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Historic Background
An area of modern Pembrokeshire within St David's Peninsula. It lay 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. The character area now lies within Whitchurch parish but formerly lay within the historic parish of St David's, which even today preserves a remarkable ecclesiastical topography. A medieval chapel site at Caerforiog may have early medieval origins. 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. Welsh tenurial systems appear however to have persisted, though variously adapted, in a version of Welsh custom in which an infield-outfield system of open-field agriculture was practised. The land was held not by an individual, but by two persons and their co-owners. Neither of the two farmsteads within the character area, Caerforiog and Kingheriot, are listed among the vills of Pebidiog in the Black Book of St David's of 1326. Caerforiog located in the centre of the character area is present by 1341, but Kingheriot, on the edge of the area, is not recorded until much later in 1543. Caerforiog is reputedly the birthplace of Adam de Houghton, Bishop of St David's in 1361-89. The holding was later a possession of the Perrot family. Nevertheless, that Caerforiog functioned as a vill is demonstrated by the fact that it was associated with common land within this character area, much of which features the large irregular enclosures which are characteristic of late medieval - early post-medieval enclosure of common land. The present field pattern is shown on the tithe map of 1840, but some of the fields, particularly those in the southern half of the area, may represent the enclosure of former open-field strips, are shown as slightly smaller, irregular fields.

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 character area lies on a plateau between approximately 50m and 65m. It is divided into large, irregular fields by earth- and stone-banks. These are topped with low, windswept, straggling lines of bushes. Wire fences supplement the banks and hedges. Mortared-stone pillars (some replaced by concrete block) are used as gate posts at field entrances. It is a treeless landscape. Land-use is improved pasture and arable, with virtually no rough land. Farms are quite substantial, and one in particular, Caerforiog, has a very extensive range of modern agricultural buildings. Kingheriot is a good example of a two-storey stone-built house in the Georgian tradition dating to c.1860 with a range of stone-built farm buildings set around a courtyard to the front of the house. The house is listed.

Recorded archaeology comprises a possible eolithic axe factory, the possible sites of two bronze age standing stone sites, an iron age or Roman findspot and a medieval chapel site.

Caerforiog historic landscape character area is difficult to define with any degree of confidence. It shares many characteristics with neighbouring areas, particularly those to the east and south which have yet to be defined. However, its large fields and open, treeless character do distinguish it as being different, though its boundaries must be considered open to redefinition, except to the west where it borders the wooded valley of Middle Mill historic landscape character area.

Sources: Charles 1992; Fenton 1811; James 1981; Jones 1996; Ludlow 1994; Whitechurch (St David's) tithe map and apportionment, 1840-41; Willis-Bund 1902





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