John Brown.

The history of Haverfordwest with that of some Pembrokeshire parishes online

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effectual manner I am able. But if you have cast your
eye on any other Gentleman whom you may judge more
fit and likely to answer those purposes, I shall most read-
ily concur with ye in the choice, forbearing any further
steps that may give occasion for division (the worst
of evils) among you. Earnestly begging God so to direct
ye in this affair that your election (on whomsoever it
falls) may be unanimous. — I am, Gentlemen, your most
obedient and faithful humble servant,


In explanation of the letter, of which I have presented
my readers with a copy, I may say, that a few days pre-
viously the election of a burgess to serve in parliament
took place ; and a Mr. John Laugharne, who had represented
the constituency before, was re-elected. On the very
day of his re-election he received a summons more per-
emptory than any from an earthly government — sudden
death removing him from his constituents. Tn this emer-
gency the letter was received by them.



St. Martin's— Parish and Church— Tbe church of St.

Martin is by qo means an ordinary structure. It is older
than St. .Mary's, and probably was originally built at
the same time as the Castle, according to an old rhyme
wiili which the natives of the town have been, from time
immemorial, familiar: —

•• >t. Martin's bell rang many a knell,
'A'luii St. Mary's was a furzy hill."

It has a very fine perpendicular west window,
baps the finest in the County of that period,
and contains a bighly ornamented fourteenth century sed-
ilia ami piscina: there is also a fine coffin lid in a
sss on the north side of the chancel with a floriated
cross somewhat disfigured by a later inscription: there
is probably very little in the existing building except
iii :•' er and portions of the nave earlier than the
fourteenth century. Over the south porch is a par-
vise neasuring internally 15ft. Sin. x lift. 2in. and of
considerable height: inside there are two curious re-
cesses the larger one probably a fireplace. There is
also a set off in the wall near the roof from 9in to llin
in width. The Qoor, of timber is quite modern as also
is the well stair and the window. An old prini shows an
externa] door in the S.W. • of the churchyard but

the original approach was probably inside the Church
in the S.W. corner of the side Chapel: on the South side
above the Porch entrance, a square window- opening can
be l The present floor of the church covers a Ljood

many monuments, none of them of any great interest'
or antiquity a complete list of which exists. The arcade!
between the nave and side chapel is quite modern. Ori-
ginally there was a single arch or large span which was,
for apparently no sufficient reason removed in 1865 when
the church was restored. The Organ is a very fine toned



instrument of two manuals and pedal organ and was
originally built by Father Schmidt x for St. Davids
Cathedral: of his work only the open metal diapason,
pipes on the great organ remain. About the year 1843
the instrument was restored by Lincoln and in the yean
1881 it was rebuilt by Vowles of Bristol and placed in
this church.

The surroundings of the old church were probably
very different from what they now are, even a
century ago. According to a tabulated statement of
the census of 1801, there were only twenty uninhabited'
houses in the whole town; there 1 have been a few.
good houses built in the present century. It was for-
merly after the style of "St. James's and St. Giles's;" 1 —
poor cottages elbowing rich neighbours. Certainly several
of the old rich families then, .resided there. Round
the castle dwelt the substantial burghers and their de-
pendants ages ago. Bridge Street and "the Friars" loving-
ly embraced each other; and the old town presented!
an appearance of mediaeval prosperity, which, looking.
at its present state, we should hardly dream of.

In this parish resided the Prusts, the Mayletts, the
Batemans, and many other wealthy families, whose names
may be found in the old registers, and, with the ex-
ception of the first-mentioned, only there.

One extensive mansion, w T hich long survived its history,
was named after the Protector, "The Cromwell," in remem-
brance of his having been entertained there during his
visit to the town. After sinking into one stage of decay
after another, it was in comparatively recent times swept
away in what it is the fashion to call town improvements.

1. Schmidt lived in the 17th Century and died before
April 1708.



The parish of St. Martin was, no doubt, the town
when Gilbert de Clare in the twelfth century, built the
castle. To quote the words of Froude, "the beautiful
houses which have fallen to decay, were those which, in
the old times of insecurity, had been occupied by wealthy
merchants and tradesmen." These, however, were after-
wards exchanged for more convenient and ornamental
dwellings, in more airy and agreeable situations. In a
town so pleasantly situated as this, well-to-do citizens
would take up their dwellings w T here they could avoid
the inconvenient crowding which had formerly been sub-
mitted to for the sake of protection and safety.

