By Dillwyn Miles
Pembrokeshire has a long recorded history. He who carved a name on a stone at Nevern a millennium and a half ago wanted to inform posterity in ogham and in Latin that there lived in those parts at that time a person of eminence with Irish connections by the name of Maglicunus son of Clutorius. An unknown poet ‘s lamentation in the ninth century at the death of the lord of the sea-girt fortress at Tenby revealed that here reposed ‘the writings of Britain ‘. From the quill of Gerald de Barri, or Giraldus Cambrensis as he chose to be known , there came a portrait of life as it was lived at the end of the twelfth century in that most western peninsula of Wales that was to become known as Pembrokeshire.
Giraldus Cambrensis was born c.1 146, the youngest son of William de Barri of Manorbier, and Angharad, daughter of Gerald de Windsor, the royal custodian of Pembroke, by his wife Nest, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, whom he had judiciousl y married not only for her alluring beauty. Giraldus, therefore, was the son of an Anglo-Norman knight, the great-grandson of a king of Deheubarth , a nephew of Prince Rhys ap Gruffudd (The Lord Rhys) and of Bishop David Fitzgerald of St David ‘s, a kinsman of the Geraldine invaders of Ireland and of the Flemish lords of Haverford, 1 and of most of the Welsh princely families. ‘I am sprung from the princes of Wales and from the barons of the March ,’ he once said, ‘and when I see injustice in either nation , I hate it’. His Cambro-Norman origins, however, did not always stand him in good stead. When the king wanted a bilingual emissary or diplomat, he sent for Giraldus, but he also made it known that ‘were Giraldus not a Welshman he would be worthy of high honour ‘.
At an early age Giraldus came under the tutelage of his uncle, Bishop David , who arranged for hi m to be sent to the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter’s at Gloucester where he acquired a mastery of Latin that made him arguably the finest Latin writer ever known in Wales. In August 1165 he entered the University of Paris where he remained for the next ten years. On his return to Wales Giraldus was given the livings of Llanwnda, Angle and Tenby and the ‘golden prebend ‘ of Mathry, together with the benefice or Chesterton in Oxfordshire. He was also made a prebendary of Hereford and a canon of St David ‘s. His reforming zeal became evident when he in formed Archbishop Richard of Canterbury that there were people in the diocese of St Dav id ‘s who had not paid the tithes of wool and cheese. The Archbishop appointed him legate whereupon Giraldus lost no time in bringing any defaulters to justice. He charged the sheriff of Pembroke with having removed eight yoke of oxen from Pembroke Priory and brought him to Llawhaden Castle where he was beaten with rods in the presence of the bishop. He also had the elderly Archdeacon of Brecon suspended for concubinage and had himself appointed archdeacon in his place.
Giraldus’s one ambition in life was to be the bishop of St David’s: he declined offers of the bishoprics of Bangor and of Llandaff , and of Ferns and of Leighlin in Ireland. He wanted to establish or, as he claimed restore, the metropolitan status of St David ‘s on the grounds that St David had been archbishop of Wales owing no allegiance to Canterbury. When his uncle died in 1 176, he was nominated to succeed hi m by the Chapter and by the Arch bishop of Canterbury but the Ki ng, aware of his ambitions, would not hear of it and appointed Peter de Leia, prior of Wenlock, to the see. Giraldus returned to Paris to pursue his studies, but when it was found that the new bishop was at loggerheads with the Chapter, the Archbishop appointed Giraldus as administrator of the diocese, an office that he held from 1179 to 1182.
When Peter de Leia died in 1198 Giraldus was again nominated but after a prolonged dispute, which culminated in a dispute between the Pope, Innocent III, and the king, he was rejected and Geoffrey of Henlaw, prior of Llanthony, was consecrated bi shop in November 1 203. Giraldus accepted the situation and gave up hi s metropolitan ambitions. He resigned the archdeaconry of Brecon and secured it for his nephew Giraldus, son of Philip de Barri, whose ingratitude and treachery was later to cause him deep concern.
In 1184 Henry II made Giraldus a royal clerk in which capacity he acted as a contact with the Welsh princes. His blood relationship to the Anglo Norman conquerors of Ireland led to his appointment as chaplain and adviser to Prince John, newly made Lord of Ireland, and he accompanied him on his visit to that country in 1185. John behaved badly and had to return home but Giraldus remained in Dublin until the spring of 1187 and during that time he gathered material for his books, Topographica Hibemica (The Topography of Ireland) and Expugnatio Hibernica (The Conquest of Ireland) which appeared in 1188.
When the Patriarch of Jerusalem came to seek the king’s help to recover the Holy City from the Saracens, Henry sent Baldwin, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, to Wales to preach the Cross and raise recruits for the Third Crusade. Baldwin chose as his companions the archdeacon of Bangor, who acted as interpreter, and Giraldus, whom he had previously known, not only for his Welsh connections but also for his entertaining compay. Giraldus presented hi m with a copy of his Topographia Hibernica which the Archbishop read , or had read to him mostly by Giraldus, each day.
The party set out from Hereford on 4 March 1188 and the Archbishop preached his first sermon at Radnor where Giraldus threw himself at his feet and became the first person in Wales to take the Cross. The Journey lasted seven weeks, ten days of which were spent in Pembrokeshire. They reached Whitland Abbey on Monday, 21 March , and stayed at Haverfordwest, St David’s and St Dogmael’s. Although they did not go to Pembroke, Giraldus wrote at some length about its conquest by the Montgomerys and could not resist referring to the ‘ingenious stratagem’ employed by his grandfather, Gerald de Windsor, to be rid of the Welsh beleaguer in 1096. He recalled the Manorbier of his happy childhood with its turrets and ramparts, its deep fishpond, the beautiful orchard and high hazel groves, standing over the Severn Sea, and proclaimed it ‘the most pleasant place in the whole of Wales’, naively seeking to be forgiven for lavishing such praise upon it, as it was the place where he was born.
At Haverfordwest, after the Archbishop had delivered a sermon, Giraldus, now describing himself as the Archdeacon of St David’s, preached ‘with some eloquence’ in Latin and then in French and ‘those who could not understand a word of either language were just as moved to tears as the others, rushing forward in equal numbers to receive the sign of the Cross’. His knowledge of Welsh was limited and he hardly ever spoke English . He embellished his account of the visit with strange tales and dwelt on the folk customs of the Flemings, to whom he was related , and he revealed that Flemish was still spoken in Pembrokeshire in the early part of the thirteenth century.2
The party spent three days at St David’ s where Baldwin took advantage of t he occasion to establish his authority in Wales by celebrating Mass at the high altar in the cathedral. He then departed to meet Rhys ap Gruffudd at Cardigan, leaving Giraldus to preach to the people. Many ran to take the Cross, but ‘when his words were interpreted they recoiled from the vow they had taken 3 and, instead , they were ordered to ‘bestow their labour and aid ‘ upon the building of the cathedral.4 While passing through Nevern, Giraldus recalled the evil deed of Rhys ap Gruffudd who had broken a solemn oath by evicting his son-in-law William Martin, lord of Cemais, from Nevern Castle and reckoned that ‘God took vengeance on hi m in the most apposite way’ when he was disgraced and discountenanced by being made a prisoner in the very same castle by his own sons.
