEMBER 1879 - 185 children.
21ST NOVEMBER 1879 - New stove at further end of school.
19TH DECEMBER 1879 - Public entertainment given by children on Thursday night.
DECEMBER 1879 - Report "One fire is hardly sufficient to heat the room in
very cold weather; and it would be desirable to have a stove or fireplace at the
furthest end from the present fireplace".
1880 Muriel J. Davies and Myra Rowe guilty of insubordination. They failed to
bring me an exercise which they were requested to reproduce owing to the
slovenly way in which it was first executed.
6TH - 10TH
SEPTEMBER 1880 - 223 children.
23RD DECEMBER 1880 - Broke up for Christmas holidays. On the night of the 23rd.
children gave annual entertainment at the Temperance Hall. Prizes for regular
attendance were distributed.
14TH JANUARY 1881 - Frost and snow - small attendance.
21ST JANUARY 1881 - Severe weather - small attendance.
28TH JANUARY 1881 - Severe weather - small attendance.
17TH MARCH 1882 - Visit to Pembroke Dock of Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.
9TH - 13TH
OCTOBER 1882 - Attendance slack on Tuesday owing to fair in Pembroke.
24TH NOVEMBER 1882 - Holiday on Wednesday afternoon owing to launch.
- 4TH MAY 1883 - Holiday on Tuesday. Visit to town of
APRIL - 1ST MAY 1885 - 250 children.
1ST - 5TH
FEBRUARY 1886 - Snow.
SEPTEMBER 1886 - 317 children.
24TH SEPTEMBER 1886 - Attendance not so good this week owing to the Sports and
14TH OCTOBER 1887 - A very wet cold week of weather.
25TH NOVEMBER 1887 - Fever still raging. School smaller through Dockyard
9TH - l3TH
JANUARY 1888 - During the school holidays four or five boys broke into the
school and did considerable damage to the apparatus and windows.
7TH - 11TH
MAY 1888 - Attendance reduced on Thursday afternoon owing to the Circus.
AUGUST 1888 - 300 children.
1889 - The Teachers have difficult work through the great irregularity through
sickness, half day holidays in the Town and Market days.
NOVEMBER 1889 - Half holiday Wednesday afternoon because of snow.
17TH JANUARY 1890 - Great deal of sickness in town. Whooping cough and
l8TH AUGUST 1890 - Practiced the Japanese Fan Drill.
6TH - 10TH
OCTOBER 1890 - The Mistress from the Hut Encampment likewise visited to see the
19TH DECEMBER 1890 - Prizes on Friday. Halfday holiday.
30TH JANUARY 1891 - Find the Staff sufficient in number but very inefficient.
4TH - 8TH
MAY 1891 -
22ND MAY 1891 - Small attendance - measles - 80 children.
29TH MAY 1891 - Schoo1 closed Tuesday afternoon by order of the Medical Officer
8TH - 12TH
JUNE 1891 - School re-opened by order of Medical Officer - 140 children in
attendance out of 300.
AUGUST - 4TH SEPTEMBER 1891 -
NOVEMBER 1891 - Report on Meyrick St. School. The room is greatly overcrowded
and unless the opening of the new school relieves the pressure the classroom
should be enlarged.
18TH JANUARY 1892 - Severe weather - frost and snow.
22ND JANUARY 1892 -
22ND APRIL 1892 - Epidemic of Smallpox. Some fearing to come fearing they may
come in contact with children from infected homes. Am very careful to
investigate and sent all such children home.
1892 - Letter from School Board to send all children home from Front Cottages
and from all houses where Smallpox existed.
2lST OCTOBER 1892 - Mr. Harries and
Mr. Hancock visited Monday. Mr.
Hancock, Sanitary Inspector, visited on Tuesday. Desired us to ascertain
if any children were suffering with their throats. If so to send them home as
Diphtheria was prevalent and a little child in class four has died with it.
JANUARY - 3RD FEBRUARY 1893 - Closed at 3.45 p.m. owing to the launch.
28TH APRIL 1893 - 274 children.
8TH - 12TH
MAY 1893 - Circus in town on Monday afternoon.
16TH JUNE 1893 - The attendance not nearly so good as before Whitsuntide owing
to the Diphtheria. A report having been current that the drainage was defective
caused many parents to absent their children.
JANUARY - 1ST FEBRUARY 1895 School closed all week except Tuesday due to very
6TH - 10TH
MAY 1895 - Half holiday Wednesday - launch of Renown.
24TH MAY 1895 - Dismissed children at 11 a.m. on account of The Review.
20TH MARCH 1896 - Sent home a number of children suffering from Ringworm.
27TH MARCH 1896 - Half holiday Wednesday - Circus.
- 1ST MAY 1896 - Half holiday Wednesday - Launch.
22ND MAY 1895 - Holiday Wednesday -
21ST OCTOBER 1898 - Absent on 18th at the trial of Mr. W. C. Harries at
8TH - 12TH
MAY 1899 - Holiday on Tuesday - Launch of the Royal Yacht and Royal visit.
JANUARY - 1ST FEBRUARY 1901 - Half day Tuesday - Proclamation of King.
8TH - 12TH
APRIL 1901 - Circus in Town.
2lST JUNE 1901 - Half holiday Wednesday - Circus.
27TH SEPTEMBER 1901 - A holiday given to children on Friday. Teachers were
engaged all day removing all books and apparatus from the old school.
SEPTEMBER - 4TH OCTOBER 1901 - Commenced work in the Meyrick St. Congregational
4TH - 8TH
NOVEMBER 1901 - Schools closed - Epidemic of measles. Closed two weeks. Opened
but again closed. Reopened 3rd December - 80 present.
26TH JUNE 1903 - Half day holiday Thursday - Circus. Half day holiday Friday -
1903 - Control of school passed to Town Council.
SEPTEMBER 1903 - 162 children.
NOVEMBER 1903 - Inspectors report: This School is conducted in temporary
premises which makes the work very difficult.
2ND - 6TH
MAY 1904 -
30TH MAY -
3RD JUNE 1904 - Commenced duties at the Albion Square Council School.
1904 - 168 children.
20TH JANUARY 1905 - Order from Council - Opening time 9.30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Registers closed 10.15 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.
20TH OCTOBER 1905 - Order from Council to amass the children on Saturday at the
Market House to commemorate the Centenary of Lord Nelson.
DECEMBER 1905 - 8TH JANUARY 1906 - Christmas holidays.
18TH DECEMBER 1908 - Medals distributed on l7th. by Committee.
1911 - Small fire.
23RD JUNE 1911 - School closed for one week from Tuesday afternoon - Coronation.
19TH JANUARY 1912 - Distribution of medals on Wednesday.
30TH AUGUST 1912 - The Board of Education have recommended the Education
Committee to retain Standard one boys in the Infants school as they are of the
opinion that male teachers are not suitable to instruct children of such tender
20TH DECEMBER 1912 - Distribution of medals and prizes on Wednesday afternoon.
Children presented with oranges on Friday morning.
1913 - End of first book.
19TH DECEMBER 1913 - Distributed oranges Friday morning.
27TH FEBRUARY 1914 - Dismissed at 3.40 on Monday - Launch.
20TH MARCH 1914 - Mr. Grieve visited
relative to the fixing of a new stove.
JULY 1914 - Broke up through epidemic. Returned August 4th.
NOVEMBER 1914 - 138 children.
l8th DECEMBER 1914 - Distribution of medals, prizes and oranges.
l9TH MARCH 1915 - 197 children.
OCTOBER 1915 - School closed by Dr. Morgan for three weeks - Scarlet Fever.
NOVEMBER 1915 - Half day on Friday - Russian Flag Day.
DECEMBER 1915 - Distribution of oranges.
1917 - Miss Edwards resigned and left - Mrs. Wright appointed.
23RD FEBRUARY 1917 - The Mayor and Sanitary Inspector visited to form a War
FEBRUARY - 2ND APRIL 1918 - School closed - Measles.
3RD - 7TH
JUNE 1918 - The Tank and War Loan Certificate week.
AUGUST 1918 - Bessie Susan Jenkins - Head Teacher; Mrs Owen uncertificated;
Mrs Wright - uncertificated; Miss Allen - supplementary.
NOVEMBER 1918 - On November 11th the Armistice was signed. As school was closed
that week we celebrated the same today by singing Patriotic school and Music
Hall songs - children contributing solos and recitations and experiences of the
NOVEMBER 1918 - School closed until 7th January 1919 influenza.
Staff - Bessie Susan Jenkins; Rosa J. Luly 29-1-97; Clara E. R. Brooks 30-3-90;
Mary H. Brock 3-5-96; Gwen Allen 25-7-97; Elizabeth A. Gibby 27-7-91; P.M. Jones
29-6-00 student; Winifred Llewelyn student.
1919 - lst Battalion Welsh Regiment received colours.
SEPTEMBER 1919 - Rosa Jane Luly temporary Head Teacher.
SEPTEMBER 1919 - Elizabeth Ann Gibby Head Teacher.
SEPTEMBER 1919 - 149 children.
NOVEMBER 1919 - School closes for YMCA -OLLA PODRIDA-
1920 - Patriotic songs and talk.
1920 - 149 children.
1920 - Early closing for Circus.
1920 - YMCA Eisteddfod.
1920 - Half day holiday – YMCA-OLLA PODRIDA-.
NOVEMBER 1920 - Leakage in gas pipe - reported and repaired.
DECEMBER 1920 - The children had a party and concert this afternoon including
dramatisation, dancing etc. and a Christmas tree was provided for the babies and
2lST JANUARY 1921 - Children had been in school during the holidays and tampered
with desk and cupboards.
FEBRUARY 1921 - School closed until 7th March - influenza.
1921 - YMCA fete in Bush grounds.
AUGUST 1921 - Dismissed early - Baptist Sunday School Singing Festival.
OCTOBER 1921 - Assembled and dismissed early - Pembroke Fair.
DECEMBER 1921 - The children took part in a collection in aid of the Mayors
DECEMBER 1921 - A special program had been prepared for the closing day and much
pleasure was derived from a surprise visit from Santa Claus who was sent along
to us from the Girls Department together with a number of Christmas fairies to
1922 - School closed for one month - Whooping cough and influenza.
FEBRUARY 1922 - School closed - marriage of Princess Mary.
1922 - Closed on account of snowstorm.
1922 - Report - Premises consist of a main room and two classrooms. In the room
three distinct classes taught. The lighting in the main room is not good.
1922 - Empire Day celebrated.
SEPTEMBER 1922 - Fete and Gala for Nurses Home.
NOVEMBER 1922 - School opened at 9 a.m. to allow children to assemble to place
their pennies on the line for the Half Mile Fund in aid of the Mayors
DECEMBER 1922 - School closed in afternoon - Fete and Gala for the Unemployment
DECEMBER 1922 - Held a Mothers Day and Christmas Concert when a collection of £1-5-0d.
was taken in aid of the Mayors Unemployment Fund.
DECEMBER 1922 - The children had gifts distributed among them from the Teachers
and the Christmas tree was a great success.
1923 - Closed for Festival.
1923 - Closed 3 p.m. - YMCA Fete and Gala.
DECEMBER 1923 - Christmas celebrations.
DECEMBER 1924 - Christmas concert December l8th.
FEBRUARY 1925 - School closed for one week - measles.
DECEMBER 1925 - The usual concert and Christmas celebrations and the children
much enjoyed finding their gifts in giant crackers.
JANUARY 1926 - 32 new dual desks.
1926 - School closed - United Choral Festival.
1926 - The attendance today is very bad indeed owing to the stormy weather and
the demoralising effect of the terrible thunderstorm of yesterday. Several panes
of glass in the front classroom were shattered by the hailstones but otherwise
the school escaped damage.
SEPTEMBER 1926 - Circus in town - dismissed early.
SEPTEMBER 1926 - 196 children.
DECEMBER 1926 - Each child was given an apple and orange in addition to the
gifts from the Staff. A concert was held on Wednesday afternoon.
1927 - A number of four year olds were admitted.
DECEMBER 1927 - On Wednesday afternoon a concert was given to which the Mothers
were invited and a collection taken for the Boot Fund.
3RD - 10TH
FEBRUARY 1928 - Several children excluded for Ringworm and Scarlet Fever by
Nurse Henry and Dr. Saunders.
DECEMBER 1928 - School closed on 20th November for Jumble Sale in aid of local
DECEMBER 1928 - Christmas celebrations as usual on the 20th.
FEBRUARY 1929 - Attendance not very good - A heavy snowstorm in progress.
FEBRUARY 1929 - Attendance is again so badly affected by the frozen condition of
roads that only 62 children are in attendance - school closed.
FEBRUARY 1929 - Only 75 children present - register not marked.
FEBRUARY 1929 - Only 78 present a.m. and 82 p.m.
FEBRUARY 1929 - Another snowstorm - Morning 18, afternoon 17.
FEBRUARY 1929 - Attendance very bad this week - 6
1929 - Closed - Annual Choral Festival.
DECEMBER 1929 - Concert - "A celebration of the Season". Closed until
the 6th January.
1930 - Coronation Sports - half day holiday.
OCTOBER 1930 - Pembroke Fair - half day holiday.
1930 - The usual Christmas concert was held on wednesday afternoon and gifts
JANUARY 1931 - School Holiday - Attendance for past 3 months is 90
1931 - Percentage holiday.
1931 - Coronation School sports - half day holiday.
DECEMBER 1931 - The Christmas concert will be held this p.m.
DECEMBER 1931 - School closed for Christmas.
DECEMBER 1932 - Christmas concert.
DECEMBER 1932 - School closed for Christmas.
1933 - School closed - Coronation School sports.
OCTOBER 1933 - Closed 2.30 p.m. - Pembroke Fair.
DECEMBER 1933 - The Christmas concert was held this afternoon and a large number
of parents attended. Mrs. Finn loaned us the Christmas tree and a collection was
taken for a Gramophone Fund.This raised 17/-.
DECEMBER 1933 - Closed for Christmas.
FEBRUARY 1934 - 151 children.
1934 - Bethany Eisteddfod - Closed early.
1934 - Wesley Bazaar - Closed early.
1934 - The school closes this afternoon for the Air Pageant at the RAF Base, HM
Dockyard. Empire Day this a.m.
OCTOBER 1934 - Dismissed 2.30 - Pembroke Fair.
NOVEMBER 1934 - School closed tomorrow - Marriage of Prince George, Duke of Kent
to Princess Maria of
DECEMBER1934 - Concert held yesterday and gifts distributed today.
1935 - Mr. Harding the dentist
attended today for the first time.
- 29TH APRIL 1935 - Closed - measles.
1935 - School paraded to the Park at 3.00 p.m. - rehearsal of parade for
1935 - School closed on 6th and 7th - Silver Jubilee Children to assemble on
Monday at 2 p.m. for distribution of Jubilee Medals.
1935 - School closed - Rural Church Festival.
29 TH JUNE 1935 - Dismissed early - St. Andrews Rose Fair.
3RD JULY 1935 - Percentage half day holiday - Bethel and Bethany Treats.
1935 - Half day holiday - Coronation School Swimming Sports.
1935 - Closed 23rd July - Coronation School Sports Four weeks Summer holiday.
OCTOBER 1935 - Miss Jones leaves today - promoted to Headship of Llanion Girls
School. Presentation yesterday afternoon - Jean Carr presenting a bouquet; Fred
Butcher an engraved umbrella and Miss Allen a handbag on behalf of the children
OCTOBER 1935 - St. Johns Bazaar.
NOVEMBER 1935 - School closed - Wedding of the Duke of Gloucester.
NOVEMBER 1935 - General election.
DECEMBER 1935 - The usual Christmas concert was held today and the Parents
turned up in excellent numbers - a collection being taken for the Gramophone
Fund though this did not realise as much as was hoped.
DECEMBER 1935 - Closed for Christmas.
28TH JANUARY 1936 - Funeral of King George V - Dismissed 11.30 a.m.
1936 - Assembled early for the Church Missionary Pageant.
OCTOBER 1935 - Note received from Office that children of three may now be
admitted and several have been entered today.
NOVEMBER 1936 - Miss Gibby attending Mayoral Banquet.
DECEMBER 1936 - Christmas concert - so many children absent that Parents not
DECEMBER 1936 - Proclamation of King George VI - half day holiday.
DECEMBER 1936 - Children received Christmas gifts.
JANUARY 1937 - ....but today has been very bad because of a fall of snow which
has made the roads bad and as many of the children are affected by the
unemployment of their Fathers they have not the boots or clothing to face this
FEBRUARY - 1ST MARCH 1937 - Closed - influenza and measles epidemic.
1937 - Coronation gift mugs presented by Miss Gibby in place of Mr. W. Smith.
19TH MAY 1937 - Holiday - Children will parade at 2.30 tomorrow to march to the
Parade in the Park.
1937 - Half holiday - Rose Fair in market. 28TH JULY 1937 -
18TH OCTOBER 1937 - Half term holiday.
NOVEMBER 1937 - Funeral of R. D. Lowless.
DECEMBER 1937 - Christmas vacation.
FEBRUARY 1938 - A number of children had to leave school for isolation against
typhoid - due to the orders of the Military Medical Officer.
FEBRUARY 1938 - Low attendance - sickness and inoculation illness.
1938 - Dismissed early - St. Andrews May Day Fair in Market Hall.
1938 - Half Day - Deanery Festival at
2938 - School closed on 10th - schools excursion to
NOVEMBER 1938 - Armistice Day celebrated.
DECEMBER 1938 - Dismissed early for Christmas Party Celebrations in Girls
DECEMBER 1938 - School closes for Christmas.