St. Thomas — This Church dedicated to St. Thomas the
Martyr has been much altered in modern times and
little remains of the original building but the South Wall,
part of which is of great thickness and is undoubtedly
Norman. In it is a b!ocked-up rood loft stair and an
opening that may have been a low or a leper window
During the building of the North Aisle, foundations of a
wall were found which showed that the Nave had at one
time been wider than it now is, which would just bring
the tower in the centre line between the North and
South Walls. The Church contains a Sepulchral Slab
placed upright against the West Wall now showing the
head of the figure only. There is a beautiful floriated
cross in relief with an incised palm branch on the top of
the slab, and an Anglo Norman inscription in Lombardic
Capitals along one edge with the following inscription "F
Ricard Le Paumer Eit Ici Dieu de Saalme Kit Merci,,
Amen." The stone was dug up many years ;iL r <> in the
Churchyard when excavating a grave and is probably
as old as the time of Giraldus, and may well he the
monument of one of those Haverfordians who he tells us
were so wonderfully moved by his sermons in the Latin



and French tongues neither of which were understood
by his hearers. The Tower which is 78 feet high has
an embattled parapet and stands at the west end of the
church. It is a fine example of thirteenth century masonry,
with perpendicular alterations, contains a very good toned
bell bearing the motto "Sanctus Gabriel Ora pro nobis." The
old Sanctus bell which, has of late years been recast was
inscribed "Give thanks to God T.W. 1585." On the west
face of the Tower a small rood or calvary made of stone
having the three figures on it has been built into the wall
high up. There is a good perpendicular west window.

i A Charter of King Edward III confirming an earlier
grant shows that "Robert son of Richard son of Tankard
2 of Haverford gave unto God and St. Mary and St.
Thomas the Martyr of Haverford and for the service
of God's Canons there and for Service in the future of
the Churches of St. Thomas Haverford St. Mary and St.
St. Martin with all tithe and obveutions " &c. ; certain special
tithes are mentioned and the boundaries of the present
Churchyard which was part of the grant are minutely
described; in one place it says "And also of all the
land from the West Gate of the Cemetary of St. Thomas
as the main road leads to the Market as far as the
Lepers land and from thence as far as Little Haverford."
It is not known where the Lepers land was, it was prob-
ably a settlement where Lepers had to remain and there
was a Special Chapel for them somewhere in the Town,
Little Haverford is the old name for St. Thomas Green.

The endowments of the three Churches above
mentioned were impropriated by the Priory and at
the dissolution were granted by the Crown to various

1. Du^dale's Monastieon Vol. vi. pt. 1. p. 444.

2. Robert, son of Richard Tankard vva« constable of
-Haverfo -dwest Castle, in 1207.



persons. Tradition says that the St. Thomas Tithe was
granted to Sir John Perrot and that he immediately
gave it back to the Church; there is nothing to show
whether that was so or not, but the great tithes still
form part of the endowment of the living. In the
survey of lo77 there is apparently a reference to it in
describing the Parishes, viz., "One other of St. Thomas
the .Martyr as impropriate and latelie purchased by Sir
John Perrot, Knight."

The Church formerly had a coped ceiling and was
possessed of rare acoustic qualities. Amongst the Mon-
uments in the Chancel is one to the memory of Sir Richard
Walters of Rhosmarket; another recording the death of
a little daughter of Lady Moriarty accidentally burned
to death. The inscription on the latter runs thus: —

" Here rest, Sweet babe,
And wait the Almighty's will,
Then rise unchanged,
And be an ans;el still."

In the South East corner of the Nave, where the pulpit
now stands, there was formerly a raised Square seat,
which might be fairly designated the Squire's Pew. This
was occupied by the Jordan family. Under this en-
closure there was a family vault. A friend whose vera-
city could be relied on, related the following circum-
stances to the late Mr. John Brown 70 or 80 years ago.

"She was then an aged woman, but she told me that;
when a girl, living in the neighbourhood of the Church,
she was one day drawn by curiosity I" look on while
this vault or recess was opened to receive the remains,
I think, of an aunt of the late Sir William Owen. "While
standing there the sexton called her attention to one
of the coffins lying in sight. On his removing the lid
she saw the remains of one who bad lain there for at



least some scores of years. The face retained a natural
appearance, and flowers placed in the coffin their bloom-
ing colours. As they gazed, however, the exposure seemed
to act with withering effect, and the lineaments which
they looked upon quickly vanished!