The party was comfortably lodged at the monastery at St Dogmael ‘s and the next morning they proceeded to Cardigan where they were entertained by the Lord Rhys at his castle. A large crowd including Rhys and his sons, Maelgwn and Gruffudd , had assembled on the Cemais side of the river Teifi and, once more, many were persuaded to take the Cross. The sick came to be healed and miracles were performed , but Giraldus stated that he had no time to tell about them. He may have been too anxious to dwell on another matter. Giraldus regarded himself as ‘a careful investigator of natural history’ and he was quick to observe that ‘the noble river Teifi’ was not only ‘better stocked with the finest salmon than any other stream in Wales’ but that it had ‘another remarkable peculiarity’ in that it was the only river, south of the Humber, where there were beavers. He then proceeded to describe the life history of the animal, adding the legend that in the East the creature would save itself from hunters by self-castration.
Giraldus kept notes from day to day along the journey which enabled him to produce his ltinerarium Kambriae (Journey through Wales) giving a description of incidents that occurred along the journey, providing contemporary glimpses of everyday life in the latter part of the twelfth century, and an account of the role played by the Archbishop and by himself in preaching the Cross. The work was enlivened by digressions, sometimes in the form of folk tales with some of which, no doubt, he had regaled his fellow travellers in the manner of the professional story-teller, the cyfarwydd , at the courts of the Welsh nobility. There were tales of evil spirits, such as the one who came in the form of a red-haired steward to the house of Elidyr of Stackpole, and onomastic tales to explain place names, as in the case of Seisyllt Esgairhir (Cecil Longshank s) who was devoured by toads at Trellyffaint (Toad ‘s-town) in the parish of Nevern. There were miracles like the one that happened at Haverfordwest when a blind old woman had her sight restored as a piece of turf upon which the Archbishop had stood was applied to her eyes. He also wrote about things that he saw and heard, and about a people still reeling from the Norman occupation and now having to suffer the hostility of the planted Flemings.He gave of his own experience of the political and ecclesiastical events of the time. He made ordinary happenings interesting and sprinkled his narrative with anecdotes while, at the same time, providing the most important source history of the period. The first edition of ltinerarium Kambriae appeared in 1191 , a second version in 1197 and a third , some what extended, version in 1214. It was followed by his Descriptio Kambriae (The Description of Wales) in which he gave ‘a broader and more philosophical survey of the country and the people taken from the Olympian height of a scholar’s lofty seclusion’ .5
Giraldus was a prolific writer, his work s including Vita Sancti Davidis (The Life of St David) in 1194 and a ‘Life of Geoffrey, Archbishop of York’ in 1 1 95 as well as ‘Lives’ of St Remi and St Hugh. His Gemma Ecclesiastica (The Jewel of the Church) that appeared in 1197 was a handbook of moral exhortation for the clergy of St David ‘s, De Rebus a
Se Gestis, an autobiography, in 1 208, De lnvectionibus (A Book of Invectives) and Speculum Duorum (A Mirror of Two Men), a personal controversy arising out of the betrayal and ingratitude of his nephew to whom he had given the archdeaconry of Brecon, both in 1 216, De Jure at Statu Menevensis Ecclesiae (The Rights and Status of St David’s) and De Principis lnstructione (The Instruction of a Prince) , a denunciation of the Plantagenet kings, in 1218, and Speculum Ecclesiae (The Mirror of the Church) in 1220.
The last twenty years of his life were spent mostly at Lincoln. He visited his relatives in Ireland i n 1 204 and in 1206 he set out on a spiritual pilgrimmage to Rome, and made three short visits to Wales. He died in 1 223, probably at Lincoln where he is believed to have been buried.
George Owen of Henllys, 6 ‘the exquisite antiquary’ ,7 was ranked among ‘the four best-known antiquaries of sixteenth century Wales’ .8 He was, besides, a cartographer, a geographer, a geologist, an armorist, a farmer, a lawyer, a social commentator and a patron of literature and of the bards.
His roots lay among the freeholders of the lordship of Cemais, tracing Lo Philip Fychan of Henllys Uchaf in 1 273 and his wife, Llywelydd, daughter of Gruffudd Hirsais, son of Sir William Cantington of Trewilym in the parish of Eglwyswrw . His ancestors found wives among the leading local families until Rhys ab Owen married Jane, daughter of Philip Elliott of Earwere. They had a son , William , who was admitted at the Middle Temple in 1 514 and ‘was among the first Welshmen in London to make a significant name for themselves in the English common law as a recog nised commentator’ .9 In 1 518 he met John Touchet, Lord Audley of Heleigh and lord of Cemais, who appoi nted him his legal adviser and clerk of the courts of the lordship of Cemais. He was married in 1 521 to Margaret Swyllyngton of the parish of St Clement Danes and it is possible that her dowry enabled him to establish himself as a lawyer at Pembroke in 1524, where he was mayor in 1527, and also to set up a practice at Bristol. There was no issue of the marriage but Owen became the father of nine illegitimate children during that period.
Lord Audley, having been impoverished following his father’s execution for treason, was able to borrow money from Owen and, in 1543, he conveyed to him the barony of Cemais in settlement and ordered his tenantry henceforth to regard William Owen as their rightful lord.
In 1551, when he was sixty-three years of age, William Owen married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Herbert of Swansea and niece of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. Their only son, George, was born at Henllys i n 1 552 and he is believed to have received his early education at home wi th his father, now in retirement, providing hi m with tuition in the law and in estate management. Nothing is known of his early life until February 1 572 when he was i nvolved in a fracas that took place at Haver ford west between the supporters of Sir John Perrot and the anti-Perrot faction, led by William Phi l i pps of Picton, to which Owen belonged. 10 He was admitted at Barnard’s Inn in 1 573 and in the same year he married Elizabeth, daughter of William Philipps of Picton by his wife, Janet, daughter of Thomas Perrot of Haroldston and sister of Sir John Perrot. Having borne him eleven children, Elizabeth died in 1606 and he then married his mistress, Anne Obiled, by whom he already had seven illegiti mate children, among whom were Evan Owen, Chancellor of St David’s, and George Owen, York Herald. Anne produced six more children after marriage.