1939 - Closed Friday for the United Schools Educational Outing.
1939 - School closed mid-day - not opened until 2nd October - National emergency
- all children under five excluded -some unofficial evacuees admitted.
DECEMBER 1939 - Dr. Jones and Nurse Merriman examining children - list of twelve
children for Cod liver oil and malt.
DECEMBER 1939 - Closed for Christmas.
JANUARY 1940 - Under fives not admitted - several returned.
JANUARY 1940 - Very wintry weather - bad conditions of roads through snow and
1940 - One week Whitsun holiday.
1940 - Distributed milk under the milk scheme.
1940 - Deanery Festival - half day.
1940 - First air raid warning.
1940 - The first actual raid occurred this morning.
children remained in school and took cover beneath their desks. Community
singing kept them happy and there was no panic. Both Staff and children behaved
splendidly. Teachers have resolved to work extra time to make windows more
protective by covering with net.
1940 - Air raid in afternoon.
1940 - Warning given in dinner hour.
1940 - School closed due to Air Raids.
NOVEMBER 1940 - School opened - under fives excluded. Sixty four children
present out of one hundred and ten.
NOVEMBER 1940 - A severe air raid occurred early this morning only six pupils
arrived - fifteen in the afternoon.
NOVEMBER 1940 - Miss S.O. Davies is absent suffering from shock following the
destruction of her home on the night of November 9th.
NOVEMBER 1940 - School assembled 10 a.m. - air raid alert last night.
NOVEMBER 1940 - School assembled 10 a.m. - air raid alert last night
DECEMBER 1940 - Children proceeded to shelters 11.45 a.m. - air raid alert.
DECEMBER 1940 - Closes today for Christmas after Christmas celebrations.
JANUARY 1941 - Hail, sleet and snow.
JANUARY 1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.
FEBRUARY 1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.
FEBRUARY 1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.
1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.
1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night. Alert 10.24 a.m. -
all clear 10.34 a.m.
1941 - Alert 10.10 - 10.30 a.m.
1941 - Alert 3.29 - 3.55 p.m. - Children in shelter.
1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.
1941 - Assembled I0.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.
1941 - Alert 3.50 - 4.15 p.m.
1941 - Alert just before playtime - in shelters until 11.40 a.m.
1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert at 2.00 p.m. parents called for
children - all collected by 5.15 p.m. - all clear 6.15 p.m.
1941 - Alert 10.03 - 10.48.
1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Easter holiday.
1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert 10.50 - 11.05.
1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert
1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert
1941 - Alert 2.58 - 3.50 p.m.
1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert 2.45 - 2.28.
1941 - Alert 2.20 - 2.40 p.m.
I941 - Alert 9.55 - 10.25 a.m.
1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert last night.
1941 - School hours altered (Double summer time). Morning 10.00 - 12.34
Afternoon 2.30 - 4.30.
1941 - On account of a very heavy air raid on May 11th, the LEA decided in view
of the conditions locally to close the schools. They have remained closed until
today. (29children in attendance) The time of assembly has reverted to 9.30 a.m.
1941 - There was another heavy raid last night and as only two pupils attended
this morning we were instructed to close the school.
1941 - Seven pupils - meeting at 3.30 at
1941 - Registration for evacuation took place on Friday and Saturday l2th and
l3th. Examination of clothing on Sunday p.m. Medical inspections on Monday and
the evacuation took place yesterday (Tuesday). From this Department 24 children
have officially evacuated. School has re-opened today and 15 pupils are in
attendance. Miss S. O. Davies has proceeded with one section of the evacuees to
Amroth. Thirty children remain on the school roll (27 have self-evacuated).
1941 - School closed for two weeks - holidays in two parts this year.
SEPTEMBER 1941 - 44 children.
SEPTEMBER 1941 - Closed for two weeks holiday.
SEPTEMBER 1941 - 73 children.
DECEMBER 1941 - Christmas holidays.
FEBRUARY 1942 - The Wardens examined childrens gas masks. Alert 2.35 - 2.50 p.m.
1942 - Alert in early hours of morning.
1942 - Alert in early hours of morning.
1942 - Alert in early hours of morning.
OCTOBER 1942 - School meals began today - 10 children proceeded to the
OCTOBER 1942 - 11 dinners.
NOVEMBER 1942 - 26 dinners.
NOVEMBER 1942 - Alert 2.35 - 2.55.
NOVEMBER - 90 children.
DECEMBER 1942 - Christmas holiday.
1943 - The Savings Association for this Department have set a target of £350
for a propeller in the Wings for Victory Campaign this week.
1943 - The final total was £1,610
1943 - 108 children.
DECEMBER 1943 - Christmas holidays - The children received gifts of sweets from
the American soldiers stationed in the area.
DECEMBER 1944 - 151 chi1dren .
DECEMBER 1944 - Christmas holiday.
JANUARY 1945 - Heavy snow.
JANUARY 1945 - Heavy snow.
JANUARY 1945 - Heavy blizzard of snow.
JANUARY 1945 - Heavy drifts of snow made school yard impassable and there is no
access to the lavatories so school has been closed.
1945 - Pembrokeshire County Council took over - Education Act 1944.
1945 - V.E. Day on 8th May. School closed for V.E. and V.E.+ days. Children
attended at Llanion Barracks for tea yesterday.
1945 - Children given a Victory Party by the teachers following school hours.
1945 - Empire Day - Children assembled in the playground to watch the Royal
Canadian Air Force parade and salute on the square.
DECEMBER 1945 - 100 children have been invited to a party at Llanion Barracks on
Thursday 27th December given by the 8th Battalion Manchester Regiment.
1946 - Headmistress attended Royal Garden Party as school savings
representative. Had the honour of meeting Queen Elizabeth.
SEPTEMBER 1946 - Terrible storm - Miss S.O. Davies was blown down on the way to
lunch - strained wrist and bruises.
NOVEMBER 1946 - Miss M.H. Brooks absent this afternoon after getting wet through
in the storm that burst as the children were taken to the
FEBRUARY 1947 - Snow falling steadily.
FEBRUARY 1947 - A bitterly cold day with a further fall of snow has ended a week
of very wintry weather. The average temperature in the school was 42 degrees
though first thing in the morning the thermometer registered 38 degrees. The
percentage attendance for the week was 38. 60.
1947 - A heavy blizzard of snow which began to fall yesterday has severely
impeded roads. Only three children have arrived but there are no fires lit and
in the absence of fires the Assistant Director has permitted the closure for
1947 - The fires are still unlit and the closure of school is again permitted.
Mrs. E. Lewis the recent Caretaker has been dismissed for failure to carry out
her duties and has decided not to work her notice.
1947 - United Choral Festival at Wesley.
1947 - P.T. demonstration at the Drill Hall Pembroke.
1947 - Jacqueline John fell down in the playground and is detained at the Nurses
Home for Xray for suspected concussion,
1947 - Measles epidermic - 69 cases.
- 9TH SEPTEMBER 1947 - Holidays.
NOVEMBER 1947 - Closed - Marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Philip Mountbatten.
DECEMBER 1947 - School closed today for Christmas. Vacation after celebrating a
1948 - Bethany Eisteddford - Half day holiday.
1948 - Miss Brock retired - Member
of staff since 30th August 1918 - To show their appreciation of her services
Miss Brock received a presentation from the staff and scholars, the gifts
consisting of a silver cake basket, a case of fruit spoons and forks with server
and a beautiful bouquet of tulips and narcissi.
Jones, Elwyn Coleman, Jacqueline Hay and Gordon Payne made the presentation
scholars and Miss M.G. Allen on behalf of the staff, she having served during
the whole of Miss Brocks service.
1948 - Short session because of the visit of the Dagenham Girl Pipers to the
1948 - Combined School Sports at Bush Camp.
1948 - Half day -
1948 - Half day - St. Patricks Sunday School Outing.
– 10TH SEPTEMBER 1948 - Holiday.
DECEMBER 1948 - Area Music Festival at
DECEMBER 1948 - Concert and party.
DECEMBER 1948 - School closed for Christmas.
22ND FEBRUARY 1949 - Half term.
1949 - District School Sports at Bush Camp - Short sessions. - 9.15 - 11.15 and
12.15 - 2.15.
1949 - Music Festival - Short sessions.
1949 - Short sessions -
- 13TH SEPTEMBER 1949 - Holidays.
SEPTEMBER 1949 - Coronation status altered to
NOVEMBER 1949 - Short sessions - Bethany Eisteddfod.
DECEMBER 1949 - Christmas party.
1950 - Received one ton of coke.
1950 - Short sessions - Crowning of May Fair Queen.
1950 - Short sessions - District School Sports Postponed because of heavy
1950 - School Sports as above.
1950 - Short sessions - District United Festival.
- STH SEPTEMBER 1950 - Holidays.
NOVEMBER 1950 - One ton of coke delivered.
DECEMBER 1950 - One ton of coke delivered.
DECEMBER 1950 - Fall of snow during the night.
DECEMBER 1950 - Christmas concert.
DECEMBER 1950 - Christmas party.
DECEMBER 1950 - Closed for Christmas.
29TH JANUARY 1951 - Closed because of epidemic.
FEBRUARY 1951 - One ton of coke.
FEBRUARY 1951 - One ton of coke.
1951 - Showers of sleet and snow on Wednesday and today.
1951 - Staff - Miss E. A. Gibby; Miss C. E. Treivena; Miss E. S. Thomas; Miss M.
Allen; Miss E. G. Davies.
1951 - Short session s - Area School Sports - Bush Camp.
SEPTEMBER 1951 - Stormy weather - ....and during the afternoon a strong gust of
wind removed several slates and damaged the partition which divides the main
1951 - Report - .....all the classrooms except one which has an open fire are
heated by closed stoves.
DECEMBER 1951 - Christmas party.
DECEMBER 1951 - Christmas concert.
FEBRUARY 1952 – Two minutes silence - Death of King George VI.
FEBRUARY 1952 - The School assembled to hear the Proclamation by the Mayor, J.
Williams, of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth - Proclaimed from the steps of
1952 - One ton of coke.
1952 - One ton of coke.
1952 - Nurse Williams the District Welfare Nurse attended the school this
afternoon. She has taken the place of Nurse Merriman who has resigned.
MAY 1952 - Half day - Schools Area Singing Festival.
1952 - Half day - Junior and Infants School Sports.
1952 - Short sessions - School Area Sports at Bush Camp.
1952 - Short sessions - United Singing Festival at Wesley.
1952 - Half holiday - St. Patrick’s Church Fete.
- 2ND SEPTEMBER 1952 - Holiday.
DECEMBER 1952 - Christmas concert and party. - In spite of the snowstorm the
attendance was reasonably good -.
1953 - Ferry boat not sailing - Fog.
5TH MARCH 1953 - Ferry boat delayed by fog.
- The Mayor (Darrel Rees), Mayoress, Town Clerk and several Councillors
presented a Coronation Mug to each of the Children.
1953 - Alderman E. B. Davies presented souvenir propelling pencils. Half day -
Junior and Department Sports.
1953 - Entry in the log book - I left this School in 1904 for the Coronation
School - signed by J.B. Munro.
1953 - The School attended the Cinema to see the Coronation Film.
1953 - Short sessions - United Choral Festival.
1953 - Short sessions - Royal visit to Wales.
- 1ST SEPTEMBER 1953 - Holiday.
DECEMBER 1953 - School party on wednesday p.m. - preceded by Concert.
FEBRUARY 1954 - Severe wintry conditions.
FEBRUARY 1954 - Pipes burst during the week end.
1954 - St. Davids Day celebrations - Snow falling steadily all morning.
1954 - Short sessions - Junior School Sports.
1954 - Short sessions - Area School Sports.
1954 - short sessions - United Choral Festival.
- 1ST SEPTEMBER 1954 - Holidays.
SEPTEMBER 1954 - Staff - E.A. Gibby; C.E. Trevena; P.E.B. Lodge; J.E.H. Chick;
NOVEMBER 1954 - Short session so that children can parade for the arrival of the
First Welsh Regiment.
NOVEBER 1954 - Severe storm during the night damaged roof part of the
play-ground barricaded off - Slates from Co-op. Window panes also broken.
Ferry not running and busses hampered by fallen trees.
DECEMBER 1954 - Miss Lodge absent due to a fire at her home.
DECEMBER 1954 - Christmas concert in which every child took part.
JANUARY 1955 - Snowstorm and bitterly cold weather.
FEBRUARY 1955 - Heavy snowstorm.
DECEMBER 1955 - Christmas concert - By courtesy of A. J. Morgan it was held in
the main room of the Junior Department.
FEBRUARY 1956 - Snowstorm.
1956 - Early sessions - Choral Festival.
1956 - Early sessions - School sports.
1956 - District 5chool Sports.
1956 - Presentation - Assembled in Albion Square Hall schoolroom for
presentation to M G Allen who retired after forty years service. A log effect
fire and a toaster were presented.
DECEMBER 1956 - Christmas concert.
DECEMBER 1956 - Christmas party.
1957 - Miss Trevena appointed Headmistress - to take charge after Summer
1957 - District sports.
1957 - Choral singing festival.
DECEMBER 1957 - Electric light on for first time. A Smiths electric clock has
SEPTEMBER 1962 - New lobby - Four wash-hand basins - Extension to Cloakroom to
take seventy pegs. Play ground has been re-surfaced.
JANUARY 1963 - Christmas holidays extended by two days because of severe
OCTOBER 1963 - Mr Evans 19 Arthur Street is the new caretaker.
JANUARY 1964 - No coal delivered - school closed early.
- School broken into - much damage done to locks etc. - money and Biros missing.
28TH MAY 1965 - Mrs Downes absent a half day each day attending successful
interview for headship in Pembroke. (Golden Manor). Left l6th July 1965.
NOVEMBER 1965 - Bad roads - snowy weather.
1956 - Retirement of Miss Trevena. Assembly of Parents and friends. The Mayor.
J.R. Williams and school managers present Presents - Nest of tables from
parents, a tea trolley from the children and a "wonderful wall electric
clock" from the Staff of the Junior and Infants schools. Mr. A.F. Morgan
will be the Headmaster of both Departments from the 1st September 1956.
Miss E.M. Nash, Mrs N. I. Jones, Mrs M.S. Oliver, Miss G.M. Richards and Mrs L.M.
The school was built on the
Coronation Council School.
This school was opened on the site of
occupies the site of the old British schools, Meyricks Street south.
The rooms are capacious and calculated to promote all the conditions of
health, necessary in keeping the brain active for teaching and learning. The
playground is rather small for a large number of boys but the street outside
happens to be a very wide one providing room to relieve the crowding inside. The
school bears on its front the date 1902, but it was not opened for teaching
until the 9th May 1904. The upper portion of the school allotted to
the senior boys will accommodate 400. The average attendance in 1904 was 322. Mr
A J Adams was the headmaster and Messrs J. R. Norris, J. S. James, W. W. Winbury,
E. Griffiths, W. Smith, and G. F. Davies were the assistant masters.
boys take the lower part of the building capable of accommodating 400. The
average attendance was 290 in 1904. Mr W Williams was the Headmaster and Messrs
G P Davies, G L Edwards E L P George and J Fisher were the assistant masters. If
the Central Hall is brought into use then a total of 1200 boys could be
The 1970s witnessed a reorganisation of
secondary education in the area.
County Intermediate School.
This was founded under the Welsh
Intermediate Education Act of 1889. Despite massive fundraising by way of
bazaars, concerts etc. insufficient funds were available to build a new school
at first and it was agreed to utilise the old assembly rooms of the
A new school was built at the east end
Brunel planned to lay his main railway line to the small village of Fishguard,
on the north coast of the county, while to serve the southern parts a branch was
planned from near Whitland to the town of Pembroke. Tenby was then little more
than a village, but this too was to be served by a branch line connecting with
the Pembroke line.
potato famine of 1846, coupled with a general trade depression, caused the
company to reconsider its proposals, and after several changes of plan it was
decided to proceed with the main line, but to take it through the county town of
Haverfordwest to Neyland, where a harbour was to be built on the shores of
Milford Haven. There was, at that time, no provision made for a line to the
south part of the Haven
reached Haverfordwest in January 1854, and the extension to Neyland was opened
on l5th April 1856, harbour works being established there as planned. The new
terminus at Neyland was named New Milford by the SWR, and remained the Irish
port of the GWR until the building of Fishguard Harbour in 1906,
the SWR obtained an Act to build a line to the south of the county serving the
holiday resort of Tenby and the dockyard town of Pembroke Dock terminating at
Pennar Gut but no work was carried out.
In 1859 a
Company was formed the South Wales, Pembroke and Tenby Junction Railway and an
Act of Parliament to build was obtained on 21st July 1859.
was later shortened to Pembroke & Tenby Railway. The intention was to link,
Pembroke Dock, Pembroke and Tenby with Brunel’s line near Narberth and Mr. J.
S. Surke was appointed Engineer. The intention was to build a standard gauge
line rather than broad gauge.
It was two
years before the company was able to raise sufficient capital to start the work.
Davies a reputable contractor, who had worked on what was later called the
Cambrian Railway formed a partnership with Ezra Roberts, to construct the line
for £106,000.The agreement was signed on 4th July 1862, with a completion date
of 2lst July 1864. Construction
started in September 1862
stretch between Pembroke and Tenby was completed by 30th July 1863 with the
first train to Pembroke departed at 7.30 a.m, the final train of the day left
Pembroke at 9.10 p.m.
a coach connection from Pembroke station to Hobbs Point where passengers could
board the ferry for Neyland and the SWR terminal.
in progress on extending the line to Pembroke Dock and on by the end of December
1863 a breakthrough had been achieved in the tunnel between Pembroke and
Pembroke Dock however; it took some time before work on the tunnel was
station at Pembroke Dock was near the route to Hobbs Point and remains can be
found between the Co-operative filling station and Lidls store. The first train
reached Pembroke Dock on 9th August 1864.
first the line proved profitable. In 1865 the present Pembroke Dock station was
opened and became the largest station on the line with two platforms, a
turntable and loco shed.
