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CASTLEMARTIN

From

From Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833)

CASTLEMARTIN (CASTLE-MARTIN), a parish in the hundred of CASTLEMARTIN, county of PEMBROKE, SOUTH WALES, 6 Miles (W.S.W.) from Pembroke, containing 487 inhabitants. This extensive parish forms a kind of promontory on the sea coast, and is bounded on the north by Freshwater West, which runs into St. George's channel, on the east by the adjoining parish of Warren, and on the west and south by the Bristol channel. The rocks on this part of the coast consist of an irregular series of broken stratification, apparently thrown together by some violent convulsion, and presenting an uncommon grandeur of appearance. From March to August these rocks are the resort of that migratory bird called the eligug, which during that period deposits its solitary egg on the shelving projections of the cliffs; and, supporting it with its foot, which possesses a degree of warmth sufficient for the purpose of incubation after having hatched its young, and enabled it to shift for itself, leaves the vacant place to be occupied by another of the swarm that covers the surface of the water, waiting for an opportunity to perform the same process. This bird cannot take wing from land: as soon, therefore, as the young is able to fly, the parent bird throws it into the water, from which it rises with remarkable strength of wing over that element. This parish is wholly enclosed, and the land is mostly fertile and in a good state of cultivation: the Cors, a tract of land comprising about three hundred acres, was brought into cultivation by the late Mr. Mirehouse, of Brownslade, to whom, in 1810, the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, adjudged their gold medal for clearing waste moors. The same gentleman also surrounded his house at Brownslade with luxuriant plantations, which, from their exposure to the violence of the south-west winds, it was generally apprehended would wither in the shoot; but, under the judicious management of that eminent agriculturist, the trees have flourished in opposition to every impediment, and, though much neglected of late by the unavoidable absence of the present proprietor, who is one of the special pleaders to the city of London, during the greater part of the year, are highly ornamental to the neighbourhood. Besides Brownslade, the seat of John Mirehouse Esq., Corston, the respectable residence of Abraham Leach, Esq., is in this parish. The whole of the district abounds with numerous military works and fortifications, thrown up during the frequent contests which took place between the Danish pirates who infested this part of the coast, which, from its exposed and defenceless situation, was much subject to their attacks, and the native Welsh, who resolutely repelled their aggressions: one of these may be seen on a farm in this parish, called Bully Bar. The parish abounds with limestone of excellent quality, in the centre of which is found clay, much used in the manufacture of fire bricks. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of St.David's, rated in the king's books at £7. 17.6., endowed with £400 royal bounty, and in the patronage of Earl Cawdor, who is also impropriator of the tithes. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is an ancient structure, and has undergone thorough repair within the last ten years, There was anciently a chapel at Flimston, which has long since gone to decay. A plot of ground, on which are some cottages inhabited by the poor of the parish, was given by an unknown benefactor; but there are no particulars of the donation on record. The castle of the family of Martin, descendants of Martin de Tours, and from which the parish and the hundred are supposed to derive their name, was in a state of ruin prior to the time of Leland, who says, 'Towards this extreme part of Pembrokshire be the vestigia of Martin Castle.' The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor is £350.15.

Gareth Hicks, 19 Dec 1999

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