Owen’s main interest lay in the land and in improving its quality. He advocated the spreading of lime to counter the natural acidity of the soil, but first the limestone had to be burnt in a lime kiln fired by culm (anthracite dust), both of which had to be brought from south Pembrokeshire, where Owen traced the carboniferous limestone outcrops and observed that they ran in close parallel with the veins of anthracite coal. He parlicularly advocated the use of clay marl, his description of which in his Treatise of Marle 11 enabled it to be recognised as glacial till deposited by the Irish Sea glacier, though he subscribed to the popular belief that it was the deposit of Noah ‘s Flood. His contribution to geological study led to him being described as ‘the patriarch of English geologists’ .12
Owen was regarded as a cartographer second only to Humphrey Llwyd. When Christopher Saxton’s Atlas of England and Wales was published in 1579, showing for the first time the county boundaries, Owen complained that ‘Pembrokeshire seemeth to be one of the biggest and largest shires of Wales, haveinge the roome and place of a whole sheete of paper allowed to it selfe’, while other counties were shown two or more on the same page. He was concerned that this exaggerated appearance would cause heavier demands to be made on the county, already overstrained, in the provision of men for foreign service. In 1602 he made his own map of Pembrokeshire that was well executed except that the north-western part of the cou nty had an exaggerated southward trend. It is decorated with the emblazoned coats-of-arms of the Earls of Pembroke in a border and those of t wenty-eight of the Pembrokeshire gentry laid out above the map. H e made a similar map i n 1603 but this time with the arms of fifty-six families. In each case, Owen ‘made and contryved’ the map and a fair copy was drawn by his amanuensis John Browne. 13 When Camden published maps of the counties in his 1607 edition of Britannia , most of them by Saxton, he invited Owen to provide the map of Pembrokeshire .
Ow en took his public duties and responsibilities seriously. He was placed on the commission for the peace in 1584 and in 1587 he and Thomas Perrot were appointed the first deputy lieutenants of the county of Pem broke . He was sheriff of the county in 1587 and again in 1602 when he had the unpleasant duty of arranging the execution of two of his wife’s kinsmen, John and Hugh Bowen of Llwyngwair, who had killed their cousin, Robert Young of Tredrysi at Eglwyswrw fair. He was deputy vice ad miral of the counties of Pembroke and Cardigan and on 1 November 1 595 the Earl of Pembroke wrote to ‘my very loving cozen George Owen esquier’ stating that he had long expected to have received from him a map of Milford Haven that he could show to the Queen who was concerned about coastal defence against a Spanish invasion. Owen sent him the map together with ‘a pamphelett conteinginge the description of Mylford Havon’ with proposals for its defence. 1 4
Owen was fortunate in having lived at a ti me when there was an awakening of interest in Welsh antiquities and although he resided in a remote part of Wales, he had a well-stocked library at Henllys. He had also gathered arou nd him a coterie of antiquaries including George Owen Harry, vicar of Whitechurch, and George William Griffith of Penybenglog, and he maintained contact with others, such as Thomas Jones, Fountain Gate. He employed scribes and research assistants at Henllys.
He endeavoured to prove that Cemais was a lordship marcher, although he was aware that marcher lordships had been abolished by the Act of Union of 1 543, and he was not averse to extending his ancestry in an effort to prove that he was lord thereof by descent from the Martin conq ueror of Cemais. Even so he was regarded as a reputable genealogist and had among his friends Lewys Dwnn, the Deputy Herald, and William Camden, Clarenceux Ki ng of Arms, whom he visited at the College of Arms, where his son, George, was to become York Herald of Arms.
In 1594 Owen wrote ‘A Treatise of Lordshipps Marchers in Wales’, 15 which is still regarded as a standard work on the subject, and a ‘Catalogue and Genealogy of the Lords of the Barony of Kernes’. His ‘Prooffes that the Lordshipp of Kernes is a Lordshippe Marcher’ and a transcript of ‘A Register Book of the Baronye of Kemeys’ appeared as a supplement to Archaeologia Cambrensis in 1861 and was then publ ished by the Cambrian Archaeological Association as a volume entitled Baronia de Kemeys. Owen’s common place book, The Taylor’s Cussion, was reproduced in facsimile by Emily Pritchard in 1 906. More than seventy manuscri pts of his works and notes on antiquarian, historical, topographical, genealogical and heraldic subjects, have been traced. 16
His most important work was The Description of Penbrokshire which may have been inspired by the publication of Richard Carew’s Survey of Cornwall that appeared in May 1602. Owen started work on his book in December of that year. He was familiar with the works of chroniclers like Holinshed and Polydore Vergil, and copies of the printed works of Humphrey Llwyd, Sir John Price, Rice Merrick and David Powel were to be found in his library. 17 He may have been influenced by John Leland and certainly by William Camden, whose Britannia first appeared i n 1586. He relied much on David Powel’s Historie of Cambria and on his translation, in 1585, of Girald us Cambrensis’s ltinerarium Kambriae.
There are two manuscript copies extant of Owen’s ‘First Booke of the description of Penbrokshire in generall’, both written in the hand of one of his scribes. The earlier, at the National Library of Wales (NLW MS 13212 ), is inscribed 13 December 1 602-18 May 1603, and the other, in the British Li brary (Harleian 6250), is dated 18 May 1603 at the end. Owen began to write a ‘Second Booke’ of the Description of Penbrokshire, which was the first attempt to write a history of a county parish by parish but he made little progress. The surviving fragments were published in 1948. 18
None of Owen’s work appeared in pri nt until Richard Fenton published, in The Cambrian Register for the Year 1795, a chapter giving an ‘account of an ancient Game [cnapan ] formerly used in Pembrokeshire, South Wales (and not till of late years entirely disused in some parts of it), from a Manuscript in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth by one of that Country, who had himself been often an Actor in it’ .19 It had been taken from the earlier copy of the manuscript of George Owen’s ‘First Booke’ that was in the possession of John Lewis, Manorowen. Fenton published the remainder of the manuscript in the Cambrian Register for the Year 1796 as ‘A History or Pembrokeshire from a MSS of George Owen , Esq., of Henllys, Lord of K emes’. Lewis passed the manuscript to Fen ton at whose death it was sold by his son to Sir Thomas Phillipps of Middle Hill and, by 1892, it was in the possession of the Marquis of Bute from whose descendant it was acquired by the National Library of Wales. The later version of the manuscript was purchased from the bookseller Thomas Osborne by William Oldys for Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford, at whose death in 1 753 it was purchased by Parliament and placed in the British Museum and is now in the British Library.
The Description of Penbrokshire first appeared in book form when it was pu blished by the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion in its ‘Cymmro dorion Record Series’, edited by Henry Owen of Poyston, in 1892. The Society later publ ished another three volumes of Owen ‘s papers under this title as Parts II-I V. Part II appeared in 1 897 containing collections of documents relating to the county and to the barony of Cemais, accounts of suits in the Star Chamber, the inquisitiones post mortem of William and George Owen and the ‘Description of Milford Haven’. Part III, in 1906, is largely taken up with ‘A Dialogue of the Present Government of Wales’ which provides an early example of the Socratic method of writing in the form of question and answer that Owen may have seen employed by the Tenby-born mathematician Robert Recorde, together with a summary of ‘Cruell Laws against Welshmen following the rebellion of Owain Glyn Dwr’, ‘A Treatise of Lordshipps Marchers in Wales’ and the first half of ‘The Descri ption of Wales’, covering five counties in south Wales. Part IV, dealing with the remaining counties, was not published until 1936 when it appeared under the editorship of Llywelyn Wyn Griffith. The Description of Penbrokshire did not appear in print again until 1994. 20
Owen suffered from childhood with an infirmity in his right leg and, from middle age, with gout in both legs, and yet this did not prevent him from travelling in pursu it of his researches. In the end, he had to be carried from his bed and lifted on to his horse and thus travelled to Ludlow and to London .
