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Historic administrative divisions

The pre Anglo-Norman administration of west Wales was based on small kingdoms or gwledydd, which were established before the 8th century AD. One such gwlad was Dyfed within which the study area lies and which in the early 11th century became part of the kingdom of Deheubarth which occupied most of southwest Wales (Rees 1951, 19). Within each gwlad were smaller units of administration or estates known as maenorau, attested to have existed since the 9th century, which were composed of a number of 'townships' or trefi (Richards 1969, 307). By the 11th century two additional administrative tiers were introduced - the cantref, literally a group of 100 trefi, each of which was subdivided into a number of cwmwdau into which the trefi were grouped. The 'seven cantrefi of Dyfed' - Pebidiog, Cemaes, Emlyn, Rhos, Daugleddau, Arberth and Penfro - became a union that was celebrated in both history and lore.

In the non Anglo-Norman regions of Deheubarth, a formalised machinery of administration was in place by the later 12th century in which each cwmwd contained a maerdref; a special tref adjacent to the king's court or llys. Here lived the bondsmen, who farmed the demesne lands, and the numerous officials and servants who served the court. In conjunction, the king or lord was also provided with an upland township which would meet the requirements of summer pasture (hafodydd) for his livestock. It is probable that this system had not become fixed in Dyfed prior to the Anglo-Norman conquest and it is not possible to identify many elements of this formal administration within the study area. However, other status centres existed, both secular and ecclesiastical, and of the latter the seven 'bishop-houses' of Dyfed are the best documented (Davies 1982).

The Anglo-Norman settlement of the Pembrokeshire region began in 1093 with the invasion of Dyfed under Roger de Montgomery, the Norman Earl of Shrewsbury, and his establishment of a castle at Pembroke. From this base his son, Arnulf, had by 1100 subdued the greater part of Cantref Penfro (in the southern part of the present county), Cantref Rhos (west of Haverfordwest, including the Skomer Island Register Area) and Cantref Daugleddau (in the central part of the present county), which were reorganised as a county under King Henry I - later a palatinate of the earls of Pembroke. To this campaign was added, in about 1100, the invasion of Cantref Cemaes, within which the Preseli Register Area lies, under the Norman Martin 'of Tours' who reorganised it as a Marcher lordship.

The visit to St David's by the Norman king William I in 1081 may have occasioned some limited reorganisation of Cantref Pebidiog - which was largely held by the bishops and includes the St David's Peninsula and Ramsey Island Register Area - along Anglo-Norman lines. However, it is more likely that this manorial administration was introduced after 1115 under Bernard, the first Norman Bishop of St David's.

The pre Anglo-Norman conquest territorial divisions remained largely unchanged and both Cemaes and Pebidiog lordships were coterminous with both their parent cantrefi, and the post-medieval hundreds of Cemais and Dewsland respectively. In most instances, Welsh tenurial systems appear also to have persisted, and many feudal rights and obligations continued even into the early 20th century. The effect of these systems upon the landscape has been profound. Pebidiog, in particular, remained free from formal manorial tenure and was held by a version of Welsh custom in which land was held not by individual ownership, but by two persons. In fact gavelkind had only recently been abolished in Pebidiog when Owen wrote in c.1600. This tenure has given rise to the dominant settlement pattern of the area, represented by a high density of small hamlets. Only the administration of the borough of St David's itself was entirely Anglo-Norman. In Cemaes, the Welsh tenure led to a more dispersed settlement pattern, generally without significant nucleations. However, the borough of Newport, and the planted settlements of Maenclochog and Redwalls, as well as the manors of Nevern and Eglwyswrw, at least partially operated a Anglo-Norman manorial system, while the great common of Mynydd Preseli was the result of direct Marcher jurisdiction, formalised in a charter of the 13th century.

Although prehistoric monuments - chambered tombs, standings stones, burial mounds and hillforts - are relatively numerous within the study area, their impact on the modern landscape is often insignificant. The neolithic chambered tombs of the St David's area are an important type of monument, and are well known to both the public and academic archaeologists (Baker 1992). However, apart from Coetan Arthur on St David's Head, they are not obvious elements of the landscape, and they do not appear to have been associated with field systems or other landscape components, that have influenced or determined the shape and form of the historic landscape. Burial mounds, either earth-built or stone-built (cairns), can often be prominent historic landscape elements on account of their location. For instance, on the Preseli Mountains the burial cairns on the summits of Foel Eryr and Cwmcerwyn are visible for many kilometres. As with the chambered tombs, it is unlikely that they have had any great influence over other components of the modern landscape. The location of hillforts also ensures that they are also conspicuous elements of the landscape; for instance, Y Foel Drygarn on the Preseli Mountains and Clawdd y Milwyr on St David's Head. As these are settlement sites they are sometimes associated with contemporaneous field systems, as on St David's Head (Murphy 2000), but their influence on the wider historic landscape has not been studied.

Population change in Pembrokeshire has been summarised by Howells (in Howells 1987) for the period 1563-1642 and by Bowen-Evans (in Howell 1993) for the period 1815-1974. This short section is based on these two reports.

