ESSO OIL REFINERY
GRID REFERENCE: SM 873062
AREA IN HECTARES: 212
Apart from the remains of South Hook Fort, this historic landscape character
area is the dismantled remains of an oil refinery. Prior to the construction
of the refinery this was chiefly an agricultural landscape. It lies within
the parish, and former township, of Herbrandston. This part of the parish
was a member of the medieval Manor of Pill and Roch, and in the mid 13th
century, ‘two carucates of land with all the appurtenances called
South Hook in the tenement of the township of Herbrandston’ were
granted, by the lord John de Roche, to the Tironian Priory at nearby Pill.
At the dissolution the area fell into private hands. Gelliswick estate,
in the east, possibly post-Meideval in origin, was acquired by the Barret
family in c.1550 and passed, in the 18th century, to the Philippses of
Picton Castle. Eighteenth century estate maps show a landscape of fairly
large, regularly shaped fields – the fields belonging to South Hook
farm (removed during refinery construction) and Gelliswick. This landscape
remained unchanged through the 19th century and first half of the 20th
century apart from the construction of South Hook Fort. This fort was
built between 1859 and 1865 as part of a defensive scheme for the Milford
Haven waterway. It housed 20 guns in open batteries protected by earthworks.
One battery was rebuilt in 1898 to house new guns. The fort was abandoned
in the 1930s and sold in 1936, but was briefly used by Royal Navy in World
War 2. Refinery construction began in 1957, and it was opened in 1960.
It is now closed and has been dismantled.
Base map reproduced from the OS map with the permission
of Ordnance Survey on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery
Office, © Crown Copyright 2001.
All rights reserved. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright
and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings. Licence Number: GD272221
Description and essential historic landscape components
This area lies on gently undulating land at about 50m above sea level.
Sea cliffs lie to the west and south. It is the site of a dismantled oil
refinery, of which all that remains are perimeter fences, a few ancillary
buildings, a jetty and earthworks marking the positions of oil storage
tanks and other installations. South Hook fort, a mid 19th century defensive
building with a large late 19th century gun battery, lies within this
area. The fort buildings had been used to house part of the refinery,
but the battery survives virtually unaltered.
This is a very well defined area, and is bordered either by cliff top,
farmland or a golf course.
Sources: McKay 1993; Herbandston Parish Tithe Map, 1839; Hubberston Parish
Tithe Map, 1840; Jones, 1996; Ludlow 2002; Owen 1897; Pritchard 1907;
PRO D/RTM/6/21; NLW R.K. LUCAS COLL. VOL. 2; NLW PICTON CASTLE VOL 1