Goodwick, Granston, Gumfreston.

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Goodwick                       (945382 ).

A large village at the held of Fishguard Bay, with streets and houses clinging to the steep eastern slopes of Pen Caer.

Once a sleepy fishing village, the settlement expanded rapidly around the turn of the century with the development of the rail terminal and the harbour designed for trans-Atlantic liner traffic. The high hopes of the developers were unfulfilled, but the port became (and remains) an important one for Irish ferry traffic. Sealink vessels transport containers and other traffic, and passengers between Fishguard and Rosslare daily.

Goodwich has a pleasant sandy beach and its sheltered waters make it a popular boating centre. The Last Invasion of Britain occurred hereabouts in 1797, and the defeated French soldiers laid down their arms on Goodwick Sands. High on the headland above the harbour is Harbour Village, built around 1906 by the GWR as a railway workers settlement. The most imposing building in Goodwick is the Fishguard Bay Hotel, now thriving after a chequered history. Behind the Frenchman Motel is the site of the old Goodwick Brickworks, which closed in 1969.

1905 Two and a Half million tons of rock blasted out of the Quarry in one explosion -  wanted for harbour site.

Church - St Peter built 1922.

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Granston     (SM 896341)
St Catherine a late 14c font lies in the church which was rebuilt in 1877.

Acc/to Pembrokeshire parsons.
The living of Granston, which is now united to St. Nicholas, would appear to have been a separate benefice in 1287, but the union between the two churches must have taken place prior to 1535, and probably under some arrangement between the Abbot of St. Dogmaels and the bishop of St. Davids, as the Valor Eccl. states that the abbot was rector of the united churches, while the then vicar had been collated by the Canons Resident of St. David's Cathedral. According to Owen's Pem. the patronage of the united churches was in 1594 vested in the Bishop, and Granston (no doubt meaning the rectory) belonged to the Queen as being appendant to the Monastery of St. Dogwells, while the church of St. Nicholas was appendant to the Prebend of St. Nicholas.
In 1291 Granston Church, under the name of Ecclesia de Villa Grandi, was assessed for tenths to the King at 5 6s. 8d., the amount payable being 10s. 8d..
Grandeston and Sancti Nicholai. - Resus Owen vicar-ius perpetuus ecclesiarum predictarum jam unit" ex collacione canonicorurn residentium in ecclesia cathedrali Menevensi quarum abbas Sancti Dogmaelis est rector qui divident fructus hujusmodi ecclesiarum inter se equaliter annuatim. Et valet in toto communibus annis vij"i vj" viiid inde pro indempnitate ibidem annuatim sol" ordinania xij8. Et in precuracione in visitatione ordinaria xijd. Et in visitacione archidiaconi quolibet anno iiijS ixd. Et remanet clare 6 8s. 11d. Inde decima 12s. 10d.  - Valor Eccl.

Under the heading " Livings Discharged ": - Granstone (St. Katherine) and St. Nicholas and Marthery V. Pro indes. 25. Prox. quolibet tertio anno 5. Visit. archidiac. quolibet anno 4s. 8d. Habet dimid. fruct. eccles. Abb. St. Dogwales Propr. Bishop of St. Davids Patr. Clear yearly value, 24. King's Books, 6 8s. 11d.  - Bacon's Liber Regis.