Clearly, in predominantly agricultural areas a large increase in population had a dramatic effect on the landscape as human resources would have been available for the creation of new farms, for bringing waste land into cultivation and for improving the infrastructure. Records show that there was a steady increase in population from 1563 (the time of the first reliable records) to the mid 19th-century. In the Hundred of Cemais (the hundred in which the Preseli area lies) there was a trebling or greater increase in the number of households between 1563 and 1801. For instance, in Mynachlogddu the estimated number of households rose from 20 in 1563, to 48 in 1670 and to 83 in 1801. In a parish which contained large tracts of open moorland and marginal land, but no industry, such a population increase must indicate the founding of new farms and the concomitant loss of moor and common. In the St David's area population increase was not so dramatic, with the number of households in St David's parish increasing from 189 in 1563 to 423 in 1801. As Howells notes, much of the St David's peninsula had been under intensive cultivation for several centuries and therefore the scope for founding new farms was limited. Most of the population increase would therefore have been absorbed in existing farms or in St David's city. However, even on the very exposed St David's Head there are traces of colonisation and cultivation in this period (Murphy). The growth in Pembrokeshire's population continued between 1801 and 1861, rising from 56,280 to 96,278. Within the study areas the absence of large scale industries meant that the population was absorbed within the agricultural industry. In Preseli, Parliamentary enclosure of large tracts of common created many new farms, perhaps encouraging immigration to areas so accelerating the increase in population. Other new farms were created on the fringes of common and mountain-land. Out-migration from parishes in Pembrokeshire is recorded on the 1801-1861 censuses, but the natural increase in population more than offset this loss. However, a decline in the overall numbers of people was recorded in the 1871 census, in common with rural areas across Britain. In the rural areas of Pembrokeshire this decline in absolute numbers continued down to the mid 20th-century. Across the landscape this decline in population numbers is most evident in the Preseli area, where abandoned farms and cottages on moorland and moorland fringes are characteristic elements. Since the second world war, population numbers have increased. One of the reasons for this increase is the growing tourist industry on the St David's peninsula.

The two register areas of Preseli and the St David's Peninsula and Ramsey Island exhibit very distinct settlement patterns. Pebidiog (St David's area) was historically renowned for its fertile arable land. According to the census in George Owen's Taylors Cussion (Pritchard 1906), it was one of the most densely populated regions of Pembrokeshire in the 16th century, with the most plough teams, and was particularly productive of barley with proportionately very few dairies. This situation appears to have continued from an earlier period, under an infield-outfield regime of open-field agriculture within a version of Welsh tenurial custom (as discussed above) which was only semi-manorial after the Anglo-Norman conquest. This tenure has given rise to the dominant settlement pattern of the area, represented by a high density of small nucleations or hamlets. The Black Book of St David's, of 1326, gives some idea of the contemporary density of settlement, many of the later hamlets being among the vills listed, including for example Carnhedryn, Clegyr, Llandrudion, Lleithyr, Penarthur, Penbery, Treleddyd, Trelewyd, Treleidr, Tremynydd, Treliwyd, Tre-hysbys, Treiago, Tretio and Vachelich (Willis Bund 1902). However, it appears that hamlets, held by similar tenure, continued to be established well into the 17th century (Charles 1992). Each vill or hamlet is now occupied by a group of post-medieval farm buildings, and some, eg. Pwllcaerog, are now represented by an unusual arrangement of twinned farms. This may be a tangible survival of a Welsh custom in which land was held not by individual ownership, but by two persons. However, the tenurial system was at its very end by the late 18th-century when estate maps have show some of its physical remnants. Few later settlements were established within the St David's area but Maes-y-mynydd, in the north coast, was first recorded in 1829 and according to unsourced local tradition was a Quaker settlement.

The only sizeable nucleation within Pebidiog was the borough of St David's itself which received its first charter from King Henry I after 1115 and the accession of the Norman bishop Bernard (Soulsby 1983), although a royal mint had been operational during the reign of William II (Boon 1986, 40), probably within the castle situated some distance from the later town. Borough administration was along Anglo-Norman lines, the tenants occupying formal burgage tenements, one of which was, in 1326, held by co-owners 'as a solitary relic of Welsh tenure' (Willis Bund 1902). Two annual fairs and a twice-weekly market were granted in 1281, and in 1326 the population of c.1000 occupied 130 burgages (ibid.), but there is little evidence of formal planning. A map by John Speed shows that the town was in decline by the early 16th-century, with a mere 51 houses depicted.

In less-fertile Cemaes (Preseli area), persistent Welsh tenure led, in contrast, to a very dispersed settlement pattern of small, non-nuclear farms, and while much of the landscape was unenclosed until the post-medieval period this was largely due to it being moor and waste. Nucleations were few. However, the Anglo-Norman borough of Newport, which lies just beyond the Register Area, was like St David's a planted Anglo-Norman foundation of the late 12th-century, with formal burgages, a market and a fair (Soulsby 1983). Maenclochog, a nucleation within the study area, combines a castle, a large, square green with a church, an axial main street lined by tofts and a pattern of surrounding former open fields. All are classic features of Anglo-Norman planted settlement in Pembrokeshire, and Maenclochog forms part of a chain of such plantations along the southern foothills of Mynydd Preseli (cf. New Moat, Henry's Moat, Hayscastle etc.). Maenclochog never achieved borough status, nor was there a recorded market or fair (Howells 1977), both of which were features of Redwalls - the only other plantation, albeit unsuccessful, within the Preseli area. The manor of Redwalls received grant of a weekly market and a three day annual fair in 1293 (Cal. Charter Rolls 2, 1906), probably representing a large-scale 13th century assart of relatively poor land, which had already 'failed' by the 16th century when only four tenements of demesne were recorded (Howells 1977). Its three gale tenants held their land by mixed English and Welsh custom, and indeed the name 'Redwalls' is probably a corruption of Rudvall, a term given in Pembrokeshire to a form of local tenure by which strip fields were amassed and grazed in common (Owen 1897).

The manor of Nevern, and the manor or sublordship of Eglwyswrw in the eastern part of the Cemais, both operated a developed manorial system, while Eglwyswrw possessed its own manorial court (Owen 1897). There are also suggestions that Eglwyswrw village is an early nucleation. The settlement at Nevern itself (just outside the study area) was variously referred to by Owen as a manor, vill or borough, and in c.1600 he described Newport and Nevern as the 'two ancient boroughs of Cemais', with 28 burgages at the former and 18 at the latter (Owen 1897, 477). However, Nevern was never a formal borough and possessed no corporation or other urban infrastructure.