All the land surrounding the Church was glebe, until
an exchange took place, and the fields immediately to
the east of the yard, and bounded by the Parade, were
handed over to a layman in exchange for two fields
on Merlin's Hill.

The Churchyard is beautifully situated, commanding
a view of castle, priory, river, valley, and distant hills.
There was formerly a curious mound, or rath, in
the north-east corner of it, where tradition said can-
non had been placed with which to batter down
the castle.

From the Parade the view of the surrounding country is
very fine. ' Sir William Owen, Attorney-General for
Wales, Was accustomed Jto say that he had never, in travels
which he had taken all over the Continent, seen a more
beautiful landscape.

For many years the Churchyard was very sadly de-
secrated by being used as a playground for the boys
of the Free Grammar School 1 which abutted on it ;
and, with a little burgage adjoining, known a9
Kitty John's Field, was the scene of endless pugilistic
encounters. But this cause for scandal has been long
removed, the School now being situate in Dew Street.

It is a somewhat singular circumstance that a large
portion of the tithes of the ancient priory church, as
also of those of the Parish of St. Ishmael, near Dale,
is paid away to the Corporation of Tewkesbury.

1. Genera) Sir Thomas Picton was educated in tins school
•und his name was cut in large letters on one of the desks.



On the river side, near the priory, where now the
tannery stands, there was formerly an important mansion.
The late proprietor of the property stated that, in alter-
ing the old place for the purpose of building stores, he
came across massive balustrades, such as are only to
be found in houses of importance.

A number of silver coins were unearthed in St. Thomas*
churchyard some years ago, the find including silver
pennies of Henry III and Edw. I. Silver half groat
Edw. Ill silver 6d and 3d Elizabeth 1575, silver shilling
Car I sixpence Win. Ill copper reis piece John V. of
Portugal farthing Win. and Mary and in the grave yard of
Saint Martins a silver Groat of Q. Mary.

St. Ismael's Church, Uzmaston, a little out of the Town
serves that part of it called Cartlett formerly Cathlott.
The Church is an ancient structure of stone in the
Early English style of architecture and consists of Chan-
cel, Nave, north Aisle, south porch and the lower part
of a tower at the N.E. angle of the Aisle, containing two
bells; the font appears 'to be Norman but unfortunately
it has been scraped and all the tool marks removed.
The original plan of the Church was a Nave, Chancel, and
North Transept, converted when the Church was restored
in 1874 into an Aisle, a West doorway and porch; the pre-
sent South porch was built at that time. On the South
side of the Chancel there is a projection now used as
a vestry which was probably a Chantry Chapel, there
were also two large galleries. There is a line hagioscope
on the N. side and a small one on the S. side of the
Chancel Arch opening into a mini at are Chapel ; close to
it and built up in the wall is a doorway to the rood
loft stairs. In the Chancel there is a large stoup con-
verted into a piscina with modern bracket and fenes-



tella; this was originally the Aspersorium in the porch
and was improperly removed thence to its present pos-
ition during the restoration of the Church. The windows,
with the exception of the little East window of the Chancel
which is original perpendicular work and two others
of the same period are all modern. The register of
Baptisms dates from 1720 and of marriages and bur-
ials from 1723. The name of the parish and village is
.an interesting one. It is generally pronounced Izmaston
and is evidently a corruption of Ismael'ston, the ton
under the patronage of Saint Ismael to whom the Church
is dedicated and who was one of the sons of Budig an
Armorican noble of the sixth century. Ismael's mother
was Arianwedd the sister of Teilo. Some consider that
Ywz or Wizo the Fleming, (mentioned in deeds in the
Cartulary of St. Peters Gloucester Temp. Hen. I) of Wyz-
ton (Wiston) gave his name also to Uzmaston but the
strong probability is that the name of the patron is
embodied in the word as indicated. The Church contains a
good organ.

