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HISTORIC LANDSCAPE THEMES OF PENCAER, NEWPORT AND CARNINGLI, MANORBIER AND STACKPOLE WARREN HISTORIC ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

The pre Anglo-Norman administration of west Wales was based on small kingdoms or gwledydd, which were established before the 8th century AD. The register areas lie within the gwlad of Dyfed which, in the early 11th century, became part of the larger kingdom of Deheubarth. Within each gwlad were smaller units of administration or estates known as maenorau, attested to have existed since the 9th century. These were composed of a number of ‘townships’ or trefi. By the 11th century two additional administrative tiers were introduced - the cantref, a group of 100 trefi, each of which was subdivided into a number of cwmwdau, into which the trefi were grouped. The ‘seven cantrefi of Dyfed’ - Pebidiog, Cemaes, Emlyn, Rhos, Daugleddau, Gwarthaf and Penfro - became a union that was celebrated in both history and lore. It is probable that in Dyfed formal systems of native tenure and administration were not fixed prior to the Anglo-Norman conquest. However, status centres existed, both secular and ecclesiastical, and of the latter the seven ‘bishop-houses’ of Dyfed are well documented.

The Anglo-Norman settlement of the Pembrokeshire region began in 1093 with the invasion of Dyfed under Roger de Montgomery, the Norman Earl of Shrewsbury, and his establishment of a castle at Pembroke. From this base his son, Arnulf, had by 1100 subdued the greater part of Cantref Penfro (in the southern part of the present county, including the Manorbier and Stackpole Warren Register Areas), Cantref Rhos (west of Haverfordwest) and Cantref Daugleddau (in the central part of the present county), which were reorganised as a county under Henry I - later a palatinate of the earls of Pembroke. To this campaign was added, in about 1100, the invasion of Cantref Cemaes (within which the Newport and Carningli Register Area lies) under the Norman Martin ‘of Tours’ who reorganised it as a Marcher lordship.

The visit to St David’s by the Norman King William I in 1081 may have occasioned some limited reorganisation of Cantref Pebidiog - which was largely held by the bishops and includes the Pen Caer: Garn Fawr and Strumble Register Area - along Anglo-Norman lines. However, it is more likely that this loose manorial administration was introduced after 1115 under Bernard, the first Norman Bishop of St David’s.

In the north of the county the pre Anglo-Norman conquest territorial divisions remained largely unchanged after the conquest. Both Cemaes and Pebidiog lordships were coterminous with both their parent cantrefi, and the post-medieval hundreds of Cemais and Dewsland respectively. In most instances, Welsh tenurial systems appear to have persisted, and many feudal rights and obligations continued even into the early 20th century. The effect of these systems upon the landscape has been profound. Pebidiog, in particular, remained largely free from formal manorial tenure and was held by a version of Welsh custom in which land was held by common ownership. In fact gavelkind had only recently been abolished in Pebidiog when Owen wrote in c.1600. This tenure has given rise to the dominant settlement pattern of the area, represented by a high density of small hamlets. In Cemaes, Welsh tenure led to a more dispersed settlement pattern, generally without significant nucleations. However, the borough of Newport operated at least a partial Anglo-Norman manorial system.

Similarly in the south of the county the pre Anglo-Norman conquest territorial divisions remained largely unchanged in the post-conquest period. The lordship of Pembroke was more-or-less coterminous with Cantref Penfro. There is some uncertainty as to whether the Manor of Manorbier gave its name to, or derived its name from, the pre-existing Welsh cwmwd of Maenor Pyr. It has been argued that the ‘manor’ element is not derived from the Anglo-Norman ‘manor’ but from a pre-Conquest ‘maenol’ element linked to the ?personal name ‘Pyr’ also commemorated in the Welsh name for Caldey Island, ‘Ynys Pyr’. However, in all other respects the area was Anglicised. Henry I settled large numbers of people, from the West Country and Flanders, in the area, and the native administration was entirely re-organised. Although it appears that Henry I attempted to establish an administration based upon English civil models, the creation of the marcher palatine lordship led to a feudalised, manorial system of tenure based on demesne lordships and knights fees. This has given rise to the dominant settlement pattern within the area, of small nucleations - villages, hamlets and large farms - based on the manorial vills. Elements of the system persisted long after the Act of Union. However, during the post-medieval period Penfro/Pembroke was divided into two hundreds, Castlemartin and Narberth.


PREHISTORIC FUNERARY AND RITUAL SITES, AND SETTLEMENTS

There are numerous important prehistoric ritual and funerary sites in these four register areas, such as Norchard Beacon burial mound on the Ridgeway near Manorbier and Carreg Coetan chambered tomb at Newport. However, most lie on farmland and it is not possible to fully appreciate their original setting, nor the impact that people who built them had on the landscape. Luckily there are two environments where more information is available. In the uplands, such as Carningli Common, Carn Briw burial mound is associated with other funerary and ritual monuments and possibly with contemporaneous field systems and settlements. Environmental analyses from similar sites across Wales have shown that the woodland clearance of these upland areas usually started in the Bronze Age, at a time when burial mounds were being constructed. Research has shown that settlements associated with these upland burial mounds were abandoned at the end of the second millennium BC, although on Carningli Common the presence of a massive Iron Age hillfort and a smaller fort demonstrates that settlement continued in this upland area beyond the Bronze Age. Warrens, or areas of wind-blown coastal sand, are the second type of environment in which well-preserved prehistoric evidence is found. At Stackpole Warren, one of the most archaeologically studied environments in southwest Wales, a complex prehistoric sequence was preserved below and within wind-blown sand that began to accumulate in the Bronze Age, and excavation revealed a densely settled and farmed landscape with origins in the third millennium BC.