Even within Eglwyswrw and Nevern manors large elements of Welsh tenurial custom were still retained, leading to the development of a number of small landholdings within each of which developed a gentry house of varying status. Within Eglwyswrw these numbered at least 15 by the 16th century (Jones 1996). Recent work by Sambrook has identified a possible underlying settlement pattern here with seven potential settlement foci, perhaps corresponding to Jones' model of an early 'multiple estate' (Sambrook 2000). Other, small, nucleations within the Preseli area - eg. Brynberian, Felindre Farchog, Llangolman and Mynachlogddu, all appear to be post-medieval in origin established on settlement foci represented by mills and pre-existing churches, while Rosebush was established in the 1870s to serve the nearby slate-quarry.

Against a background of declining population, development in the first half of the 20th century was sluggish. The establishment of military installations and encampments during world war one and world war two had a profound effect on some parts of Pembrokeshire, particularly in the south of the county, but less so in the north; St David's airfield was the only major military establishment on the St David's peninsula and the Preseli area, and this was short-lived, although the remains of many minor world war two installations, including a world war two prisoner of war camp, can still be seen on the coast around St David's.

It was not until the years following world war two, with rising population levels, more rapid and cheaper transport to and from other parts of Wales and beyond, changes in farming practice, and an increase in living standards that modern development began to alter the historic landscape. In the 1950s and much of the 1960s development was slow, but since then it has accelerated. Three key areas are identifiable: modifications to the existing housing stock and the construction of new dwellings; the development of the tourist industry; and changes to the agricultural landscape, in particular the construction of new farm buildings.

Although many pre 1900 houses survive, it is becoming increasingly rare to find examples of unaltered historic houses as many repairs and modifications have been made to bring them up to a standard acceptable for modern living. However, the construction of new houses during and since the 1970s has had the greatest impact on the historic landscape, although the amount of new development is modest compared with other regions of Wales and England. In many instances new houses are straight replacements of older farmhouses and cottages, but on the fringes of St David's and within villages such as Eglwyswrw, Felindre Farchog, Maenclochog and Rosebush housing development, including small estates, has had a dramatic effect on the character of the settlements.

Caravan parks and camp sites, housing, a golf course and other developments associated with the tourist industry have affected the historic landscape of the St David's peninsula. Strict planning controls exercised by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park have mitigated the effect of some of these developments. Nevertheless the physical impact of the tourist industry is now a component of the historic landscape.

The impact of large new agricultural buildings on the landscape can be considerable. This is particularly true of the St David's peninsula where farms surrounded by a complexes of steel and concrete buildings are a conspicuous component of the historic landscape. The various types of building are discussed below in the vernacular architecture section.

Industry has never been a major factor in the development of the landscape of the Register Areas described here, and there is little evidence for early industrial activity. However, a significant slate industry developed along the southern fringes of the Preseli area, following the exposure of good quality Ordovician 'Green' slate (Richards 1998). Exploitation and trade appear to have begun as early as the Roman period, when Pembrokeshire slate was used as ballast on the quay-side at Caerleon (Boon 1978), and resumed during the Middle Ages to meet demand for ecclesiastical roofing- and walling-material. George Owen, writing in c.1600, suggests a significant trade in Pembrokeshire slate, and major workings were undertaken at Gilfach and Tyrch during the 18th century, but the industry only became systematised - and mechanised - during the 19th century when at least 20 quarries were operational within the area (Richards 1998). Large quarries were established, the most intensive being those at Rosebush and Bellstone which commenced in c.1830. From c.1870 onwards Rosebush expanded to employ well over 100 people, with an output of 5000 tons, and a village - with a chapel and hotel - developed at Rosebush (ibid.). Attempts to establish Rosebush as a tourist centre were, however, unsuccessful and after the closure of the quarry in 1908 it never expanded beyond a rural hamlet. The quarry nonetheless still forms a visually impressive feature within the landscape. Preseli saw, in addition, some small-scale lime production.

The Preseli area was also, during the early post-medieval period at least, one of the main centres of woollen production in Pembrokeshire, with at least six recognisable 16th century fulling mill sites (Lewis 1972), and several 19th century factories including those of Felindre Farchog, which boasted both a woollen mill and a tannery, and Brynberian. The establishment of these factories led to the development of small nucleations, and some, such as Pontyglasier, continued production into the 20th century.

By the 1830s, the woollen industry in Preseli had been superseded by that of the St David's area and the largest return for any one district was seventeen for the neighbourhood of St David's itself, including that at Middle Mill, which now operates as a tourist attraction. However, the economy of the area remained overwhelmingly agricultural and other industry was restricted mainly to extraction and burning for both lime and culm. Many quarries were established along the coast during the post-medieval period, while the batteries of limekilns at for example Porth Clais form a significant component of the harbour landscape. Quarrying for building stone has historically also been undertaken along the southern coast, in particular the fine-grained sandstone quarried around Caer Bwdi which was used in the construction of the west front of St David's Cathedral, as well as in other buildings. The exploitation of other mineral resources has been small-scale, for example the early 19th century copper mines on the sea cliffs around Treginnis.