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 In the early Welsh period the parish of Gumfreston may have formed part of a Welsh Chieftain  patrimony, whose power was centred at Narberth. On the foundation of strong Norse settlements in Castlemartin and Roose the district probably followed the fortunes of Tenby, from which it is  distant a little more than a mile, and became  the patrimony of a Scandinavian viking named Gumfrid  the Taxatio of 1291 gives the name of the parish as Villa Gunfrid. To a deed of the year 1375 on John Wydeloek the elder, "of Gumfreyhiston," is a party The Patent Roll of Ric. II enrols the presentation of Maurice Vachan, parson of Gumfreiston in the diocese of St. David to the church of Nerbar. In 1533 the Valor Ecclesiasticus has the spelling Gomffreston. The Lay Subside of the year 1543 (P.R.O., 223/417) for the hundreds of Narberth and Castlemartin gives Gumfroyston; while in a list of Pembrokeshire churches of the year 1594, printed in  Owen's Pembrokeshire it  appears as Gumfreiston. The Welsh list of parishes in Peniarth MS. 147 (Evans, Cat. 917, Hist. MSS. Commission) has the form Gwrnffreystown - a spelling which makes it clear that the parish possessed no Welsh name. Gumfreston, though included by George Owen in his list of  manors of the county (Owen's Pem., 1898), is not referred to as a manor in any medieval document. New Inn Hall, Oxford, possessed three acres of land, "adjoining to the parsonage there  set, lying and being in the parish of Comeffreystone (sait of Robert Lowgher, doctor of civil law, and principal of the Hall, against Lewis son of Sir James Williams (P.R.O.; Chancery Proceeding Series II  117/46).

There is a legend that St Teilo was born here, certainly acc/to the Llandaff records the lands of this area belonged to St Teilo.

Parish Church Dedication to St. Lawrence.

In the Diocese and archdeaconry of St. Davids; rural deanery of Castlemartin The church consists of chancel (15 feet by 12 1/2 feet), nave (41 feet by 15 feet) tomb chamber on south side of chancel (6 feet by 7 1/2 feet), tower on north side, and large porch (12 feet by 11 feet) at west end. The early social or manorial history of the parish is a complete blank, and there is nothing to denote the presence of a Welsh religious settlement in the parish prior to the erection of the church. This was probably commenced in the early years of the 13th century The work was doubtless started at the east end, and seems to have proceeded quite regularly, though it may have been interrupted more than once in the course of the stormy half-century that followed. In due time the western gable was reached, and a porch carried up as far as the first floor. The ground chamber was rudely vaulted, and a holy water stoup placed near the doorway leading into the church after the manner common to many ground chambers of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire church towers. An opening was made in the east wall which was also the west wall of the church, from which the occupant of the first floor chamber could observe what was passing in the church. This western porch or galilee is roughly roofed with stone flags. The tower is placed on the north side of the church, "the eastern wall being made to align with the dividing wall between nave  and chancel. The ground plan is almost a square  externally it is 18 feet north to south  by 16 feet from east to west. The foundations of the South wall are not quite flush with line of  the nave wall but  as the tower is given a decided batter from the ground level to the parapet, a height of 61+ feet, a steadily widening distance appears between the wall of the tower and the nave, until at the roof line, the space is sufficient to call for a small extension of the nave roof by which it is bridged, and the space between the walls unfilled with rough masonry The tower is crowned with a deep battlement carried up vertically from a bold corbel table; there are four embrasures on the wider and three on the narrower face. A stair turret, entered from the interior by a low square-headed doorway, projects at the north-east angle. The ground floor of the tower was a chantry or mortuary chapel; a recess in the east wall, having a slab which projects beyond the face of the wall, probably marks the site of the altar; a larger recess in the west wall may have been intended for a tombs The chamber is vaulted the vaulting being characteristic of the period 1250-1300. Above the ground floor of tower is the ringing chamber; the second and third storeys have narrower square-headed slits; the fourth storey is fitted up as a dove-cote, and is said to have been  as such until a comparatively recent date; the fifth chamber contains the bells Though marked by the usual simplicity of the West Wales church towers, that of Gumfreston does not possess the stern defensive air that is characteristic of the types  and there is some ground for the suggestion that it may be of slightly later dated than that to which it has been assigned, and that the porch is a diversion from the original of a western tower.
The sepulchral chamber on the south side of the chance has a groined vault with diagonal ribs springing from angles, it was probably erected concurrently with the tower; the ribs are without mouldings. It is lighted by a two-1ight window, having  trefoiled heads which have been in part renewed. A door has been inserted the east wall, and the chamber is now used as a vestry. Before its restoration in 1870 it is said to have contained an altar tomb.