An Act of
Parliament was obtained in June 1864 to extend the line from Tenby to Whitland
and work started in August 1864. The contract for £200,000 was again awarded to
Davies & Roberts. Work included a siding to Moreton Colliery enabling coal
to be transported to Pembroke and Pembroke The official opening took place on
4th September 1866. Because of the differences in gauges of the two railway
systems it was not possible to physically link the two systems.
June 1868 the GWR had converted one line from Whitland to Carmarthen for broad
gauge to the standard gauge and goods trains started to use this new section.
Passenger traffic was allowed from August 1869.
&Tenby trains could now use the GWR station at Whitland where arrival and
departure bay platforms were provided for their use.
after the opening of the line to Whitland their Lordships approached the P&T
with regard to extending the line
into the Dockyard, agreement was reached and an Act of Parliament
of 1870 authorised the construction of the line, to run from the Railway
station, through the town into the
Dockyard were sidings were to be constructed. This involved the demolition of
some of the properties in the town. The new extension was worked and maintained
by the Pembroke and Tenby Railway Company and carried coal, iron, steel and
timber for the Dockyard.
the Admiralty decided to purchase the line and work it themselves paying the
Railway company £23000.
the Royal Dockyard Pembroke Dock closed and the rail traffic through the town
for a time ceased only to start again on a smaller scale with the re-opening up
of the area as a RAF seaplane base.
After the closing of the Seaplane base in 1955 the extension fell into disuse and in 1969 the connection with Pembroke dock railway station was taken up and in subsequent years much of the old track removed.
the Pembroke and Tenby Railway Company intended to build a wharf at Hobbs Point
and in 1868 authority was given for this line, and a wharf as well as permission
to dredge. The Railway line which opened in 1872 ran from the original terminus
to a stone-built wharf jutting out into the Haven, Sidings were laid out and a
wagon turntable built. There were three steam cranes and the majority of the
freight using the line was coal shipments which were transferred to lighters.
Later freight for the army garrison at Llanion was carried but with the closing
to the Barracks this trade ceased and the track also removed in 1969.
began in 1894 to sell the line to the GWR and a lease was signed with effect
from lst July 1896, and Pembroke & Tenby Railway ceased to exist from
lst July 1897. In 1902 Pembroke Dock Railway station had a new turntable
installed as well as new sidings and signal box. Before the First World War
there were six passenger trains a day in each direction between Pembroke Dock
and Whitland as well as goods trains. In 1905 a halt was opened at Llanion.
There were further extensions in 1942 to cope with the military traffic.
the Pembroke Coast Express was introduced, a daily service between Pembroke Dock
winter of 1963 a new service of diesel multiple units was introduced running
between Whitland and Pembroke Dock with no through trains from Paddington. Brin
Hall was the engine driver of the last steam passenger train out of Pembroke
Dock on Sunday 8th September departing at 5.55pm. With the departure
of the steam trains came the closure of Pembroke Dock loco shed and one of the
By September 1942, Pembroke Dock could boast a new Flight of the Air Training Corps, formed at the County School under the direction of the Headmaster, Mr. H.M. Dowling. Today, that fine A.T.C. tradition is continued in the town by No. 1574 Squadron.
1947 Many of the old houses were in need of improvements, over 2000 had suffered bomb damage, many had no indoor facilities, mine, first had a flush outdoor loo. connected to mains sewerage in 1947 and an outside tap as the main water supply. About that time there was a large estate built by the Council, called Bush Camp and prefabs at Bufferland, to ease the shortage of housing. The Prefabs have now been removed and replaced by traditional built houses. The Barracks at Llanion vacated by the army are now flats.
Hospitals and Sickness.
injured workers at the Dockyard were hospitalised aboard the Saturn, a ship
moored in the Haven. What conditions were like on this hulk is anybody guess.
Even in the nineteenth century, many amputations took place without a general
anaesthetic, nursing care was perfunctory, and the state of medical science
(while improved) was primitive by today standards.
appointment of a medical officer to the Dockyard was not an unmixed blessing for
the men. His duties included checking absences from work claimed through
ill-health. During potato time, some employees would absent themselves from work
at the Dockyard and work on their own plot of land. It is easy to imagine the
confusion caused by the arrival of the medical officer in circumstances where
absence was due to a need to dig the garden!
Dock grew rapidly and delivered prosperity to the south side of the Haven.
Conditions for the residents of the new town, however, were far from ideal. In
common with many towns that underwent rapid expansion, Pembroke Docks
infrastructure was not up to supporting the speed of initial development.
supplies in the town were eventually drawn from storage reservoirs, but some
areas still depended on communal wells for their water supply. Conditions in
Dockyard Surgeons office was within the dockyard walls. During the Crimean War,
an army camp was built at Llanion. This also had a hospital and an attendant
medical officer. It is fair to say, however, that the next big step forward was
the opening of the Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and District Infirmary in 1862 at
East Back Pembroke. It was supported by voluntary contributions and public
subscription. Later known as Pembroke Cottage Hospital until its closure in
1961, the hospital provided services for the people of Pembroke and Pembroke
Dock. It had beds for approximately 20 patients. Other facilities existed at the
workhouse in Pembroke which provided the only welfare available for the
desperate and needy.
1866 until 1895, the Nankin replaced the old Saturn as hospital ship. This
facility was only available for the treatment of Dockyard employees, and chiefly
dealt with industrial injuries. Such injuries proliferated as industrial
practices evolved from the use of wood and nails to build ships to the use of
metal and rivets.
falling from the ships on which they worked remained a common cause of injury
and death for the workers, there were now the additional risks associated with
the use of machinery. After the Nankin was sold and broken up in 1895, those
taken ill or injured while working at the Dockyard were cared for in a small
hospital within the Yard.
In this period, the unsanitary conditions of life contributed greatly to the spread of disease. Terraced housing built communities, and improved transport links ensured prosperity - but they also made it easier for sickness to spread rapidly. To control the dissemination of dangerous diseases, much depended on the vigilance of the public health officers and the vaccination doctor.
the spread of vaccination programmes, smallpox is now extinct in
district of the town seems to have been particularly affected by poor social
conditions and inadequate sanitation. There were severe outbreaks of cholera in
1905, Mrs. J. Peters colourfully notes that:
malignant was the complaint that mourners not infrequently returned from the
funeral of one relative to find another of the family had been stricken by the
fever shortly followed and, in 1892, smallpox broke out.
magazine dating from January 1880 reports, in relation to an outbreak of
most thankful to be able to state that this district is now convalescent. By
Gods mercy we have been saved from any fatal ending to a most pernicious fever-
struck heavily by the influenza epidemic of 1919 that followed the end of the
First World War. A record of baptisms carried out shows that, most unusually,
two were carried out by a nurse rather than a minister.
private dockyard situated at Jacobs Pill went bankrupt in 1885 and part of the
buildings was later used as an isolation hospital. This facility was
particularly busy during the mid-1920s, when diphtheria struck Pennar. The
isolation hospital closed before 1940, and the site is now derelict,
with sixteen beds, the hospital was scarcely adequate to meet all the town
health needs, In fairness, however, its builders never perceived it as likely to
fill that role and such accommodations as existed provided a much needed
inpatient facility in Pembroke Dock. After its closure as a hospital in 1961,
the building was used as a clinic for some years until these functions were
taken over by more modern facilities. Eventually, however, the hospital building
itself suffered the fate of much of Pembroke Docks Victorian heritage. Unused,
and becoming increasingly dilapidated, the property was sold, the building
demolished and the site redeveloped. Today the place where it stood is occupied
by sheltered accommodation for the elderly.
after the foundation stone was laid at
of the hospital has an interesting story. When the original Dockyard Walls were
built, the workmen discovered skeletal remains during their excavations. These
remains almost certainly belonged to the household servants of the family which
owned the property on which the docks were built.
workers grisly finds were interred opposite the walls on the area subsequently
covered by the old gasworks, adjacent to the hospital site: their resting place
marked by an inscribed plinth. These remains were probably moved by the
Admiralty when they levelled the site to make the ground for the hospital.
Whatever happened, it is certain that no trace of the bodies or the memorial
plinth remained by the time Mason wrote his guidebook to Pembroke Dock in 1905.
same guidebook, Mason recounts the fascinating story of how workers digging the
foundations uncovered a paved road and claims to have spoken to eyewitnesses to
this remarkable discovery, In an act of astounding archaeological vandalism, he
relates that the workmen broke up the roads remains.
hospital, completed in 1902, covered an area of approximately six acres. Writing
a few years later, Mrs. Peters reports that the estimated cost of construction
was £17,500. Modern and using state of the art nursing methods, the hospital
was then the most advanced health care facility in Pembrokeshire.
important to remember that the hospital replaced hospital provision for
Admiralty employees. The new facilities were not available for the population of
Pembroke and Pembroke Dock. Despite the Dockyards closure in 1926, the
war, when Pembroke Dock became a target for German bombing raids, patients
treated at the hospital (and at the
until the site redevelopment in 1959/60, facilities at the hospital enter a
period of comparative neglect. The building that had been sufficient to care for
those injured at the Dockyard was unable to cope with the demands placed upon
it. In 1953, after the transfer of maternity care to Riverside, the hospital housed female chronically sick patients in its 16 beds. A
succession of forlorn entries in the annual reports of the West Wales Hospital
Management Committee throw the condition of the hospital into stark relief.
changed for the better at South
time, the prevailing trend in hospital provision was to centralise health care
in larger institutions, In terms of development potential, only
1970s, both the building of Withybush General Hospital and the concentration of
non-acute outpatient care in community-based clinics posed a threat to the South
Pembrokeshire Hospitals future, Despite its extensive refit at the start of the
previous decade, the running costs of South Pembs were higher than those of the
new unit. The fight to retain maternity facilities failed. But in January 1977
the vigorous campaign by the Friends of South Pembrokeshire Hospital wrung out a
promise to retain hospital facilities at Fort Road.
standing now: a familiar redbrick building on the approach to the sea. The site
has had many additions made to it in recent years. The Pater Close Units and the
Psychiatric Unit at Haven Way perform important functions for the local
community, the interior has been redecorated and a new boiler house built. No
operations are performed there, and acute care now takes place at Withybush
Hospital, but it remains a focus for the community, held in great affection and
staunchly defended by its many friends.
Sickness see also PENNAR.
Return to P Return to Gazetteer
compiled 1998 and 2009
See also Pembroke Dock Albion Square school diary 1939-45
Quote from Churchills Speech on the Eire Bill May 5 1938:
If we are denied Berehaven and Queenstown, and have to work from Pembroke
Dock, we would strike 400miles from their effective radius out and home. These
ports are, in fact, the sentinel towers of the western approaches, by which the
45,000,000 people in this
The Navy still retained a small presence at the Yard and combined with Fliers from all over the world and Army Barracks at Llanion and Pennar, Pembroke Dock had a very busy and cosmopolitan war.
Wartime was also unkind to the town. The Luftwaffe found Pembroke Dock to be both a prime and easy target, and during August 1940 the oil tanks at Llanreath were bombed, starting one of the most serious oil fires ever witnessed in Britain. Many civilian casualties were suffered, and the housing stock was severely affected with over 200 houses destroyed.
The town was the main Atlantic Sunderland flying boat base; plus part of the dockyard was used for ship repairs. Atlantic convoys were assembled, much minelaying, minesweeping, and escort work was coordinated from Dockyard HQ. It is estimated that some 17,000-cargo vessels sailed from the Haven. It was also an important storage fuel storage depot and had sizeable garrison which attracted enemy bombing attacks causing great destruction and loss of life in the town particularly between July1940 and June 1941.
o’clock on Friday July 5th, 1940, the air raid siren sounded in Pembroke Dock.
It was the first air raid warning to be sounded in earnest, the vast majority of
people seemed convinced that Pembrokeshire would never hear a bomb explode. The
West Wales Guardian stated: On a certain afternoon recently an air raid warning
was sounded in a certain town. At the time there was no reason to think the
siren was anything other than a genuine warning of the approach of enemy
July, 1940, until June, 1941, Pembrokeshire was subjected to many air raids.
Throughout the period Pembroke Dock was the centre of the attack. The damage
inflicted in Pembroke Dock was as great as that in any blitzed town in the
country, every house in the place was damaged to some extent, while the death
roll for one raid was as high in proportion as that of most of the big towns. On
Wednesday, July 10th, 1940, at precisely 10.12 a.m. without any warning, the
whole town was rocked by a terrific explosion.
Then, at 10.20, all speculation was ended-by the sounding of the siren in
the R.A.F. Station. It was an air raid all right. A few minutes later the raider
came in again across the town. There it was for all to see, a big, black Junkers
88, flying from east to west, high. During
the next few minutes there were further explosions Some ten minutes later the
Junkers flew away down south to return to its base, where, according to a later
German news bulletin, the pilot reported “a heavy raid on Pembroke where large
fires were started”.
bomb which so shook the town, fell in the harbour between Neyland and Pembroke
Dock. The ferry-boat with a full complement of passengers had just passed within
a few yards of where the bomb hit the water! People at Hobbs Point and the
Neyland pontoon were dazed by the explosion. The other bombs, four or five in
number and of smaller calibre, fell in and around Llanreath. The enemy was
evidently after the oil tanks and, one bomb found its mark but it was a dud.
anti-aircraft defences in Pembrokeshire were almost non existent and that the
system of warning was to take many months to become efficient.
July l5th 1940, the enemy made his second visit. Shortly after noon a plane
could be heard, flying very high, but, if it was the enemy, it must have
continued on its way, for the all-clear went without event. An hour afterwards,
however, when most people had just finished their lunch, a noisy plane was heard
coming in low across the town, followed in a few seconds by three or four
explosions in quick succession. The bombs had exploded and the intruder was well
on his way out of the locality before the siren was heard, and then it was the
siren belonging to the RAF. The town’s public siren came into its own
half-an-hour later to sound the all-clear.
fell in the field by the Birdcage Walk and did no damage. They were probably
aimed at the railway bridge over
meetings of the Borough Council demands were made for defences for the area and
for the scheduling of Pembroke Dock as a danger zone so that Anderson shelters
could be obtained with Government assistance. Because of the tremendous losses
at Dunkirk the whole country was practically defenceless. It was decided to urge
the County Council to delegate powers to the local authority so that the matter
of air raid shelters, etc., could be proceeded with
without delay. It was also decided that Mr.
Kavanagh, the engineer, should carry out an inspection of houses for the
purpose of strengthening domestic air raid shelters.
22nd, a week after the attempted bombing (presumably) of the Ferry Lane railway
bridge, the ex-dockyard town experienced its first night raid. It was a Monday
night and according to one report, at least eighteen bombs were dropped that
night. One bomb dropped between
bomb came down between King Street and the railway and a third exploded in the
gardens between Market Street and Pembroke Street. Other bombs fell in the
Haven, some near the RN. Mines Depot, and two at Hobbs Point; five exploded
between Carew and Cosheston; four at West Williamston; another behind Lawrenny
Castle, and two on Mr. Rock’s farm at Waterston.
first night raid people began to go out of the town to sleep. It started in a
small way but as the raids grew in severity developed into a veritable exodus in
May, 1941. In August the then Fire Chief, Mr. Arthur Morris, reported to the
Council that five members of the Auxiliary Fire Service had failed to turn out
upon a "red" message. Four of the men appeared before the Council and
three gave explanations, which were accepted. The fourth said he had to see that
his wife and children were all right, He also contended that there was
insufficient protection and said frankly he was not prepared to turn out in a
raid. His resignation and that of the fifth fireman, who wrote that his wife had
collapsed when the warning was given, were accepted.
meeting of the County Council on 23rd July, the program for the construction of
public air raid shelters in the county was presented and approved. This
provided hope to Pembroke Dock people as there was concern at the absence of
public shelters. At one meeting of the Borough Council early in August the
complaint was made that public shelters were almost complete in raid-free
Haverfordwest while in Pembroke and Pembroke Dock they had hardly been started.
raid was just over a week later. There was a hit and run raid on August 1st
by a lone plane which dropped ten bombs across Llanion Barracks.
Although the bombs fell right across the barracks, surprisingly little
damage was done. One bomb, however, killed a soldier. The unfortunate soldier,
twenty-year-old Ronald Johnston, of
Dock had not been deemed worthy of much consideration in the country defence
arrangements or even of a mention in the national news bulletins - until on
Monday, August 19th, a German `plane flew up the harbour and dropped a bomb
plumb on one of the Llanreath oil tanks. Two local children living in Bufferland
actually waved to the pilot whom they could see and whom they believe waved
back. The blaze, which followed, was
one of the biggest in the history of
engaged on trenching around the tanks looked up at the approaching `planes and
thought they were British. Then the bomber dived in and the men ran for shelter.