Rural dwellings
Within the Preseli register area, and to a lesser extent in the St David's register area, the older domestic vernacular architecture is dominated by 19th century farmhouses and cottages. Across the whole of southwest Wales, but especially in north Pembrokeshire, the 19th century witnesses a programme of rebuilding during which virtually all examples of earlier farmhouses and other dwellings were swept away. These 19th century houses are remarkable uniform in character and are usually built of local stone with slate roofs. Originally, the roofs would either have been of thatch, or more probably local slate, but now almost all have been replaced by commercial slate. In layout the houses are of three bays, with a centrally placed front door, and chimneys in the gables. Most houses are of two storeys, but examples of one and one-and-a-half are present. Some of the houses are in the 'polite' Georgian style, with a symmetrical plan and evenly spaced well-proportioned door and window openings, but by far the greater number are in the vernacular tradition. This latter type of house is quite squat, asymmetrical in plan with small windows. Because of the high quality of the building stone at within both areas of St David's and Preseli a large proportion of the houses have not been cement rendered; this is in contrast to other regions of southwest Wales where very few stone-built houses in the vernacular tradition are left free of a protective coating of cement. The modest size of the farmhouses and cottages indicates that 19th century agricultural holdings were relatively small. However, they also indicate a period of agricultural prosperity for the small farmer during the 19th century, as clearly surplus resources were available to invest in new dwellings.

The use of earth as a building material has been recorded in the Preseli area in buildings of probable 19th century date, but the extent of its use and its survival is difficult to quantify as cement render is invariably applied over earth walls thereby masking the building's construction. Thus it is usually only in derelict or semi-derelict buildings that the use of earth is detectable. It is suspected that its use was far more common and its survival is greater than that recorded, and that houses assumed to be stone-built may well prove to be earth-built.

Grander and/or earlier houses are almost exclusively confined to the St David's area, with only a few examples in Preseli. The best known are the sub-medieval, round-chimney houses of St David's (Romilly Allen 1902). These houses survive from an earlier period of agricultural prosperity. They are substantial, and therefore unlike the more smaller dwellings of earlier periods were not universally replaced during the 19th century. Also in the St David's area, the development of small, private estates during the 18th century led to the construction of farmhouses with some degree of architectural pretension. As with the more modest houses, these are still stone-built, but are considerably larger and are invariably in the 'polite' Georgian style.

On the St David's peninsula the application of a cement skim over slated roofs is a distinctive characteristic of many buildings. In such an exposed situation the application of cement has obvious practical advantages, and it is still applied to re-roofed houses and to modern buildings; possibly for aesthetic purposes as much as for practical reasons.

The use of timber framing and corrugated iron sheet or tin sheet, in domestic architecture across north Pembrokeshire is a distinctive, though rapidly disappearing, element of the historic landscape. The best known example of this construction technique is the former Station Hotel at Rosebush, now called Y Tafarn Sinc, built at the end of the 19th century. However, most buildings of this construction type probably date to the first half of the 19th century, and comprise three-bay single-storey cottages. Very few now survive, but examples can be seen at several locations at Maenclochog and Llangolman, to the south of the Preseli Mountains.

Apart from the corrugated iron buildings noted above and the erection of an occasional farmhouse or other dwelling, very few new rural domestic buildings were constructed during the 20th century until the 1960s and 1970s. Since then some farmhouses and cottages have been replaced and new houses built either in isolated locations or in villages. These new buildings are in a variety of styles and materials and rarely owe anything to the traditional architecture of the region.

Farm buildings
Older farm buildings date almost exclusively to the 19th century and are in the main stone-built. Some earth-built structures are present in the Preseli area, but these are relatively rare. In both Preseli and St David's the size and range of farm buildings are relatively small compared with those of south Pembrokeshire and southern Carmarthenshire. In Preseli it is usual for a farm to consist of one or two ranges of small stone buildings, comprising a cow house, stable, cart shed and barn. Barns are small. The size and range of buildings reflect the mixed economy of the farms in the 19th century and the modest size of the land-holdings. Within the St David's area, and on Skomer and Ramsey Island, farm buildings are larger than those of Preseli, with ranges, including large barns, attached to more substantial farms. The semi-formal arrangement of farmhouse with its range of farm buildings set around a courtyard, as found in other parts of southwest Wales particularly in areas dominated by large estates, is rare in both the St David's and Preseli areas.

A notable aspect of the agricultural landscape, particularly in the Preseli area and especially to the south of the mountains, is the use of corrugated iron for farm buildings. The main period of use seems to have been in the first half of the 20th century, but corrugated iron sheds are still occasionally erected. The main use of this material was in the construction of round-headed Dutch barns. Many of these still survive, frequently painted black.

As with older farm buildings, modern steel, concrete and asbestos agricultural buildings are generally smaller than those elsewhere in southwest Wales. The exception is on St David's peninsula where farms surrounded by collections of very large modern buildings are a characteristic of the landscape.

The city of St David's features some of the best-quality ecclesiastical architecture in Wales. The cult of Dewi, and the tradition of pilgrimage, may extend back to the 7th century. By the 9th century the cult was firmly associated with St David's itself, an association which received impetus from the recognition of the episcopate by the Norman kings and from the indulgence of Pope Calixtus, of 1123, that two journeys to St David's were equal to one journey to Rome (James 1993, 105). The entire Cantref of Pebidiog appears to have become an episcopal possession by c.1100, largely through the gift (or confirmation) of the king of Dyfed, Rhys ap Tewdwr, in 1082 (James 1981, 28). Its churches and chapels by the later medieval period at least were very numerous, and variously became prebends or advowsons of the cathedral.

As James has noted, 'even today the environs of St David's preserve a remarkable ecclesiastical topography' (James 1993, 105). The peninsula is in every sense a ritual landscape, with a high number of chapels and lost chapel sites, cemetery sites, holy wells and early Christian monuments. Though the chapel buildings themselves are all post Anglo-Norman conquest, some - St Justinian's and St Non's, for example - are associated with wells and cemeteries that may well have pre-conquest origins, and the latter site had certainly become associated with the cult of Dewi's mother, Non, by the time of Giraldus Cambrensis' observations in the late 12th-century. The presence, moreover, of such an ecclesiastical 'infrastructure' associated with dateable pre-conquest early Christian monuments, and its devotional rather than formal context, argues that its origins are earlier.

