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Penmaen Dewi

WARPOOL

GRID REFERENCE: SM758254
AREA IN HECTARES: 151.5

Historic Background
An area of modern Pembrokeshire within St David’s Peninsula, around the borough (later a city) of St David’s. It lies within St David’s parish, in the medieval Cantref Pebidiog or ‘Dewisland’, which was held directly by the Bishops of St David’s, having represented the core of the bishopric from 1082 when it was granted (or confirmed) by Rhys ap Tewdwr, king of pre-Conquest Dyfed, to Bishop Sulien. From 1115, when Bernard was appointed Bishop of St David’s, Anglo-Norman systems of feudal government and ecclesiastical administration were introduced into Pebidiog, which was coterminous with the later Hundred of Dewsland created in 1536. Pebidiog was renowned for its fertile arable land, and according to the census in George Owen’s Taylor’s Cussion, it was one of the most densely populated regions of Pembrokeshire in the 16th century, with the most plough teams, and particularly productive of barley. The Warpool character area comprises the town fields of St David’s. These arable open field-strips were farmed by the burgesses of the city and - unlike most of the field systems within St David’s parish - were held under Anglo-Norman tenure. They are, accordingly, the long aratrally-curving type associated with ‘typical’ medieval open-field systems, rather than the shorter lleinau (or shares) seen elsewhere on the peninsula. A corn windmill, first referred to in 1509, is an indication of the arable regime. This was situated in the west of the area near the Porthclais road and was demolished in 1809 when it was replaced by the present structure southeast of the town. The character area also includes four small areas of common land associated with the borough. The arable open-field strips are shown on late 18th-century estate maps, running down to the coast to the south of the city and continuing to the east and west. It is not clear from the estate maps whether the strips had been enclosed or not. By the tithe survey the strips were clearly enclosed, and close to the coast they had been converted to rectangular fields. The former name of a track Meidr-y-saint, or ‘Saints’ Lane’ for a deep hollow-way leading north out of the city, descending to the River Alun which it crosses on an ancient bridge known as Pont-y-penyd (‘Bridge of Penitence’), is representative of the ecclesiastical topography of the area. Warpool Court in the south of the area was built new by a clergyman in c.1865. A world war two machine gun-post, now derelict, lies close by.

 

Base map reproduced from the OS map with the permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, Crown Copyright 2001.
All rights reserved. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings. Licence Number: GD272221

 

Description and essential historic landscape components
Warpool historic landscape character area comprises a broad band of land lying to the south, east and north of Tyddewi (St David’s City) historic landscape area. The land here is gently undulating, lying between approximately 35m and 75m. Though this area mainly consistes of an enclosed strip field system - the old open fields attached to St David’s - 19th- and 20th-century development and the amalgamation of some strips into rectangular fields has both contracted the extent of this area from what was quite a wide band of land, and affected its character. Housing estates, piecemeal housing development, schools and a cemetery on the fringes of the city now occupy parts of this former area (these have been incorporated into Tyddewi historic landscape character area). Nevertheless, enclosed strip fields characterise this area. These are defined by earth or earth and stone banks topped with hedges. Hedges are low and windswept, and many are neglected and supplemented with wire, but they do form a distinctive component of the landscape. A few dry-stone wall field boundaries are also present. Agricultural land-use is mostly improved pasture, with a little arable land. Two large buildings, both now hotels - Warpool Court Hotel and Twr-y-Felin - were established on the former enclosed fields in the 19th century. Warpool Court is Grade II listed, and is from substantial house built new in c.1865 but radically remodelled in the 20th century. Its garden terrace, hemicycle, and archway, all from c.1870, are also Grade II listed. The windmill from 1809 at Twr-y-Felin, was converted into a dwelling, now a hotel, and is Grade II listed. Apart from the trees close to both the hotels, this is a treeless landscape. There are few other settlements, but of note is a stone-built 19th century ‘villa’ in polite Georgian tradition. There is also a hexagonal, brick, AA machine gun-post from world war two, now derelict, in the area. Recent development includes a 1990s industrial estate.

Recorded archaeology is restricted to a standing stone and possible round barrow from the bronze age, and a post-medieval quarry.

 

 

 

 

 

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