In the north wall of the nave, about mid-way between the west wall of the tower and the west end of the nave, is a semi-circular recess (now occupied by the font and heating apparatus) which has occasioned much comment. It has been regarded as a medieval baptistry, but the position is hardly that of a pre-Reformation baptistry. There can be little doubt that the niche was intended for a memorial of the 17th century.

The north side of the church is lighted only by a small single light window, probably recent; the window at the east end has been modernised. Those of the tower are slits, except two trefoil-headed lights just below the parapet.

The font  possesses no marked character, and may be of any age; it is perhaps of the late 13th century The church possessed a rood left, the approaches to which are visible in the east nave wall on either side of the chancel arch. There was a  coloured representation of St. Lawrence on the north wall, but only the faintest traces now survive.

The original stone altar is preserved in the tower chapel. Within the piscine for recess was formerly placed a sanctus bell, 8 inches high, "of good bronze metal, though cracked, and of plain workmanship, without any ornament or design on it whatever " (Arch. Camb., 1849, I, iv, 196) This now occupies a small niche within the chancel. In the tower chapel is a 15-century bell, dedicated to the Virgin; and in 1849 another bell, with the inscription "Sonus campanae nostras aures delectat," is said to have reposed in one of the tower storeys (ib.). The base and shaft of a cross are standing on the north side of the churchyard. - Visited, 6th April, 1915.

Norman church with 14c additions - tower used as watch tower when Ritic was navigable; stone benches, squint, medieval fresco[martyrdom St Lawrence].

Believe erected to meet the needs of one of the great houses now in ruins in the vicinity. The tower , the body of the church and the font are thought to date from about the year 1300. The Tower 65"high is divided into five chambers of which " the ground floor serves as a north transept for the church; the first floor was the ringers chamber; the second and third have windows looking North and East; the fourth is fitted up as a dove cote; and in the fifth hang the bells" (the bell inscribed "Scta Maria Ora Pro Nobis"  was cast about 1350 and is said to be one of the oldest in Pembrokeshire) In the north wall of the nave is a curious baptistery, and on the same wall are traces of frescoes usually stated to represent St Lawrence with the gridiron and other instruments of his torture, but which are more likely to depict Christ blessing the instruments of labour, a familiar subject in medieval mural painting. A Bronze Santus bell and some 16c pewter communion vessels are preserved in a recess behind the pulpit. The chancel arch is exceptionally low. In the north transept is a squint. In the south wall of the chancel is a Decorated piscina. A small chapel, used as a vestry has a groined roof and Early English trefoil lights .

According to Pembrokeshire Parsons.
This rectory appears to have always been in private patronage.
Owen's Pem. states that in 1594 the right of presentation was appendant to the manor of Gumfreston and that W. Wi1liams was then patron.
In 1291 the church of Villa Gunfrid (Gumfreston) was assessed for tenths to the King at 5 6s. 8d., the amount payable being 10s. 8d. - Taxatio.
Gornifreston Rectoria. - Ecclesia ibideen ex collacione Jacobi Williams armigeri unde Johannes Luntley est rector habens ibidem Imam mansionem et valent et emolimenta ejusdem ecclesie per annurn x"i. Inde sol" quolibet tercio anno ijs. Et in visitacione archidiaconi quolibet anno pro sinodalibus et procuracionibus vS iDcd. Et remanet clare 9 12s. 3d. Inde declma Igs. 2id. -  Valor Eccl.
Under the heading "Livings Discharged": -
Gumfreston alias Gumfersten R. Ordinario quolibet tertio anno 2S. Archidiac. quolibet armo 5s. 8d. James Williams, Esq., 1535; Jo. Williams, 1693; Francs Meyricke, Esq., and his wife, 1729; John Meyricke, Esq., 1770. Clear yearly value, 30. king's Books, 9 12s. 3d - Bacon's Liber Regis.
On 10 July, I656, the union of the parishes of Tenby and Gumfreston was approved by the Commonwealth

Seys                             William                      1363                Gumfreston rector   

Vachan                       Maurice                      1383                Gumfreston rector  

ap Griffith                   Howell                      1383 Apr 11    Gumfreston rector     