Firebombs were dropped and a hit was obtained on a tank holding 12,000 tons of
oil. A great tongue of flame shot up and clouds of black, thick, oily smoke
billowed high into the sky. Within seconds it was obvious for many miles around
that the tanks were burning. The flames and smoke could be seen from as far away
as Haverfordwest. The workmen escaped without injury. The only initial injury
was Mr. Fred Phillips, who was treated for shock. The people living in Military
Road right alongside the tanks had a severe fright and worse was to come as the
wind carried flames and great volumes of smoke in the direction of their homes.
of some of the houses became too hot to touch and the oil-laden smoke percolated
into many rooms leaving a trail of ruin. Some of the residents of
after the attack the Pembroke Dock Fire Brigade was on the scene under Mr. Arthur
Morris, tackled what they knew was going to be a formidable task with
insufficient resources. The Pembroke and Pembroke Dock brigades were largely
responsible for preventing the flames spreading to the nearby houses. Help was
requested from all parts of the country and brigades from many areas came to
join in the fight.
According to Mr Richards:
fire raged in full fury for eighteen days. During that period over six hundred
firemen from all parts of the country fought the flames; eleven tanks each with
a capacity of 12,000 tons were destroyed; five firemen lost their lives; the
enemy made further savage but fruitless attacks, and the whole town and
countryside bore traces of oil carried by the smoke which billowed far and wide.
Auxiliary firemen from all parts of the county were on the scene a few hours
after the attack and within the next two or three days they were re-enforced by
brigades from Carmarthen, Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Newport and
other parts of the country. Altogether twenty-two brigades took part in the
colossal task. These men faced one of the grimmest fights of their lives. No
battlefield ever presented a more ghastly picture. Flames sprang hundreds of
feet into the air and, every few minutes, shot outwards treacherously from the
tanks in great enveloping sheets; the heat was overpowering and the smoke
blinding, choking, stupefying. Yet the firemen stuck to their task, and in that
terrible holocaust sweated and strained until at last, at long last, they got
control of the great conflagration. Even on the eighteenth day, when success was
in sight, the pumps broke down and an alarming situation developed for several
hours. A tank collapsed causing a terrific flare-up which led to the explosion
of an adjoining tank. Eventually, when the oil became exhausted the flames died
down and at last the fire was under control.
firemen lost their lives all belonging to the Cardiff Brigade. They were
Clifford Mills (31),
Tuesday morning less than twenty-four hours after the blaze had been started a
German `plane dived through the pall of thick black smoke and dropped four
bombs. Fortunately the bombs exploded half a mile away. A few minutes later the
`plane returned and machine gunned the firemen. There was a stampede for safety,
most of the firemen diving beneath the fire engines. A dozen men crouching
beneath one engine saw a large number of holes appear in a piece of zinc lying a
few feet from them. The zinc had been completely riddled with machine-gun
bullets! One fireman was taken to hospital with an injury which was not serious.
Wednesday, the third day of the fire, an enemy machine approached Pembroke Dock
from the south-west but three Spitfires went up to intercept and it was driven
off. Again, two days later the enemy was in the vicinity but due to our fighter
interception no raid developed. On the night of Saturday, August 24th, bombs
were dropped and caused damage to hose lines and appliances. There were also
some minor casualties but no serious interruption of operations.
air raids on the town on September 1st and 2nd but no attempt was made to bomb
seventeen tanks at Llanreath, holding approximately 45,000,000 gallons of oil,
eleven were destroyed, representing a loss of 33,000,000 gallons. The twenty-two
brigades in attendance used 600 men, 53 pumps, nine miles of hose and 2,000
gallons of water per minute. Feeding the men during the eighteen days cost £840.
Apart from the five fatal casualties, the numbers receiving treatment were as
cases treated in hospital, 38;
cases (mostly eyes), 241;
the hands, face and neck, 180;
and strains, 12;
treatment (due to oil entering boots), 560;
A total of
who helped to fight that fire was a hero; certain it is that they all shared the
tremendous hazards and they all contributed to the splendid combined effort
which saved eight oil tanks and possibly a part of the town from destruction.
Who, then, decided that certain Firemens services were more valuable than
others, that their bravery was greater, that their daring was more glorious? Who
decided that George Medals should be awarded to a handful of firemen out of the
six hundred? If awards for gallantry had to be made in connection with such an
epic battle action - for such it was - the only fair way to have done it would
have been to present the chief officer of each brigade engaged with a medal in
recognition of the services of his unit. It was no wonder that the deepest
dissatisfaction was occasioned locally when the tank fire awards were announced
later on. Pembroke, evidently unable to pull the right strings, received no
recognition, but a George Medal and a British Empire Medal went to Milford
Haven. The indignation of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock people was expressed on all
sides and in no uncertain terms, especially with regard to the B.E.M. award to a
the yeoman service of the Firemen, perhaps the greatest feature of the historic
fire was the magnificent response of the townspeople and members of the Civil
Defence Services to the needs of the unprecedented emergency. Wherever one
turned men and women of Pembroke Dock were giving their services eagerly -
providing accommodation for the firemen, helping feed them, wash them, dress
their burns and provide them with a score of needs. There were ample gifts of
towels, soap clothes, linen, etc., while some ladies, mostly those of the local
Red Cross Detachment and St. John Ambulance Nursing Division, spent hour after
hour, day and night, carrying out first-aid work at St. Patrick's Schoolroom,
They were described as Angels of Mercy, which, indeed, they were, The following
message which the officer in charge of the Bristol contingent asked the Guardian
to publish at the time provides an indication of how much the local peoples
efforts from Bristol feel towards you. -
The reception we had and the attentions which have been showered upon us by you
wonderful people have really been stupendous. When we left
service to the five unfortunate men was held in St, Patrick's Church, within a
few hundred yards of the blazing inferno, on the following Sunday. There was a
large attendance of firemen and of Pembroke Dock people, who felt deeply the
loss of the five brave men.
August 22nd, was the most critical of the eighteen days. The death of the five
men greatly distressed their colleagues and the spread of raging flames which
followed the escape of oil did nothing to re-assure anyone. In fact, there was
near panic for a short time and this spread to the civil population as the fire
ran with devilish speed across adjoining countryside, making Military Road
impassable and damaging extensively a cottage, farm buildings and crops. In the
evening there was another large escape of oil to add to the almost unbelievable
difficulties under which the men worked. This produced another wave of alarm
amongst the townspeople and started a rumour that another sixty Firemen had been
burnt to death, So much credence was placed upon this rumour that ambulances
rushed to the scene, as well as police, firemen who were off duty and scores of
townspeople. Assurances that there had been no further deaths restored public
confidence, and the arrival shortly afterwards of reinforcements from
Firemen went about their hazardous work in the 1st hours of the fire they
realised acutely that heat and flames and boiling-oil were not the only dangers
which beset them. They knew that at any moment the enemy might return to try and
exact a toll of death from their ranks.
Germans described it as a great success by the Luftwaffe. It was a serious blow
afternoon of Sunday, August 25th, when the great Pennar fire had been burning
for six days, a German `plane flew over and dropped two bombs in the vicinity.
It was a bold attack, evidently aimed at producing confusion and adding
difficulty to the firemen great task, but again the enemy bad marksmanship
proved a blessing. Both bombs fell near the tanks but caused no military damage
although a few firemen received injuries and had to be treated at the
fire gave rise to the first suspicions that spies were lurking in South
Pembrokeshire. Inevitably there were many wild and exaggerated stories of
suspicious characters flashing lights, secret transmitting sets, raids and
arrests by the police, mysterious midnight movements and so on. Ninety per cent
of such assertions can safely be written down as being pure assumption produced
by the general uneasiness of the times; the remaining ten per cent might have
had some foundation in fact.
every reason to believe, for instance, that enemy agencies were at work during
the time of the tanks fire. One night when the blaze was at its height a big car
coming from the direction of the tanks pulled up beside half-a-dozen local
residents who were talking at the bottom of
story which gained much credence a few weeks later concerned lights which some
people vowed they had seen flashing a few miles south of Pembroke on nights when
enemy aircraft were in the vicinity. Indeed there were people who began to see
lights everywhere, even in Freshwater East, a haven of safety for scores of
Pembroke Dock folk. On one memorable night towards the end of the year a few
privileged people at The Grotto, that cosy Freshwater rendezvous, where so many
from Pembroke Dock were want to spend their evenings, were let into the secret
that two or three Army officers were going out into the darkness to settle once
and for all the matter of the lights said to be winking skywards at the bottom
of the village. To add drama to the occasion one officer showed his loaded
revolver round before buttoning up his trench coat and venturing forth. It was
rather in the nature of an anti-climax when they returned to their expectant
friends with nothing to report. They had not seen a soul and the black-out was
people and those in the south of the county in particular were getting precious
little rest at nights at this period. Nearly every night the sirens would sound
and even if no attack developed the drone of aircraft almost invariably followed
which, though it might be in the distance, was sufficient to keep people on the
qui vive. And when the sirens were silent sleep was still an uneasy thing, in
Pembroke Dock at least, where it had been learnt by grim experience that it was
upon such occasions that real attacks occurred. Then there were the planes which
flew round and round sometimes for an hour and more on end, without any object
apparent to the uneasy folk below, unless it was to keep them awake, More often
than not, the siren not having sounded, no one knew whether the `plane was
friendly or hostile, and people used to stand on their doorsteps hoping for the
best and staring up into the sky watching the long, pointing fingers of the
searchlights as they "passed the sound" from one to the other, Upon
one such occasion a plane few back and fore over Pembroke Dock quite unmolested
for surely an hour. Then some ones patience must have snapped because an anti
aircraft gun went off with a great bang and the `plane was not heard again.
These, presumably, were the nuisance raiders. They undoubtedly served a purpose.
nerves were beginning to get ragged, as was evidenced by the demand made towards
the end of August for the removal of the flag flying over Pembroke Castle which,
it was contended, might help enemy `planes to locate Pembroke Dock ! Looking
back, the absurdity of the request is apparent. While the castle itself, the
harbour and a dozen other aids to navigation remained the flag itself was of no
consequence as a guide to the enemy. It is probable that not one enemy airman
ever noticed it.
August a number of bombs were dropped on open spaces and caused no harm. Several
fell in the marshland and at Caswell, outside Tenby, on August l7th, while on
the last day of the month
Docks lucky star must have been well in the ascendant on Monday, September 2nd,
1940. In the early hours of that morning a raider roared in from the east and,
with utter indiscrimination, unloaded a cargo of incendiary and high explosive
bombs which completely demolished a number of houses, extensively damaged scores
of others, wreaked havoc along the main thoroughfares, scored a direct hit on
the Temperance Hall but did not kill a soul! It was the enemy second visit
that night and the majority of Pembroke Dock people had fallen into uneasy sleep
when, some time after 1 am, without any warning siren, the low flying `plane
awakened them. Almost immediately the bombs crashed down. In
people were scrambling out of bed and running for shelter downstairs when a
breath stopping, air-splitting explosion threw them against walls, on to floors,
downstairs and, in some cases, out of beds, as their houses heaved and tottered.
One bomb had scored a direct hit on the wing at the back of No. 23,
No. 32 was
the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Young, who had left on the previous Saturday for a
holiday by the sea. Had they been at home they could not have escaped death or
serious injury. The house next door above, No. 34, was the home of Mr. Roch, a
lighthousekeeper, his wife and two children. Mr. Roch was away on duty while his
wife and children were staying with friends in another district. The house
below, No. 30, was occupied by Mr. W.
J. J. Phillips, the Pembroke Dock stationmaster, and a former member of the
Pembroke Town Council. Mr, Phillips, a Special Constable, was out on duty, but
Mrs. Phillips and their daughter were in the house, and when they heard the
`plane they rushed down and under the stairs in their nightclothes - just in the
nick of time. No. 23, on the other side, was the home of Mr. Wyrriot Owen, who
with his family was staying out of the town.
rushed out and stumbling through debris and blinding dust reached the wrecked
houses where they immediately commenced rescue work. Mrs. and Miss Phillips were
soon located and with little difficulty were brought to safety. White with dust
from head to foot, they were taken to Mr. and Mrs. Hordleys house opposite where
they soon recovered from their unnerving experience. Later they were joined by
friends in the street who, satisfied there was nothing more they could do until
morning, spent the remaining hours of darkness singing popular songs with Mr.
Fred Hordley, home on leave from the Army, at the piano. Had not the
three houses been empty there would almost certainly have been a death roll,
which would have added dismay, confusion and difficulty to the havoc of the
attack, Yet there were people who continued to campaign bitterly against those
who sought safety outside the town.
town was still rocking to the explosion of the Gwyther Street bombs, more H.E.s were
falling in the Lewis Street area. One exploded alongside
of bombs had been dropped previously, a direct hit being scored upon Mrs.
Lemon’s house on the left hand side going up Tremeyrick Street. Mrs. Lemon, a
middle-aged lady, was in the house and when she heard the bomb coming dived
under the table for shelter. The house collapsed around her with a sickening
crash and she was trapped beneath the debris. Rescue workers were quickly on the
scene and after a long and difficult task, made all the worse by the uncertainty
as to whether Mrs. Lemon was alive or not, the lady was brought to safety. She
was injured and badly shaken but could hardly believe her luck in being alive
when she saw the ruins of her home which had been levelled to the ground.
incendiary bombs used were of the oil type but they did little damage. One fell
in the park and another on the corner of Argyle Street-Bush Street, where for
months afterwards the walls were covered with black, smelly oil.
had been busy in the Tenby area earlier that night. Approximately a hundred
incendiary bombs were dropped on Kingsmoor Common - miles away from any military
objective. Hayricks were set on fire at Enox Hill Farm, Saundersfoot, and Little
Kilowen, while between thirty and forty incendiaries were dropped near
Netherwood House, Saundersfoot. The Narberth Fire Brigade was soon in action and
the fires were extinguished.
nights later "Jerry" came again; a plane flew over Pembroke Dock and
dropped a number of bombs which fell in a field on Bierspool Farm, killing three
cows and injuring nine others, the property of Mr. Edward Gibby. Some of the
bombs fell quite near to Bierspool House, but did little damage. Mr. and Mrs.
Gibby were away from home for the night. Another bomb exploded on the other side
of the road near
Borough continued to call out for adequate air raid shelters. While the shelters
being erected for the schools were described as the best in Wales there was the
utmost dissatisfaction at the County Council’s communal shelters. It was
stated in responsible quarters that they could be knocked over with a
seven-pound hammer and spirited protests were made to the appropriate quarters.
at the arrangements for sounding the siren reached a critical pitch in Pembroke
Dock following two raids which occurred without warning, within an hour of each
other on the night of Wednesday, October l6th. The first raid was shortly before
9 o’clock. It was made by a single `plane which after dropping a number of
flares released a string of high explosive and incendiary bombs. Some people in
the streets had seen the flares and were prepared for trouble but to the
majority the sickening crash of the bombs, now all too familiar, was the first
intimation that -Jerry was over again-. A devils chorus of explosions and
machine gun fire continued for several minutes and then there was silence. After
half-an-hour or so the more venturesome left their shelter, persuaded by the
quietness which then reigned, that it was all clear. But within ten minutes the
raider was back and caught scores of people in the streets as he released
another load of bombs.
there was hurrying into shelters and in the absence of anything to assure them
that the danger was over many people remained in refuge, cold, shivering and
apprehensive, for hours, some until the first streaks of dawn had shot across
the sky. The next morning irate citizens went to the A.R.P. report centre to
know why no siren had been sounded, firstly to give warning of the raid and
secondly to show that the raid was over. They were told that officially there
had been no raid, an answer which provoked some interesting comment as the
enquirers made their way home through the glass strewn streets. If this was an
unofficial raid what, asked one, would an official raid be like? Other
suggestions were that the siren should be taken down and presented to the nation
as disused iron and that other uses should be made of the materials which went
to build the public shelters as the doors of these much maligned little
structures were found to be padlocked when people ran to them during the second
attack. Another suggestion, and one that was made quite seriously, was that the
was the public discontent that the Borough Council decided to communicate with
the Prime Minister, the Minister of Home Security, the War Office and the
Regional ARP. Commissioner on the matter. A public protest meeting in Pembroke
Dock was also arranged but it had to be abandoned because no suitable building
with an adequate black-out was available. While there is no doubt that Pembroke
Dock had every reason for its concern, in retrospect it is obvious that a system
permitting warnings at local discretion, which was much in demand, would not
have been a satisfactory solution of the problem, On the contrary it is possible
that such a system would only have produced greater confusion and added to the
perils of the people. There was a general tendency to blame the County ARP.
system for all the troubles, but the fact was that the County officials were
quite powerless, being entirely under the control of Cardiff. In turn, Cardiff
was dependent upon Fighter Command who should have been in a better position
than anyone in Pembroke Dock to know the movement of enemy planes over the
country. That Fighter Command fell down on the job on so many occasions in the
early days was doubtless due to the fact that the system had not by then
adjusted itself to the unexpected conditions caused by the French surrender.
twenty and thirty H.E. bombs, some of them of the delayed action type, and
several incendiaries fell at widespread points that Wednesday night. Several
long bursts of machine-gun fire featured the attack and it is thought that on
one occasion at least, the raider was firing into the streets. But it was
another night of good fortune: no one was killed; only one man was slightly
injured, no damage of military importance was done and damage to civilian
property was comparatively slight.
explosive bombs landed in King Street Lane,
raider had dropped a bomb on
attack on Pembroke Dock occurred on the following Sunday night. Only
incendiaries were dropped, and two houses were set on fire, one at the corner of
Docks almost phenomenal run of luck in sustaining repeated air attacks without
any fatal civilian casualties came to an end on November 6th 1940. The chill and
darkness of a November morning had not begun to dissolve when the siren wailed
its mournful warning. Almost at once the drone of aeroplanes filled the air. It
was a peculiar sound; the note of the engines seemed different from that heard
on previous occasions and later there was considerable speculation as to what
type of aircraft was used, some suggesting that they were Italian machines.