Two of the three major Iron Age hillforts of southwest Wales lie within these registered areas: Garn Fawr in the Pen Caer landscape and Carningli in the Newport and Caringli landscape. The third, Y Foel Drigarn, is in the Preseli Registered Landscape, which neighbours Newport and Carningli. All three are prominent landscape components, being massive monuments situated on distinctive hills. They are unusual in the hillforts of southwest Wales in having stone rubble ramparts rather than the more normal earthern defences, and the location of Garn Fawr and Carningli in pockets of open moorland has contributed to the survival of contemporaneous field systems and ancillary settlements such as hut circles – the type of evidence that does not remain on lower-lying farmland. Scattered across Carningli Common and the neighbouring high land is a wealth of settlement evidence, some of it probably pre- and post dating the hillfort. Rubble banks radiating out from the ramparts of Garn Fawr demonstrate that there were fields associated with the hillfort, and that these were extensive, as the old relict boundaries run down from the higher ground and are perpetuated in the modern field system. Hogg in 1973 (Hogg 1973) published plans and descriptive text of Garn Fawr and Carningli. Garn Fawr is unusual in having one of the earliest plans of any British hillfort, by Edward Lhuyd in about 1700. Other hillforts, such as Carn Ffoi on Carningli Common, and Skomar Camp and Old Castle Head on the coast near Manorbier demonstrate the high population levels during the Iron Age, but these sites now lie in isolation, detached from their contemporaneous landscape by more recent farming practice and development.

It is increasingly believed that the Manorbier strip field system is of prehistoric origin, co-axial upon an early routeway, the ‘Ridgeway’. This is discussed in more detail below.

 

NEWPORT MEDIEVAL TOWN


Newport, the only town with medieval origins in the four registered areas, is a classic example of a planned town, established by the Anglo-Norman lord William Fitzmartin. The need to maximise profits was the main reason for founding a town, but against a background of almost constant war and aggression the immigration of English settlers into Newport provided Fitzmartin with a population willing to protect his newly gained lands from the dispossessed Welsh. The indigenous population was quick to realise the benefits of urban living, and in a survey of 1434 many of the inhabitants’ names indicate Welsh descent. The town was planned on a grid pattern with burgage plots laid out along streets (a burgage plot was a long, narrow allotment of land). Each burgess was granted a burgage plot on which to build a house. He also had rights to farm in the open field system established around the town and to graze his animals on the common, as well as other privileges. The open field system no longer operates and evidence of it has been largely erased, but the town plan established over 800 years ago remains. The street pattern is as it was at the town’s foundation, and houses, although mostly dating to the 19th century, lie on the street frontage within the former medieval burgage plots.


MEDIEVAL AND LATER VILLAGES


The four register areas exhibit great contrast in their settlement pattern and settlement morphology. The Pen Caer: Garn Fawr and Strumble Head register area occupied the medieval Lordship of Pebidiog in which Welsh systems of tenure persisted through into the early modern period. Pebidiog was subject to a detailed survey in 1326, the Black Book of St Davids, which makes it clear that although some aspects of an Anglo-Norman manorial system, and terminology, had been introduced, they were thinly grafted onto the pre-existing system. In the fertile heartland of Pebidiog – the St Davids peninsula – which was one of the most densely populated regions of Pembrokeshire in the 16th century, this tenure gave rise to a high density of small nucleations or hamlets. In the less-fertile Pen Caer: Garn Fawr and Strumble Head area (the medieval ‘manor’ of Villa Grandi), persistent Welsh tenure led, in contrast, to a very dispersed settlement pattern of smaller farmsteads, with few proper nucleations. The large Pen Caer farmsteads of Castell, Tre-fisheg and Tresinwen, named in the survey, appear to have constituted loose townships rather than vills, and do not today comprise proper nucleations. At Ciliau Fawr, and at other holdings outside the register area, land is specifically described as being held ‘by the Law of Wales’. Llanwnda is now represented by a small nucleation around the parish church but no settlement is referred to in medieval records; it may largely be a product of the post-medieval period.

A similar settlement pattern of dispersed farmsteads is seen in Cemaes (Newport and Carningli area), although much of this landscape remained unenclosed until the post-medieval period, largely due to it being moor and waste. Nucleations were few. However, the Anglo-Norman borough of Newport was a planted Anglo-Norman foundation with formal burgages, a market and a fair. Some of the larger farms in the area, eg. Rhigian and Parc-y-marriage, began as demesne holdings of the Lords of Cemaes; others, eg. Holmhouse, were high-status farmsteads established on the fringes of the borough open fields. However, there are, like in Pen Caer, no proper medieval villages in this area.

In complete contrast are the Manorbier and Stackpole Warren register areas, in the Anglicised Lordship of Pembroke, which are distinctive for their small, nucleated villages. Dispersed farms are present, as they are across most of Wales, but it is the villages that distinguish the settlement pattern of this part of Pembrokeshire from other areas of southwest Wales. There is a strong correlation between the nucleated village settlement type, often centred upon a church, and the area of known Anglo-Norman settlement in southwest Wales in the 12th century and 13th century, evidenced today by place-names, language and other cultural indicators. It is highly likely therefore that the villages were founded in this period in tandem with that other major component of the English lowland agricultural landscape, the open field system. Open fields are described below, but it is worth emphasising here the strong correspondence between nucleated villages and the evidence for open fields. Historic documentation is often ambiguous in its references to settlement pattern type, and it is not until the mid-to-late 18th century with large-scale estate mapping and the survey of tithe maps in c. 1840, that village morphology can be definitely identified. The villages of Stackpole, Bosherston, Manorbier and Jameston were then Anglo-Norman manorial vills - small, nucleated, agricultural communities. Stackpole and Manorbier are unusual in being located at some distance from their parish churches, which in both cases may have earlier, pre-Conquest origins. A chapel was recorded at Jameston in the 16th century, but it may have been a late foundation, while Manorbier Newton, now a farm, may have been a larger settlement but was without a church or chapel. Mercantile activity is suggested by a recorded fair at Jameston, and a possible fair at Stackpole. However, with the possible exception of Jameston and Stackpole, none of the villages within the two register areas appears planned. In addition to the formal vills were large farmsteads such as Norchard, Tarr, Carswell and Whitewell which appear to have been private holdings from an early date, possibly as early as the 13th century (but are more likely to be later medieval). They were held freehold, or independent from the Manor of Manorbier, and are concentrated in the east half of the manor. Villages still exert a strong influence on the settlement pattern of the area, and some have experienced expansion during the later 19th century and 20th century. For instance, Lydstep is more-or-less entirely a product of the post-medieval period, and the 19th century in particular, while Manorbier has been extended with the construction of outlying housing estates. In contrast, over half of Stackpole village was removed to create a park in the 18th century. However, in the main, the villages within these two register areas have changed little, and their early morphologies and original functions are still evident. There is little evidence in any of the four register areas for other new village foundation prior to the late 18th century.