Cryppyn                      John                            1386                Gumfreston Rector  

de Admondeston         William                       1386                Gumfreston rector   

Cradog                        John                            1386 Jul 8      Gumfreston rector 

Luntley                        John                            1516 Dec7       Gumfreston rector  

ap Howell                    John                            1554 Jul 12     Gumfreston rector 

Constantyn                 William                       1562 Aug 18    Gumfreston rector  

Griffith                        Henry                          1604                Gumfreston rector 

Davies                         Thomas                       1660                Gumfreston rector 

Wogan                        Ethelred                     1665 Aug 10    Gumfreston rector  

Stokes                          Nicholas                      1686 feb 13     Gumfreston rector  

Newton                       Rice                             1690 Jan 13    Gumfresdton rector 

Powell                         John                            1694 Jan 13     Gumfreston rector

Holcombe                   John                           1730 feb16    d1770    Gumfreston rector 

Bowen                         James                          1770 Nov 15    d1811    Gumfreston rector

Bowen                         James                          1811 Jan18    d1822 Gumfreston rector

Jones                           George                        1822 Jul5       Gumfreston rector 

Cozens                        James                          1829 Dec 28    Gumfreston rector 

Wimberley                   Conrade Making        1835 Jul 25     Gumfreston rector 

Smith                          Gilbert Nicholas         1837 Feb 16     Gumfreston rector

Arnold                         Benjamin North         1878 Mar 15    Gumfreston rector 

Massy                          George Eyre               1884 Oct 14     Gumfreston rector 

Howell                         James Anthony          1906 Jun 16     Gumfreston rector   

The Church Registers from 1655 are available in the Pembrokeshire Record Office.
The average congregation in 1851 was 23. There was only one service per Sunday.

Churches in Pembrokeshire -- Slater.

Gumfreston  -- St Lawrence.
There is narrow round arch between the Norman nave and chancel. The tiny rib vaulted south chapel and the transeptal north tower with a squint are late 13c. The vauted west porch is later. In the south wall are plain windows of the 17c and the baptistry recess in the north wall is probably contemporary.

The Holy Wells of Gumfreston.
At the far end of the Churchyard are mineral springs with water said to be similar to that of Tunbridge Wells. The 12th century church of St. Laurence, Gumfreston, Pembrokeshire/Dyfed, lies off the road from Tenby to Sageston. In its churchyard three springs rise to form a stream that flows out through a "bridge" in the churchyard wall. Although well-known and historically recorded in the past Gumfreston wells had become a local "secret" that was in danger of being forgotten as time went by.

A History of Gumfreston Wells.

This history is based on a present mixture of known and recorded facts, on-going surmise, and research by enthusiasts at St. Nicholas' Church, Penally, Brother Gildas of Caldey Island, and David Austin, Head of Archaeology at Lampeter College.

Three springs rising in such proximity would have had a strong mystical significance for the early Celts who considered the number three to be connected with divinity. Springs and bodies of water were favourite places for worship, being associated with divine and healing powers.

At the time of the travelling "saints" of Celtic Christianity, a holy man or woman could have used the wells, maybe settling there. They may have been buried there and a small chapel built. The well water would have been consecrated and used for baptism. Gumfreston was then by the quay on the river estuary before it silted up, that faced Caldey Island, an important spiritual centre and monastery, and also on ancient routes that led from the Ridgeway and St. Florence, by water and land. The whole of West Wales was a lively centre of Celtic Christianity, St. Teilo being our local saint.

There is evidence of relic-keeping in the church, and an ambulatory, for priestly processions, which is most unusual in such light of a monastic connection between the churches of Gumfreston, Penally and Manorbier. Certainly in the Celtic Church structure these spiritual centres would have been under the care of a "mother" church, a much larger Christian centre.