As his parents had done before him , he provided the traditional hospitality towards the itinerant bards who came to Henllys. Elegaic poems were written when his father died and his mother ‘s death was mourned by no less than seven poets. Poems of praise were sung to him by Sion Mawddwy, Dafydd Llwyd Mathe, Ieuan Tew Brydydd , Dafydd Emlyn, Gwilym Hafren and Robert Dyfi during his l ifetime but no elegies survive. The high regard i n which he was held by the bards is indicated in a cywydd addressed to hi m by Sion Mawdwy with a request that he should use his influence with the Queen and ask her to commission an eisteddfod at Henllys, as she had done at Caerwys in 1 568, to sort out ‘the vagrant and idle persons naming themselfes minstrelles Rithmers and Bards’ from the ‘expert minstrelles and musicians in tongue and coning’. He was described as the brave, wise and generous lord of Cemais, the guardian of the bardic tradition, the protector of the Welsh language, and ‘keeper of the silver harp of Henllys’.
At his death the greater part of his collection of manuscripts passed to his neighbour and colleague George William Griffith of Penybenglog, though some went to his illegitimate son, George Owen, York Herald , and some to John Lloyd of Vardre. They then passed through various hands before t hey were purchased by Edward Protheroe, of Over Court, Gloucester, who sold them, in 1828, to the College of Arms where they remain as the Protheroe MSS XVI and XVII. 21
Owen died at Haverfordwest on 26 August 1613 at the house of his daughter and her husband , William Davids, who was mayor that year. His body was taken to Henllys and he was buried in Nevern church.
George Owen Harry (c. 1553-1614), a native of Llanelli , was presented to the l ivi n g of Whitechurch in 1584 by George Owen , lord of Cemais, w i t h whom he worked closely on historical and genealogical research for t h e next thirty years. His Wellspringe of True Nobilitie was too substantial a book to find a publisher and a shortened version , under the title of The Genealogy of the High and Mighty M onarch, James . . . King of great Brittayne, &c., appeared i n London in 1604. The ‘Short Pedigrees of Diver Noblemen , Knights, Esquires and Gentlemen & Women of Pembrokeshire, &c.’ forming an appendix to Edward Laws’ Little England beyond Wales, is believed to be the work of George Owen Harry.22
George William Griffith (1584-1655) of Penybenglog in the parish of Meline, was an attorney, appeari ng at the manorial courts of Cemais, and a magistrate. He spent m uch ti me from an early age at nearby Henllys assisting George Owen with his work. When Owen died most of his papers came into Griffith’s hands and he carried on with hi s historical and genealogical research so diligently that ‘of all the early genealogists he is the only one who has given authorities for his statements, and may thus be truly described as a pioneer of modern scientific research’ .23
John Lewis of Manorowen, a prosperous farmer, a magistrate and mayor of Fishguard eleven times, did much to promote the development of Lower Fishguard as a port. He had in his possession one of the manuscript copies of George Owen’s First Book e of the Description of Penbrokshire, and also of a remnant of the Second Booke, both of which came into the hands of his great-grandson Richard Fenton who described him as ‘an antiquary of no mean note in his day, the friend of Bishop Gibson and Edward Lhuyd’. Lhuyd, in his notes for Edmund Gibson’s new edition of Camden ‘s Britannia ( 1695), stated that he had taken his account of Pentre lfan cromlech ‘out of Mr George Owen ‘s Manuscript History communicated to me by the worshipful John Lewis of Maenor Nawen, Esquire’ .24
Richard Fenton was born at Rhosson in the parish of St David ‘s and was baptised on 20 February 1747, ‘being then a month old’.25 He was educated at the Cathedral School and at the Haverfordwest Grammar School and, it is said, at Magdalene College, Oxford, but there is no evidence of his matriculation. He became a civil servant and was employed at the Custom House in London until he ruffled his superiors by holding them to ridicule in satirical verse. He then turned to the Law and was admitted at the Middle Temple on 24 August 1774. He was called to the Bar i n 1783 and, for a number of years he practised on the Welsh circuit.
Little is known of his early l ife beyond that wri tten by his grandson, Ferrar Fenton 26, who claimed that his grandfather was ‘on the male side the descendant and direct representative of an energetic Baron and Lord of Wi l l iam the Conq ueror named Ricard, surnamed Le Fentone’; that the family had come to Pembrokeshire with Sir William Fenton, Bart., an officer on the staff of Oliver Cromwell, and that he had ‘ancestral connection wi th Strongbow and with Martin , the conqueror of Cemais, and with the martyred Bishop of St David ‘s, Robert Ferrar’, none of which claims can be substantiated. His paternal lineage can be traced no further than hi s grandfather, Richard Fenton of Fishguard who married Diana Lewis, daughter of John Lewis of Manorowen , and had a son, Richard Fenton of Rhosson who, by his wife, Martha Wilkins, was the historian ‘s father. Fenton was said to have spoken of his ancestors as ‘ancient Welsh princes’ 27 but he does not give the pedigree. He may, or may not, have been aware that, through his maternal grandfather, John Lewis, he could claim descent from Gwynfardd Dyfed.
Ferrar Fenton referred to the Middle Temple as ‘the headquarters of the cultured aristocracy and genius of Britain’ and made the improbable claim that his grandfather, while at Oxford, ‘became intimate with Oliver Goldsmith , Edmund Burke, Sir Joshua Reynolds, David Garrick, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Fox, Owen Pughe and Samuel Johnson ‘ and stated that he belonged to one of Dr Sam Johnson’s Clubs’. Fenton himself recalled that he ‘had once the pleasure of passing a day in company with the great moralist’ whom he found ‘affable, communicative, and not at all dictatorial ‘. This was when he visited Johnson’s blind protege Anna Williams or Rosemarket who, ‘finding that I was a Welshman , she increased her attentions; but when she traced me to Pembrokeshire, she drew her chair closer, took me familiarly by the hand, as if kindred blood tingled at her finger ends, talked of past times, and dwelt with rapture on Ros Market’ .28
Fenton married Eloise, daughter of the Baron Pillet de Moudon, a Swiss a ristocrat who had been a Colonel in the French Army and had settled i n En g land . They had three sons: John ,29 Richard Charles, who became a clergyman in Li ncolnshire and was the father of Ferrar Fenton, and Samuel, vicar of Fishguard from 1 825 to 1 852.