Whatever they were, there were several of them, and they carried out a violent
and indiscriminate attack. It is estimated that nearly thirty high explosives
were dropped and most of them were of heavy calibre, causing huge craters. Eight
of these bombs fell in the
Mrs. Kinton’s house was completely demolished, burying them beneath the stairs
where apparently they were sleeping. Demolition and rescue workers rushed to the
scene and worked feverishly for over two hours to extricate the unfortunate
people. It was hoped that Mrs. Kinton would be saved as she was heard to speak
when the rescue work was in progress, but when extricated it was found she had
passed away. By this time a large crowd had gathered and the people watched
silently and with bowed heads as the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Kinton were carried
away to the mortuary. The body of the young Air Force man, in night clothing,
was found on the pavement outside the premises. He was beyond human aid. Another
lodger, Mr. T. H. Clement, a clerk in the Pembroke Dock branch of Barclays Bank,
escaped with serious injuries and was taken to the
work by rescuers failed to save Mrs. Harvey next door, where a fire was burning,
due, it is thought, to the domestic fire in the house spreading when the house
collapsed. Dr. Harvey was extricated badly injured and was removed to hospital,
while the baby escaped unscathed due to the presence of mind of Mrs. Harvey, who
although partly buried by the debris, and on the point of collapse, threw the
child clear of the fire into the passage. There it was found uninjured hanging
by its clothing to a clothes peg on the wall!
bravery of A.R.P., fire-fighting and police personnel in the
following Sunday night, November 10th, when the enemy made his next visit, a
local Civil Defence worker, exasperated at what he considered to be red tape
obstructing common-sense procedure, put the siren off without permission - and
got into hot water with the authorities. But he was on perfectly safe ground.
The voice of the people rose up in his defence and he was acclaimed a hero. His
unauthorised action undoubtedly saved several people from injury or death and
had the threats of dire punishment, including imprisonment, been carried out
there would most assuredly have been a public revolt on an unprecedented scale.
The central figure of this interesting incident was Alderman J. R. Williams, one
of the most vociferous advocates of reform of the siren system. At that time
Alderman Williams, the vice-chairman of the old Fire Brigade Committee of the
Borough Council, slept most nights at the Fire Station at the Market Hall. He
was there on Sunday night and when, about midnight, the familiar discordant note
of enemy planes was heard, he ordered a fireman, Mr. Harry Baker, to press the
button. A few minutes later bombs crashed down on houses which had just been
vacated by persons who had run for shelter upon hearing the warning. It is
understood that Alderman Williams subsequently received some serious letters on
the matter, but he remained unperturbed and with everyone stoutly defending his
action, nothing came of it.
bombs in that Sunday night raid fell in the top part of Pembroke Dock. A direct
hit was scored on 19 Owen Street, Pennar, but the occupants, Mr. and Mrs. Scourfield, were sheltering beneath
the stairs, and had a wonderful escape. On
the Pembrokeshire Constabulary had narrow escapes. The Police patrol car had
only just passed Bethany and was going up High Street when the bombs dropped. It
bounced with the explosion and it can be safely assumed that the speed cop then
put on a bit more speed! A constable
on foot, P.C. Greenslade (later Sergt. Greenslade, who died in February, 1965)
was standing in the narrow street running up alongside the chapel when he heard
the warning whistle. He lay flat and was uninjured. Other bombs, H.E. and
incendiary, fell around Cross Park and Pennar and caused some damage but no
no concentrated attack occurred between November 6th, 1940, and May l2th, 1941,
the night skies over Pembrokeshire were hardly ever free of the hum of aircraft
and the flash and crack of ack-ack fire during that period. It was a period of
uneasiness. Night after night the sirens wailed, followed in a few minutes by
the sound of aircraft approaching from the south. Sometimes a bomb or two or a
single parachute mine or a bunch of incendiaries would be dropped at random;
sometimes the metallic rattle of a machine-gun would provide a sharp contrast of
sound against the deep note of the bombers, sometimes a low flying raider would
fly round and round as if in an intense search. But no major attack developed,
As the weeks of 1941 wore on the bombers became more and more inclined to leave
Pembrokeshire alone, flying high over the area in their hundreds to attack
Merseyside, the Midlands and Northern Ireland.
however, did not ease the minds of the local people who almost every night, at
about the same hour, had to leave their beds or their firesides to go to shelter
or out on ARP. duty. As the hordes came over, the big guns down the harbour
would start firing and between the scores of searchlights, ack-ack bursts like
splashes of gold dust would add colour to the beautiful lattice pattern in the
sky. Sometimes, but not very often, an aircraft would get caught in a
searchlight beam and, small and glistening thousands of feet above the earth and
looking so pretty and harmless, it would turn and twist while all the guns for
miles around opened up. For hours the all-pervading drone of the planes with the
intermittent crack of the guns and the zip of falling shrapnel would go on until
at last the final flight had passed on its mission of death to the north. A
lapse of perhaps half-an-hour and the performance would start all over again as
the bombers hooked it for home, obviously in less orderly flight and some of
them making ominous noises which spoke of rough handling by our ground defences
and night-fighters. The next morning the news bulletins would tell which town
had received the bombardment.
had sounded on sixteen out of the eighteen nights preceding May 12th, sometimes
twice within a few hours. It was not out of the scheme of things, therefore,
when a “red” message set the banshees wailing again at a minute after
midnight on the night of May 11th - 12th. Almost at once the sound of
aircraft filled the sky. It was soon apparent that these were not the usual high
flyers winging their way northward. They were at comparatively low altitude and
wheeling round the area. Everybody waited in grim expectancy. Was this it?
Nearly an hour passed without the circling planes having given any indication of
friendship or hostility. Not a gun had been fired at them. The optimists were
cheerfully proclaiming “They’re
ours” and some had indeed gone back to their warm beds when about 1 a.m. a
sharp whistle ripped the air and the rear of Mr, T. P. Owens premises in
So began a
night of terror, the story of which will be told as long as Pembroke Dock
exists. High explosives and incendiaries rained down and, between them came many
land mines, their parachutes flapping softly in the light night breeze. It was
the first time land mines had been used in a local attack of any scale and they
proved a terrifying weapon. While the ordinary bombs whistled down and exploded
in a matter of seconds, the land mines rustled down slowly over the town, struck
earth with a dull thud and then, after a few moments of ominous silence, went
off with a mighty crack, wreaking havoc all around. One of the first of the
mines to fall, its long, round container swinging back and fore, was mistaken
for a parachutist, whilst another swishing over
last the full cost of the raid was counted up it was found that the town had
suffered grievously. The death rate was practically five per thousand, which was
much higher than that suffered in one raid in most of the bigger towns. The
next day it was found that thirty civilians and two servicemen had been killed,
four were missing and a large number injured. Parts of three human bodies could
not be identified. Nearly 2,000 houses were damaged. A similar death roll would
revealed very vividly the lack of preparation for a raid of such extent. One
regrettable feature was the lack of feeding arrangements by the County Council
Public Assistance Committee. It is on record that when large numbers gathered at
the Wesley Hall to be fed, only one small spirit stove was available to boil
water. Later in the day the feeding arrangements were improved with the arrival
of the Queens Mobile Canteens. In this connection, mention must be made of the
excellent work of the local W.V.S. mobile canteen which proved a veritable boon
in the confused and frightened hours immediately after the raid. Started in the
winter of 1940 by the
absence of an information bureau was also keenly felt. Many hundreds of people
who had suffered in some way or another were at a complete loss to know what to
do for sustenance and advice. Had there been a central bureau much confusion
would have been avoided. A compensating feature, however, was the wonderful way
in which the surrounding areas rallied to the aid of the stricken town. They
showed their sympathy in a thousand practical ways, the wonderful
help-your-neighbour spirit which has never failed to reveal itself amongst
British people in an emergency being a bright and steady beacon in those dark,
raid of May 12th developed according to the familiar Goering formula of
incendiaries followed by high explosives. Most of the explosives were of very
heavy calibre (for those days) and levelled several buildings completely to the
ground. One fell right on the Pier Hotel, burying the proprietor, Mr. Rhys
Morris, formerly of Haverfordwest and a native of the Solva district, and a
number of people who were staying there, The Criterion Hotel across the road was
almost completely demolished while along Pier Road the roofs of all the
buildings were blown off and the windows shattered, There was extensive damage
in the Ordnance Factory, caused it is believed, by a mine which exploded in the
water near Hancocks Yard. Other devastation in this area was at the Gas Works,
which received a direct hit. The laundry was destroyed while Squibbs photography
premises on the other side of the road also went up in flames and was burnt out
a mine had parachuted down behind lower
public house, the
require a large volume to describe in detail all the scores of incidents of this
savage raid. Death and destruction were abroad that night in their fullest fury
but providence was there too, for numerous were the hairbreadth escapes and
great were the strength and courage which, flowing steadily from a source beyond
the control of man, enabled the aged, the weak and the young to bear the ordeal,
and the brave to go forth into the holocaust to perform their matchless deeds of
rescue, It is certain that the civil defences met the crisis with unflinching
steadfastness and performed their work in a manner which left no room for
criticism. With so much heroism crammed into so few hours it would be an
impossible task to select fairly those deserving of special commendation. Many
heroes there were whose work became known and was rightly praised but doubtless
many brave deeds will for ever remain untold. It is better, therefore, to
refrain from mentioning the names of many gallant people which come readily to
mind. Sufficient be it to say that that night they were put to the test and were
not found wanting.
interrupted the gas and electricity supplies and for some time the ferry boat
was stopped from running owing to the danger of mines in the harbour. For
several days afterwards a minesweeper swept the path of the ferry boat before it
crossed to and from Neyland.
spectacle was presented by the light of Mondays dawn. Buildings lay in ruins,
debris inches thick covered most streets and here and there on heaps of rubble
rescue workers, pale, drawn and haggard, continued their task with infinite care
knowing that at any moment they might find a human body. Everywhere there was
devastation and people stood in little knots about the street talking in shocked
tones about the events of the night. As the day wore on and the full extent of
the tragedy became known residents, sick at heart, attempted to set about their
own affairs, striving desperately to reconcile themselves to the terrible loss
the town had suffered in life and property. But concentration in such chaos was
an impossible thing and sadly people gathered their valuables together and
prepared to leave the town for the night.
Luftwaffe had been making a habit for some weeks to raid the same town on two or
three successive nights and Pembroke Dock had not forgotten this fact when,
early in the afternoon of May l2th, a great exodus from the town began. There
was a real and understandable fear that the raiders would come again that night
and thousands sought refuge outside the town, the complaints and criticisms
about "fleeing to the mountains", so frequent a week before, being
forgotten in the overwhelming crisis of the moment, It was not only the rank and
file of the civilian population who feared another attack on the second night.
Hundreds of Servicemen billeted locally were given the order - Get out of the
town. Sleep where you like, but keep away until tomorrow morning. As dusk
gathered military trucks went round the streets and men, women and children
piled into them to be carried away from the danger area.
fleeing along the roads of
they go? Hundreds stayed in Pembroke where good people threw open their homes in
a grand gesture of neighbourliness, and schools and schoolrooms and vestries
were quickly converted into sleeping quarters by many willing hands, Probably
the population of Pembroke was doubled for that memorable night and, in fact,
for many nights to come. Tenby took in scores and so did Freshwater; many went
to Haverfordwest and Neyland while others were given sanctuary in the villages
and farmhouses of
Dock was a dark, deserted, dismal town that night. No more than a few hundred
remained to face whatever the midnight hours held and the few who walked the
streets had no company except the echo of their own footsteps through the empty
houses, and so it was the next night and for many nights after until gradually
with the general slackening of the air attacks, people began to return to their
expected the raiders came again in the early hours of May 13th, but no bombs
were dropped on Pembroke Dock. The target that night was Milton Aerodrome,
several high explosives falling in and around the village, two at Ratford Farm,
one on the road outside Milton House and another (unexploded) in the drive.
Germans made their next and last big raid on Pembroke Dock, on the night of June
11th, 1941, the town was still largely unpopulated and thus a second heavy death
roll was avoided. Although several high explosives were used, this was really an
incendiary attack. Locally it is still referred to as “the fire blitz” which
is an accurate and expressive description of a memorable night. Thousands of
incendiaries were showered over the town and fires sprang up at scattered
points. As the flames gained hold, high explosives crashed down, hindering the
work of the fire fighters who turned out very quickly and performed valued
planes took part in the attack. They were over the area almost before the last
note of the siren had died and immediately the air was filled with a curious
hollow, rattling sound. It was a sound which could not be localised or
identified. It started in the distance and quickly grew louder and more intense
until the whole sky was filled with it and the drone of the planes was subdued.
“It was like the rattling of ten thousand dry bones” a resident stated
afterwards, an apt description. Startled citizens staring skywards were not left
long to wonder. Fires broke out all round them - and they knew that the unusual
sound was caused by falling incendiaries.
Dock was ringed with flame and the horizon was soon shimmering with bright,
white, intense light. Inside the circle of fire the following formations of
raiders poured their bombs with the usual lack of discrimination. The explosives
were mostly of the smaller type and they fell on empty houses, in gardens and
open spaces, and a few in the streets. But the town did not escape without
paying a toll in life, The whole of the borough was deeply grieved to learn the
next day that two lads of tender years, Arthur Kavanagh, aged 13, and Cyril
Jenkins, aged 18, of Bufferland, both ARP. messengers, had been killed by blast.
These lads, with the grand exuberance of youth, were energetically extinguishing
incendiaries in a field alongside Bufferland when a stick of explosives fell
right alongside them. A well-known resident, Mr. Jack Baskerville, High Street,
was killed in the same area while helping his children out into the fields. The
blast caught him but the children were saved. Down in
siren sounded many people left their homes and hurried out along the Top Road,
rightly or wrongly the practice of seeking shelter in cellars, etc., having
become very unpopular since the May raid. There was quite a crowd on the road
just outside Pembroke Dock when a bomb was heard – “coming straight at us”
one of them said afterwards. The distant whine grew to a rushing, tearing
screech and the frightened people threw themselves into the hedges and on to the
road, sure that their last moments had come. The bomb landed plumb in the middle
of the road but failed to explode! There were many other escapes just as lucky.
from Pembroke, this raid was an awesome spectacle. Fire appeared completely to
envelop the town, and through it dark clouds of smoke billowed and played, Every
few moments there would be a bright flash against the red glow as the bombs
exploded, The darkness above was broken by the golden, rippling stars of
anti-aircraft fire and the dot-dot-dot of machine gun bullets as one `plane
after another tried to shoot down the barrage balloons which obstructed their
path. The whole scene was a confusion of darkness and light and noise, awesome
and well-nigh overwhelming.
Dock is burning to the ground” was the word that went round, and no one
thought it an exaggeration. After the phantasmagoria of the night people were
surprised next morning to find Pembroke Dock so little changed. Traces of fire,
of exhaustion, of tragedy there were, but the town still stood with no
widespread havoc left behind by the vicious assault.
Boroughs fire fighting and A.R,P, services had again performed grand service,
They and civilians, extinguished
innumerable small fires and dealt successfully with some big ones as well,
including one in Commercial Row where a shop was completely destroyed and a
number of houses extensively damaged. On
the following day, the German High Command communique stated:
formations of the German Air Force last night attacked harbour installations at
Pembroke on the Bristol Channel. Two large and three small fires were
in March several bombs fell in and around Pembroke Dock, but little damage was
done. One raider flying low over the town met a terrific barrage and it later
crashed into the sea.
on there were isolated incidents but Pembroke Dock had survived.
Tank Fire – Question:
the effects of the oil pollution on the population of the town and those who
fought the Tank Fire?
all the records I could find and could not find a report on humans.
the only report found – an old torn carbon copy.
OIL INVESTIGATION TANK FIRE 1940. PEMBROKE,
interim report is issued at the request of the farmers and others concerned. It
will be appreciated that no scientific investigation can be conducted to a
time-table; and in this particular instance, the unprecedented nature of the
case has necessitated a more than
usual amount of specialised and prolonged study.
strictly scientific and academic points of view the investigation is not yet
concluded, but it is considered that sufficient data have been collected to
justify the issue of this interim statement.
were bombed at 3 p.m. on the 19th August, 1940; the fire resulting
there from burned for 18 days being extinguished on September 5th. From August
l9th to August 24th, the direction of the wind varied between north and
north-west, with the result that oil and smoke were carried, and deposited over,
a belt of land extending across south Pembrokeshire in a south-westerly
direction. This area (which will be referred to as the "oil belt”) was
comparatively well defined, and measured approximately 6 miles in length by 1
1/2 to 2 miles in width.
In the oil belt, buildings, agricultural machinery, gate-posts, and vegetation of all kinds, were heavily bespattered and contaminated with oil. Produce of market gardens was entirely spoilt, and the leaves of such, vegetables as sugar beet were severely damaged in the fields. Serious losses of sheep occurred throughout the belt, and a number of cattle also died. The condition of the surviving animals which had been on "oiled" pastures was markedly reduced; and the milk yield dropped suddenly and heavily.
weather had been excessively dry for many weeks previous to the bombing; and the
first real rain fell during the night of September 19th-20th.
RESULTS OF INVESTIGATION.
analyses and animal feeding experiments were carried out by Mr. R.O. Davies,
M.Sc., University College of Wales, Aberystwyth; and general observations in the
field, postmortem, pathological and bacteriological examinations were conducted
by the writer.
of tanks:- Crude Fuel Oil.
(as supplied by Admiralty):
Gravity @ 60 F.
(Redwood. in secs).