 

EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURY ENCROACHMENT SETTLEMENTS


Owing to the rapid growth of the rural population in the 18th century and early 19th century, there was very little ground that was not farmed, and therefore the opportunities for establishing cottages or smallholdings (squatter settlements or tai unnos) on unused land were very limited. People were forced to settle on more marginal land such as Carningli Common and on small pockets of common, moorland and rough ground at Pen Caer. New settlements on the slopes of Carningli Common above Newport created a very distinctive landscape. Although these settlements are very poorly documented, they are typical characteristic of late 18th century and early 19th century squatter settlements – clustered settlement pattern, small houses and cottages and small, irregular fields on poor quality land. However, they have some unusual elements. First, most squatter settlements in southwest Wales are in remote locations, often at high elevations. Second, although the dwellings on the slopes of Carningli are modest, they are superior to the poor quality houses found in most squatter settlements, and appear to have been built, or more likely rebuilt in the later 19th century. Third, in southwest Wales many, and in some cases all, of the dwellings of squatter settlements were abandoned during the second half of the 19th century and first few decades of the 20th century as the population in rural Wales declined: this is not the case at Carningli. There seem to be several reasons for this, the key one being the proximity of Newport. The common land of Carningli is unusual in that it runs down to low altitudes almost to the edge of Newport town. Consequently, squatter settlements established on it were never remote, and the settlers instead of surviving on subsistence agriculture and seasonal industrial/craft work could gain additional employment in the town. Thus the population decline did not severely affect these settlements, indeed the opposite seems to have happened as attested by the relatively high quality of the mainly late 19th century houses of this area. From the middle of the 20th century many of these former squatter dwellings have become desirable as holiday homes or second homes.

 

NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURY DEVELOPMENT

Apart from Newport and Goodwick all four of these registered areas are essentially rural, and as the rural population in southwest Wales was in decline from the mid 19th century there is consequently very little 19th century and 20th century development. An exception is at Dinas Cross and Bryn-henllan where housing was first built in the mid 19th century. It has spread in a linear fashion along the main road and then along minor roads, and it continues to be constructed in a similar manner to this day.

Goodwick is the only major 19th century and 20th century development within any of the four register areas. Prior to the first decade of the 20th century, during which a railway was opened and new port facilities were constructed, the settlement and port at Goodwick were small. Development increased rapidly from the early 20th century, with housing spreading along the valley floor and up steep valley sides. Goodwick now almost forms one continuous settlement with Fishguard.

 


MEDIEVAL CHURCHES AND CHAPELS


There are few medieval churches and chapels in these predominantly small registered areas. However, a number of those present may have early medieval origins. The parish church of Llanwnda is a small, aisled, late-medieval church but appears to occupy an important early medieval site. It has no recorded pre Anglo-Norman Conquest history but seven 7th century – 11th century Early Christian Monuments were revealed within the fabric of the church during 19th century restoration, suggesting an early possible monastic status. It is dedicated to the ‘Celtic’ St Gwyndaf. It occupies a coastal, near-headland location, forming a very distinctive feature of the landscape. Its rectangular churchyard is nuclear to a system of informal boundaries and may be early, there being evidence that the circular yard was giving way to the rectangular yard during the later pre-conquest period. The early church possibly lay within an early ecclesiastical estate defined by a system of irregular fields, and an Early Christian Monument (at the signficantly-named Pont Eglwys), may represent a boundary stone. The putative estate was later extended becoming as the large parish of Llanwnda, which came to embrace most of the Pen Caer/Strumble Head peninsula. The entire area, which occupied the episcopal lordship of Pebidiog, appears to have been an important ecclesiastical centre in pre-Conquest Wales. Llanwnda parish was an important prebend of St Davids during the post-Conquest period, a relationship which may perpetuate an earlier relationship. A cist cemetery was recorded beneath Llanwnwr Farm in the 19th century, and there is a findspot of an Early Christian Monument. The lost coastal chapel of Llandegan/Capel Degan, as well as the island of Ynys Meicel, may have been early ecclesiastical sites.

The medieval parish church of St Brynach, Dinas, at Cwm-yr-eglwys, was largely destroyed through coastal erosion in the mid 19th century and is now an incomplete ruin. However, the west gable end survives, with its bellcote, and is visible from land and sea. A cist cemetery was also revealed beneath the church during consolidation and sea-defence works during the 1980s. However, it may be that this was a post-Conquest cemetery, or at least from late within the early medieval period, as a further cist cemetery has been recorded at nearby Bryn-henllan whose name suggests that it may have been a predecessor of St Brynach’s.

The parish churches of Bosherston and Manorbier lie within the Lordship of Pembroke, an area that was Anglicised at an early date and remained under Anglo-Norman control. The circular churchyard at Bosherston, later extended, may be a significant indicator of a pre-Conquest date. The present church is a small, vaulted cruciform building, of limestone rubble, with a west tower and distinctive ‘skew-passages’ between the transepts and the chancel – morphology and fabric that represent the defining characteristics of south Pembrokeshire churches. Manorbier is less typical, being a large, twin-aisled structure with a north tower, within a rectangular churchyard. There appears to have been only one chapel-of-ease in this fertile, formerly populous parish – at Jameston, where it was possibly a late foundation - and the parish church was clearly built to serve a large population. Its tower is a highly visible landmark which can be seen from Manorbier Bay. There is circumstantial evidence that Manorbier Castle was established on the site of an earlier dwelling, or llys, of a native aristocrat and its distance from the church, from which it is physically separated by a valley, is very different from the close church/castle relationship seen in planted Anglo-Norman settlements. The church may then too have early medieval origins. Village morphology, and a Teilo dedication, similarly suggest that the parish church of Stackpole Elidor – which lies just beyond the Stackpole Court character area – also has pre-conquest origins.