During his time in London Fenton became a member of the Gwyneddig ion Society and of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion and got to k now some of the leading London Welshmen , and when Owain Myfyr and Wi ll i am Owen Pughe decided to pu blish The Myvyrian Archaiology, they invited hi m to assist them. Owai n Myfyr referred to him as a poet, ‘fond of Welsh and of its poetry,’ and expressed the view that ‘as he is a zestful a nd talented scholar, it will not be long before he masters the language’. To what extent he succeeded is not clear, but he is said to have translated a chain of englynion by the twelfth century poet-prince of Powys, Owain Cyfeiliog. Richard Morris, writing to Thomas Pennant in August 1779, referred to ‘my friend Fenton, of the Custom House’ as ‘a good English poet and a great Scholar,’ and stated that he was ‘endeavouring to make him a good Welshman : born in Pembrokeshire , he is deficient that way, but comes on bravely ‘.30 Fenton had published , in London in 1773, a volume of his poetical works which was re-published in 1790 in two volumes dedicated to John Campbell, Lord Cawdor. He was regarded as a good linguist and ‘a Greek, Latin and French scholar’, having translated Deipnosophistae (the Banq uet of the Learned), a collection of anecdotes and extracts from the works of the Greek grammarian, Athenaeus.
By 1 788 Fenton was living near Machynlleth where he had taken a house so as ‘to facilitate his studies of Welsh records and literature’, but also for convenience in pursuing his legal work on the Welsh circuit, and during this period he travelled extensively in north Wales. In 1792 he went to Dublin in connection with the trials following the Emmet rebellion after which he decided to withdraw from his professional practice, except for conveyancing, and devote himself to literature. He left Machynlleth in 1793 and returned to Fishguard, taking a house at the top of The Slade so as to be near his uncle, Lieutenant Samuel Fenton. Samuel Fenton had sailed under Admiral Vaughan of Trecwn, and when he retired from the Royal Navy he set up a lucrative business exporting herrings to Mediterranean countries and to the Baltic. When he died in 1796 he left a part of his estate to his nephew Richard who, meanwhile, was building himself a gentleman’s residence on the meadow below Carn y Gath in Lower Fishguard. By blasting into the cliff-face, he made a large recess in which to build a house which he called Glynamel , a word having no known meaning that locally became known as ‘Glynymel ‘.
Fenton published ‘A History of Pembrokeshi re from a MSS of George Owen, Esq ., of Henllys, Lord of Kernes,’ i n the Cambrian Register.for the Year 1795, ‘with Additions and Observation s by John Lewis, Esq., of Manarnawan’ .3 1 In a footnote he warned the reader that:
as the vast mass of supplementary matter collected by my ancestor was never meant to meet the public eye in the state I found it, and as it was very richly interlarded with personal invective and private anecdotes of families which, from respect to their descendants, men of high honour and character, I could not with any degree of delicacy suffer to go abroad. I have been able to make use of but a very small portion of his collection which, if ever I have leisure thoroughly to garble and methodize, may serve not only to eluci date the history of Pembrokeshire in particular, but to enrich the general flock of antiquarian knowledge.
Fenton was negligent in editing the work, omitting paragraphs and one whole chapter, and adding or rearranging words and phrases at will. He misread ‘Giraldus Cambrensis’ as ‘Gerard Mercator’ and Lewis compounded the error by observing in his additional notes that:
Here Mercator, with all deference to that great Cosmographer, talks lik e an old woman, and with a bigotry unworthy of a true philosopher. That Ireland is so blessed as to number venomous creatures amongst its wants, may still require confirmation , and seems a popular error engendered by pious fraud and propagated without examination, unless, as I heard a witty lady observe of that island , it would be overcharging it with the ills of Pandora’ s box to give it any other noxious animals than its inhabitants of the human species.32
Fenton had intended publishing an extended edition of Thomas Pennant’ s Tour of Wales ( 1778-83) with illustration s by Sir Richard Hoare but Pennant ‘s son would not give his permission and he then turned to pro d u c i n g a comprehensive History of Wales, county by county, in preparation for which he kept notes on his journey s through various parts of the Pri n ci pal i ty. The first to be completed was A Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire which he finished on 20 October 1810 and had published in London the same and the following years so that some title pages are dated 1810 and others 1811 . The book comprises twelve itineraries, with t he author sometimes redoubling his tracks in order to give the county a fair coverage.
Fenton dedicated the book to Sir Richard Colt Hoare,33 stating that it had been written at Sir Richard’s suggestion , and that its ‘chief embellishments were the result of his ‘fine taste in the application of the pencil’. Of the thirty illustrations in the book , fourteen were drawn by Hoare, eight by his friend John Carter, and six by Fenton’s son, John. It is not known to what extent he was accompanied by Sir Richard on the Pembrokeshire lour as he refers to his presence only on two occasion s, when they visited Caldey and, when they set out, on 28 June 1808, from Archdeacon Davies’s house at St David’s to ‘explore the neighbourhood of Porthmawr for the station [of Menapia]’ . They had first met on 13 June 1793 when Sir ichard called at Fishguard , on his way to St David ‘s, carrying a letter from his friend Captain, later Admiral, Thomas Lewis of Gellidywyll that ‘procured me the acquaintance of Counsellor Fenton from whom I gained much information respecting my tour, no one being more versed in the ancient history and records of hi s native county’ .34 On 4 July I 802, whilst travelling from St David’s to Fishguard, Sir Richard found that his ‘friend Mr Fenton has built a neat house in a romantic situation under some ragged rocks’, but he had stayed at ‘a decent inn (Captai n Laugharne’s – no sign)’ which had afforded him ‘a good bed and dinner but no wine’. 35 Fenton visited Sir Richard’s home, Stourhead , where his portrait by Samuel Woodforde that appears in A Historical Tour still hangs . He stated that he regarded Sir Richard as ‘the friend of my fortunes and of my life’ ,36 and in his will he left him a mourning ring.
Fenton made considerable use of George Owen’s First Booke of the description of Penbrokshire in his Historical Tour, and admitted that ‘by some, perhaps, I may be thought to have been too liberal of my quotations from the old Pembrokeshire antiquary ; yet I trust , the greater part of my readers who are told that they are the only original and faithful records of the facts they relate to will easily forgive me, and may regret that I have not oftener enriched my coarse work with his curious inlay’ .37
He had planned a second edition of the book but this was not done until 1 903 when Edwin Davies of Brecon , who had re-published Theophilus Jones’s History qf’ Brecknockshire, was persuaded to reprint Fenton. The additional notes made by Fenton and by his son, John, for a second edition, were included as Addenda and Ferrar Fenton’s ‘Life of Richard Fenton ‘ appeared in the form of an introductory chapter. The plates engraved for the original work had been lost but the ill ustrations were reproduced by The Western Mail. This edition was reprinted by the Haverfordwest Library in 1995.
Fenton’s papers, including the notes he had made for his county series of histories, were sold by his son, the Rev Samuel Fenton, to Sir Thomas Phillipps of Middle Hill, in 1858 and in 1896 they were purchased by the Cardiff Free Library where they remain as the Fenton MSS comprising some sixty volumes . Some of the notes were edited and published by John Fisher, Secretary of the Cambrian Archaeological Association, in 1917, ‘as compensation to members for the unavoidable postponement of their annual excursions on account of the war’, under the title Tours in Wales 1804-1813. On some of the journeys in north Wales Fenton was accompanied by Sir Richard Colt Hoare, whom he visited at Fach Ddeiliog, his cottage on the shores of Lake Bala.