In terms of later, formalised ecclesiastical administration, the St David's area mainly lies within the parish of St David's, which possibly perpetuates an earlier division. Whitchurch, also dedicated to St David, is associated with an early Christian monument and was a chapelry of St David's until the post-medieval period when it became a parish (Ludlow 1998). The third surviving church, at Llanhywel, was the centre of a parish from an early period and, unusually, was retained by the crown until 1302 when the benefice was appropriated to the cathedral (ibid.). Both churches, like the cathedral itself, retain much medieval fabric. Non-Conformism had a stormy start in the St David's area, but had become firmly established by the later 18th-century with a number of formal chapels some of which are now listed buildings, like the senior Methodist chapel of the parish, Caerfarchell, built in 1763.

Non-Conformism began as a religion of the home, and a peculiarity of the area is that the hamlets, the pattern of which had become a feature of the area by the close of the medieval period, are now occupied by a group of post-medieval farm buildings which frequently include a chapel eg. Carnhedryn and Llandidgige. These are normally of late 18th or 19th-century date, and of a variety of denominations, and appear in some instances to occupy an earlier religious site. Local tradition has it that Maes-y-mynydd near St David's was a Quaker settlement with a cemetery.

The Preseli area - and Cemaes generally - also preserves an ecclesiastical topography which, though dominated by the possessions of high medieval monastic establishments, also has early origins. The later medieval parish church at Llandeilo Llwydarth was the site of one of the so-called seven 'bishop-houses' of pre-Conquest Dyfed and the 'Teilo' dedication may be early. Two Early Christian Monuments from the site are now in Maenclochog Church, and the nearby holy well maintains the tradition that the water was drunk from the skull of St Teilo himself. During the medieval period Llandeilo, along with the neighbouring parish church of Llangolman, was annexed to the vicarage of Maenclochog, which in turn was granted to St Dogmael's Abbey by David de la Roche in c.1320 (Ludlow 1998). Llangolman and Maenclochog churches were entirely rebuilt during the 18th- and 19th-century, while Llandeilo is now ruinous.

The Tironian abbey of St Dogmael's represented the dominant ecclesiastical presence within this area. It possessed in addition the large grange of Nigra Grangia, granted in 1118 by the Lord of Cemaes, William Fitzmartin, which comprised most of the later parish of Mynachlog-ddu whose medieval church, also dedicated to St Dogfael, was originally a grange chapel (ibid.). A further grange chapel within the parish, dedicated to St Silin, may have had earlier origins. The Cistercians of Whitland Abbey were also landowners within the area, possessing the extensive grange of Llwyn-yr-ebol and grazing rights within Maenclochog.

To the north of Mynydd Preseli is a further concentration of ecclesiastical sites which were formerly associated with the large medieval parish of Eglwyswrw. The church of Eglwyswrw itself, now dedicated to St Cristiolus, appears to occupy an early site and may formerly have been dedicated to the Virgin Mary as was its dependant chapelry, later a parish church, at Llanfair Nant-Gwyn, and a number of wells in the surrounding district (Ludlow 1998b). The redundant parish church at Eglwyswen - like Llanfair a 19th century rebuild - was also a chapelry of Eglwyswrw but the neighbouring Meline was a medieval parish church under the patronage of the freemen of the manor, who had the right of alternate presentation to the living in a particular form of Welsh custom (Ludlow 1998). The church - dedicated to St Dogfael who was clearly the dominant cult figure within the area - occupies a circular churchyard and may be early, but was rebuilt in the 19th century, although retained a late-medieval door surround with human-mask grotesque mouldings. Much of this northern area lay within the medieval parish of Nevern from which the closed church at Cilgwyn survives as a much-rebuilt chapel-of-ease.

Cilgwyn is also the location of one of Cemaes' finest non-Conformist structures, the imposing Caersalem Chapel with its external baptistery tank, built in 1841 for a community established in 1820 (Dyfed Archaeological Trust 1997). Baptism within the Preseli area and beyond was led by the community of the senior chapel at Rhydwilym, which had been a very early foundation of 1668 under the benefaction of local gentry families and had, from the first, an exceptional influence over a wide area (Lewis 1975). Other early chapels include Capel Bethel at Mynachlogddu, established in 1794, while a reminder of persistent divisions is provided by Maenclochog where Tabernacle was built as an independent chapel in the mid 19th-century after an internal dispute within the congregation of the early 19th-century Hen Gapel (Dyfed Archaeological Trust 1997).

Evidence for prehistoric fields only survives on marginal land, such as St David's Head, Skomer Island and the Preseli Mountains, though there is no doubt that such fields were once present across much of the land under study here. It is not entirely certain what influence prehistoric fields had over the later historic landscape, but it is suspected that later field systems have almost entirely erased these earlier boundaries. Two types of field system have been recognised. On St David's Head long, straight boundaries which can still be traced for several kilometres divide the landscape into large blocks (Murphy 2001), known as a co-axial field system. These divisions were established as a unified system under the aegis of a powerful individual or group probably in the second millennium BC. They have had little influence on the modern landscape of the St David's Peninsula, as only a few extant field boundaries are aligned onto them, though elsewhere in Pembrokeshire Kissock (1993) has identified several parishes where a presumed co-axial field system has strongly influenced the shape and form of extant fields. The second form of field system comprises sinuous boundaries often associated with hut circles and enclosures. Skomer Island (Evans 1990) has the best example of this type of system, followed by St David's Head, with many disparate sites on the Preseli Mountains. It is assumed that these systems date from the iron age, but this has not been conclusively demonstrated. It would seem that this type of field system has had little impact on the modern agricultural landscape.