In fact, the only demonstrably de novo post-conquest church in the four register areas is Newport, established after the town was founded in the late 12th century. It is a large, cruciform ‘borough-church’, twice restored (heavily) in the 19th century but retaining a tall, ornate, 15th-16th century west tower that is highly visible from land and sea. Formerly lying within Newport parish, and the register area, were two pilgrimage chapels on the route to Nevern Church, centre of the Brynach cult. This cult, although its origins lie within the pre-conquest period, appears to have reached its peak during the 15th-16th centuries. Both chapels no longer exist, and the precise location of Capel Curig is unknown. Capel Dewi stood beside the present A487, demonstrating the route’s early origins. Neither chapel would have been the natural focus for any settlement.

There are no post-Conquest monastic landholdings or estates within the four areas. Manorbier Church was a possession of the Benedictine priory at Monkton, Pembroke.

 

MEDIEVAL CASTLES


The large, masonry castle at Manorbier lay at the head (or caput) of the Manor of Manorbier, a mesne lordship or barony of the Lordship and Earldom of Pembroke, held by the service of 5 knights. The manor and castle was established by the Norman de Barri lords, who had acquired Manorbier – possibly in reward for service to the crown – by the early 12th century; an Odo de Barri was the steward of Pembroke Castle, for Henry I, in 1118. Like many of the early castles of southwest Wales, a coastal location was chosen for ease of supply by sea. It is a double-enclosure castle, occupying the end of a long, low ridge, with a mid-late 12th century great hall block and tower which may be the earliest secular masonry in Pembrokeshire. Extensive remains survive, as do elements of the manorial landscape in which it lay including silted fishponds and the site of a dovecote. The castle and manor appear to have derived their name from the pre-existing Welsh cwmwd of Maenor Pyr, possibly suggesting that the castle site was already the administrative centre, and llys, of the cwmwd before the 12th century. In fact, the topography of the site suggests that it may have originated as an iron age promontory fort. The castle had become ruinous by the early 17th century but was refortified during the Civil War when it was taken, without resistance, by Parliament. After a period of slow decay it was partially restored in the late 19th century.

Castell Poeth, near Llanwnda, is the fragmentary remains of an earthwork motte-and-bailey castle that may represent Castell Wladus, the name of a township of the manor of Villa Grandi in the Extent of Cemaes of 1326. Otherwise it has no recorded history. It may be a Welsh castle, or a castle established by the Bishops of St David within whose Lordship of Pebidiog the site lies, or most likely it may be a temporary castle established during the uncertainty of the early 12th century, when the bishop’s lands themselves were threatened by neighbouring secular lords. Another earthwork castle, of similarly uncertain origins, may have occupied the nearby township of Castell.

The only other definite castle site in the four areas is at Newport, where a change of site occurred. The Barony of Cemaes, as established by the Fitzmartin lords, had centred upon a castle at Nevern which was taken by the Welsh in 1191. Recapturing the barony in 1197, the Fitzmartins established a borough at Newport which was probably initially laid out around a small ringwork at the northern end of the present town, near the waterfront. It was never fortified in stone. It was taken by the Welsh in 1204, 1215, and again in 1257 after which the relocation of the castle to its present site, on a natural hillock at the southern end of the town, probably occurred. The new castle also comprised a single enclosure. It was given stonewalls, towers and a gatehouse in the late 13th century to early 14th century. It had become ruinous by the late medieval period, but was partly restored in the 19th century, and extensive remains survive.

Stackpole Court may have succeeded a fortified dwelling or castle. The name ‘Stackpole’ appears in a list of 19 ‘ancient castles’ in Pembrokeshire, compiled by George Owen in 1599. The list includes several then-redundant castles, such as Castle Pill and Castlemartin, both of which were only ever earthwork sites, and probably abandoned by 1599. However, the list also includes Dale, where it may refer to the present fortified mansion or an earlier earthwork. A lot depends on Owen’s definition of ‘ancient castle’. It indicates, at least, that a high-status residence occupied the manor in 1599, possibly on the site of the present mansion. There is no field evidence for any other site, but it may have been obliterated when the park was laid out.

 

OPEN FIELDS AND THEIR ENCLOSURE

Cartographic evidence shows that the open fields (or strip fields) around Newport were still in existence in 1758, although it seems that by this date the annual sharing of strips between burgesses had broken down and blocks of strips were either in the possession of or under the control of wealthy individuals. From this position it was a simple matter of these individuals amalgamating their strips into the large fields we see today. This process of enclosure was complete by the tithe survey of 1844. It is likely that similar processes operated within the former open fields at Bryn-henllan, although there is no map evidence to support this. At Bosherston it is highly likely that Stackpole Court estate was instrumental in enclosing the open fields into the system we see today, but again there is no evidence to support this or of when it took place. Across Pen Caer Welsh tenure created a landscape of short strips in open fields, unlike the Anglicised systems of Newport and Bosherston. However, the only concrete evidence for this is from two early 19th century estate maps of properties belonging to the Bishop of St David’s. Both properties consisted of dispersed, unenclosed strips that were enclosed into regular fields by the mid 19th century. The problem with this evidence is that land in the possession of the bishop may have been subjected to a different tenurial system from that elsewhere, or an antiquated tenurial system still operated on the bishop’s land when elsewhere open fields had been enclosed.