When the Normans invaded Wales in the 11th century, they changed both church and social structures, but the holy sites and practices usually remained if firmly enough established. The present church St. Laurence would have replaced the earlier buildings, and the earlier Saint's name, but the atmosphere of holy sanctuary and peace remained for the pilgrims who are recorded as coming to the wells for healing of body and mind. Tenby was an important port for pilgrims embarking for Europe or even further, and Gumfreston is believed to be a point of pilgrimage in itself, and a stopping-point for pilgrims "en-route".

Gumfreston Wells are listed in "The Holy Wells of Wales by Francis Jones (Cardiff 1954, p 211), as pilgrimage healing wells, and he records visits to the Wells on Easter Day, (p 90), to drop bent pins in the water. This was called "throwing Lent away" in the 17th century, recorded just before the Rector of Gumfreston was removed by the puritan authorities.


Carn Mountain.

A field on Garn rock farm, directly east of the dwelling house. There are at present no appearances of an antiquity, but the name is indicative of a cairn having existed in the neighbourhood (Tithe Schedule, No. 227). Visited, 13th April, 1915.

Long Stone Park.

Two adjoining fields north-east of Ivy Tower, still so-called, though any maenhir which may have stood here has vanished, and left no memories behind it. (Tithe Schedule, Nos. 216-7). - Visited, 13th April, 1915.

 The Palace.

A field in the south of the parish on the marshy bank of the Ritec, here the boundary between Gumfreston and Penally. The name is still in local use, and tradition places on the site a small stone building, all trace of which above the soil has vanished (Tithe Schedule, No. 180). - Visited, 12th April, 1915.

Historic Houses.


A large farmhouse  near the roadside in the village.
Timmins wrote in 1895: "Most visitors to Gumfreston will notice the fine old farmhouse that rises cheek by jowl with the carriage  road from Tenby. If we are to believe the tradition of the countryside, this is the most ancient abode in the county. Be that as it  may, the place bears traces of no mean antiquity, and is an excellent specimen of a Pembrokeshire homestead of the olden times." The earliest-known family there was that of Widlock whose members are described as lords of Gumfreston, one of whom John Wydelock the elder, was there in 1372. They bore arms sable a chevron between three lions scant argent. Afterwards it was held by a Welsh family Harry Llewelyn of Gumfrestonwas followed by his son John who left an only daughter and heiress, Janet, who married Owen ap Owen of Pentre Ifan, and Gumfreston was afterwards held by his son Sir James Bowen (died between 1518 and 1532). Sir James's son, John Bowen had a daughter and heiress, Elizabeth, who married Sir James Williams of Pant Howel (Carms) who is described as Lord of the Manor of Gumfreston, and lay patron of the parish church in 1535. Five successive generations of this family were lords of the manor, until the death of John Williams in 1693, and the manor and freeholds passed to his daughter and heiress Mary who married Judge John Meyrick of Bush who died in: 1736, leaving issue. Thereafter, Gumfreston remained part of the Meyrick estate. The Land Tax of 1786 gives John Meyrick Esq., as owner of Gumfreston (farm), which passed to his descendants.


Home of the family of Wedlock, also spelt Widlock or Wedlake. In 1359 John Widelock was a juror at Tenby and in 1362 he held two messuages in Gumfreston and Widelock worth ten marks held of John de Carew. The family were described as Lords of Gumfreston. The Williams family Porthcawl owned Wedlock in the 17c and the Meyricks in 1786. Thomas Williams owned it in 1904 and it is now a farmhouse.

Historic records

Henry king of England etc.,.  to Edward etc., bishop of St David's greeting. Whereas you and the rest of the prelates and clergy of the province of Canterbury assembled in the last convocation or holy synod of such prelates and clergy in the church of the divine Paul, London, begun and celebrated on 6 February in the year 1511-12 according to the course and computation of the English Church and continued day by day unto and on 17 December then next following granted unto us for the defence and protection of the  Anglican Church and this our famous realm of England as well as to allay and extirpate heresies and schisms in the church universal which  in these days flourish more than usually, under the manners, forms, conditions and exceptions written below, not otherwise not in any other manner, four tenths of all ecclesiastical benefices and possessions whatsoever, also of all benefices and possessions of alien priories whatsoever, being in the hands of whatsoever ecclesiastics or secular men of the said province, the specific exceptions within written only excepted, to be levied, collected and paid in the manner, form and terms following, namely one and the first tenth on the feast of St Martin in the winter next to come which will be in the year 1513, the second truely on the feast of St Peter ad Vincula then next to come which will be in the year 1514, and the third on the feast of the Holy apostles Phillip and James which will be in the year 1515, the fourth and last tenth truly on the feast of the said Apostles which will be in the year 1516 saving from the grant, levy, and payment of the said tenth etc., as it more fully appears in the said writ of the king hanging on the file of the year 1513.