In 1811 Fenton also published A Tour in Quest of Genealogy through several parts of Wales, Somersetshire and Wiltshire in a series of Letters to a friend in Dublin interspersed with a description qf’ Stourhead and Stonehenge . . . by a Barrister, and in 1815 a humorous anecdotal book appeared , again anonymously, as Memoirs of an Old Wig, which contains passages concerning south-west Wales. The latter was made rare by a rumour at the time of publication that the author was the poet and connoisseur Samuel Rogers who bought up and suppressed as many copies as he could find.
‘A gentleman who knew him well described Fenton as a man of indefatigable industry, of a fine poetical fancy, of a very cheerful disposition, of particularly gentlemanly and fascinating manners, and the person of best information on almost every subject.’ 38 Fenton was a descriptive writer and his book is a pannier vade-mecum to his native county. He has also been described as ‘an iconoclastic gourmet who went through the land breaking up barrows and cracking cromlech s’,39 and some evidence of this is provided in his own accounts of h s excavations.
Fenton died suddenly at Glynymel in November 1821, in his seventy-fifth yea r, and he was buried at Manorowen. The site of his grave is lost but his grand son , Ferrar Fenton, placed a memorial tablet in the shape of a coffin on the wall inside the church bearing the inscription Richard Fenton KC FAS. Historian of Pembrokeshire.
Joseph Allen, of the parish of St Michael in Pembroke, a teacher of mathematics, was engaged by William Wilmot, who had settled in Pem broke in 1 784 and had established himself as a printer and bookseller, to produce ‘a work entitled A History of the County of Pembroke, originally com piled by George Owen, with additions; a New Map of the said County, a Chart of Milford Haven, both on a large scale, with five other plates,’ for which he was to receive £61. 5s. 5d in payment, the work to be ‘delivered finished within the space of six months from the 1st day of Jaunauary 1 792’. Wilmot had paid £10 to the British Museum for a transcript of George Owen’s manuscript and £5 for a drawing of the map and chart, and had expended other amounts in preparing for publication. He had also written some notes in three small books, which Henry Owen bought at the sale of Sir Thomas Phillipps ‘ papers, with which Allen was to annotate the work. A notice was prepared advertisi ng the book as A Tour thro’ Pembrokeshire, compiled by William Wilmot, ‘most humbly inscribed to the Nobility and Gentry of Pembrokeshire ‘. Nothing further is known about the proposal but Edward Laws observed that ‘possibly its sad fate was not to be regretted , for had Wilmot published a History of Pembrokeshire based on a transcript of George Owen ‘s work in 1798, Fenton might have been discouraged in 1811 and the grand edition of the Description of Pembrokeshire , issued by Henry Owen in 1892, might never have seen light’. 40
James Allen (1802-97), the son of David Bird Allen , vicar of Burton, was educated at Westminster and Charterhouse before proceeding to Trinity College, Cam bridge. He was vicar of Castlemartin from 1839 to 1 875 and dean of St David’s from 1878 to 1 895 when he devoted much time and money to the restoration of the Cathedral by Sir Gilbert Scott. He began to compile a l ist of the sheriffs of the county of Pembroke from 1541 but got no further than 1740 when he died and the work was completed by his friends, Henry Mathias, Edward Laws and Henry Owen and published in 1900.4 1 A proposal to publish a list of the Sheriffs of Pembrokeshire by J. P. Ord of Tenby advertised by R. Mason, publisher, Tenby, in the Cambrian Journal in 1864, does not appear to have materialised.
Edward Laws, born at Lamphey in 1837, was the son of Rear-Admiral John Milligen Laws of Binfield, Berkshire, by his wife Mary, daughter of Charles Delamotte Mathias of Lamphey Court. He was educated at Rugby and at Wadham College, Oxford, where he matriculated in 1856. He held a commission in the 35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment until he was wounded, when he decided to settle in Tenby and teach himself archaeology, architecture and botany among other subjects. He was a magistrate, sheriff of the county of Pembroke i n 1 899 and mayor of Tenby in 1900. In 1887, i n col laboration with his adopted daughter, Emily Hewlett Edwards, he published A Short History of the Civil War as it affected Tenby and its Neighbourhood , and they jointly contributed a number of articles on monumental effigies to Archaeologia Cambrensis. In 1888 he published his History of Little England Beyond Wales and the Non-Kymric Colony settled in Pembrokeshire , covering the parts of the county that he knew best. He made references, however, to the ‘Kymric’ areas, in particular Dewisland and St David’s, and even Cemais, when it suited his purpose. I n 1907 he published The Church Book of St Mary the Virgin, Tenby. With Dr Henry Owen , he undertook an Archaeological Survey of Pembrokeshire that was completed in 1908, and he was chairman of the Association for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments i n Pembrokeshire. He died following a road accident on 25 July 1 913.
Gilbert Nicholas Smith, the rector of Gumfreston from 1835 unti l he died in 1 877, havi ng found the remains of extinct Pleistocene and geologically recent animals in Eel Point Cave, Caldey, went on to ex amine Hoyle’s Mouth and Longbury and other caves and formed an archaeological collection that became the nucleus of the Tenby Museum . He published several papers, letters and notes in Archaeologia Cambrensis between 1849 and 1872. 42
Henry Owen was born in 1844, the son of William Owen JP, DL, of Withy bush, the noted architect and cabinet-maker of Haverfordwest. He was educated at Cowbridge Grammar School before proceeding to Corpus Christi College, Oxford (1862-66), where he graduated BA (1866) and BCL (1869) and proceeded to DCL in 1900. He joined a firm of London sol icitors – Jenkinson, Owen and Co. – of which he became principal before he retired to Pembrokeshire in 1914 and settled at Poyston , near Haverfordwest , where he built a fine library and devoted his leisure to antiquarian and historical studies. He was appointed a member of the Royal Commission on Public Records in 1910 and of the Royal Com mission on Ancient Monuments of Wales in 1914, and he was chairman of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion and the first treasurer of the National Library of Wales. He was high-sheriff in 1902, a magistrate and vice-chairman of the Pembrokeshire Quarter Sessions. The University of Wales honoured him with the degree of D.Litt. in 1916. In 1889 he published Gerald the Welshman and there followed Old Pembrokeshire Families (1902). With the assistance of Egerton Pillimore he edited George Owen’s Description of Penbrokshire (1892) and, aided by Dr E. A. Lewis, A Calendar of Public Records relating to Pembrokeshire (1911- 14). When he died in 1919 he bequeathed a selection of his boks to the National Library of Wales and the remainder to the Pembrokeshire County Library, Haverfordwest (In January 2007 these books too were donated to the National Library). His manuscript collection was bequeathed to the National Library (NLW MSS I 341 -1453) as was his marble bust by Sir Goscombe John RA. Owen’s portrait by Streatfield was donated to Haverfordwest Library.