 

MANORBIER STRIP FIELDS

The west half of Manorbier character area comprises a discrete block of long, narrow strip fields, now enclosed. A number of authors have attempted to define and to date the field system (Austin 1988, Kissock 1993, Roberts 1987). Roberts has suggested that it is Anglo-Norman, and indeed many of the fields exhibit the sinuous, aratrally-curved form characteristic of medieval ploughing. However, as other authors such as Austin and Kissock have noted, the system is not typically medieval and appears to be lie under later settlements such as Manorbier Newton and Jameston. It is more likely to have prehistoric origins, probably bronze age in date. It is co-axial upon a prehistoric routeway – ‘The Ridgeway’- which now defines the northern edge of the system, and along which a number of bronze age round barrows are situated. It may be a relic of a more extensive prehistoric field system which has been obscured or lost elsewhere, but is encountered further west in the Castlemartin area, and indeed may account for the long narrow fields at Bosherston (Stackpole Warren register area). It is interesting to note that, of the three forms of tenure that existed within the early modern Manor of Manorbier, only one – ‘husbandry hold’ – is recorded within the strip fields, suggesting that it was a relic of earlier, communal tenure. The present sinuous boundaries possibly result from medieval re-use of the fields and their subsequent enclosure.

 

FIELD BOUNDARIES

Across southwest Wales an earth bank topped by a hedge is by far the most common field boundary type, and in some landscapes it is rare to find anything else. In the four register areas described here, however, there is greater variety:

Earth and stone bank with hedge is the most common type and can be found in all four register areas. They can be massive, particularly alongside roads and lanes, up to 3m high, but on average they are between one and two metres high. There are variations on this type, but as the banks are often covered with dense vegetation it is not usually possible to distinguish them. Simple earth banks seem to be the most common sub-type. Some have stone-facing, laid horizontally or in a herring-bone pattern, and others are layered with alternate courses of earth and stone – although where the core of the bank is visible this latter sub-type appears very rare. Banks composed of rubble are not common and it is often unclear whether they are constructed in this fashion or whether they are collapsed dry-stone walls. It is not uncommon to find two or more of these sub-types in one boundary. For instance around a gateway or where lanes converge on a farmyard it is normal for an earth bank to have stone-faced armouring to protect it from cattle rubbing. As a general rule hedges are better maintained and thicker on lower-lying, sheltered farmland, becoming progressively thinner, lower and more straggly with altitude and/or exposure to the prevailing westerly winds.

Dry-stone walls are most common on the fringes of Carningli Common and close to the high ground surrounding Garn Fawr, although a few examples exist close to Manorbier. Often they are in a poor state of repair, with some examples having collapsed.

Mortared walls are most commonly found at Stackpole, although examples at Manorbier can be seen. They are confined to the Carboniferous Limestone belt of south Pembrokeshire as they are built of the local limestone rubble bonded with lime mortar. At Manorbier they normally situated alongside roads or lanes, are quite low and are often hidden by hedges that have grown up alongside them, while at Stackpole they are frequently associated with Stackpole Court and can be very substantial, over 2m high. At Stackpole some walls are topped with chunks of limestone pavement known locally as babbaloobies. Dressed limestone masonry is also used in gateposts and similar features at Stackpole and Lydstep.

Wire fences supplement many of the historic boundaries described above, but it is rare to find wire fences in isolation, except perhaps on the fringes of Carningli Common.

Many factors determine the type of boundary constructed including: availability of materials, degree of exposure, permanence required, tradition, and period of construction. During the 18th century and early 19th century when settlements were established on moorland on the slopes of Carningli Common above Newport, dry-stone walls were constructed because stone was readily available from the newly cleared land. Whereas at the same time just a few hundred metres to the north earth banks topped with hedges were built when regular fields were created from the former open fields of Newport town, as here centuries if not millennia of cultivation and field clearance had removed all the surface stone. At Manorbier earth and stone banks topped with hedges are the traditional boundary type, but where greater protection is required flanking roads and lanes, or where hedges can not flourish, such as in exposed locations close to sea cliffs, mortared walls are used. Aesthetics as much as the territorial demarcation no doubt influenced the choice of high, mortared stone walls on the Stackpole Court estate in the 18th century and 19th century.

 

POST MEDIEVAL ESTATES

Stackpole Court, the only major post-medieval estate within the four register areas, has had a profound effect on the historic landscape in southwest Pembrokeshire. The creation of parkland and gardens in the 18th century around the now demolished mansion is an obvious legacy of the estate. Subtler influences include the common use of mortared stonewalls in favour of hedgebanks and the construction of high quality farmhouses, farm buildings and cottages. Less tangible is the estate influence over other aspects of the historic landscape. For instance, it is highly likely that the estate was instrumental in reordering the open fields around Bosherston into the system of regular fields that we see today.

 

COMMON AND MOUNTAIN

The unenclosed, common land in southwest Wales existed in two distinct forms -

i) Formal common land under which grazing rights were held by freemen as part of their manorial obligations and privileges, or
ii) areas of poorer land, often wet, that were set aside as informal waste.

Unenclosed, marginal land is present in three of the four register areas. There are a number of areas within the Pen Caer: Garn Fawr and Strumble Head register area, some of which appear to represent formal common land, including Ciliau Moor, Waun Morfa, Garn Nelu and Pen-cw Commons. Other areas may represent informal waste, which had been allowed to revert to pasture in the post-Roman or early historic periods. These include a large area of unenclosed land at Ogof-y-drwg, which overlies an undated field system of possible prehistoric date, and a small area at Crincoed Point. The higher slopes of the east-west ridge across the peninsula, Garn Fawr and Garnwnda, are very bare and rocky, and may not have been enclosed until the later post-medieval demands of land-hunger. Here, farm names such as ‘North Pole’ and ‘Llys-y-fran’ (‘Crow’s Palace’) testify to the inhospitable nature of the soil. This area may too have been formal common - an estate map of 1837 shows that an outlying property was in possession of a narrow field strip within the area, suggesting that it had been common land subsequently subdivided among the adjoining properties. The outlying property in question was itself recorded in the 17th century.

