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STEYNTON

From

From Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833)

STEYNTON, or STAINTON, a parish in the hundred of RHÔS, county of PEMBROKE, SOUTH WALES, 2 miles (N.N.E.) from Milford, containing 2984 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the turnpike road from Milford to Haverfordwest, extends to the shore of Milford Haven, by which it is bounded on the south; and Hubberston Pill, an inlet from the haven, is navigable for small craft, at high water, for a considerable distance within its limits. In the southern part of it is situated the borough, market, and seaport town of Milford, described under its appropriate head, and comprising the chief portion of the population: in the western part of it is St. Botolph's, the seat of A.I. Stokes, Esq., by one of whose relatives it was purchased, in 1826, from the representatives of General le Hunt, who purchased it, in 1803, from the family of the Elliots, to whom it had belonged for many years. The present mansion was built in 1800, about a hundred yards to the west of the ancient edifice, and partly on the site of a monastery supposed to have been a cell to the priory of Pill, near the head of Hubberston Pill. In excavating the ground for the new building several stone coffins, containing bones, were dug up; and part of the walls of the ancient monastery, which are still remaining, have been incorporated with the out-buildings of the modern mansion. Bolton Hill, an ancient seat formerly belonging to a family of that name, is situated in the northern part of the parish. and near an abrupt and lofty eminence called Bolton Beacon. While Cromwell lay at Haverfordwest, two of his soldiers entered this mansion, with the intention of plundering it, and Bolton, who had concealed himself, was denied by his wife to the soldiers, who, nevertheless, suspecting that he was in the house, one of them took up his child, and pretended to throw it on the fire, on which the father rushed from his concealment, and killed the ruffian on the spot: his comrade escaped, and Bolton, on reflection, deemed it prudent to inform Cromwell of all that had occurred, observing to that general, that the man he had killed had only one eye: the latter replied, "The fellow was a great rascal, and you have saved me the trouble of having him executed." Castle Hall, the seat of the Hon. R. Fulke Greville, in the south-eastern part of the parish, was originally built by John Zephaniah Holwell, whose sufferings in the black hole at Calcutta are well known: it is a spacious mansion. and the grounds are extensive and well laid out. The parish is about six miles in length from north to south, and from a mile and a half to two miles in breadth from east to west, and is wholly enclosed and in a good state of cultivation. Culm is found within its limits, and a mine which had been worked for many years, for the supply of the neighbourhood, has been reopened on Lord Kensington's estate. Great facilities are afforded for the conveyance of the produce of the mine by the navigable creek called Hubberston Pill, and by the main haven. The small village of Pill, distant about a quarter of a mile from the town of Milford, is within the parish. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the rectory of Johnston consolidated, in the archdeaconry and diocese of St.David's, and in the patronage of the King, as Prince of Wales. The vicarage is endowed with the whole of the great and small tithes of a portion of the parish: the remainder are appropriated to Mrs. Anne Wright, whose family, the Jordans, sold another portion, which now forms part of the income of the incumbent of St. Mary's, Haverfordwest. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, or, as it is stated in the Monasticon, to St. Kewel, and formerly dependent upon Pill priory, is an ancient and venerable structure, with a lofty tower, which, from its elevated situation, is seen from every part of the surrounding country: the interior consists of a nave, chancel, and two aisles, separated by series of massive columns and pointed arches. This edifice was garrisoned with a small number of troops during the parliamentary war in the reign of Charles I. There is a place of worship for Presbyterians. A school is about to be established at a place called Sodston, for children of either sex, with an endowment of £30 per annum by Mr. and Mrs. Devonald, chargeable on certain lands in this parish. Richard Budd, about the year 1633, in consideration of having been saved from shipwreck by taking refuge within Tenby pier, bequeathed to the churchwardens of Tenby the sum of £1. 6. 8 (two marks), to be distributed in bread to the poor of that parish: the payment of this sum is charged upon the estate of St. Botolph's, in this parish; but it does not appear that he was ever the owner of that property. At the head of Prix Pill stood Pill castle, the capture of which is recorded by Fenton: there are no remains of this fortress, but in digging near the site, about seventy years ago, at a place called Cwm, a human skull with an iron ball in it was found; and a tradition is extant that a pond near the spot, now called Deadman's Lake, derived that name from its having been deeply tinged with the blood of the slain on that occasion. Near the head of Hubberston Pill are the remains of Pill priory, founded in the year 1200 by Adam de Rupe, for monks of the order of Tyrone, who afterwards became Benedictines: the priory, which was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Budoc, flourished till the dissolution, at which time its revenue was estimated at £67. 15.: the site and buildings were granted, in the 38th of Henry VIII., to Roger and Thomas Barlow, and are now the property of the Hon. Fulke Greville. The ruins, which are very small, consist chiefly of some fragments of the walls: the low entrance gateway leading into the garden is still remaining, but the arch above it fell down in 1826. At Butter hill, formerly a grange belonging to the priory, there is a family of the name of Roch, who are said to be descended from Adam de Rupe, founder of the priory. There are in the parish several ancient encampments, here called Rhâths: one of these is near the priory; another near Thornton House, the neat residence of the Rev. A. Crymes; and a third, called Old Castle, near the town of Milford; but not one of them is of sufficient importance to require particular notice. Near the ruins of an ancient chapel, dedicated to St. Catherine, a silver coin of Domitian was dug up, about thirty years ago. In 1818, a celt was dug up near St. Botolph's, where also there are some remains of a Druidical altar, called by the country people the Long Stone. Sir William James, Bart., the celebrated naval commander in the East India Company's service, in commemoration of whose achievements the ornamental tower on Shooter's Hill, near London, was erected by his widow, was born at Bolton Hill mill, in this parish. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £461.

Gareth Hicks, 1 Jan 2000

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