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BENTON

GRID REFERENCE: SN 001071
AREA IN HECTARES: 155

Historic Background
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

 

 

 

 

 

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