The Newport register area is, and was, dominated by the unenclosed upland of Mynydd Carningli which rises immediately south of the town. Though evidence of prehistoric farming survives on the slopes of Mynydd Carningli, the land has historically always been open moor, the exploitation of which was formalised in a charter of the Lord of Cemaes, Nicholas Fitzmartin, in the late 13th century, in which the freeholders of Cemaes were granted rights of pasture on ‘the lord’s common’. The extent of the common, and the borough liberty, was defined in the charter. Carningli Common was still recorded as unenclosed land over which the burgesses of the borough had right of common pasture for ‘all manner of cattle’, in the late 16th century Extent of Cemaes. The lower slopes on the north side, bordering the town of Newport, do not appear to have been enclosed until the late 18th century - early 19th century. Carningli Common is adjoined to the west by the moorland of Mynydd Melyn which, though a similar landscape, belonged to a holding, also called Mynydd Melyn, of mixed land that was recorded in the Extent as one knight’s fee, held of the Barony of Cemaes.

No formal common grazing land appears to have existed within the Manor of Manorbier. However, unenclosed marginal land is recorded in an early 17th century survey. This was former baronial demesne that had been permitted to become ‘decayed land’ before being leased out in the early modern period through a form of tenure termed ‘censory hold’, when it was often termed ‘Moor’. It appears not to have been enclosed until the mid - late 17th century.

 

SAND DUNES/WARREN

Blown sand at Stackpole Warren, and at other areas in southwest Pembrokeshire outside these four register areas such as Linney Burrows and Brownslade Burrows, has created a small, but highly unusual historic landscape. Sand began to accumulate during the prehistoric period over settlements and fields that were established on the rich soils overlying loess and Carboniferous Limestone, eventually engulfing them and rendering the area unsuitable for agriculture. In the medieval period the area was used as a rabbit warren, and today it is owned and managed by the National Trust.

 

BUILDINGS

Late medieval – early modern domestic architecture
With the exception of Manorbier, the four areas do not contain many buildings earlier than the 18th century. In contrast Manorbier, with its medieval/early post-medieval wealth and fertility, tenurial system and ready limestone supply, is distinctive within southwest Wales for the quantity and quality of its late medieval/early post- medieval buildings.

Most of these are domestic, and confined to the east half of the Manor of Manorbier and Penally, where land appears to have been freehold of the manor from an early date. The area had become, by the late medieval period, a cluster of large, substantial private farms, in which communal agriculture was not practised. For instance, the important early freehold of Norchard was said to constitute half a knight’s fee in itself, and was possibly recorded in the 13th century. The house still contains medieval elements including the west and east ends of the main range, which are both vaulted over the ground floor. They appear to be the surviving ends of a hall house, perhaps 15th century in origin, which both have, at first floor level, a lateral chimney projecting on corbels, in evident symmetry. Similarly, the important freeholds at Tarr and Carswell were assessed in 1326 as one tenth of a knight’s fee each, held directly of the Earls of Pembroke, and each possesses a small, vaulted, two-storey house possible analogous with the ‘pele’ towers seen elsewhere in south Pembrokeshire. They are generally thought to be 15th-16th century and may represent real defence – from pirates – rather than mere show. The now-ruined Whitewell, too, appears to have been a private freehold from the late medieval period onwards, with remains of at least three medieval buildings and associated walls, of possible 14th-15th century date. The principal building is a large structure probably of two storeys, to which a vaulted wing was added. There is a small building(s) to the east, including a gable wall, and the gable wall of a large building to the west, most of which has been lost beneath recent extensions of the nearby modern house.

It is suggested that at least one building was administrative. It is recorded in the 16th century that the freeholders of the manor of Manorbier and Penally all owed suit fortnightly to the court of ‘Langstone’. It has been argued that this was an open air moot-place, situated in a subcircular field around a ?bronze age standing stone on the boundary between Manorbier and Penally parishes, just north of the late medieval building called Lydstep ‘Palace’. It has been further argued that the Palace took over from the field as the court-house. It is a free-standing, rectangular, limestone hall-house comprising a first floor over a vaulted ground floor. Its primary function was doubtless residential, but may also have had a manorial, administrative role. It occupies a prominent position within the village, close to the A4139, and is currently being consolidated. There was, apparently, another late medieval masonry building in the village, called the ‘Palace of Arms’.


Eighteenth century and nineteenth century domestic architecture
Excluding 20th century and later houses, the majority of the domestic architecture of the four register areas described here (Pen Caer: Garn Fawr and Strumble Head - Newport and Carningli - Manorbier -Stackpole Warren) lies within the 18th century and 19th century, with a large majority built in the mid-to-late 19th century. Apart for Stackpole Court there are no major houses, and most dwellings fall into the classes: cottage/small agricultural dwelling, farmstead/small gentry farm, and town house/village house.

Cottages/small agricultural dwellings: These are most numerous in north Pembrokeshire, where they occur in the greatest numbers on the fringes of common or unenclosed mountain land. They occur in south Pembrokeshire, though in fewer numbers. Single storey cottages testify to the former harsh and often poverty stricken life of the farming community of the west Wales coastal fringe in the 19th century. Many are the result of squatting or occupying and erecting a house on common land in the late 18th century or early 19th century during a period of rapidly rising population, whilst a few are simply small farm dwellings occupying meagre land holdings. This type of dwelling is typically found in fringe landscapes – on the edges of common, or on the borders of moorland – and often associated with small irregular fields on poor quality land with few trees, such as these found on the slopes above Newport. Some very good examples of single-storey cottages, stone-built (coloured washed or rendered), slate roofed – often grouted or with a mortared skim - are to be found in the Pen Caer: Garn Fawr and Strumble Head area, including one used by the artist John Piper. These modest dwellings are, however, more numerous on the slopes of Carningli Common above the town of Newport, where a dense distribution of the cottages together with small, irregular fields strongly indicates late 18th century – early 19th century encroachment onto common land. The dwellings here, however, are larger – sometimes of two storeys – and with a little more architectural pretension than is the norm with squatter settlements. Many also seem to have been rebuilt in the late 19th century. It is possible that the occupiers were able to supplement their agricultural incomes with employment in nearby Newport, so enabling them to build better quality houses. These cottages and small agricultural dwellings have become popular as second homes, holiday homes or retirement homes; consequently the small outbuildings associated with them have been frequently converted to non-agricultural uses.