Haverfordwest Priory — The Augustinian Priory just
below the Town on the right bank of the river was
founded by Robert son of Pilchard Tankard, also known
as Robert de Hwlfordd who was constable of Haverford
Castle in 1207. He appears to have been a liberal donor
to the other churches in the Town as well as the chapel
in the castle and is said to have passed the latter part
of his life in the priory where he is probably buried. This
establishment continued to flourish till the dissolution
at which time its revenue was estimated at £135 6s Id.
The ruins have for generations been used as a quarry
and what now remains is almost entirely devoid of archi-
tectural details. The Church was dedicated to St. Mary
the Virgin and St. Thomas the Martyr, and was cruci-


fHB HlsiMuY OF 11 \\ r.KKounwKsT.

form in plan wiili a lofty central tower. The building
was in the early English style of architecture and ap-
pears to have been L60 feel in length from Easl to Wesl
and 80 feet in breadth across the transept. As far as
can be ascertained Erom w In l is lefl ,ii was a plain'
massive building ,like Talley Abbey in Carmarthenshire
with dressings of Caen Btone, but much information could
no doubl be obtained by a proper excavation of the
site; this would be rendered easier from the fad that
all Priories of this order were built on the same general
plan. The lasi prior was John Batha . lb- was a young
man of about twenty eight at the suppression. The house
of the Dominican Friars originally occupied the site of the
Foundry, the Black Horse Inn :ind other buildings on the Ea i
side of Bridge Street, though the name of the founder and the
date if its erection are not known luil ii appears to have been
in existence prior to the reign of Richard II. Bishop
Hoton left £10 to this establishment and his successor
Bishop John Gilbert bequeathed £1.00 with vestments,
desiring also to be interred within its walls \ Lea I
coffins and other remains have been dug up in and
about the foundry and a stone coffin lid; there is also
said to be a vault under the place. A lane close by is
still called Friar's Lane, in High Streel there appears
Id have been another religious house <>i some sorl ami
there still is in the house where Messrs W. II. Smith's
shop stands a large 5 lighl perpendicular window which
mighl have been the east window of the chapel. II is
now in a very decayed condition. There is also a very
tin" carved mantel piece in this house and a portion
of another.


Baffe Saviour, 15(55; John Eynon 1604; Stephen Goffe
Lecturer about 1620; Edmund Orford Lecturer about 1021;
1. Lewis Topographical Die.



William Ormond Lecturer about 1629 ;Richard Longstreet
1650; 'Stephen Love Lecturer claimed to be appointed for St.
Mary's 1652 also Puritan Rector of S. Thomas; Adam
Hawkins 1656; William Williams 1679; Roger Lloyd ap-
pointed 1681; Arnold Bowen appointed 1688; Joshua Pow-
ell appointed 1691 ; Thomas Davids appoinred 1694 ; Ed-
ward Rees Lecturer appointed 1710; John Boulton during
vacancy 1711, Roger Prosser appointed 1715 ; Owen Phillips
appointed 1718 ; James Laugharne appointed 1723 and died
1728 ; George Phillips appointed 1728 ; Charles Ayleway ap-
pointed 1773; James Thomas appointed 1805 (died in 1843)
Thomas Watts appointed 1843; J. H. A. Philipps appointed
1859; J. B. Wrenford appointed 1875; C. F. Harrison
appointed 1883; J. H. Davies appointed 1902; T. Owen
Phillips appointed 1911.




1640 Francis Robinson; 1651 Stephen Love; 1662 John
Smyth; 1686 Thomas Davies M.A.; 1718 John Pember
M.A.; 1735 Geo. Philipps; 1743 Hugh Bowen; 1777 William
Cleaveland; 1799 John Tasker Nash; 1827 Thomas Kneth-
rell Warren Harries; 1851 Thomas Horn; 1866 George
Thomas Horn M.A.; 1874 George Christopher Hilbers ALA.;


1534 David Howell; 1640 Francis Robinson.



1550 Morys Griffiths; 1688 William Williams; 1714 John
Harries; 1748 William Tasker; 1795 John Tasker Nash
M.A.; 1800 James Summers; 1837 Amos Crymes; 1856
Samuel Owen Meares; 1869 John Meares B.A.; 1879 Jan.
31st Peter John Jarbo; 1879 Oct. 16th, John Heam Poppel-


Tub him'oky ok ii\vi:i;i-'hi:i)wkm'

well; L888 Charles Martin Phelps; L908 Arthur Baring

Just a word as to <>ur public schools : the Grammar
School was founded in Kil.'l when Thomas Lloyd of
Cilcyffydd by deed gave t<> Trustees certain estatesfor
its endowments, and in L654 John Milward by his will
gave the School one undivided third pari of certain pro-
perties in Bordesley near Birmingham. A condition of
Lloyds trust was that the scholars should be ibe 'sons
of such as should he of the pooler sorl of people and
not. of any who were of greal wealth and ability."

