All things Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire History

Pembrokeshire has a history dating back to the ice age. The timeline captures the main events that have happened back to that time, although, I am sure there are many more that haven't been captured including Pembrokeshire folklore and legends.
A thousand years of Pembrokeshire History - also see the Timeline
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Tenby High Street showing St Mary's Church in the background - date unknown
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Castle Hill, Tenby - date unknown

Pembroke County 18th Century

"The County of Pembroke is 95 Miles in circumference, contains about 420000 Acres. It is divided into 7 Hundreds, in which 5 Market Towns, [two of which (viz.) Pembroke & Haverford West sends 2 Members each to Parliament] 45 Parishes & about 4329 Houses. The Air is pleasant & good, And ye Soil in ye bottom and towards ye Sea extraordinary fruitfull. some Hills & Mountains appear in ye Inland which are more barren yet feeding abundance of Sheep, Goats, Cattle, &c. Here is plenty of Fish, Fowl, Pit-Coal & Marl. In this County is Milford Haven, ye largest & most capacious Harbour in ye Kingdom." [Emanuel Bowen, Britannia Depicta, 1720]

Pembroke County 21st Century

Pembrokeshire has somewhat changed since 1720. The population at 2010 being about 217,000 people. I wouldn't like to guess at how many houses there are now. Pembrokeshire no longer produces or ships coal but is a thriving tourist destination and home to several oil refineries and power stations.
Haverfordwest is the County town although over recent years, as with other major towns, the centre has spread out to accommodate out of town shopping. Milford Haven was reputed to be the largest natural harbour in the United Kingdom but now comes in third.
Pembrokeshire used to have large fishing ports, Milford Haven and Tenby in particular. However, times have changed and this is no longer the main industry in the County, although there are local fisher people who still brave the seas to bring home locally caught fish.
Postcard from Tenby
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The postcard was sent to Madame La Berfois de Strasbourg at Le Havre 24th October 1863. I can't quite make out who it was sent from
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Five Arches, Tenby - date unknown
The Haverfordwest Workhouse 1839 -
The Haverfordwest Union workhouse was built in 1837-39 at the south of Haverfordwest on an elevated site above the old Priory. The Poor Law Commissioners authorised an expenditure of £4,000 for the new building which was to accommodate around 150 inmates. The building was designed by local architect William Owen who also designed the workhouse at the adjacent union of Narberth.
In 1894, the British Medical Journal set up a "commission" to investigate conditions in provincial workhouses and their infirmaries. Following a visit to Haverfordwest, the commission's report found much to criticise. The infirmary wards were small, dirty, and lacked hot water and adequate ventilation and heating; most of the patients slept on low plank beds; the toilet facilities indoors consisted of a few commodes, with one on each landing for night-time use; the water-closets, all located outdoors, were described as "simply cesspools, and some were very unpleasant." The report concluded that the workhouse infirmary "is unsuitable for its purpose, and the system on which it is worked is faulty in every particular."
In 1930, the workhouse was officially renamed Haverfordwest Institution although it was also known as Priory Mount. With with the onset of the Second World War, it came into service as a hospital. After the war, it was renamed St Thomas Hospital and was unit of the County Hospital and Withybush Hospital. It closed in 1978 and was converted into flats in 1982.
A John Thomas was the head of the workhouse along with his wife Annie and 2 daughters Maud and Frances.  There were 162 residents at the workhouse according to the 1881 census, workhouses in the 19th century were often used as hospitals and some of the residents were classed as 'lunatics' or 'idiots'. Follow this link to find out who was in the workhouse when the 1881 census was taken:
Scotsborough Castle - Tenby
If you go down to Scotsborough Woods, entering from the bottom of the bridge at Gumfreston, you will notice a ruin on your right hand side, hidden in the undergrowth about 100 metres into the woods. This is Scotsborough House or Castle. It is possible to trace the house back to the 15th century or even further. Stephen Perrot of Popton was mayor of Tenby in 1413 and owned Scotsborough House. The residence early in the 17 century belonged to Rhys ap Thomas, whose monument is in Tenby Church.
Edward Lluyd stayed there and in a letter dated 28th Feb 1697, there are records that he discovered undescribed zoophyts by dredging here and many new sorts of figured fossils among which a figure of a flat fish represents one of the greatest rarities observed by the curious (this was in the St Florence Valley which was at that time tidal. Could the “flat fish” have been a Trilobite)?
The house was sold by the ap Rhys family early in the 18 century and was abandoned in an 1824 epidemic of smallpox.
Picture of the ruins at:
Scotsborough House Ruins
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