GRID REFERENCE: SN 001071
AREA IN HECTARES: 155
This is a small wooded area on the eastern bank of the Milford Haven waterway.
It lies within the parish of Burton, which represented a detached portion
of the medieval Lordship of Pembroke. However, this character area, which
comprises the small medieval castle of Benton and its surrounds, represented
the knight’s fee within the lordship that belonged to the Barony
of Walwyn’s Castle. By 1307, it was held of the barony by Thomas
de Roche, Lord of Llangwm. It comprised 10 carucates of land, held by
homage and knight-service, and one curtilage – ie. Benton Castle
– valued at 2s yearly. Benton appears not to have been manorial
and may never have supported a vill, and the area was probably always
wooded. In c.1600 Benton was one of George Owen’s ‘woods of
divers gentlemen sufficient to serve their houses of fuel and some for
buildings’. Otherwise, the history of the holding is obscure. The
castle, which forms a prominent feature of the landscape, high above the
waterway, is said to have been held and damaged during the Civil War.
It remained uninhabited until 1930 when it was renovated for private use,
and it is inhabited today. The waterway is also important in defining
the character of this area. Its creeks and pills have been used as informal
shipping places throughout all periods. During the 18th century and 19th
century Port Lion was a landing stage for the ferry to Coedcanlas and
its limestone quarries, while the ferry from Roose served Lawrenny Quay
and Cosheston. The tithe map of 1840 and the Ordnance Survey 6”
1st Edition of 1869 show a situation similar to today with nerly continuous
woodland spread across the area.
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 area consists almost entirely of woodland on the eastern bank of
the Milford Haven waterway. The western bank of the waterway rises steeply
here to almost 100m, firstly as low rocky cliffs and then as steep slopes.
Deciduous woodland cloaks the lower slopes and the sides of tributary
valleys, but less steep slopes and higher ground are planted with coniferous
plantations. Included in the area are several small fields. Apart from
the whitewashed, Grade II* listed Benton Castle, a small 13th century
masonry castle perched high up in the woodland, settlement is confined
to two former ferry points/shipping places, Port Lion and Roose Ferry.
These do not now have a commercial function, and there are very few remains
to indicate their former importance. They now serve as access points on
the foreshore for the launching of small, mostly pleasure, craft. The
foreshore comprises a narrow strip of rock, boulders and mud. As well
as Benton Castle, buildings include a 19th century ‘pattern book’
cottage at Roose Ferry. Archaeological sites are not a major component
of this area. However, there are several bronze age burnt mounds –
possible settlement sites – within the woodland, as well as the
site of a 19th century cottage.
Sources: Burton Parish tithe map 1840; King 1988; Leach 1937; Ordnance
Survey 6” First Ed XXXIV 1869; Owen 1897; Owen 1918; Rees 1975