Fenton, the historian, was educated al this school.

Now as to Taskers School this was Eounded by Mrs
.Mary Tasker (previously a Miss Howard or Hayward "1
Flether Hill, Uudbaxton) in 1684, when by ber will she
devised to the Mayor and Corporation of Haverfordwesl
her farm of East Dudwell, Camrose, containing 580 acres.
Originally the school was "for poor children of both
sexes" appointed by the Mayor and Trustees, "with com-
petent (maintenance to be allowed them yearly until appren-
ticed to convenient trades. Money to he given al selting
out each apprentice and also at the expiration 0J their
so apprenticeship." To-day it is a High School for girls
and is regulated by a Scheme under the Welsh Inter
mediate Act 1881). The Grammar School is regulated by a
scheme under this same Act and the Endowed Schools

The quaint costumes of the recipients of the bounty
of Mary Tasker was as here described: the hoys had
old fashioned hats, long tailed blue coals tinned up, with
scarlet waistcoats, corduroy knee-breeches, yarn hose,
and shoes with buckles: the girls wore hats, white caps,



white neckerchiefs, white aprons, blue jackets turned up,
with scarlet cotton skirts, yarn hose, and shoes with

The recipients of Vawer's Charity still called Black Coats
were required to and formerly did, walk in black coats or
gowns before the Mayor to and from St. Mary's Church on
every Lord's Day. William Vawer, a merchant and Alder-
man of the city of Bristol by deed dated 1607 provided thai
five decayed Burgesses should have eight pence a piece
per week; "every such poor man to provide himself a
gown of Black Lowe Cotton Freize."


Having given as complete an account as I am able
of the Churches of the Establishment belonging to the
town, I will endeavour to describe in this Chap tor the
various dissenting bodies of the place.

And here I may be permitted to observe that there lias
grown up, since the period which) I refer to in my history
a very marked difference between the old Nonconformists
and the political Dissenters of to-day. Without presuming
to express my private opinion, I may observe that it
is very evident the old people were not much troubled
in their minds concerning the principle of a State Church.

While on the one hand those Church people who were
inclined to do so attended the chapel services without
remark or question on the part of their own friends, they
were hospitably received by the chapel people, whose
doors were ever open to them. So there was a happy
harmony, which for many years was undisturbed. And
I think I shall be forgiven for saying that nearly all
the religious people of that day were, to some extent
at least, chapel-goers; while those who were members
of the Methodist and other Nonconformist bodies in one


i in: HI8T01O or h \vi;k: okdw i:st.

,, sped belonged to the Church as well : for they were
baptized, married, and buried by the clergymen of their
several parishes.

I iisi iii importance among the Nonconformists of thai
day were the Methodists, who called their chapel "the
Wesley-room," a name ii bore Mil far <>n in the century.
11 was very unadorned, and the entrance Id it was
through Si. M;u tin's Churchyard; what is now called

Chapel Lane being a portion of ground detached fr

the yard.

This entrance was characteristic of the feeling which
thm existed. The chapel was, in fad, a supplement
I,, ih,. church, in which latter John Wesley more than once
preached and performed the services of baptism and
marriage, as may be traced in the old registers.

Tlic service in the Weslcyan Chapel was regularly at-
tended by a number of wealthy, and n few aristocratic
families— the Warrens, the Philippses, and the Kensington
people. The place was filled from Sunday to Sunday.
Wonderfully primitive and devoted were the men who
ministered there. They were sometimes called " Rounders,"
from the plan they adopted of travelling the country
and sleeping at the villages and hamlets where they
happened to find themselves at nightfall. In this way they
itinerated through Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire;
the towns of Haverfordwest, Pembroke and Carmarthen
forming three centres. Among other long-remembered
names are Josiah Hill, Richard Treffry, and Francis Trus-
cott; of whom it might be truly said, "They shall not
stand before mean men; they shall stand before princes."
The power with which they spoke, and the self-denial
with which they laboured, were alike marvellous. The
old Lord Kensington, who was a constant hearer in the



early part of the century, said of three of them, that one
was a polite, the second a learned, and the third God
Almighty's own preacher.

In connection with the Baptist cause for a time there
were Hinton and others who became famous. At the

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Online LibraryJohn BrownThe history of Haverfordwest with that of some Pembrokeshire parishes → online text (page 6 of 19)