Farmsteads/small gentry farms: A large majority of farmhouses are relatively modest in size, date to the mid-to-late 19th century, and have few architectural pretensions. A sprectum of building types is present ranging from the purely vernacular – houses with small irregularly placed windows, and asymmetrical layout referring back to an earlier period of hall/palour division, low rooms and stone-rubble build – through to Georgian houses with a symmetry of design and layout, tall windows and rooms, high quality building materials and many internal and external architectural details. However, the typical farmhouse falls within the Georgian vernacular tradition: that is they have a symmetrical front façade with a centrally placed front door, a window either side of the door, three regularly spaced first floor windows, and evenly-matched gable-end chimneys. A local builder probably built them. What they lack is an elegance that comes with height and architectural details such as door cases, porches and wide eaves drips. Within the four areas described here houses higher up the social/economic ladder than the above are rarer and tend to be a little earlier in date – late 18th century or early 19th century – with some examples firmly in the vernacular tradition such as Trehowel, Pen Caer, with its slate hung elevations and cement skimmed roof. Most farmhouses of this period and class are, however, firmly in the Georgian tradition, such as Trefasser Isaf, Pen Caer and West Moor Farmhouse, Manorbier. These farmhouses are usually to be found on richer land than cottages/small farmhouses and are in association with regular fields, stands of deciduous woodland and straight lanes and roads. The grandest farm within the four areas under consideration here is Stackpole Home Farm. Here not only is the farm with its farm buildings separated from the main house, Stackpole Court, in typical high status fashion, but the farm buildings are set a little apart from the substantial Georgian Home Farm dwelling.

Town house/village house: Newport, the main historic town of the four historic areas, contains an exceptional number of well preserved 19th century domestic buildings located in burgage plots laid out in the late 12th century or 13th century. The plots have both dictated the size of the houses and their location hard against the street frontage. This and the universal use of local dolerite stone have created a clear architectural signature. Within these constraints of size, location and building material, a range of domestic building types have emerged including single storey cottages, two storey houses in the vernacular tradition, and more substantial houses in the Georgian style. These houses are fused into terraces, and it is not unusual to find a single storey cottage, a late 19th century house with neo-gothic detailing, a Georgian house and a two storey vernacular house all in the same terrace. There are a few examples of short, single-build terraces within the town and on the outskirts such as on the road to Parrog.

A similar architectureal tradition to Newport’s can be found a few kilometres to the west in the village of Dinas Cross/Bryn Henllan. Here although the settlement is much smaller and not constrained by medieval burgage plots a similar variety of 19th century houses exists, with some terraces as at Newport.

Goodwick, which is the largest settlement in the four register areas, consists in the main of late 19th century houses. The constrained site has helped create a higgledy-piggledy plan, with the appearance of houses tumbling over themselves down the steep valley side. Older, early 19th century cottages and houses are located close to the road junction at the base of the valley side. Later 19th century houses, some with neo-gothic detailing such as porches and barge boards, are spread along the valley bottom and up the valley side in long terraces, semi-detached houses or individual houses.


Traditional farm buildings
The traditional farm buildings in the four areas described here date almost entirely to the 19th century. They are built of local stone, always left bare, never cement rendered, and have slate roofs (usually machine-cut commercial slate, but very occasional examples of local slate/stone survive). Barns, stables, cow houses, cart sheds and storehouses can be found at most farms, indicating a mixed agricultural economy in the 19th century, although clearly the larger the farm the greater the range of buildings and the larger the buildings.

Examples from all social-economic farming groups are present. Stackpole Court sits at the top of the social-economic pyramid in southwest Wales. Not only is the Home Farm separated from the mansion, but also the farm buildings themselves are set a little apart from the farmhouse and arranged formally around courtyards, and are of extremely high quality (dressed and coursed limestone), indeed of a better quality than the vast majority of farmhouses in Pembrokeshire. Georgian farmhouses and farm buildings arranged formally around courtyards maintain the strong architectural signature of the Stackpole Estate, and are material evidence of a high degree of investment in the agricultural economy in the late 18th century and 19th century. There are no other major estates in the four register areas, but there are some good examples of what might be termed minor gentry houses or gentleman’s houses with good ranges of outbuildings in both Manorbier and Pen Caer: Garn Fawr and Strumble Head. In these instances the numerous and extensive farm buildings are usually set slightly apart from the house, and are often arranged formally around a courtyard. However, by far the greatest number of farms possess a modest assemblage of agricultural buildings, usually two or three ranges, sometimes just one, arranged informally around a yard close to the house. At the lowest end of the social-economic farming scale are the small-holdings/cottages with just a single range of farm buildings, and these often attached to the dwelling. Good examples of this type of farm can be seen at Strumble Head and on the hillside between Newport town and Carningli Common.

All working farms have ranges of 20th century farm buildings. However, the mid 20th century round-headed corrugated iron barn is not such a common feature of the landscape as it is in parts of north Pembrokeshire, and the very large assemblages of concrete, steel and asbestos farm buildings that appear common to some areas, such as St David’s, are, apart from some notable examples, largely absent.

External pressures and changing farming practices have led many farmers and landowners to convert their older farm buildings to other uses. Even the largest of complexes is not immune to this process, with the Stackpole Home Farm buildings converted to offices and a residential centre. At Manorbier and Stackpole farm buildings of estate farms and minor gentry farms as well as smaller farms have been mainly converted to residential use, either individual dwellings or holiday complexes, to cater for the large number of visitors attracted to south Pembrokeshire. Some farm buildings in the Newport area have been similarly converted, but here the main pressure has been on cottages and smallholdings. As many of these are no longer viable agricultural holdings, the farm buildings have been converted to garages, workshops and in some instances, dwellings. The farm buildings of Pen Caer: Garn Fawr and Strumble Head have not come under as much stress as the other areas and, although there are examples of conversions for holiday accommodation, most still function in a traditional manner.

