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Historic Background
A large character area to the west of the Western Cleddau, comprising the northern half of Freystrop parish. Freystrop was a member of the Lordship of Haverford. Its medieval manorial centre probably lay in the vicinity of the village Lower Freystrop, some distance from the parish church of St Justinian, suggesting that the church may be a pre-Conquest foundation. The church was granted to the Tironian priory at Pill before 1400. The remainder of the settlement pattern in this area is late creation; none of the farms or hamlets in the area being recorded before the 18th century. However, it appears that the underlying landscape may be earlier, based on a medieval open field system and common land– Northmoor Common – which still lies in the centre of the area. The entire character area is depicted on a map of 1773. It shows an essentially agricultural landscape, the main settlement at Lower Freystrop then being a loose nucleation of about ten houses surrounded by open fields. It would seem that many of the strips in the open fields were unenclosed – ie. the open field system was still operating – but some strips had been enclosed by hedges. By the tithe survey of 1839 the open field system had been fully enclosed into the distinctive long narrow fields (representing individual or groups of strips within the former open field) that still survive to some degree. Only very small pockets of moor, common or other uncultivated land are shown on the 1773 map. However, an embryonic industrial landscape is shown interspersed with the agricultural landscape, with numerous isolated cottages and scattered coal pits lying in the strip fields to the east of Lower Freystrop and Freystrop village. Small-scale coal mining had been an element in the economy of the area since the later medieval period, probably worked seasonally by farmers and farm labourers, but the pits and houses marked on the 1773 map indicate a more concerted effort at extracting coal. They include Cardmaker’s Pool Colliery, a fairly extensive 18th century operation. By the mid 19th century larger pits were opened close to Freystrop. This brought with it an increase in population and the development of the modern settlement pattern. Industrialisation had a detrimental effect on agriculture with former arable fields reverting to rough grazing. The modern settlement of Freystrop, which has been assigned to a different historic landscape area, is largely a 20th century nucleation around a cross-roads, and comprised just a single cottage in 1773.


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
Historically this is a very distinct historic landscape character area. It consists of the old established village of Lower Freystrop and its former open fields. It lies across undulating land ranging between 20m and 80m above sea level. Lower Freystrop consists of a loose cluster of 19th century stone-built and cement rendered, slate roofed, two storey houses in a style that can be termed Georgian vernacular. Several substantial ranges of 19th century stone-built farm buildings are located in the village, most of which are disused and some are dilapidated. Interspersed with the older dwellings are late 20th century houses in a variety of styles. There is also a dispersal of 20th century houses across the whole of the character area. The parish church of St Justinian’s lies some distance from the village on the side of a narrow valley. Farmhouses of the dispersed farms are generally 19th century in date, and in the same Georgian tradition as those of the village. Older outbuildings are 19th century and stone-built, with most farms having just one or two small ranges. Large assemblages of modern outbuildings are present on most farms. Many of the fields in this area still retain their strip-shape from when they were enclosed from an open field system two centuries ago. Field boundaries consist of earth banks topped with hedges. Generally most hedges are well maintained, but there are overgrown examples present as well as some that are becoming derelict. Woodland where it is present in some valley bottoms and steep valley sides lends a wooded aspect to parts of the landscape. Land-use is predominantly improved pasture with some arable and a little rougher pasture. Industrial features of the old coal industry are not a prominent component of the landscape. A modern cemetery and a golf-range are evidence of the influence of the nearby town of Haverfordwest. Archaeological sites are not common, and do not greatly characterise the area, but include the possible site of a medieval hospice and the doubtful site of a medieval church at Middle Hill. There are no listed buildings.

Historically this is a very well defined area, although degradation of certain historic landscape components has led to a blurring between this area and that of some of its neighbours, particularly to the north, west and south. To the east this area forms a hard-edged boundary with woodland alongside the Milford Haven waterway.

Sources: Charles 1992; Edwards 1950; Edwards 1963; Freystrop Parish tithe map 1839, Ludlow 2002; NLW PICTON CASTLE VOL. 1; NLW VOL. 88; Ordnance Survey 6” First Ed. 1869