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 PembrokeshireHistoric 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.

Editorial  Note
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.