During the medieval period virtually all farmland was cultivated in open-field systems (also called sub-divided fields or common fields). In this system land was held communally, and apart from small closes and paddocks attached to farmsteads, enclosures were rare, and the land was divided into strips or shares within large open-fields. Uncultivated common and waste lay beyond the open-fields. Traditionally, strips within the open fields were not assigned to a farmer, but were rotated on an annual basis. However, by the 16th- and 17th-century rights of cultivation of certain strips within the open-fields became the prerogative of single farmers. By exchange and barter several adjoining strips could be amassed. It was then a simple process to throw a hedge around the amassed strips. By this process the open, communally held, fields were transformed into the privately-held field systems that still exist.

The date and pace of the enclosure of the open-fields varied considerably. On the rich farmland of north Pembrokeshire, north of the Preseli Mountains, open-field systems were ubiquitous when George Owen wrote his description of Pembrokeshire around about 1600, but it would seem that within a generation or two almost all had disappeared and were replaced by fairly large, regular fields surrounded by banks topped by hedges. There is now very little physical evidence for the former open-fields. The speed of their replacement and the coherent character of the new fields suggests that the process was undertaken with the consensus of the farming population as part of a programme of agricultural improvement.

To the south of the Preseli Mountains, the physical remains of former open-fields are much more evident in the modern landscape. Here the process of change seems to have been much slower, with the enclosure of single and engrossed strips by banks and hedges left to individual farmers. This has resulted in the fossilisation of former open-field strips in the modern landscape. A good example of this is at Maenclochog where the community's former open-fields, and even individual strips, are reflected in the shape of extant fields. Here the enclosure of the open-fields was only completed by the late 18th-century.

In contrast, the enclosure of the open-fields of St David's peninsula, and Pebidiog generally, was not completed until the early to mid 19th-century. It was still largely unenclosed 'and exposed to tempests' when Owen wrote in c.1600, and remained so until the 18th- early 19th-century, as witnessed by Charles Hassall in 1794 (Howells 1987). Late 18th-century estate maps in the National Library of Wales and in the Pembrokeshire Record Office record a landscape under rapid change. Surrounding the City of St David's some strips were still under open open-field cultivation in the late 18th-century, while others were enclosed into long, curving fields. By the tithe survey of the 1840-01 enclosure was complete. Although many of the long, curving fields created as a result of enclosure have now been amalgamated into more regular-shapes, and some have disappeared beneath the expanding city, the pattern of the underlying open-field system is still discernible. The St David's city open-field system was a conventional English system, established for and by the burgesses of the city. Elsewhere on the peninsula open-fields took an entirely different character. Tretio, Treleidr and Treleddyd are among the hamlets shown as small nucleated settlements on estate maps of the late 18th-century, some of which are shown surrounded by a sub-divided field system. The sub-divisions or strips in these systems are not the long, narrow curving strips typical of an 'English' open field system, but rather short strips and rectangular 'shares' (lleini in Welsh) scattered across a wide area in a survival from Welsh tenure. During the late 18th- and early 19th-century these open-field systems were rapidly transformed into a landscape of large, regular fields. Evidence for the former open fields is not now readily apparent in the landscape.

By the 18th century the agricultural land on St David's peninsula was virtually fully utilised and there was limited scope for the foundation of new farms or the carving out of new fields from the very limited areas of common available.

In the Preseli area, however, vast tracts of common, waste and mountain were available, and during the period of rapid population increase down to the mid 19th-century, many new farms were founded and previously uncultivated land brought under the plough. It is generally land between 200m and 300m that was settled and taken into cultivation in this period. Below 200m land had been permanently settled for many centuries, and above 300m open moorland was generally too hostile for farming.

On the northern side of the Preseli Mountains fertile, fairly low-lying farmland rises suddenly into high open moorland, and therefore there was only a narrow band of land suitable for colonisation. Nevertheless, the tithe survey of c. 1840 records encroachments along the fringes of this common land. On the ground these encroachments are now characterised by small agricultural holdings - cottages or small houses with no, or a limited range of, out-buildings - in a landscape of small, irregular fields. Many of the settlements on the upper fringes of these encroachments have now been abandoned.

On the southern side of the Preseli Mountains there is a broad tract of undulating ground as much as five kilometres wide lying between 200m and 300m, which down to the 17th century comprised open moorland. For instance, in the late 17th-century the landscape around Glandy Cross was described by Edward Lhuyd as moorland and heath. It was settled and enclosed by the early 19th-century. At Rhosfach, in Llangolman parish, cottages and small farmsteads in a landscape of small, irregular fields represent encroachment onto common. As land to the north of this area was formally enclosed by Act of Parliament (see below) in 1815, it is assumed that the farms and fields were created in the 18th century or earlier.

During the 18th- and 19th-century new houses on common land were known as tai unnos, which translates as one-night houses. According to tradition, right of possession would be granted if a house was built in one night and smoke was coming from the chimney by dawn. The new owner could also enclose land for as far as he could throw an axe. In other parts of Wales this right to build on common land was bitterly disputed by large estates, the Crown, freeholders and tenants (Murphy 1999, 16-18), but in north Pembrokeshire the practice was tolerated and even encouraged. For instance, in 1786, in Llanfyrnach parish a family was supplied with thatch and boards for finishing a cottage built on common land with 'the approbation of the Lord of the Manor' (Lewis n.d., 79-80). However, there were disputes, and Lewis (ibid., 61) records that in Llanfyrnach parish in 1802 hedges that had been illegally erected on the common were torn down.

It is unlikely that any tai unnos or cottages of squatters survive in their original condition. Most have been rebuilt, perhaps several times, or heavily modified during their lifetime.

Although the creation of new farms had virtually ceased by the mid 19th-century, former moorland continued to be enclosed and taken into cultivation into the 20th century. Examples of this can be traced on high sheltered hollows on the southern flanks of the Preseli Mountains.

