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MARTLETWY

GRID REFERENCE: SN 025101
AREA IN HECTARES: 825

Historic Background
This character area situated on the upper reaches of the Eastern Cleddau lies within the parishes of Martletwy and Lawrenny, and the medieval Barony of Carew. The parish church of Martletwy may be a pre-conquest ecclesiastical foundation. It was granted, with a significant tract of land in the north of the parish, to the Knights Hospitaller at Slebech by the Lord of the Manor John FitzRaymond de Martletwy, during the 12th century. The remainder of the manor comprised one knight’s fee in 1362 when it was held of the barony. Place-name evidence may indicate the presence of a motte castle. However, by the late 16th century Landshipping appears to have succeeded Martletwy as the caput, at which time it was occupied by the Wyriots. The Owens who established a Renaissance garden comparable in scale to better-known English examples followed them in the 17th century. The garden’s formal courts and terraces can still be seen in aerial photographs. It was abandoned by 1789, and a new house was built at Landshipping Ferry. Much of the remaining land within this area is of fairly poor quality and probably lay under woodland or pasture during the medieval period, as no other medieval vills or townships can be identified. The present landscape is post-medieval in origin. The Cleddau waterway has always been important in defining the character of this area. The creeks and pills were used as informal shipping places throughout the historic, and earlier periods. A ferry was established between Landshipping Quay and Picton by 1729. The area lies in the Pembrokeshire coalfield and waterborne activity increased with the rise of the local mining industry. Mining began in the late medieval period, but was a low-key affair and probably only worked on a seasonal basis by farmers and farm labourers up to the end of the 18th century. In 1800, Sir Hugh Owen installed the first steam engine in the Pembrokeshire coalfield at Landshipping. Many mines were badly waterlogged, and mining at Garden Pit, Landshipping, was abandoned when the tide flooded the pit. Quays at Landshipping Ferry and Landshipping Quay were constructed to serve the coal industry, while the need for workers in the coal industry undoubtedly created the distinctive pattern of small fields and numerous dispersed dwellings that is such an important characteristic of this area. This settlement pattern and field pattern had been established by the tithe survey of c.1840. Since then Martletwy village has grown considerably, blurring its medieval pattern. Mining continued in the area until 1947 when the industry was nationalised and all the Pembrokeshire pits were declared uneconomic and closed.

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
Small, irregular fields, numerous stands of deciduous woodland and a dense scatter of cottages, houses and farms provide Martletwy with a very distinct historic landscape character. From the mud and marsh of the Milford Haven waterway this area rises gently in a series of rounded hills and sheltered valleys, to over 70m above sea level. Land-use is mostly pasture, of which most is improved, though there are pockets of rushy, rougher ground and a little arable. Fields are small for this part of Pembrokeshire and are divided by earth banks topped with hedges. Many of the hedges are overgrown and support small trees. These trees together with the deciduous woodland and small coniferous plantations lend a very wooded aspect to much of this landscape. There are several loose clusters of houses, with Martletwy village having the most dwellings, plus the Grade II listed medieval parish church of St Marcellus and two 19th century chapels. But across the whole area there is a fairly dense scatter of houses, farms and other buildings such as the recently restored 19th century chapel at Burnett’s Hill. Older houses of this area generally date only to the 19th century and are stone-built, cement rendered, with slate roofs. They come in a variety of styles, but are generally quite small. Most broadly belong in the Georgian vernacular style, i.e. two storey, three bays, with a symmetric facade and fairly large windows. There are, however, a significant number of single storey cottages in the vernacular tradition. Mid and late 20th century houses and bungalows in a variety of styles and materials lie interspersed with the older dwellings. Farmhouses are in the same general tradition as the other 19th century houses. Most farms have one or two ranges of stone outbuildings together with more recent agricultural buildings such as corrugated-iron round-headed barns, and steel and concrete structures. The size and range of outbuildings is as so great as in other agricultural areas of southern Pembrokeshire. Many of the older farm buildings are no longer used, either because they are too small to be of commercial value or because the farmland has been sold. Some have been converted to houses, but many are derelict or becoming so. However, the remains of Landshipping house, garden and garden walls, though largely below-ground, are among the few unaltered Renaissance landscapes in Wales. Apart from the settlement pattern and architecture (which is distinctive), the former coal industry of this area has not left a major mark on the historic landscape. The exception to this is along the shore where the remains of quays and industrial buildings at Landshipping Ferry and Landshipping Quay testify to the former importance of these locations for the export of coal. Other than sites associated with the coal industry, archaeological sites in this area are few and comprise bronze age burnt mounts, a bronze age standing stone, and a limekiln along the foreshore.

Although this is a distinct historic landscape area, its boundaries, apart from the clearly defined border with the Milford Haven waterway are not easy to define. Therefore a zone of change rather than a hard-edged boundary exists between this area and its neighbours.

Sources: Briggs 1998; Charles 1948; Davies and Nelson 1999; Edwards 1950; Edwards 1963; Hall et al. 2000; Lawrenny Parish tithe map 1843; Ludlow 1998; Martletwy Parish tithe map 1844; NLW VOL. 88; Owen 1897

 

 

 

 

 

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