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St Ishmael's

"ISHMAEL'S (ST.), a parish in the hundred of RHÔS, county of PEMBROKE, SOUTH WALES, 5 1/2 Miles (W. by N.) from Milford, containing 527 inhabitants. It is situated on the northern shore of Milford Haven, and is separated from the parish of Herbrandston by Sandy haven. There are several respectable residences within its limits, though not entitled to notice as seats of importance: the principal is the neat residence of Mr. Roch, which is supposed to have been originally a grange belonging to Hubberston priory. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of St.David's, rated in the king's books at £6.12. 8 1/2., endowed with £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the King as Prince of Wales. The tithes are divided into three equal portions, of which one is appropriated to the corporation of the borough of Tewkesbury, another to the incumbent of that parish, and the third to the vicar of St. Ishmael's. The church is romantically situated in a deep sequestered valley, watered by a small estuary which falls into Milford Haven, a short distance below it. There are places of worship for Baptists and Independents. Immediately above the church is a tenement called Monks, supposed to have been connected with the priory of Hubberston. In the village is a remarkable tumulus, but nothing is known of its history, nor does it appear to have been opened. St. Ishmael's, it is said, was the final retreat of Caradoc of Llancarvan, the celebrated historian of Wales, who here spent the latter years of his life in retirement and seclusion, and, after his decease, was interred with great pomp in the cathedral church of St. David's. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor amounts to £304. 8." [From A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (S. Lewis, 1833).]


The 1851 census for this parish has been indexed by Dyfed Family History Society.

Census Returns for this parish have the following LDS Call Numbers:

  • 1841 Census - 0464345
  • 1851 Census - 0104235
  • 1861 Census - 0543243
  • 1871 Census - 0850855
  • 1881 Census - 1342304
  • 1891 Census - 6099644


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the St Ishmael's area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

ST. ISHMAELS, St. Ishmael   1859-1860    on the Church plans online site

Some church and chapel data from The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. Ed. by   I.G Jones, & D. Williams. UWP,   Cardiff, 1976. The names are those of the informants

  • St Ishmaels Parish Church                       Samuel Walker Saunders, Vicar
  • Tabernacle   Ind           Erected about 1825      At present a day school kept in the free sittings division      "There has been no Sunday School kept here for the last six years - there being a Charity School kept in the Village by the Established Church and the attendance of the Scholars is required in the Sunday School as a condition on which they are admitted to the day school"                Theophilus James, Minister, St Ishmaels
  • Sandy Haven   Baptist            Erected in 1813           Thomas Davies, Minister


Parish entry for Hasguard with St Ishmael's from The Welsh Church Year Book, 1929 (Cd by Archive CD Books).

  • St Peter
  • &
  • St Ishmael (St Ishmael's)
  • Incumbent and Curates; D S Williams
  • Rural Deanery of Roose
  • Acreage 1,478 & 3,123; Population 524

Church Records

Parish registers: Christenings (1761-1946), Marriages (1755-1970) Banns (1855-1933), Burials (1761-1926) at Pem.RO

Bishops' Transcripts, covering the period (1799, 1801-3, 1805-79) are at the National Library of Wales, and have been microfilmed by the LDS - Call Number: 0105207.

See Bap/Mar/Bur data on  FreeReg

Nonconformist Chapels:

  • Aenon, in Sandy Haven  [Baptists, 1814]. Records ; births, 1803-36 in connection with Short Lane Chapel/Steynton parish at PRO RG4/3476, and have been microfilmed by the LDS - Call Number: 813551,IGI              SM85680877          Built 1813, modified, altered or rebuilt 1877 and 1897    Still open 1998    Coflein        See Bap/Mar/Bur data on  FreeReg           On Dyfed FHS
    (According to the Kain/Oliver parish map this chapel looks just over the parish line in Hasguard parish - left here where Rawlins and Dyfed FHS have it)
  • Tabernacle [Independents, c 1828]. Records ; See Bethel and Keystone                       On Dyfed FHS
    Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for this chapel (in Welsh )  - with translation by Maureen Saycell (April 2008)

Dyfed FHS have published a series of indexes of baptisms, marriages and burials from Pembrokeshire hundreds for various periods.

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of St Ishmael's which are provided by:

Places, villages, farms etc within St Ishmaels parish  as shown on the online parish map from the CD of  Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. (Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R.).  (Extracted by Rosemary St.Leger-May)


Aerial photograph of Great Castle Head Enclosure, St Ishmael's, 1997    - on the People's Collection Wales site

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which St Ishmael's has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Coastland Local History - covers the areas of Dale, St. Ishmael's, St. Brides and Marloes


Williams, George. Excavations in Longstone Field, St. Ishmaels, Pembrokeshire. Archaeologia Cambrensis 138 (1989), p. 20-45


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SM834073 (Lat/Lon: 51.722440, -5.137506), St Ishmael's which are provided by:

[Gareth Hicks:  2 June 2015]