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HAVERFORDWEST

In 1868, the parish of Haverfordwest contained the following places:

"HAVERFORDWEST, comprises the parishes of St. Mary, St. Thomas, and St. Martin, it is a market town, municipal and parliamentary borough, and county of itself, though locally situated in the hundred of Rhos, county Pembroke, South Wales. It is 16 miles from St. David's, and 251 from London, or 2751, by the South Wales railway, on which it is a station. Steamers come up by the river from Milford and Pater. This place is the county town of Pembrokeshire, where the assizes for that county, as also for the county of the town, are held, and is a polling-place for the county. Its Welsh name is Hwllfordd, and it is supposed to have been founded in the reign of Henry I. by the Flemings, under Gilbert de Clare, first Earl of Pembroke, who built a strong castle here on an eminence overlooking the river Cleddy. Llewellyn-ap-Jorwerth burnt the town in 1221, and besieged the castle without effect. In the reign of Edward IV. it was besieged by the French, in the interest of Owain Glyndwr, and in the civil war of Charles I. was garrisoned for the king, but was soon taken by the parliamentarians, who dismantled its fortifications. There are now scarcely any remains of this once stately castle except the keep, and part of the walls retained in the construction of the county gaol. The town has recently been considerably improved, and is well paved, lighted with gas, and supplied with water. There is a guildhall, where the assizes are held; also a market-house, customhouse-a branch of that at Milford Haven, two banks, savings-bank, the county lunatic asylum, union poorhouse, and mechanics' institute. There are also quays, to which vessels of 150 tons can come up at spring tides. Most of the inhabitants are engaged in the coasting or local trades; but there are several families of moderate fortune resident within the town, while the working classes are chiefly mechanics, there being no manufactures except one paper-mill. The imports are mostly colonial produce, and articles for consumption in the town and surrounding country, including timber from the Baltic and Canada, and iron and coal from Newport. The exports are cattle, butter, stone, hard coal, and leather. The town was first chartered by Richard II., and confirmed by James I., under whose second charter it was governed till the passing of the Municipal Reform Act, when its boundaries were extended so as to include the adjoining townships of Prendergast and Cartlett, so that the municipal and parliamentary boroughs are now co-extensive. It is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors, with the style of the "mayor, sheriffs, bailiffs, and burgesses of the county of the town of Haverfordwest." Under the Reform Bill it returns one member to parliament, along with the contributory boroughs of St. David's, Fishguard, and Narberth. Two newspapers, the Pembrokeshire Herald and the Milford Haven Telegraph, are published in the town. It is the militia headquarters, and seat of a Poor-law Union comprising 63 parishes, also of superintendent registry and new County Court districts. For ecclesiastical purposes the borough is divided into three parishes, all in the diocese of St. David's: viz: St. Mary's, a vicarage, value £121; the church, which was restored in 1862, is a large structure with timber roof, stalls, and several monuments; St. Thomas's, a rectory, value £319, in the patronage of the lord chancellor; St. Martin's, a perpetual curacy, value £80, which last is the most ancient of the three churches. There are chapels belonging to the Independents, Wesleyans, Moravians, Baptists, Primitive and Calvinistic Methodists; also almshouses and an hospital. The charities produce about £500 per annum, including Parrott's charity of £250, for the improvement of the town, and Vawer's charity of £160, for the maintenance of five decayed burgesses. There are two public schools-viz: Lloyd's Grammar School, with an income from endowment of £150, and two exhibitions at Brasenose College, Oxford; and Tasker's school, with an income of about £130, for the instruction of children of this borough, and of the parishes of Rudbaxton and Steynton. There are remains of a priory of Black Canons, founded here by Robert de Hwllfordd; and at Prendergast is an old moated house. The Lawrenny hounds hunt round here. Saturday is market day. Fairs are held for cattle and live stock on the 12th May, 12th June, 18th July, 23rd September, and 18th October."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2018