@ 60 F
@ 32 F.
of vegetation in market gardens and fields was, of course, particularly severe
in the immediate vicinity of the tanks; but stock was removed from the pastures
as quickly as possible. Deposition of
oil drops commenced on the day of the fire, and continued for 24-72
hours, the longest period of downpour being at a distance of 3-5 miles from the
At 3 miles
distance the produce of a large market garden was completely ruined in spite of
a 12 foot high wall surrounding it. At a distance of 6 miles, i.e. towards the
end of the belt, deposition persisted for several days.
farms in the oil belt a number of fields escaped the oil fall. This could be
verified by observation of the unspattered appearance of the gate-posts and
fences; and the fact would appear to be of some significance in connection with
animal losses (see below).
of grey-blue, flaky scale were deposited with the oil up to a distance of 5
miles from the tanks. This material consisted of iron, iron oxide, and paint;
but special analysis revealed small proportions of lead and copper. There was no
trace of arsenic.
this case stock was lost by fire and a claim has been entered in that respect.
The case is included so that the list of premises concerned may be complete.
T. Phillips, 54, Military Road, Pennar.
Donovan, 10, Ferry Road, Pennar.
Reg Lewis, Glenavon Pennar.
R. W. Jones,
J. Ll. Morris, Brownslade.
W. G. Wynne, Mellaston.
J. W. Morris Bowett.
A. Hitchcox, Orielton Gardens.
J. M. Thomas West Orielton.
A. H. Richards.Valasthill.
L. B. Roberts.Lyserry.
E. C. Roberts.Loveston.
F J. Jones,Sampson.
W. James Carew.
W. Henton, Glebe, Cosherston.
T. H. Griffiths, Style.
T. C. Murray, Buckspool.
above list is in order (as far as possible) of proximity to the tanks; not in
order of importance from point of view of losses.
details will be given in the final report, but the following facts have emerged
during the investigation:
the immediate vicinity of the tanks, the greatest contamination of crops took
place at Valasthill, some 4 miles from them.
after threshing was dark in colour, and difficulty was experienced in disposing
of it. This matter was, however, further complicated by the fatal effect of oil
contaminated food on experimental guinea-pigs. In view of these experiments, it
was considered necessary to notify all concerned that feeding stuffs
contaminated by oil must be considered unsatisfactory for stock-feeding, if not
It must be
pointed out that the oil used in the above experiments was obtained
tank, the greater part of the contents of which had been burnt.
tests of barley were carried out at Aberystwyth in October. The results were
satisfactory, but further tests were advised nearer sowing time, in case of
possible "delayed action" on the part of the oil.
In view of
the feeding experiments, and other evidence which accumulated in connection with
losses of farm animals, contaminated grain could not be conscientiously
recommended for anything but seed; and then only if further germination tests
proved satisfactory. Considerable quantities of grain (chiefly barley) were
affected throughout the oil belt. On the leaves of vegetables such as sugar
beet, the oil appeared to exercise a corrosive and withering effect. This was
very evident on a field of sugar beet at Buckspool (inspected on October l8th)
where the oil had fallen on only one part of the field. The contaminated leaves
showed distinct withering, the affected area being noticeable on the first
glance over the field. On close inspection the leaves seemed to be
"eaten" in places. The holes appeared to be due to the oil drops, as
many showed a shining black oily rim. No parasites could be found.
appeared to have practically no effect in washing the oil off the herbage. Grass
taken on November 26th from part of a field which had remained ungrazed since
the oil fell, was found to be contaminated to the extent of over three per cent,
in spite of extremely heavy rain during previous weeks.
OIL ON ANIMALS.
few days after the bombing, sheep and cattle throughout the oil belt began to
lose condition, and became progressively, and fairly rapidly, emaciated. This
loss of condition was quite obvious in October, even after supplementary
yield dropped within 3 days from the bombing to from one-half to one-third of
the previous total. Owing to the excessively dry summer, the yield had been
gradually diminishing, but such a sudden and severe drop could not be attributed
to the same cause.
Valasthill, the gallonage dropped from 283 gallons in August to 86 gallons in
Buckspool, 12 gallons were sent off on August l8th, and only 3 gallons on the 21st.
the gallonage went down from 19 gallons to 10 gallons during the same Period.
diminution occurred on other farms in the area.
following is a summary of results.
The most serious losses occurred among sheep. These began in September and cases had been examined by Mr. E.P.M. Drewett, M.R.C.V S., Pembroke, and Mr Watson, M. R.C.V.S., Haverfordwest, who had come to the conclusion that the condition was of an obscure nature, but were inclined finally to suspect the oil. For some time, however, the oil was not suspected, and the actual investigation was not commenced until the beginning of October; but cases were still occurring, so that it was possible to observe the course of the condition, and to make postmortem and other examinations.
sheep all showed similar symptoms and post-mortem appearance. A number of cattle
also died in the area concerned. These did not show the same symptoms exactly as
did the sheep, but all showed identical and somewhat unusual post-mortem
following points are worthy of note:
similar cases have occurred within the experience of local farmers or veterinary
practitioners; nor, indeed, within the experience of the writer.
case showing the characteristic symptoms occurred outside the confines oil the
(c) In the
case of adjacent farms where one escaped the oil, and the pastures of the other
were contaminated, only the sheep on the contaminated farm were affected.
(d) In the
case of farms on which certain fields escaped the oil, only those sheep in the
contaminated fields were affected. The difference in condition between sheep on
clean and oiled fields was particularly well marked on the farm of Brownslate.
sheep in the oil belt were reported to have been in good, saleable condition
previous to August 19th. This statement was substantiated by inspection of the
flocks on Brownslate and other farms.
most serious losses occurred on the farm of Valasthill where analysis had shown
the greatest crop contamination
apart from the immediate vicinity of the tanks, from which area stock were
slight recrudescence of the condition occurred on the farm of Lyserry after some
trouble-free weeks, subsequent to the pasturing of sheep on part of a field
which had remained ungrazed since the oil fell.
of grass from the part of the field in question revealed 3.12% oil
lambs and rams were affected. Out of a total of 223 deaths, the proportions were
The above figures are affected by the findings in para (d) above.
On 8 farms
in the oil belt the percentage losses varied from 2.4;% to 80.8% in flocks
numbering from 30 to 194 sheep. The
higher percentage refers, of course, to Valasthill, where 76 sheep were lost out
of 94. (see above).
diminished from Valasthill south-eastwards, as the oil fall lessened.
As far as
could be ascertained by questioning farmers and veterinary practitioners, and by
reference to diaries etc., the condition was first observed on September 3rd,
i.e. 15 days after the oil commenced to fall; again at Valasthill.
three-quarters of the losses occurred during September, before the investigation
actually commenced; but information from the most reliable sources left no doubt
that the sheep examined in October were similarly affected to those of the
previous month; indeed, a considerable number of the former first showed
symptoms towards the end of September.
condition had practically disappeared by the end of the third week in October.
Two sheep developed typical symptoms on November 26th, after spending 14 days on
pasture ungrazed since the oil fell.
had been personally inspected on November 11th, when all sheep appeared normal,
except for loss in condition. They were put on the pasture in question the next
the above cases, a few isolated ones were encountered in November and December,
but these were not quite typical in certain respects (see below)
Apart from the above cases, a few isolated ones were encountered in November and December, but these were not quite typical in certain respects (see below).
between the appearance of symptoms and death was variable. A comparatively small
minority died within a week, but others took 4 weeks and even longer. The
average interval might be put at 14 days. Some animals recovered spontaneously,
and others after treatment.
principal symptom was accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity. This
was, indeed, almost the only symptom, apart from evidence of jaundice in the
later stages. There was no evidence of pain, fever or nervous disorder; nor was
there diarrhoea. The ascites was progressive, and the amount of fluid varied
from one to between 3 and 4 gallons; but even severely dropsically sheep were
remarkably lively and difficult to catch. The swelling was confined to the
abdomen, there being no sub-maxillary or sub-thoracic oedema.
of pulse and respirations was observed as the ascites progressed. Generally
speaking, death supervened within 24 hours from the time the sheep was unable to
was quite clear, almost colourless and germ-free. There was no peritonitis. The
liver was the chief organ affected. The capsule was smooth, with no evidence
whatever of injury. There was some enlargement of the gall bladder in the
later stages. On incision of the liver, the cut surface showed, as it were, a
network of blood-red threads throughout the tissue. Microscopic examinations
revealed an extensive focal necrosis.
here be mentioned that, after returning to
liver lesion may be regarded as a toxic focal necrosis of the type produced by
chemical poisoning. It especially resembles the lesions produced by some of the
In some of
the older ewes, slight gastritis was observed. Only portions of the edges of the
abomasal (4th stomach) folds were involved. In the case of an apparently
recovered animal, which was later killed, scars were present on the edges of the
and lymph glands showed no apparent changes, and the remaining organs were
comparatively normal. The kidneys were pale in cases of comparatively long
attempts on the part of the body to repair damage in the case of both liver and
stomach lining were noticed almost exclusively in the sheep examined in November
following possible causes would appear to have been eliminated by analytical and
Metallic poisons, including lead.
Poisons, including ragwort.
Internal Parasites, including Liver Fluke and Stomach Worms.
attention was paid to the possibility of fluke, in view of the dropsical
examinations were conducted on a number of cattle which died during October and
November, after showing symptons of liver trouble.
instance, enlargement of the liver and gall-bladder and enlargement and
impaction of the omasum (3rd stomach), were constant features.
enlargement of the gall-bladder was very marked; in one instance, the contents
amounted to just under one gallon of bile. The macroscopic appearance of the
liver was not similar to that in the sheep; and, for various reasons, it was not
possible to make microscopic examinations; but the general appearance was that
of fatty degeneration, rather than “liver rot”. In some cases, but not in
all, biliary cirrhosis was evident; and in those cases a few flukes (not more
than 12) were found.
enlargement of the omasum was also very pronounced, as well as the impaction;
and this was present in all cases, irrespective of flukes or apparent fluke
case, scars similar to those in the abomasum of the sheep above mentioned, were
observed. There were no dropsical symptoms; but, as no cases with similar
post-mortem appearances were encountered outside the oil belt, either by the
writer or, from all accounts, by local veterinary practitioners, they were
regarded with considerable suspicion.
following is a summary of the collected evidence relating to the various
possible causes; with special reference to sheep.
similar cases had previously occurred; and that
cases were confined to the oil belt, should be borne in mind.
Bacteria:- The distribution and course of the condition, as well as the general
condition of affected sheep, and absence of pathogenic organisms, are against
In view of
the possibility of poisoning from the scale analyses of various organs were
carried out special attention being paid to lead. No lead was found in any sheep
liver; and under 2 parts per million of copper in one case (i.e. within normal
quantities of lead and copper were found in the liver of a bullock, but, again,
the copper was within the normal limits, and there was reason to suspect that
the lead might have come from the metal container in which the sample was sent.
affected beyond the limits of the scale deposition.
poisonous plants likely to cause the condition were found in the area, (either
fresh or dried). The two points in the introduction to this section of the
report are also against this cause.
No flukes, either mature or immature, and no fluke eggs, could be found either
macroscopically or microscopically; with the exception of two November cases. In
one of these 6 parasites were found; and in the other, a single fluke only was
no damage to the liver capsule, and no biliary cirrhosis; nor was there any
sub-maxillary or sub thoracic oedema. The absence of depression, the
remarkable retention of vitality in many cases, and the recoveries, are against
the condition occurred on farms previously considered safe and which, on
Personal inspection, did not seem in
the least likely to harbour the intermediate hosts of the parasites.
It is well
known that massive infestation with immature flukes may cause comparatively
sudden and decidedly severe, ascites, with death after a fairly short interval;
but such a state of affairs postulate a previous mild winter and wet summer,
Whereas the opposite was the case in this instance. The condition of the liver
and ascitic fluid, were also opposed to this theory; and it is impossible to
believe that any fluke, however immature, could have escaped detection,
Stomach Worms. The number of these parasites was negligible. Routine dosing
against them is generally practised in the district; and this was certainly
carried out at Valasthill on August 28th.
and or Products of its Combustion:
distinction is an important one, to which full reference will be made in the
final report; and it is in this connection that the investigation is still in
sub-section, the term “oil” will
imply both the oil and/or products of combustion.
circumstantial evidence against the oil appears almost conclusive as far as the
sheep are concerned most of it has already been given, but will be recapitulated
previous cases with the characteristic symptoms and post-mortem appearances.
entirely confined to the oil belt.
case of adjacent farms where one escaped the oil and the pastures of the other
were contaminated, only those sheep on the contaminated fields were affected.
case of farms on which certain fields escaped the oil, only those sheep on the
contaminated fields were affected.
serious losses occurred on the farm where analysis had shown the greatest crop
contamination, (apart from the immediate vicinity of the tanks, from which stock
of the condition in sheep pastured on heavily “oiled grass, ungrazed since the
oil fell; after the flock had been normal (except for loss of condition) for
in losses as oil fall lessened.
Evidence:- Work to this end is still in progress; but oil from one of the tanks,
in which the bulk of it had burnt away before the fire was extinguished, has
proved fatal to guinea-pigs.
entirely ex parte statement of the Pathology Department of the Welsh National
School of Medicine concerning the nature, and implications, of the liver lesion,
was experienced in obtaining sample of oil for experimental purposes, but this
was overcome, and experiments are now being conducted on sheep.
In view of
the evidence, incomplete though it is and on consideration of all the factors
involved, the conviction that the oil and /or products of its combustion, is the
cause of the losses among sheep
would appear to be conclusive.
responsibility of the oil for the cattle losses is not so definite; but, in view
of the apparent predilection of the oil for the liver in the case of sheep, one
is inclined to regard it with grave suspicion.
loss in condition of animals on contaminated fields, and the sudden and heavy
drop in the milk yield can not, as far as can be ascertained , be attributed to
anything but the oil.
The oil damage to crops and vegetables is obvious; and the feeding experiments point the danger of the Contamination.
LOSSES TO THE AREA.
matter was thoroughly gone into in the course of the investigation; and it is
quite evident that the financial losses will seriously handicap food production
in the area concerned. Some farmers have lost several years rent, and have been
forced to purchase cake and other supplementary feeding stuffs to try to restore
condition and milk production. Others cannot afford to buy artificial manure
necessary for certain crops: and others, again, who would have normally bought
cows in order to keep up the milk supply, are now unable to do so.
In view of
the urgent necessity for food production of every kind at the present time, and
of the impracticability of producing even peace-time quantities in the area
concerned, owing to the losses, one would emphatically suggest that compensation
would be, sound investment on the part of the
----- (document torn) .
interim report has been so urgently requested, in order that claims may not be
prejudiced by undue delay, that there has been no time to communicate with Mr R.
O. Davies, who is responsible for a considerable part of the investigation.
Some of his work (from preliminary report) is contained in this statement i.e.,
those parts relating to analyses and seeding experiments.
Veterinary Investigation Officer for
- Link with Pembroke Dock.
U boat survived a long voyage to Penang
and back in 1944 and sank five merchant ships on route.
submarine under Captain Jurgen Oesten then amazingly finished her active days in
the Royal Naval Dockyard at Pembroke Dock.
leaving Penang she became a blockade runner for the return voyage to Europe.
Surrender in May 1945 at
"U" boat was thrown open to the public from 15th to 20th of June 1945.
Finally on 21st June she was officially visited by the Mayor and Mayoress
of Haverfordwest and the Chairman of Milford Haven Urban District Council, with
the respective District Councillors.
last voyage was to Lisahally, Northern Ireland where she was due to be scuttled
on New Years Eve 1945. She managed
to have her tow slipped and with more defiance had to be sunk by gunfire from
the Polish destroyer "Vlyskawica".
acknowledgements to Captain Oesten
of "U-861", Mr Walter Irland of Milford Haven and Dr Arthur Banks.
 Book of Llandav 124, 255.
 History of Pembroke Dock.
 The Parish of Pembroke Dock.
 I.P.M. Edward II files 84 & 85.
 Historical Tour of Pembrokeshire.
and matters relating to the History of) (C) B.H.J.Hughes 1998
Pembroke: Intro and Descriptions.
1100 acc/to Giraldus Cambrensis.
1589 George Owens Pembroke.
Pembroke Historical Records.
Pembroke Accounts 1330s.
Translation Of The Charter Of Richard II To Pembroke.
Pembroke Castle contents.1330-
Places of Religious Worship.
Pembroke St Mary Parish of Pembroke.
Pembroke St Michael's.
St Annes Chapel.
Golden. Pembroke St. Mary's.
Land Tax 1791 St Mary's Parish.
Land Tax 1791 St Michael's Parish.
Hearth Tax 1670.
Names associated with Pembroke.
According to the Llandaff records the lands of this area belonged to St Teilo.
Amongst the various documents
contained in the collection known as The book of Llan Dav which were
brought together in connection with the claim of Landaff to episcopal
jurisdiction over all churches of Teilo’s foundation, wherever situated
are several lists of the churches thus claimed, the lists being
unquestionably of earlier date than the collection within which they are
preserved. The churches which fall into what may be termed the Teilo area of
In the deanery of Penbro.
Lann rath. - this is believed to be Amroth.- the earliest records of the name Llanreath were in 1833 when it was spelt Land reath.
Din guennhaf in Lonion villa tantum.
Gwenafs Fortification in Lonion.
Goldern Hill (Llanion is a little north of the site.)
1100 acc/to Giraldus Cambrensis The Journey Through Wales.
The province of Pembroke comes next after Rhos, lying towards the south and by the sea: indeed, a branch of the sea divides the two. Its main town, also called Pembroke, is the capital of Dyved. It is built high up on an oblong plateau of rock, and it extends along the north and the south of an inlet of the sea which runs down from Milford Haven. Hence its name Pembroke, which means the head of the estuary.