Almost all of the ten or so examples of listed farm outbuildings in the four register areas lie in the Pen Caer/Strumble Head peninsula. Here there is a bias in the listing towards the better quality farm buildings such as those at Trefasser, Trehowell and Trenewydd, but smaller structures such as those at Pontiago and close to Harmony are included on the list. Outside the Pen Caer/Strumble Head peninsula very few farm buildings have been listed, and those that have been are early examples (late18th century or early 19th century) and substantial, as at Norchard close to Manorbier, and Penfeidr near Newport. This is probably both a reflection of the continued use of farm buildings in agriculture at Pen Caer/Strumble Head as well a personal bias in the listing. Certainly there are farm buildings in the Newport/Carningli landscape, the Manorbier landscape and the Stackpole Warren landscape of equal value to those at Pen Caer/Strumble Head.

Walling materials
Locally obtained stone is the traditional building material in both the two north Pembrokeshire register areas (Pen Caer: Garn Fawr and Strumble Head, and Newport and Carningli) and the two south Pembrokeshire register areas (Manorbier and Stackpole Warren). The use of local stone in Newport and Bryn-henllan and their environs is one of the most distinctive in southwest Wales. Dolerite, the local stone, varies from a warm honey-colour to dark blue-grey, and, in its quarried form, can be shaped into square or rectangular ‘bricks’. In the better quality masonry the dolerite ‘bricks’ are roughly coursed with consideration given to the contrasting/complementary use of different coloured stone. In some examples courses of Teifi valley slate, or slabs of Dolerite, give strong horizontal banding to a building’s façade. It is clear that it was intended that this better quality masonry should be exposed and not cement rendered. Many houses in and around Newport are cement rendered, although it has become the trend in recent years to remove this and expose the masonry. This newly exposed masonry is generally of a poorer quality than that of the coursed ‘bricks’, consisting of un-coursed dolerite rubble. Close examination often reveals that this masonry had been coated with lime-wash prior to cement rendering, but it is unclear whether this is primary and the masonry was never exposed, or secondary in response to water penetration through the bare stone. Almost universally the masonry of farm outbuildings is left un-rendered, even though the masonry is not of the best quality. Carboniferous Limestone, which underlies the Manorbier area and Stackpole area, has been extensively exploited in the past as a building material and for other purposes such as lime production. Traditionally it is the main construction material of these two areas, and its use in buildings, property boundaries and field walls lends great coherence to the historic landscape. In the more modest houses and farmsteads un-coursed limestone rubble is the norm. This is either left as bare stone or cement rendered. In better quality buildings, and estate-built landscape components such as gateposts, quarried and cut limestone is used. Some of the lodges at Lydstep are of this construction, but its zenith is at Stackpole where sawn limestone blocks were used in many of the estate buildings, including the Home Farm and stables. As with the dolerite building zone farm outbuildings are of bare stone. Outside the zones of easily available good quality stone, such as at Pen Caer, stone is still the main construction material, but the masonry is usually cement rendered to protect it from the elements. There are exceptions – the better quality, Georgian style farmhouses use good quality stone, probably imported from quarries a few kilometres away. Again, the stone of farm outbuildings is left bare.

The use of hung slate on exposed elevations is a common vernacular building element along Britain’s western seaboard. Examples can be found in all four registered areas described here. Local slate had been used in all the examples noted in 2002. Local in this context means hand-cut, non-commercial slate, although the ‘local’ source for the slate used in south Pembrokeshire is unknown. There are many slate quarries in north Pembrokeshire, with several on the coast close to Newport. The use of local slate indicates that the slate hung elevations are probably over a century old. As there seems to be little or no replacement of slate hung elevations, it is likely that this building tradition will fade away.

Roofing materials
Apart from a few examples noted below, slate is the universal roofing material. Nearly all buildings are now roofed with commercial machine cut slate from north Wales or further afield, although quarries were active up to the end of the 19th century in north Pembrokeshire, including some on the coast close to Newport. In common with other parts of coastal Pembrokeshire the use of a grout or cement skim over the slate roofs is a characteristic feature of the buildings in the four areas described here, but particularly of those in exposed locations at Pen Caer and Manorbier. Traditionally slates were bedded in lime putty to prevent their lifting in high winds. Over time, with deterioration setting in, further lime grouting would be added to the surface of the roof. Eventually the surface of the roof would be more lime grout than slate. During the 20th century a skim of cement was often added to the roof, creating a smooth surface with little or no trace of the underlying slates. In some cases, to aid the cement adherence strands of barbed wire, about 1m apart, were stretched down the roof and coated in cement, producing characteristic ribs. There is current a debate about whether a replacement roof should try to replicate the final appearance of the old roof – with full cement skim and ribs – or whether minimal grouting should be used to allow the roof to evolve a full cement skim over several decades, if not centuries.

 

TOURISM AND THE LEISURE INDUSTRY

All four of these register areas lie within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path passes through them. Visitors and tourists are therefore attracted to the area. However, the affect of the tourist industry on the historic landscape has generally been low-key as there are no major visitor attractions. There are facilities specifically designed for tourists, for example car parks at some of the more popular locations, such as Manorbier beach, Strumble Head, Bosherston Lily Ponds and Pwll Gwaelod cove, but these are relatively small, and few other improvements such as road widening accompany them. It is on the historic buildings that the tourist industry has had a major impact. For instance, the extensive range of farm buildings at Stackpole Home Farm have been converted to offices and a residential centre, and there are many examples of old farm buildings adapted for residential use. In most cases the character of the farm buildings has been retained, but in some instances the agricultural origin of the structures has been lost. Re-use of these buildings has at least preserved them, even if some are not the most sympathetic of conversions. In the less popular tourist areas of southwest Wales redundant, derelict and decaying stone-built farm buildings are a feature of the landscape.


 

 

 

Project contact: Ken Murphy

 

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MEDIEVAL CHURCHES AND CHAPELS