Only a small portion of the St David's peninsula was enclosed by Act of Parliament, but to the south of the Preseli Mountains this formal method of land enclosure had a great impact on parts of the landscape. Two enclosure awards were enacted, one in 1815 centred on the parish of Llangolman on the southern flanks of the Preseli Mountains, and the other in 1812 in the parish of Llanfyrnach, on the southeastern flanks of the mountains. In both cases prior to enclosure the land comprised open moorland. Enclosure created a landscape of dispersed farms, regular fields and straight roads. In Llanfyrnach parish the landscape established in the early 19th-century survives virtually intact. The landscape of enclosure at Llangolman has suffered from depopulation; farms at higher levels have been abandoned and coniferous forestry planted across some former fields.

As described above, the vast majority of the modern field pattern either evolved from open-field systems during the 17th- to 19th-century or was newly created by the enclosure of moor and waste during the same period. The form and character of the fields often provide clues to their date and method of creation. For instance, enclosure by Act of Parliament resulted in a very regular, rectilinear pattern, while small-scale encroachments on common land produced a landscape of small, irregular fields.

Differences in the detail are also detectable. Field boundaries constructed as a result of an Act of Parliament tend to be of a common type and size across the enclosure area. This contrasts with areas of more organic field development where there is a greater diversity in the type of boundary. However, there is a limited range of field boundary types present in Preseli and St David's.

The most common historic boundary is undoubtedly the earth and stone bank; though this type includes the Pembrokeshire hedgebank - alternate layer of turf and stone - it was only occasionally recorded in either St David's or Preseli. Simple banks of earth mixed with stone predominate. The proportion of earth to stone varies according to local availability. In some locations, but particularly alongside roads and tracks, and often for quite short lengths, these banks are faced with dry-stone walling, presumably to afford protection from traffic and stock. At higher elevations, but also at lower levels, banks composed almost entirely of stone rubble can be found.

It is the norm for boundary banks to be topped with hedges. The type, quality and management condition of hedges can be important in determining the character of an area. At lower altitudes in sheltered locations well maintained hedges sometimes with hedgerow trees provide the appearance of a tightly enclosed landscape. On higher more exposed slopes hedges are often reduced to straggling lines of bushes or have entirely gone and been replaced by wire fences. This creates a softer aspect to the landscape and provides a zone of transition between the lower, tightly enclosed landscape and higher open moorland. Owing to the extremely exposed aspect of the St David's peninsula hedges are low, windswept straggling lines of gorse and other bushes. Because these rarely provide stock-proof barriers in their own right, the banks are massive. Hedgebanks in excess of 2m high are not uncommon.

Dry-stone walls are the second most common type of historic boundary, although they are not numerous and it is only in a few locations that they are the predominant type. Groups of them occur on the southern slopes of the Preseli Mountains, on the far western extremity of the St David's Peninsula, on Ramsey Island and on Skomer. In the latter two locations they are the main historic boundary type.

Apart from modern post and wire fences, which are ubiquitous, other types of field boundary are rare and are often only minor components of the historic landscape.

A feature of the St David's agricultural landscape, but not so common in the Preseli area, is the use of mortared stone gate-pillars at field entrances. Arable farming is, and was, an important element in the agricultural economy of St David's and wide field gateways to allow for agricultural machinery with the pillars providing protection for the hedgebanks are essential. Many of the pillars have been replaced by concrete block. In the more pastoral Preseli area field gateways are narrow and usually provided with timber or stone-pillar posts.

The unenclosed, common land in southwest Wales existed in two distinct forms -

i) Formal common land under which grazing rights were held by freemen as part of their manorial obligations and privileges, or

ii) areas of poorer land, often wet, that were set aside as informal waste.

In St David's, in particular, the distinction is still apparent in the use of the two place-name elements 'common' and 'moor'.

Unenclosed land of both forms was widespread throughout Preseli and St David's areas, though particularly within the Preseli area, dominated as it was, and is, by the unenclosed upland massif of Mynydd Preseli itself. Though evidence of prehistoric farming survives on the slopes of Mynydd Preseli, the land has historically always been open moor, the exploitation of which was formalised in a charter of the Lord of Cemaes, Nicholas Fitzmartin, in the late 13th-century, in which the freeholders of Cemaes were granted rights of pasture and turbary or turf-cutting (Howells 1977, 23). The extent of the common was defined in a survey of 1594 which gives the boundaries as "the Flemings' Way and Windypete (Bwlch-gwynt) indirectly eastwards to Blaen banon and thus descending.... as far as Whitchurch (Eglwyswen), Meline.... and Cilgwyn" ( ibid.). "The Flemings' Way" (or 'Via Flandrensica') of this and earlier documents is a pronounced earthwork that has been regarded as a prehistoric track.

The 1594 survey makes it clear that 'the (common) was never improved by the lord as yet', and it is unenclosed today. However, the enclosure of informal common or waste on the southern side of Mynydd Preseli had begun during the 16th century. For instance, St Dogmaels grange of Nigra Grangia (Mynachlog-ddu) comprised 5 carucates which were worth 8 15s 6d in 1535 (Lewis 1969), but its assessment at only half a knight's fee suggests that much of it was probably unenclosed during the medieval period. In the 16th century, moreover, the parishioners of Monington, near St Dogmaels, claimed exclusive rights of common to 'certain lands called Llethr' in Mynachlog-ddu parish ( ibid.). A direct reference to such distant transhumance is unusual within southwest Wales, and appears to be a continuation of practise under St Dogmaels Abbey. However, in the mid 16th-century the Court of Augmentations described lands within Mynachlog-ddu as 'tenements' suggesting that some formal enclosure of the grange had already taken place, and the present pattern of boundaries within the area is typical of early post-medieval enclosure.