Arnulf de Montgomery was the first
to build a fortification here, from wooden stakes and turf, in the days of
Henry I, King of the English. It was not very strong and it offered little
resistance. When he went back to England, Arnulf left the fortress and a
small garrison in the charge of Gerald of Windsor, a stalwart, cunning man,
who was his constable and lieutenant. Without more ado the inhabitants of
The next thing Gerald did was to marry Nest the sister of Gruffydd, Prince of South Wales, with the object of giving himself and his troops a firmer foothold in the country. In the process of time she bore him a large number of children, both boys and girls. With the help of this family the sea-coast of South Wales was held secure by the English, and Ireland, too, was stormed.
The town of Pembroke standeth upon a long back or ridge of rock, being all one street in length without any cross streets. and being walled about with a strong wall of lime and stone and compassed on each side with a branch of Milford, being the upper end of the creek of Pennarmouth where the said creek parteth itself in two and, running up on each side of the town, compasseth the same as a strong moat, flowing at every tide in such sort that no access on horse or foot is permitted to the town but over two bridges, the town having three gates only and the town walls being strongly defended with six flanker towers in such sort as out of them the whole walls may be scoured and defended from approach of enemies. And in some of the same towers are fair springs of clear, sweet running water for the necessary relief of the people within the town, not to be cut off by any means.
At the west end of the town on the part where the said creek parteth itself into two branches standeth a fair, strong and large castle, strongly walled with a mighty thick wall all built of lime and stone, having within the gate two large courts, an inner and an outer, being compassed with strong garretted walls and set forth in the outer parts with divers flanker towers of all sorts necessary for the defence thereof. The said castle is seated upon a high main rock of thirty and in most places forty foot high, naturally steep in most places and the rest easily to be made in such sort that if the castle walls might be battered (as most thereof cannot be), yet were it not possible to ascend up the said rock to enter the breach, the same being so high and inaccessible. Besides, the tides daily flow about the same and the ooze and slime whereof the channel is full doth mightily defend the said castle from any assault of enemies.
This castle is thought almost impregnable. The weakest part thereof is a small ditch that joineth to the town, which is only defended with a dry ditch, and which may be made very strong and deep. The town walls springeth from the said castle and, stretching forth on each side of the said town, enclose the whole town, as it were, within one outer or base court of the said castle. All the castle walls are standing very strong without decay, only the roofs and leads having been taken down. Within the said castle there is the great cave called the Wogan, able if occasion were to receive a great multitude of people, being a place free from all assaults or battery, and in the same is a well of fresh water of great depth which cannot be taken away by any means possible, serving for the use of the people within the said castle. The gate or entrance of the said castle is made strong divers ways, as with drawbridges and portcullises and other means.
Daniel Defoe records- we crossed over the isthmus to Pembroke which stands on the East shore of the great haven of Milford.
This is the largest and richest and at this time, the most flourishing town of all south Wales. Here are a great many English merchants and some of them men of good business and they told us there were nearly 200 sail of ships belonging to the town small and great. ............called little England beyond Wales.
At that time he says that St David’s cathederal was in much decay with the roof of the south aisle and the east end of the cathederal fallen in.
The Scenery, Antiquities and
Biography of South Wales Benj
As you proceed up the harbour, this magnificent piece of water is forked by a peninsula in front, dividing the great reach up to Burton Ferry from Down Pool which forms so interesting an approach to Pembroke. Here, as in all the numerous estuaries and creeks branching out from the great body the scenery becomes richer as less expanded. Fertility and beauty combine. The approach from the water shews the castle and the town to the most possible advantage. The noble and extensive ruin, hanging on the edge of the pool, with the mouth of the cavern opening as a sally port and the buildings of the ancient borough crouching under its command. The petty trade giving life to the scene without obscuring its predominant features of rural interest.
The town is old and has declined in the same proportion as Haverfordwest has risen in importance. The buildings about the water side and generally in the suburbs are verging fast on a state of decay; but the principal street which is long and wide has a very respectable appearance though without the air of business generally expected in a county town. It has however its attractions to call the people of Castlemartin together or days of great rejoicing Sir Hugh Owens roast Ox produced a jovial confusion as could be witnessed in a better place. It is situated in a plentiful country; it has little or no trade; and under the circumstances affords a cheap retirement to many families with slender incomes.
1066 Norman Conquest of England
1077 - began the reign of Rhys ap
Tewdwr, the last Prince of South Wales. His accession met, apparently, with
little opposition. The legend that he returned from exile in
These were troublous times for Dyfed. In 1078 Menevia was “miserably devastated” by the pagans, and Bishop Abraham was slain. [This was the Bishop the tombstone of whose sons was found in the late 1900s in the cathedral]. The venerable Sulien, who had resigned only two years before, was compelled to resume his Episcopal charge - It was not long before the saintly old man, who had reluctantly quitted his retirement was called upon to take part in still more stirring scenes. Rhys ap Tewdwr was unable to protect the ecclesiastical metropolis of his dominions and was being hard pressed from another quarter. Trahaiarn ap Caradog from North Wales, joined by the chiefs of Powys and Gwent, tried to expand his kingdom into the South – Rhys found his natural ally in Gruffydd ap Conan, who, as he had been beaten back in his attacks on the North of Wales previously joined Rhys in the south.
His forces probably landed at Porth Cais and where met and blessed by the Bishop.
The battle was fought in Cardiganshire and Traihaiarn and the Chiefs of Powys and of Gwent were killed. Gruffydd became ruler of North Wales and Rhys the South.
Gruffydd was betrayed into the hands of the Normans later by one of his own chiefs and was inprisoned at Chester.
[Brut y Tywysogyon].
It would appear from the Domesday
Book that Rhys paid an annual sum of £40 to King William - this would
indicate some sort of agreement with him. We also
know that Neste Rhys’ Daughter was, some say educated, some say held as a
hostage at the King’s Court.
When this payment started we do not know.
In 1081 William the Conquerer came to St David’s on pilgrimage.
William the Conquerer died in 1087.
Rhys ap Tewdwr met his death at 1093
when he was killed in battle by an old enemy. Jestyn
- a relative who was ruler of Glamorgan and who was aided by the son of a
welsh ruler from the Cardigan district called Einion. Einion had fought with
[Brut y Tywysogyon].
As far as I have been able to find
out Rhys was survived by three children. I suspect his eldest son was the
Rhys killed in 1081. The rest all but an infant Gruffydd died with him. He
was survived by two daughters Nesta who was at the
court of the English King and Angharad.
This left the whole area of
In fact Einion had troubles enough. Jestyn
had paid off the Normans etc., who had supported him but refused to carry
out his promise to Einion regarding Nesta.
Einion was very angry about this and
contacted his Norman friends. They returned and Jestyn had to flee. They
divided Jestyns estates up among them - Einion had the poorest portion,
Miskin, but he also was promised Nesta and her
personal property. Nesta though was at the Norman Court and a favourite of
The Northern parts of the Estates belonging to Rhys were being invaded from the North.
A Norman Knight Martin de Turribus,
who held lands in both Somerset and Devon,
landed at Newport and set up a base at Nevern where he proceeded to
defeat the Welsh at a battle at Morvill. It is interesting that the people
living at Meline, Eglwyswrw and Nantgwyn are recorded as welcoming him
without resistance. What is also not recorded is that his grandson Sir
William Martin was married to Angharad daughter of Lord Rhys whose land it
was as she had inherited it from her father. It is very interesting as we
shall see in the south that when tracing the estates in the north part of
the county many of those who came into the hands of the
As Brut y Tywysogyon says Cadwagan ap Bleddyn was plundering Dyfed
while Maryin de Turribus was reclaiming in the North the property belonging to Angharad inherited from Rhys. Arnulph de Montgomery came to the South. He was the son of Roger the great Earl of Shrewsbury.
Roger de Belesme had not come to England with William the Conquerer - he was the knight entrusted by William to help William’s wife Matilda rule Normandy in his absence so therefore must have been well trusted by the King.
From Arnulph’s father the Welsh
Montgomery takes its name, though the castle was built by a knight called
Baldwin in the Conquerors time. Roger retook it from the Welsh in 1090 and
named it after the Norman seat of his family. He was perhaps the most
influential and turbulent baron in
The notorious Robert; who assumed the title and lands of Belesme when his mother was murdered in her bath.
William, a clerk.
Hugh of Chester, called by the Welsh, - Goch - (the Red), and slain by them in 1098
Arnulph, who seized
A sister - Mabel, married Fitz Hamon whose name is associated with a few acts of murder and double dealing in connection with Glamorgan.
Of this family Henry of Huntingdon says that their sins were enough to frighten the devils themselves.
Roger de Montgomery (father of Arnulph) died. He had been made earl of Shrewsbury in 1071.
Brut y Tyw (Rhys), p272;
[also Ann. Camb., pp30 31]
Geralt, the steward, to whom had
been assigned the stewardship of the
1090s? first charter of Pembroke granted.
1098 August 17
Notification that Arnulf of
Montgomery, son of earl Roger, has given to the church of St Martin of Seez,
for the souls of his father Roger and his brother Hugh who was slain that
year, the church of St Nicholas at Pembroch, (ecclesiam santi Nicholai in
eodem castro positam) a castle of his in Wales and twenty carucates of land,
together with all that his men had given or should give to the abbey. He
promised that he would give other land of his lying in
(Cal.Doc.France, ed Round pp238
Notification that Arnulf de Montgomery, son of earl Roger has given to the church of St Martin of Seez yearly ten pounds from England to be charged on the tithes of his churches and to be applied half to the footgear of the brethren at Seez, and half to the brethren at Pembroke on their buildings. Appended are the names of those who witnessed the kings confirmation: The king, Anselm, archbishop, Wilfrid, bishop, Arnulf, son of earl Roger, Robert fitz Hamon.
(Episcopal Acts relating to Welsh
Dioceses 1066 1272 James Conway
Davies Vol 1).
(Cal.Doc.France, ed Round pp238
Memorandum of payments due to the abbey of St Martin of Seez and the brethren of Pembroke.... from the castle church, twenty shillings. (Episcopal Acts relating to Welsh Dioceses 1066 1272 James Conway Davies Vol 1).
William Rufus died, Henry 1 became King.
Brut y Tywysogyon:
“One Thousand and one hundred
(actually 1102) was the year of Christ when there was treachery between
Henry, king of England and Robert, earl of Shrewsbury, who was called de
Belleme, and Arnulf, his brother, who had come to Dyfed and had established
the castle of Pembroke. And when
the king heard that they were working treachery against him, he summoned
them to find out the truth concerning that.
But they sought pretexts to make an excuse, for they could not trust
themselves to the king. And the
king rejected their excuses after learning of their treachery.
And when they knew that the king had learned of their treachery, and
they dared not show themselves to him, they occupied their castles and
fortified them, and summoned help to them from all sides and summoned to
them the Britons who were under them, together with their leaders, namely
the sons of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Cadwgan, Iorwerth and Maredudd.
And they received them with honour, and gave them gifts and promised
them many things and gladdened the land with liberty. And a second time they
fortified their castles and encompassed them with ditches and strong walls
and prepared provision and gathered together knights and gave them gifts.
Robert occupied four castles, namely Arundel and Blyth and Bridgenorth and
it was against Bridgenorth that the whole treachery had been aimed for he
had built that without the king’s permission and Shrewbury.
Arnulf occupied Pembroke alone. And immediately after that they
assembled hosts and summoned the Britons along with them. And while they
were doing that Arnulf thought to make peace with the Irish and seek aid
from them. And he sent messengers, that is, Gerald his officer, and many
Cadwgan, however, and Maredudd, sons of Bleddyn, were with the earl, knowing naught of that. And when the earl heard that, he despaired; and not trusting the help that was with him, because Iorwerth and his men had deserted him for Iorwerth was foremost of the Britons and the most powerful, he sought a truce of the king to make peace with him or to leave the kingdom altogether.
Whilst they were about those things, Arnulf and his men had gone to
meet his wedded wife and the fleet that had come to his aid. In the meantime
Magnus, king of Germany (correctly of Norway), and with him a fleet, came a
second time to Anglesey; and
after felling for himself some trees for timber he returned
to Man. And there he built three castles and a second time filled
Man, which he had previously left desolate, with his men. And he asked for
the daughter of Muircertach, king of
And when Earl Robert heard that, he sent messengers to him to beg
help for himself; but he obtained none from him. And when the earl saw that
he was besieged on all sides, he asked permission of the king to leave the
kingdom; and the king granted it to him. And then he left all that was his
and sailed to
And after that, Iorwerth ap Bleddyn made peace with his brothers and he shared the territory with them. And after a short while he seized Maredudd, his brother, and imprisoned him in the king’s prison. And he made peace with Cadwgan, his brother, and gave him Ceredigion and a portion of Powys. And thereupon Iorwerth went to the king, thinking that he would have his promises from the king. But the king did not keep faith with him, but took from him Dyfed and the Castle and gave them to a certain knight called Saer. And Ystrad Tywi and Cydweli and Gower he gave to Hywel ap Goronwy”.
The Crown - Henry I - held Pembroke Castle. For some of this time Gerald de Windsor was Custodian
[Princess Nesta - The King arranged that she should marry Gerald de Windsor who held the castle of Pembroke fabulously beautiful - (Henry 1st wife by an arranged marriage did not approve of him keeping his mistress and bastards at court.) - her dowry inherited from her father was Carew Castle - and one third of the estates of her father Rhys ap Twder. A writer at the time said of her - daughter and sister of a prince, wife of an adventurer, concubine of a King, paramour of every daring lover... a Welshwomen whose passions embroiled all Wales, and England too, in war...mother of heroes, grandmother of Giraldus Cambrensis.
Childrens family names:
FitzStephen - Robert: (father was Stephen, Constable of Cardigan Castle).
seriously wounded in a battle
against Owain Gwynedd after a sea borne attack on Anglesey 1157. 1166
Castellan of Cardigan Castle - betrayed to the Welsh under Rhys ap Gruffydd
by a Welsh cleric Rhigyfarch -
was imprisoned but released in time to take part in the Invasion of Ireland
in 1170. Travelled through Leinster with Dermot King of Leinster acc/to
Geraldus in his book on
FitzHenry - (father Henry I) - killed in battle against Owain Gwynedd in Anglesey 1157, had a son, Fitzhenry.
Justicar of Ireland in 1199 (Visited by Gerald in that year).
Maurice Fitzgerald one of the principle leaders of the invasion on Ireland - in 1174 held the Castle at Wicklow and the county of Wicklow died 1176,
David FitzGerald - Bishop of St Davids died 1176,
Angharad, married William de Barry they had three children, Robert de Barry, Phillip de Barry, Gerald of Wales (c 1146 -1223).
Carew - William, son of Nesta and probably Henry 1st adopted the style of - de Carew - and inherited the Carew estates.
Nest and her lovers:
Henry I was no more restrained in his passions than any other powerful ruler of the 12c. It made little difference to him that the beautiful Nest, daughter of the Welsh Prince Rhys ap Tudor, had been placed in his care as a royal ward; (she was William Rufus's hostage for the good behaviour of her family) he fell in love with Nest and seduced her, and she bore him a son. In those days, however, there was an accepted way of dealing with such a situation. Nest’s baby son was named Duke of Gloucester and King Henry gave Nest in marriage to one of his barons, Gerald de Windsor - who it seems was in love with her himself. Gerald took his new wife with him to South Wales, where the fame of her beauty soon spread far beyond those parts - as far even as the kingdoms of Gwynedd and Powys in the north. Though Gerald was a Norman Baron and maintained an armed force in Pembroke Castle, he was on terms of slightly uneasy peace with Prince Cadwgan, Welsh ruler of this land of Ceredigion as well as of Powys...... Then came a Christmas when Cadwgan ordained a great Eisteddfod in South Wales, to which everyone of distinction flocked including Nest. And with the guests came Cadwgan’s daredevil son Owain. Owain lived in his father’s second kingdom of Powys, in a hunting lodge called Plas Eglwyseg at the head of a secret glen north of the Dee. Here he had gathered about him a band of reckless fighting- men, with whom he would sally forth by the path he called his war path to hunt or raid or harrass King Henry’s men -at- arms. When he came to his fathers Eisteddfod and set eyes on the lovely Nest he determined at once to carry her off. That very
night he and his men broke into the castle of Pembroke, set fire to it and dragged Nest from her bed and carried her off to Owains retreat at Plas Eglwyseg, where (it appears) she lived quite happily with her captor for some time.
But the mad action of Owain ap
Cadwgan brought terrible consequences. King Henry I, appealed to by Gerald
de Windsor ordered Prince Cadwgan to restore the stolen countess in pain of
losing his kingdoms. Cadwgans attemps to comply met with flat defiance from
his son, who eluded all efforts to capture him and war broke out throughout
The deserted beauty made her way
south to be re-united with Gerald. A year or two later there was an attack
by a raiding party from
Gerald de Windsor ended his warlike career by dying peacefully at his wife’s castle of Carew, (c1120) but his wifes career was not finished thereby. Though her children were now grown up and married, Nest still had her beauty. She transfered her affections to Stephen Constable of Cardigan Castle then to the Sheriff of Pembroke, presenting each of them with a son.
1138 Pembroke made a County Palatine over the land lying south of the Haven.
At the time there was somewhere near the east end of town a Hospice dedicated to Mary Magdalene probably stood outside the Gate towards Merlins Cross.
There were two town crosses one outside the Old Cross Saws the other outside the Lion Hotel but there seems to have been a central meeting place at the Elm tree where the stocks were for the punishment of wrongdoers.
