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Penmaen Dewi

296 ST DAVID'S AIRFIELD

GRID REFERENCE: SM789257
AREA IN HECTARES: 161.1

Historic Background
An area of modern Pembrokeshire, until recently occupied by an airfield, on the south side of St David's Peninsula. It lay within 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 conterminous with the later Hundred of Dewsland created in 1536. This character area belonged to the 'manor' of Crughely, but Welsh tenurial systems appear to have persisted, though variously adapted, and many feudal rights and obligations continued even into the early 20th-century. The character area contained the vills, and later farmsteads of Llechell and Treflodan but also contained, until 1943, part of the large unenclosed belt of informal waste or 'moor' (Waun) that now forms the Waun Caerfarchell character area and was divided between at least five medieval/post-medieval vills, each of which had rights to a portion. No physical distinction between these can now be defined, but the attribution survives in their names Waun Vachelich, Waun Llandruidion, Waun Llechell, Waun Treflodan and Waun Caerfarchell. The vill of Vachelich appears in the Black Book of St David's of 1326, but Caerfarchell, Llandruidion and Treflodan do not and may be 14th- or 15th-century in origin, while Llechell is not mentioned until the mid 16th-century, which may suggest a post-medieval date for its origin, or at least the division of the common. The airfield was established over the area in 1943 for RAF Coastal Command and was still at operational readiness, but not in use, in 1993. In the late 1990s the buildings were largely demolished and the land was restored to grass. The area is the venue for the 2001 National Eisteddfod.

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
This relatively small historic landscape area lies on a plateau at approximately 70m to 75m. A second world war airfield was established here. All the airfield buildings are now demolished and much of the land restored to pasture, but stretches of the concrete runways and service roads survive. No attempt has been made to restore the field pattern which existed prior to the airfield. Some long field banks constructed from bulldozed rubble run across the area, and there are mounds of rubble from demolished buildings. However, this is an open landscape of restored pasture divided by wire fences. There are no settlements. Occasional buildings dating to the second world war survive outside the southern limits of this area. There are no standing buildings within the area.

Recorded archaeology is limited to a possible bronze age standing stone site, an iron age findspot and the vill/farmstead sites of Llechell and Treflodan.

St David's airfield historic landscape character area is distinctive and contrasts sharply with the pattern of old established farms and fields which lie to the west, south and east, and with unenclosed common to the north.

Sources: Charles 1992; James 1981; Thomas 1997; Whitechurch (St David's) tithe map and apportionment, 1840-41; Willis-Bund 1902

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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