The goods, church possessions and benefices, in the diocese of St David's which have been diminished, impoverished, and other destroyed by wars, fires, ruins, inundations of rivers and other misfortunes and chances deservedly to be excused from payment of the same four tenths according to the force etc., of the grant of the same by the authority of the said convocation follow and are these as appears on the other part of the folio here following etc.
In the archdeaconry of St David's are excepted the churches here underwritten:-

In the deanery of Pembroke  the underwritten churches are excepted:


1535.  The annual value to the rector of the rectorial benefice was 9.

1807. A singing master was engaged to instruct the congregation in congregational singing.

1834   A Topographical Dictionary of Wales.

This place, from its pleasant situation near the coast, and the highly medicinal properties of some springs which are strongly impregnated with iron, has for some time been rising into consideration and is likely to become under judicious management  a place of fashionable resort during the summer season. Three of these springs, all slightly differing in the properties of their waters, but similar in their ferruginous impregnation rise in different parts of the churchyard, and at their junction form a small rivulet, which flows through the parish. The water is said to have been found highly efficacious in relieving various disorders, and it is now in contemplation to enclose the springs, and to erect a small pump-room, with other appendages for the accommodation of visitors, who, from its short distance from Tenby, and its pleasingly rural situation and appearance, are in the habit of resorting to this place for the benefit of the water. Coal of hard quality is found in the parish, but is worked only for the supply of the immediate neighbourhood. The living is a discharged rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of St. David's, rated in the king s books at 9 12s 32., and in the patronage of John Meyrick, Esq. The church is a handsome structure, romantically situated in a richly wooded dell, where it is concealed from distant view, excepting only its lofty square tower, which forms an object of picturesque and interesting appearance. The parsonage-house, which is pleasantly situated, has been much enlarged and improved by the present incumbent, who is about to establish a Sunday school for the gratuitous instruction of the children of the parish. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to  75. 12s.

State of Education in Wales 1847.

PARISH OF GUMFRESTON. - The Rev. G. N. Smith, Rector, informed me that there are only three farm-houses and twelve cottages in this Parish. He had erected a school-room adjoining the churchyard, in 1836, at his own expense, which cost him 26. A schoolmaster cannot be supported here by the scholar's fees. Some from the parish go to the day-schools at Redberth and Tenby; and several from the outskirts of Tenby attend the Sunday-school in this parish. From 100 to 200 have learnt to read the Scriptures well here during the last ten years. Farm-servants do not attend the Sunday-school. There are many of this class utterly without secular or religious knowledge. Farmers can read and write; but there was only one in the parish that could do that well. Labourers are lamentably ignorant.
Wages are professed to be 8s. a-week; but they get only 4s. or 4s. 6d. in money; the rest in kind, such as cottages and the run of a cow. In harvest-time they get their food too; but they work so early and so late, that, taking the number of hours into consideration, they are but little better paid than in winter. Farm-servants on an average get 6., and female servants from 50s. to 3. per year
. The people are not drunken, and upon the whole are moral and steady.            Was MORRIS, Assistant.

December 29th, 1846.

Nasshe             John                1543            Gumfreston                              Lay Subsidies PRO 223/423               Churchwarden                                               
Withet              John                1543            Gumfreston                              Lay Subsidies PRO 223/423               Churchwarden


1563 number of households 19.
1670 numbers on of hearth tax records  23.
1801 number of families   24.

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