1138 Earldom of Pembroke created and conferred on Gilbert de Clare. His grand daughter’s husband William Marshal succeeded in 1199 he and his sons built castle as it stands today. Well made right angle entrances of a sort designed by the Infidels to resist a battering ram, copied by the Marshals when they got home; the keep now occupies the site once humped by the motte’. Last descendent was John Hastings died 1389.
Fleet sailed from Pembroke in support of Henry II against Owain Gwynedd at least two of Nest's Children sailed - fitz Henry killed, fitz Stephen badly injured.
Invasion of Ireland from Pembroke.
Henry II passed through area on his way to Ireland - Rhys ap Gruffydd officially recognised as ruler of Deheubarth.
-Robert FitzBernard renders his account for eight ships to carry over twenty Knights and five attendants to Ireland 45s. and pay to seven pilots at Pembroke for 47 days £4. 2s. 3d, and fifty three seamen during the same period £15 2s 4d. Wages for five attendants for thirty days 56s. 3d.
1174 5 not dated
De Rebus (RS) Vol1 pp25.
William Karquit, sheriff of the province (provincia) ordered his officers and apparitors to take eight yoke of oxen belonging to the priory of Penbroc, where Gerald de Barri was fulfilling his legation, and drive them to the castle. When required for the third time to restore the same, he utterly refused and even promised worse, Gerald sent word to him that unless he restored the oxen he would be placed immediately under sentence of excommunication, to which he replied that he would not dare to excommunicate the king’s constable in his own castle. Gerald replied that when the sheriff heard all the bells of the whole monastery rung at triple intervals then he would know without doubt that he was being excommunicated. immediately the messengers had returned, by authority of his legation, with candles lit, he solemnly gave the sentence of excommunication on him, in the presence of the monks of that place, and many of the clergy of the country, and likewise caused all the bells to be sounded together, as was customary, to confirm the sentence or rather to announce the fact. On the morrow, the robber came to the castle of Lanwadein, before David , the diocesan bishop, and Gerald and his colleague, Master Michael, whom the archbishop had attached to him, who had gone there, restitution having been made and satisfaction given, when he was beaten with rods, he was to be absolved.
(Episcopal Acts relating to Welsh
Dioceses 1066 1272 James Conway
Davies Vol 1).
Henry II held
(Gilbert fitzRichard 1176 85; Isabel 1185 89)
1199 16th July Seez
Charter Roll 1 John,m 33 (Rec Com
Among divers premises granted to the
Knights Templars is included a mill near the bridge of the
1202 July August
Gir Camb, De Jure ( R.S.) Vol III
Nicholas Avenel, sheriff of Pembrok, and William fitz Martin despoil archdeacon Geralds prebend of Martru (Philip, chaplain), and his church of Lanwundaf (Aidan, chaplain), both within the churchyards and without, taking captive and imprisoning men and women and compelling them to pay heavy ransom.
nd 1204 1214
(From an inspeximus 5 Edward
III,Cal Pat Rolls 1330 1334 p67 Dugdale , Mon., Vol IV p321).
Grant by William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, for the souls of himself, Isabella , his wife, and all his ancestors and heirs, to the church of St John the Evangelist and St Nicholas the Confessor, of Pembroch, and the monks there of the tithes of his vills of Penbroke, Tynbeh, and Castle Martin, in free alms. Witnesses: Geoffrey, bishop of St Davids Robert, son of Richard, Geoffrey son of Robert, Ralph Bluet, Nicholas Avenel
1210 King John visited Pembroke and summoned the men of South Pembrokeshire to meet him at Holy Cross, by the East Gate of the own, near a hospital called Marlans Chapel, (Kings Bridge was reputedly named after this visit.)
1215 January 11
Cal Rot Pat., 1201
16 p 126.
Letters Patent of king John to the knights, free tenants and all others of the bishopric of St Davids, informing them that he had committed the custody of the bishopric, with all its appurtenances to W(illiam) Marshal, earl of Pembroke, during pleasure. Mandate to be intendant and respondent.
William Marshal died he left to the monks of Pembroke, the title of Pembroke mill, Causey Mill Tenby and Kings Mill at Castlemartin.- he was buried in the Temple Church London.
William Marshal (son of William Marshal) held Pembroke Castle he was also buried in the Temple Church London.
William Marshal the 2nd Earl of Pembroke paid £100 to Llywelyn ab Iorwerth to prevent the ravage of Pembroke.
1220 October 5 Westminster.
Patent Roll 4 Henry III (Cal p
Order to the knights and free tenants of the county of Pembroke, to be intentent to William Marshal in the same manner as before the raid made by Llewellyn, the Prince of North Wales.
Richard Marshal inherited as Earl of
Pembroke. Was in ill favour at court and he was refused entrance to
1231 April 15 Westminster.
Patent Roll 15 Henry III,
m.3 (Cal., p 430).
Safe conduct to Robert Audeley sent on the king’s business to the constabularium of Pembroke.
1231 June 10 Westminster.
Patent Rolls 15 Henry III,
m.2 (Cal p 437).
Mandate to Henry “Crasso”, constable of Pembroke and Richard “de Rupe”, constable of Tenby, ordering them to deliver up their respective castles with their appurtenances to John Marshall and Aumaric of St Amand, to whom the king has granted their custody.
Gilbert Marshal inherited as Earl of Pembroke, married Joan daughter of King John. He died in a tournament accident in 1241 at Hereford and is also buried in the Temple Church.
1241 July 1 Clarendon.
Patent Rolls 25 Henry III,
m.6 (Cal p 254).
Mandate to all constables and bailiffs late of G Marshal, earl of Pembroke, in Ireland, because the earl is dead, to deliver forthwith all his castles and lands. ...... The like to the constable of Pembroc, Kaermeredin, Cardigan and Kilgaran, committed to the custody of Hubert Huse.
Walter Marshal succeeded, as Earl of Pembroke he died at Goodrich Castle in 1245.
1246 January 16 Westminster
Patent Roll 30 Henry III,
m 8 (
Appointment during pleasure, of Robert Waleraund to custody of all the lands and castles late of W. Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, in West Wales; with mandate to Gilbert del Val to deliver them to him.
Writ de intendendo to the tenants.
Mandate to the constables of the castles of Tymbeye and Pembroke to deliver to him.
1246 July 21 Oxford.
Patent Roll 30 Henry III, m2 (Cal
Mandate to Robert Waleraund to allow the heirs of Walter Marshal Earl of Pembroke, to have seisin of the Earl’s lands in Pembrokeshire, and the castle of Pembrok among other castles.
1247 August 7 Northampton.
Patent Roll 31 Henry III m 3
Mandate to Robert Waleraund to deliver to William de Valance, or his messenger bearing the king’s letters, the castle of Pembrok and the lands assigned to him of the lands late of W. Marshal, earl of Pembroke, with the issues since the death of the said John.
Warine de Munchensy was beaten at the Battle of Lewes and went into exile. Pembroke castle and its estates were handed over to the Earl of Gloucester.
1264 6 June St Pauls London.
Patent Roll 48 Henry III pt1 m.12
Commitment during pleasure to Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hereford, of the castle of Pembroke and all the lands in the county of Pembroke of William de Valancia, with wardships, farms and other appurtenances, to be kept by the constable of the said castle and other bailiffs of the said William, so that the Earl receive the issues by view of the said bailiffs and put them in a safe place until further order, and answer for them at the king’s mandate.
1265 10 May
Patent Roll, 49 Henry III, m . 16
Whereas John de Warenna and William de Valencia with armed men to the number of about a hundred and twenty men as well horse as foot, have now landed in the parts of Pembroke and keep themselves there, and many adversaries of the king and the realm from beyond seas, if they knew of their landing which has been made without the king’s knowledge and will, as their leaving the realm was made peacefully and without impediment, would prepare to enter the realm with more will and spirit, to disturb the peace, or to give aid to the said John and William if they proposed to grieve the realm; the king has commanded the barons and bailiffs of the ports to keep their shore manfully and strongly against the invasion of anyone; and whereas the king has appointed Brian de Guiz as keeper of the parts of Somerset and Dorset, he commands all men of those counties to be of counsel and aid to the said Brian, in the keeping of the peace and especially in the defence of the maritime parts there; and if any are disobedient or remiss in executing the kings mandates, the king will betake him forthwith to their persons and goods, notwithstanding any liberty, as against those who care not whether the kings and realm be given over to confusion and disherison. Mandate to the said Brian to be keeper of the peace of the counties accordingly; and the king has commanded the sheriff to be of aid and counsel to him. And as false rumours are being spread of the king, whereby trouble may be again stirred in the realm, the king has written to the said sheriff in the form of these presents, and if the sheriff is lax, the said Brian is to urge him to be diligent for the love of the king and the common utility of the realm.
1282 April 7 Devizes.
Welsh Roll 10 Edward I, m, 10d (
Order to William de Valancia and to his bailiffs of Pembrok, Roger de Martuo Mari and his bailiffs of Sencer, William son of Martin and his bailiffs of Kameys, and others, not to have any communication with the Welsh rebels.
Edward I created Pembroke a County Palatine [abolished by Henry VIII].
Although Edward I drew up the Statute of Wales which laid down that Welsh Common Law, language and customs would be respected and which did not seek to put an end to “gravelkind” the welsh system of divided inheritance but it did add the provision that illegitimate sons could not be successors, that lawful widows were to be entitled to a dower, and that women could not succeed when there was no male heir.
PEMBROKE was to continue as a County
Palatine owing direct allegiance to the crown where the earls were
undisputed rulers owing no more than feudal loyalty to the king - they were
allowed to administer their own justice, raise revenues according to their
own determination and make and
enforce whatever laws they wished. (Princes and People
Welsh Roll 15 Edward 1,m. 9d (
Order to the bailiffs of William de Valencia, at Pembrok, to have all the posse of their lord of the bailiwick, both horsemen and footmen, ready at Kermerdyn, well equipped with suitable arms against the coming thither of the earl of Cornwall.
The like to the Bishop of St David’s or to his steward.
1289 November 16 Lampader.
Patent Roll 12 Edward 1,m. 1d (
Commissions of oyer and terminer to Ralph de Hengham, Nicholas de Stapleton, William de Burneton, and Master Thomas de Sudington, touching the dissensions between William de Valence, the kings uncle, and his bailiffs of Pembrock and the commonalty of Haverford, which have been often laid before the council by the burgesses without any amends.
1296 November 15 Bury St Edmunds.
Close Roll 25 Edward 1,m.24 (
Land and rent of the yearly value of
£14 5s 8d in co. Pembroke
assigned to Joan, late the wife of William de Valence, as part of her dower,
and order to the escheator beyond
1303 February 20 Hertford.
31 Edward 1,m.35 (
Grant to the men of Joan de Valencia, countess of Pembroke, of the liberty of Pembroke, that their attending to prevent delay, an inquisition which has been summoned before John de Havering and Walter Hakelut, justices at Kermerdyn, between. .... and William de Brewosa touching certain liberties which the latter says he has in those parts, shall not be to their prejudice or drawn into a precedent; as they assert that their attendance without their liberty is to their prejudice.
1306 January 24 Bindon.
Patent Roll 34 Edward 1,m.36 (
Grant to the men of Joan de Valencia, countess of Pembroke, of the liberty of Pembroke, that their coming without their liberty before William Inge, Walter de Gloucester and Walter de Pederton, justices appointed to take an inquisition at Sweyneseye between the king and William de Brewosa, touching certain liberties which the later says he holds in those parts, shall not be to their prejudice nor drawn into a precedent. At another time a like letter was sealed of the inquisition taken in such case.
Countess Joan, wife of William de Valance died.
1307 September 20
Inq. Post Mortem, C Edward II
File 4(1) (Cal p 21a).
Lands etc of Joan de Valencia, Countess of Pembroke.
m.1 Writ 20 Sept 1307
m.2 The Marches of Wales, Castle Godrich. Inq Thursday after St Denis 1 Edward II.
m.4 The Marches of Wales. Inq., Thursday after St Luke, 1 Edward II Pembroke. Jurors; Richard de Stakepol, kt, David de la Roche, Stephen Perrot, Alexander Robelin, Robert Vacchan, William de Cripping, Walter berth, David de Villa Pattricii, Benedict de Horston, John Longe, John Coci, Ralph Benger.
2 carucates of land, each carucate worth yearly 66s 8d;
200 burgages worth £10 yearly, half payable at Easter, and the other half at Michaelmas;
3 water mills paying £13 6s 8d yearly at the aforesaid times;
the pleas and perquisites together with the tolls are worth 6s 8d yearly;
the piscaries are worth 6s 8d yearly;
the prise of beer 60s.do.;
7a. of meadow worth 14s yearly;
the rent of Karreu for the ward of the castle of Pembroke, 28s at Michaelmas; rent of Stackpole 18s payable in equal sums at the aforementioned times;
Gilcop 4s; Gonedon 4s;
Esse 1d. all payable at the aforesaid two terms;
the pleas and perquisites of the “County” of Pembroke are worth yearly £6 13s 4d;
pleas and perquisites of the pleas of Castle Gate (Cur Porte Castri), 100s yearly; perquisites of the pleas of obligation, 13s 4d yearly.
Aymer, etc., is next heir.
1322 June 10 Haddelsey.
Patent Roll 15 Edward II, pt 2, M
5 (Cal, p186).
Mandate and request to all persons of the county of Pembroke and the cantreds therein to come properly armed to the king’s assistance in the Scottish expedition, as their laudable assistance lately given when the king was pursuing the rebels in the Marches of Wales makes the king confident they will be ready to do so; they are not to take it that their petitions before the King and council in the Parliament at York were postponed, as the king was fully occupied preparing for the said expedition, but on the king’s return they shall be attended to.
1326 Oct 29 Caerphilly.
Patent Roll, 20 Edward II, m 7
(Cal p 334).
Appointment of Rees ap Griffith to raise all the forces of the county and bring them to the king; with power to arrest the disobedient ...
Edward III born 1312 became king in 1327 and in 1330 put an end to the usurped authority of his mother, Isabella, and Roger Mortimer.
1330 Oct 23 Leicester.
Fine Roll 4 Edward III, m 15 (Cal
Order to Gilbert Talbot, justice of South Wales, or his lieutenant, and all sheriffs, constables or keepers of castles, bailiffs ministers and others in South Wales and the lands of Bergeveny and Pembrokeshire, to be intendant to William de Brom and Thomas Ace, whom the king has appointed to seize into the kings hand the castles, manors, towns, lands, goods and chattles of Roger de Mortuo Mari, earl of March, as well those which he held in fee or for a term of years or by name of wardship, as for any other cause, in the said parts, which earl the king caused to be arrested as above (Previous entry in the Roll), and to cause the said castles etc. to be safely kept, so that they answer for the issues thereof by those whom they depute to the keeping of the same, and to make indentures of the goods and chattles between them and two knights or other good men in the places where they be found, whereof one part shall remain with William and Thomas, and one part with the knights or good men, and to make inquisition in those parts if any such goods have been withdrawn, where, by whom, at what time and in what manner, and to seize the same again into the kings hand and bring them back to the places whence they were withdrawn, and to cause them and the other said goods to be safely kept until further order.
1331 Feb 4 Langley.
Fine Roll 5 Edward III m 30 (Cal
Commitment during the pleasure to
of the office of steward
Pembroke: The castle in the said county is worth nothing beyond reprisals.
In the town of
paying yearly rent of assize of £11, in equal sums at Easter and Michaelmas.
The rent of Richard Symond
for certain lands at Kyngesdoune, 6d at the same terms.
The rent of the glebe
There are 3 water mills , worth yearly £20
the prise of beer are worth 100s yearly.
There is a certain fair held on the feast of the
Apostles Peter and Paul, for three days altogether,
whereof the profit is 2s
The tolls of the market there are worth 3s yearly
the pleas and the perquisites of the hund red are worth 10s yearly.
Sum £36 19s 6d
m 12 Account of John le Herde and John Methelan , reeves of Pembroke from Michaelmas 1326 to Michaelmas 1327.
Assise of Bread and beer
assise of bread this year; 18d
assise of beer this year; 10s
from the butchers this year; 18d
pleas and perquisites of the hundred this year; 3s 4d
pleas and perquisites of the fair, this year; nil;
for the prise of beer, Richard de Cillyngton , the Treasurer of Pembroke , and Walter Seys, are to answer, to wit, 100s. yearly.
sum., 22s 8d
Total receipts £14 4s
Fees of the reeves, 2s
Fees of the clerk 3s
Fees of the catchpole 4s 8d
Sum 9s 8d.
which Thomas de Carreu received yearly
for 8 burgages in Pembroke 8s
for 11 vacant burgages, namely the burgages of :
Peter le Fraunceys,
Nicholas de Scourlagyston
William de Wester
Ralph the smith
John Parys and
the House of St John 11s
Paid to Richard de Collyngton, Treasurer of Pembroke, £6 13s 9d., by one tally ;
to Thomas de Hampton , steward and Treasurer, 110s by one tally
Sum of all Expenses and Payments £13 12s 5d with the defective rents.
And they owe 11s 7d.
Account of John Peuerel , John Methelan , John Cauntrel , and Geoffrey Toryton , reeves of Pembroke, from Michaelmas 1327 to Michaelmas 1328.
Arrears 11s 7d;
Sum £13 16d
Assise of Bread and Beer etc. 22s 3d
Assise of bread, 12d.,
and no more because Thomas de Hompton , the steward,
seized the liberty of the town of Pembroke into
the hands of the lord (as was found by inquisition);
assise of mea t (carnis ), 2s;
pleas and perquisites of the hundred, 4s 1d;