The manor of Maenclochog, also on the southern side of Mynydd Preseli, contains several discrete areas of common representing the remnants of a larger area which remained unenclosed well into the post-medieval period and within which rights of turbary were claimed in 1724 (Howells 1987) suggesting the presence of a large, formal common. However, in 1301, the Lord of Maenclochog David de la Roche granted the monks of Whitland Abbey grazing rights for horses 'on Preseli and the waste places thereabouts for seven years, at one penny and thereafter 2 shillings' (Hunter 1852), which presumably relates to the same area.

In contrast, common land in the St David's area was much more scarce and was managed on a more formalised basis. The dominant settlement pattern of the area is represented by a high density of small hamlets largely based on vills, assessed within the Black Book of St David's, of 1326 (Willis Bund, 1902). Many of them appear to have been associated with two small separate areas of common land, one called 'common' and one called Waun or 'moor', the latter being waste. The same association of common land occurs, however, within vills not recorded before the 17th century. In the south of the area, a large unenclosed belt of waste was divided between at least five vills, each of which had rights to a portion. No physical distinction between these can now be defined, but much of the area is occupied by the site of the 20th century St David's Airfield. A larger area of relict common within the centre of the peninsula, Dowrog, represents an area of waste that was never enclosed, but clearly defined encroachments around Tretio appear to be 'quillets' of open fields rather than squatter encroachments, possibly representing 13th- or 14th-century assarts.

Semi-natural deciduous woodland is not a prominent component of the Preseli landscape, and is absent from the St David's peninsula, Ramsey Island and Skomer. Within the Preseli area deciduous woodland lies on the steep valley sides of the Western Cleddau to the south of the mountains, and to the north on the valley sides of the Nevern and the upper Gwaun around Cilgwyn.

This latter area of historic woodland is still heavily wooded, the present pattern of small irregular fields probably relating to piecemeal enclosure of woodland during the late medieval - early post-medieval period. It includes Pentre Ifan Wood which, as part of former Cilruth Wood, had been under the forest jurisdiction of the Barony of Cemaes since the 12th century and was described as 'a wonder... to see such fair timber' in 1603 (Trethowan 1998). Wenallt and Brithdir woods to the north were 'minor woods' in the 16th century. Clearance and enclosure had begun by the 13th century when a number of holdings were, by tradition, carved out of woodland. Since the mid 19th-century some of these holdings have been abandoned and map evidence and field observation clearly demonstrate that much of the modern woodland is regeneration over former fields and farms. This regeneration was subsequently managed by the neighbouring estates, for which a light railway at Pentre Ifan was constructed. Much of the woodland is now managed by Forest Enterprise and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Coniferous plantations dating to the second half of the 20th century are a characteristic component of the southern slopes of the Preseli Mountains. The largest of these, Pant Maenog at over 300 ha, was planted over open moorland and abandoned fields. It is a prominent element of the landscape, particularly when seen from the east and southeast. Its planting took place after the closure, in 1908, of the Bellstone slate quarry, elements of which also lie beneath the forestry. Other plantations are relatively modest in size, but nevertheless are prominent at a local level.

A Roman Road between Carmarthen and St David's, the so-called Via Julia as proposed by a number of 18th- and 19th-century antiquaries may, while spurious, have some basis in fact. Recent fieldwork has demonstrated that a road did in fact run west of Carmarthen into modern Pembrokeshire (Page forthcoming). Fenton and Colt-Hoare suggested that the road terminated at Porth Mawr or Whitesands Bay, the wide sandy beach to the west of St. David's "where, for ages, it was usual to take shipping for Ireland" (Fenton 1903, 65), but the true destination of the road is as yet unknown.

However, Porth Mawr is just one of a number of natural harbours around St David's, including St Justinian's, where the presence of a late medieval chapel built on an earlier site has been demonstrated, suggesting that the use of these harbours began at an early date. There are in fact several early medieval references to Irish peregrini, as well as kings and raiders, using these landing places (James 1993, 106), which may help confirm the continuing use of a pre-existing routeway. St Justinian's also served Ramsey Island where references to two early chapels can be found.

Among the more sheltered harbours of the south coast are Porthlysgi, and Porth Clais from which trade was being conducted by the chapter of St David's Cathedral by at least 1381. Porth Clais harbour was the centre of a thriving trade in grain, lime and culm during the 18th- and 19th-century.

Apart from the A487 main road which enters St David's from the southeast and exits towards the northeast, following the line of 18th century turnpikes and possible earlier routes, the St David's area is characterised by a network of unclassified roads and narrow lanes of informal origin. An airfield was established by RAF Coastal Command to the east of the town in 1943. The railway never came to St David's.

In contrast, the west side of the Preseli area is crossed by the Maenclochog Railway which was established to serve the Rosebush and Bellstone slate quarries in 1876 (Gale 1992), and was later extended to Fishguard where, in 1906, it was joined by the main South Wales line (later GWR). As a result of the closure of the quarry Maenclochog Railway closed in 1949.

Before the Maenclochog Railway, the quarries had previously been served by an existing road. This may have medieval origins, part of its course forming the axial main street through the planted settlement of Maenclochog. Other medieval routes through the Preseli area are represented by the main B4329 which runs across Mynydd Preseli, from Haverfordwest to Cardigan, via Brynberian and Pontgynon bridges which were mentioned by Owen in c.1600 (Owen 1897, 507). The road was turnpiked in the late 18th-century. The A487 Fishguard-Cardigan route is of similar age, passing over Pont Clydach bridge which was also mentioned in c.1600, and Pont Baldwyn which, by tradition, is named after Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury, who, with his entourage, crossed the bridge during their travels around Wales preaching the Third Crusade in 1188. The route was also a turnpike which became a factor in the development of the village of Felindre Farchog. It converges with the B4329 just west of Eglwyswrw, where a coaching inn - the Serjeants Arms - has stood since the mid 18th-century, and within which, during the 19th- and 20th-century, was held the Cemaes Petty Sessions.

Project contact: Ken Murphy