John Roland Phillips, born at Cilgerran in 1 844, entered a solicitor’s office in Cardigan prior to being admitted at Lincoln’s Inn in l867. He was called to the bar in 1870 and in 1 881 he became the first stipendary magistrate for West Ham. He confessed to ‘an early addiction to the study of antiquities ‘ and he was awarded the prize at an eisteddfod held at
Cardigan in August 1866 for the ‘History of Cilgerran, including the Topography of the Parish , an Account of the Churches, Castle, Slate Quarries and Tinworks with Transcriptions of charters, &c’. Phillips enlarged upon this essay and it was published in London in 1867 as The History of Cilgerran, using real photographs to illustrate the book. This was followed by a List of the Sheriffs of Cardiganshire (1868) and An Attempt at a Concise History of Glamorgan (1879). In 1874 he published his two-volume Memoirs of the Civil War in Wales and the Marches and, in 1886, Memoirs of the Owen Family of Orielton. He had a history of Wales in preparat10n when he died in 1887.
John Romilly Allen, though born in London in 1847, was the son of George Bough Allen of Cilrhiw in the parish of Lampeter Velfrey, a member of the Allen family of Cresselly. He was educated at Rugby and at King’s College, London, and qualified as a civil engineer. He gained eminence in that field and became a lecturer at University College Lon don. He developed an interest in archaeology and as a member of the Cambrian Archaeological Association he contributed regularly to Archaeologia Cambrensis from 1873 onward. He was
appointed its co-editor in 1888 and editor i n 1891 . In 1873 he wrote an article to the jou rnal that resulted in a meeting being held at Shrewsbury to devise a scheme for an ethnographical survey of Wa les, which led to the Archaeological Survey of Pembrokeshire 1896-1907. Wi th Sir John Rhys, he carried out a survey of early-i nscribed stones in Wales . He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1 885.
James Phillips, born at Haverfordwest in 1 847, was the son of James Phillips who was of Quaker stock and was mayor of the town i n 1 871 . He was educated ata private school on St Thomas Green, Haverfordwest , and although he stammered, h e was in demand as a local preacher with the Wesleyans . In his middle age he entered the Congregational College at Bristol and in 1889 he was ordained minister at the Tabernacle Congregational Church , Little H aven. He was a member of the local education committee and an alderman of the Pembrokeshire County Council. He wrote numerous articles for A rchaeologia Cambrensis dealing mainly with Elizabethan Haverfordwest. He died in 1907 without completing his History of Pembrokeshire, hav i n g got as far as the evangelical revival of the eighteenth century. The u n fi nished volume was published posthumously in 1909.
Francis Green, the son of Francis Green of Carmarthen and his wife Elizabeth Harries of Trefcwn, was born in 1854. He was educated at the Moravi an school at Pendine, the Chapter School at St David’s and at Shrewsbury, and studied Law in London. From 1 878 he spent some ti me farming in Canada before returning to London to work for The Financial
Times. He retired to St David’s in 1907 where he spent the remainder of his life in historical and antiquarian research. He was editor of West Wales Historical Records, contributing valuably to its columns, as well as to Y Cymmrodor, the Transactions of the Honourable Cymmrodorion Society and Archaeologia Cambrensis. He calendared The Coleman Deeds (1921), The Crosswood Deeds (1927) and The Hawarden Deeds (1927) in the National Library of Wales, but his calendar of the Peniarth Deeds remains unpublished. He died in 1942 and his manuscripts are a treasured possession of the Pembrokeshire County Library.
Egerton Grenville Bagot Phillimore was born in London in 1856 and was educated at Westminster School and at Christ Church College, Oxford, and was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1877. His interest in Wales was awakened while at Oxford and he soon learned the language thoroughly. He settled at Corris in 1 903 and devoted his time to Welsh studies. He wrote articles for Archaeologia Cambrensis and for Y Cymmrodor, of which he was editor from 1889 to 1901, but his most valuable contribution is to be found in the notes that he prepared for Henry Owen’s edition of George Owen’s Description of Penbrokeshire. His manuscripts were purchased by Sir John Williams in 1894 and are deposited at the National Library of Wales. Phillimore died on 3 June 1937 and was buried at Carris.
Arthur Leonard Leach, born in 1869, the son of John Leach, a printer with the Tenby Observer who established his own printing works in the town. He was educated at Tenby and at Trinity College, Carmarthen, and was employed as a teacher in London but he returned to Tenby whenever possible and, in 1898, he published Leach’s Guide to Tenby. He contributed to the Proceedings of the Geological Association and to Archaeologia Cambrenesis with reference to discoveries made during the geological exploration of the cliffs of south Pembrokeshire. His History of the Civil War ( 1642-1649) in Pembrokeshire and on its Borders published in 1937 remains a definitive work. He settled at Tenby in 1940 and became honorary curator of Tenby Museum. He died in 1957 and was buried at Tenby.
Herbert Millingchamp Vaughan was born at Penmorfa , Llangoedmor in 1870, and he was educated at Clifton College and Keble College, Oxford. His private means enabled him to pursue his interests as a European historian and antiquary. From 1 899 to 1910 he lived i n Naples and Florence studying Italian history and topography, and in 1912 he went to Australia for a year where he wrote An Australian Wander Year. On his return to this country he lived at Plas Llangoedmor and moved to Tenby in 1924 where he published his best known work, The South Wales Squires. He contributed to the West Wales Historical Records and to Archaeologia Cambrensis.
Sir Frederick Rees was born at Milford in 1 883. He was educated locally until he entered the University College at Cardiff and then went to Lincoln College, Oxford. He was lecturer at Bangor, Belfast and Edinburgh before he became Professor of Commerce at Birmingham. He was appointed Principal of the University College at Cardiff in 1929 and he remained in that position for twenty years. In 1953 he went to Ceylon as visiting Professor in Economics and remained there until 1958 when he was appointed head the department of Economic History at Edinburgh. He was knighted in 1945 and was sheriff of his native county in 1955. He was president of the Cambrian Archaeological Association in 1956-7, and was the first president of the Pembrokeshire Local History Society. He was the author of a number of books including Studies in Welsh History (1847) and The Story of Milford (1954). He died at Cardiff in 1987.
William Francis Grimes was born at Pembroke in 1905. He was educated at Pembroke County School and at University College, Cardiff, where he specialised in Roman Britain. He joined the staff at the National Museum of Wales in 1 926 as assistant keeper of Archaeology and in 1 938 he was appointed assistant archaeology officer at the Ordnance Survey. In 1 945 he succeeded Sir Mortimer Wheeler as director of the London Museum, at the same time excavating in the bomb shattered city of London making many important discoveries that were overshadowed by the much-publicised find of the temple of Mi thras. He was appointed CBE in 1955. In 1 956 he became director of the Institute of Archaeology and Professor of Archaeology at the University of London. There were few institutions concerned with archaeology in which he did not take an active, and often leading, part including the Cambrian Archaeological Association of which he was president in 1963-4. His published works included the Guide to the Collection Illustrating the Prehistory of Wales (l939) that was republished as The Prehistory of Wales in 1951, and he wrote innumerable papers to the journals of learned societies. He died in 1988 in Swansea.
