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Historic Background

A small area of modern Pembrokeshire, comprising a narrow strip of enclosed land lying on the lower slopes of the northeast side of Mynydd Carningli. It lies within the medieval Cantref Cemaes. Cemaes was brought under Anglo-Norman control in c.1100 by the Fitzmartins who retained it, as the Barony of Cemaes, until 1326, when they were succeeded by the Audleys. The Barony was coterminous with the later Hundred of Cemais, which was created in 1536, but many feudal rights and obligations persisted, some until as late as 1922. The area lies along the northern edge of the unenclosed moorland of Mynydd Carningli and it is likely that it too was unenclosed during the medieval period, forming part of the common (see Carningli character area). There is no obvious evidence for earlier enclosures in Ffordd Cilgwyn character area but prehistoric field systems have been recorded on Mynydd Carningli. The common was held directly by the Lords of Cemaes, but in 1278 Nicholas Fitzmartin issued a charter, specifying the borough boundaries and granting the burgesses right of common grazing over ‘all my land wet and dry, moors and turbaries’ on Mynydd Carningli. This area appears to have lain within the common land, the enclosure of which did not take place until well into the post-medieval period. A map of 1758 depicting ground to the north marks at least part of this landscape as ‘common’. This would suggest that the pattern of small farms, houses and fields originated between 1758 and the tithe survey of 1844, which shows a landscape similar to that of today. The regular field system hints at an organised and coherent process of enclosure and colonisation, rather than squatter encroachment, but both processes can be seen in the neighbouring Y Garn Parke character area. Ffordd Cilgwyn, which crosses the area, appears to follow a well-established medieval routeway leading to St Mary’s Church, Cilgwyn, a chapel-of-ease to the parish church at Newport.


Description and essential historic landscape components

This is a relatively small historic landscape area located on north and northeast facing slopes at 50m and 140m centred on Ffordd Cilgwyn, and sandwiched between the larger fields and farms below and the open moorland of Mynydd Carningili above. It is a relatively small area consisting of small regular fields and a fairly dense distribution of houses. A mixture of improved and unimproved pasture is the main land-use. A few fields have reverted to rougher grazing. Boundaries are mainly composed of large stone-faced banks topped with hedges that are still generally stock-proof, but many are overgrown. These and the numerous small hedge-line trees lend a wooded aspect to parts of the landscape. Small agricultural holdings are the dominant settlement type, but few now appear to be actively involved in farming. Houses are united by the common use of local stone, dolerite, as a building material and slate for roofs, and by their period of construction, namely the mid-to-late 19th century. Single storey cottages are present, including a listed vernacular example with loft, but the main type of house is two-storey and three-bay and broadly in the polite ‘Georgian’ tradition. Detached and short terraces are present, with most houses lying alongside the road named Ffordd Cilgwyn. The houses are larger than is usual for an upland fringe agricultural landscape, indicating that in the 19th century the occupiers were able to obtain extra employment in the nearby town of Newport. The housing stock is in good condition, with many dwellings recently renovated, and the small ranges of stone-built farm buildings associated with the dwellings have been converted to residential or non-agricultural use. However, there are some working farms that retain their traditional stone buildings, as well as 20th century structures built from corrugated iron. Amongst the few archaeological sites in this area is a medieval healing well.

Ffordd Cilgwyn historic landscape character area is well defined against its border with open moorland to the west, but elsewhere it is not possible to draw a hard-edged boundary with any precision.

Sources: Miles 1995; National Library of Wales Llwyngwair Map 11 (1758); Newport Parish tithe map 1844



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


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