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LAWRENNY

GRID REFERENCE: SN 015083
AREA IN HECTARES: 896

Historic Background
A character area situated upon the upper reaches of the Milford Haven waterway, on the boundary between the coal measures and the limestone belt. It lay within the ecclesiastical parishes, and medieval manors, of Lawrenny and Coedcanlas, which were members of the Barony of Carew. Each manor comprised one knight’s fee, both of which were held of Sir John Carew in 1362. The ruined church at Coedcanlas, in later periods a parish church, was formerly a free chapel and this, together with its medieval name ‘Merthyr Cynlais’, may suggest a pre-conquest origin. The parish church of Lawrenny was mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis in c.1200. It is a large, cruciform building which reflects its Carew patronage and, with Coedcanlas church, may suggest a large population in the surrounding area during this early period. A hamlet may have existed at Coedcanlas. However, few other medieval vills or townships can be identified in the parish, and much of the area may have lain under woodland or pasture. A wood was associated with the manor house at Coedcanlas and was described by George Owen in c.1600 as ‘sufficient to serve (for) fuel and some for buildings’. The pattern of large, fairly regular fields moreover suggests post-medieval enclosure. The Manor of Coedcanlas passed to the Owens of Orielton in the 17th century. They established a Renaissance garden around the sub-medieval manor house, comparable in scale to better-known English examples, and its characteristic formal courts and terraces can still be seen in aerial photographs. Lawrenny passed to the Barlows of Slebech and an estate map of 1762 shows that by this date most of the components that make up the present historic landscape were in place. Lawrenny Mansion (possibly on the site of the medieval caput), its gardens and an avenue of trees is shown, as is the nucleated village and the surrounding landscape of regular fields. Lawrenny was later acquired by the Lort-Phillipps who constructed a mock-castle that was demolished in 1950. Since 1762, the fields have been amalgamated into larger units, and the avenue no longer exists, but the basic pattern remains. The Milford Haven waterway has always been important in defining the character of this area. The creeks and pills have been used as informal shipping places throughout the historic, and earlier periods. Garron Pill, in particular, was an important landing place used for the export of limestone from quarries at the head of the pill in the early 19th century. The quarries at Coedcanlas were associated with a ferry to Llangwm. Lawrenny Quay was another early landing stage associated with the ferry crossing to Cosheston. By the 18th century Lawrenny ships took on coal from barges coming from Cresswell Quay. The quay was later transformed into the large stone structure that survives today. Coal mining itself was not an important element of the landscape, but the shipping of coal, quarrying and other industries such as brick making were all practiced.

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
Lawrenny historic landscape character area lies in the crook of the elbow formed by the Milford Haven waterway and the Cresswell River. It is gently undulating land, lying on average between 10m and 50m above sea level, that dips gradually down to the banks of the Cresswell river, but in places plunges steeply down to the shore. It is an agricultural landscape that has an ‘estate parkland’ quality. Included are extents of salt marsh and marsh at Garron Pill and along the Cresswell River. Fields are large and regular. Land-use is mostly improved pasture, but with a small but significant amount of arable. Field boundaries consist of banks topped with well maintained hedges, although close to and in Lawrenny village mortared stone walls provide a contrast to the hedges. Mature trees in the hedges close to the village are characteristic of this area. Indeed, these trees together with occasional clumps in fields and larger stands of deciduous woodland provide the very distinctive parkland character; this is especially noticeable close to Lawrenny village, but is also present elsewhere. The large tract of deciduous woodland (Lawrenny Wood) on steep slopes overlooking the Milford Haven waterway almost warrants its own character area, but it is included here because of its association with Lawrenny House and gardens. Apart from the small nucleation of Lawrenny village the settlement pattern is one of dispersed farms with occasional houses and cottages. Farms vary in size, but tend towards the large. The major house of the area, Lawrenny Mansion, was demolished in the 1950s (its walled garden and other garden features survive. Coedcanlas sub-medieval house, with its many alterations and additions, is the oldest surviving domestic structure, and is Grade II listed. Associated with it are several ranges of large stone-built outbuildings, probably 19th century in date, and a single storey 19th century vernacular cottage. The remains of its garden, though largely below-ground, are among the few unaltered Renaissance landscapes in Wales. Other farmhouses are stone built with slate roofs, date to the 19th century and fall within the Georgian tradition, some with a vernacular element. Ranges of stone outbuildings are associated with farmhouses. These can be quite substantial and semi-formal in layout as in the partly converted examples of Lawrenny Home Farm. Other examples of old farm buildings converted to other uses are noted in this area. Most working farms have quite large ranges of modern agricultural buildings. A few 19th century houses and cottages and 20th century houses are dispersed across the landscape, with a concentration towards the shore. Lawrenny village retains much of its 19th century character, and one suspects it medieval morphology. Houses here date mostly to the 19th century, and are stone-built (cement rendered and bare stone) with slate roofs, with examples in both the Georgian style in the vernacular tradition. A few dispersed 20th century houses lie in the village. The massive tower of the Grade II listed medieval parish church of St Caradoc’s dominates the village. The isolated remains of the medieval church of St Mary, Coedcanlas, also lie in this area. Industry was once an important element of the economy, but little physical remains survive. Exceptions are the large stone quay at Lawrenny and old quarries at Garron and Llangwm Ferry. The Grade II listed Lawrenny Quay is now devoted to tourism and leisure. A boat/yacht yard, caravan park and chalet development are all located here. Archaeological sites are rich and varied, but do not form a large component of the landscape. They include bronze age burnt mounds, a bronze age standing stone, two iron age forts, limekilns along the shore of the waterway, the site of a brickworks and World War 2 installations.

To the south and west this area is defined by the Milford Haven waterway. Elsewhere neighbouring character areas have strong agricultural elements, but different settlement- and field-patterns. However, there is no hard-edged boundary, but rather a merging between the areas.

Sources: Briggs 1998; Charles 1992; Davies and Nelson 1999; Edwards 1950; Edwards 1963; Hall et al. 2000; Lawrenny Parish tithe map 1843; Ludlow 1998; Owen 1897; PRO D/HDX/969/1

 

 

 

 

 

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