Bertie George Charles was born at Penparc, near Trefin, in February 1908 and educated at the St David’s and Fishguard County Schools, the University College at Aberystwyth and University College, London . He graduated BA and MA with distinction following hi s research work on ‘The Viking Influence i n Wales ‘ which led to the pu blication of his Old Norse Relations with Wales in 1934. He was award ed the degree of Ph.D. at the U n i versity of London for his research on Pembrokeshire place-names. He worked at the National Library at Aberystwyth all his life and contributed regularly to the National library of Wales Journal. He published Non-Celtic Place-Names in Wales in 1938, Calendar of the Records of the Borough of Haverfordwest 1539-1660 ( 1 967), George Owen of Henllys: A Welsh Elizabethan (1973) and Pembrokeshire Place-N ames (1992), a work of two volumes and the first of its kind for a county in Wales.
Francis Jones was born at Trefin in 1908 and was educated at Fishguard County School. In 1936 he was appointed an assistant in the Manuscripts Department at the National Library of Wales where he remained until the outbreak of war i n 1939. After the war he worked in the Historical Section of the Cabinet Office until 1958 when he was appointed the first County Archivist for Carmarthen shire. In 1963 he became Wales Herald of Arms Extraordinary and was appointed CVO. He was president of the Cambrian Archaeological Association in
1985-6 and of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society from 1988 to 1994. His published works include The Holy Wells of Wales (1954), The Princes and Principality of Wales (1969) and Historic Carmarthenshire Homes and their Families ( 1987). His Historic Houses of Pembrokeshire, Historic Cardiganshire Houses and ITreasury of Historic Pembrokeshire were published by members of his family after his death. Most of his work, however, appeared in learned journals, including The Pembroke shire Historian, one volume of which was dedicated to his work.
These, the antiquarians of the past, are being followed by living historians, many of whom have contributed to the pages of this journal.
Dillwyn Miles completed this paper on 18 May 2004. In choosing his title ‘Pembrokeshire Antiquarians’, Dillwyn seized the opportunity to catalogue the lives and major works of those antiquarians born in Pembrokeshire who wrote about their native county, as well as a smaller number of antiquarians from other regions who chose to write about Pembrokeshire. Dillwyn’s brief, like his scholarship, was expansive, covering the period from the twelfth century to the late twentieth century. This paper is a fitting testament to Dillwyn ‘s scholarship and his love of Pembrokeshi re history.
I . Giraldus’s aunt , Gwen l l ian, was married to Tancred, the first Flemish castellan of Haverford, whi lst his brother, Philip, lord of Manorbier, married a daughter of Richard F1tzTancred. Lauran Toorians, ‘Wi zo Flandrensis and the Flemish Settlement in Pembrokeshire ‘, in Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies, 20 ( 1990) 1 1 2. ‘
2. A Flemish knight Ernaldus Rheti ng had spoken in Flemish to Giraldus’s brother, Philip de Barri, while comparing the character of a man with the nature of the cloth made at Haverforclwest as having ‘too much grey wool, and too little native black wool’. Yves Lefevre and R. B. C. Huygens (ed.), Giraldus Cambrensis: Speculum Duorum (Cardiff , 1 974), 37-39.
3. Thomas Jones, ‘Gerald the Welshman’s ‘Itinerary through Wales’ and ‘Description of Wales’ in The National Library of Wales Journal, VI ( 1949), 128.
4. Charles Kightly, A Mirror of Medieval Wales (Cardiff, 1986), 78.
5. Sir John Edward Lloyd , A History of Wales (London, 1912), 564.
6. In the parish of Nevern the foundations of the original house have recently been discovered.
7. William Camden, Britannia , ed. E. Gibson (London, 1722), 757.
8. The others bei ng Wi lliam Salesbury, Humphrey Llwyd and David Powel , according to ir Glanmor Williams in his Renewal and Reformation Wales, 1415-1642 (Oxford, 1 993), 245.
9. W. P. Griffi th, ‘Tudor Prelude’ in Emrys Jones (ed .), The Welsh in London 1500-2000 (Cardiff , 2001), 15.
10. Archaeologia Cambrensis ( 1 896), 193ff.
1 1 . Henry Owen (ed.), The Description of Penbrokshire, I (London, 1892), 71-5.
1 2 . Edinburg h Review, 73 (1841), 3.
14. Henry Owen, op. cit., 99-107, 173-4
13. B. G. Charles, The National Library of Wales Journal, XXIII (1983), 37-40. 1 4. Henry Owen, op. cit., II, 531-2.
1 5. Ibid., III 127-205.
1 6. B. G. Charles, George Owen of Henllys: A Welsh Elizabethan (Aberystwyth, 1 973), 1 93- 9.
1 7. B. G. Charles, op. cit., 99- l07, 173-4.
1 8. B. G. Charles, The National Library of Wales Journal, V (1948), 266-85.
1 9. The Cambrian Register for the Year 1795 (London, 1 796), 1 68-1 77.
20. Dillwyn Miles (ed.), The Description of Pembrokeshire: George Owen (Llan dysu l , 1 994).
2 1 . Francis Jones, A Catalogue of Welsh Manuscripts in the College f Arms
( 1 988), 1 3-6.
22 . E. D. Jones, ‘George Owen Harry’ , in The Pembrokeshire Historian, 6 ( 1 979), 72.
2 3. Francis Jones, ‘Griffith of Penybenglog’ in The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (1938), 1 37-149.
24. William Camden, op. cit., 1 89-90.
25. Richard Fenton, A Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire (2nd edn., Breck nock , 1 903), reprinted by the Haverford west Library ( 1995), xi.
26. I bid., ‘Life of Richard Fenton, KC, FAS, The Historian, Archaeologist, Poet a nd Scholar’ by Ferrar Fenton , FRAS, MCAA , his grandson, ix-xxxi i.
27. Archaeologia Cambrensis (1858), 380. 28. R ichard Fenton, op. cit., 1 1 1 .
29. John Fenton wrote the last paragraphs of the Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire and a number of the illustrations were his. In 1814 he married Elen , daughter of William Owen Pughe, through whom he came under the influence of the fanatic Joanna Southcott and this alienated him from his father to the extent that he disinherited him.
30. E. D. Jones, ‘More Morris Letters’ , The National Library of Wales Journal, VI
( 1 949), 193.
31 . The Cambrian Register for the Year I 796 (London, 1799), 53-230.
32. Ibid ., 59-60 .
33 . R ichard Fenton , op. cit., vi.
34. M. W. Thomson (eel.), The Journeys of Sir Richard Colt Hoare (Alan Sutton, 1 993), 8.
35 . Ibid. , 45.
36. Pers. comm., Thomas Lloyd to whom I am grateful for this and other useful suggestions.
37. Richard Fenton, op. cit., 309.
38. The Dictionary of National Biograph y.
39. Archaeologia Cambrensis ( 1895), 159.
40. Archaeologia Cambrensis ( 1 906), 35-46
4 1. Dillwyn Miles, The Sheriff · of the County of Pembroke: l 541-1974 (Haver fordwest, 1978), 6.
42. Archaeologia Cambrensis ( 1 945), 248-50.