Home > Historic Landscape Characterisation > Milford Haven Area >



Historic Background
This large character area lies on the south side of the Milford Haven waterway. It lies within the parishes of Angle, Hundleton, Pwllcrochan and Rhoscrowther. The landscape features a large number of prehistoric elements. The present B4320 is traditionally thought to follow the line of a prehistoric trackway, known as ‘The Ridgeway’, that runs along the main east-west ridge across south Pembrokeshire. The amount of prehistoric archaeology surviving within the immediate environs lends credence to the tradition of this being a ancient trackway. Neighbouring this area Kilpaison Burrows dune slacks overlie a well-known complex of bronze age round barrows, and a neolithic burial chamber, the ‘Devil’s Quoit’. Further groups of prominent barrows lie just south of Wallaston Farm, and at the Dry Burrows near Hundleton, while Corston Beacon round barrow is still a prominent landmark. Straight, north-south field boundaries that characterise much of south Pembrokeshire are co-axial upon the east-west Ridgeway and are possibly prehistoric in origin. The Ridgeway remains a prominent landscape feature and appears to have formed the boundary between the early medieval commotes, of Manorbier – within which this area lay - and Coedrath, both in Cantref Penfro. An ecclesiastical centre lay at Rhoscrowther itself, which was the site of a ‘Bishop house’, a quasi-collegiate foundation of St Davids. Much of the area lay within the later medieval Manor of Castlemartin which was the demesne manor of the Lordship of Pembroke, and a castle-guard fee. Rhoscrowther and Pwllcrochan appear to have been more loosely tied to the manor and by the later medieval period a separate gentry-house had been established in Rhoscrowther parish at Eastington. Hundleton parish was created out of part of Monkton parish in the 1840s and lay within the borough liberty of Pembroke. Angle, comprising 2 knight’s fees, was held as a mesne lordship of Pembroke. Many of the farms in the area began as vills mentioned in accounts of the 13th century to the 15th century. Orielton and Kilpaison represented one knight’s fee held of Pembroke by Richard Wyryot in 1353, Moreston represented ½ knights’s fee held of Pembroke, Rhoscrowther, with the parish church and glebe were also held of Pembroke, and Corston, Neath and Wallaston, were members of the Manor of Castlemartin from the 13th century onwards. Pwllcrochan parish church was a possession of the Benedictines of Monkton Priory, Pembroke. However, there is little evidence for open-field farming within the area, but strips were still held collectively within the fields of Newton Farm in 1824, and are shown on a map of that year. Windmills appear to have formed a prominent feature of the landscape and at least three appear to have occupied the area during the medieval or early post-medieval period. The Herbert Earls of Pembroke held Castlemartin manor from 1551 until 1598 when it was sold to the Lorts of Stackpole. In 1698, Alexander Campbell acquired it through marriage. Many of the farms, and major houses such as Bangeston – possibly the site of a moated medieval manor - were in direct Campbell ownership. Rhoscrowther and Pwllcrochan had become a holding distinct from the Castlemartin estate, the ‘Rosecrowther and Pulcrogan Estate’ which comprises most of the central part of this area. In 1824 the estate was sold to Sir John Owen of Orielton, an estate that included the easternmost part of this area, and the Mirehouses of Angle eventually acquired much of it. The present system of large, irregular fields and dispersed settlement, is apparent by 1787, when it is shown on an estate map of that year, as are the villages of Rhoscrowther and the hamlet of Pwllcrochan. Both these settlements were abandoned as a result of the construction of an oil refinery and power station in neighbouring areas in the 1960s. There are also limestone quarries in this area.

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
Rhoscrowther is a large historic landscape area that stretches along the southern banks of the Milford Haven waterway from Hundleton in the east to the far west of the Castlemartin Peninsula. Although it includes the mud, marsh and rocks along the foreshore of the waterway, the main bulk of this area comprises an agricultural landscape lying across gently undulating hills that rise to 60m to 70m above sea level. Apart from the loosely clustered and now abandoned hamlet of Rhoscrowther and the former cluster of dwellings at Pwllcrochan there are no villages, and the settlement pattern comprises dispersed farms and other dwellings. Rhoscrowther and Pwllcrochan were abandoned during or after the construction of the Texaco oil refinery and Pembroke Power Station. There are a large number of listed buildings most of them farm buildings. Farms tend towards the large size. Stone is the main building material, with houses usually cement rendered and outbuildings left bare, and slate the roofing material. Farmhouses date in the main to the 19th century, but there is great variety in this area, with more examples in the polite Georgian style than in the vernacular tradition. Although the latter tradition is apparent in some of the smaller examples, such as the 17th century or 18th century house at Hilton with its massive chimney, and the remains of 18th century Bangeston House. Other older examples include the late medieval tower house at Eastington with its neighbouring 18th century house, and an old 16th or 17th century mansion at Henllan now used as a barn. Modern housing is not a strong component of the landscape, but new single dwellings constructed close to farms are present. Most farms have substantial ranges of 19th century outbuildings, often set in a formal arrangement around a yard, and large collections of modern steel, concrete and asbestos agricultural structures. Included in this area are two medieval churches, each with a substantial tower, St Decumanus at Rhoscrowther and St Mary’s at Pwllcrochan. Land-use is a mixture of improved pasture and arable. There is very little rough pasture or under-used farmland apart from pockets of marsh close to the coast. Deciduous woodland is common on the steeper valley sides and on the coastal slopes – indeed in the latter location it is very prominent – but across the more gently sloping farmland it does not constitute a major landscape component. Fields are large. Hedges on banks are by far the most common type of boundary, but towards the western part of the area mortared walls form a small but significant element. Hedges are generally well maintained. Mortared stone cylindrical gateposts are a feature of the landscape, particularly towards the area’s western end. Non-agricultural landscape components are not numerous, but included small reservoirs, sites of dismantled oil storage tanks and telecommunication masts. There are numerous archaeological sites within this area, but they are not prominent landscape features and therefore do not form major components of the historic landscape. Nevertheless they include: several bronze age burial mounds, bronze age standing stones, bronze age burnt mounds, many prehistoric flintworking sites, sites of medieval settlements, old cottages and sites of houses at Pwllcrochan, limekilns and quarries, and 20th century defensive structures.

Definition of this area to the north where it borders the waterway or an oil refinery and power station is very good. To the east and west definition is less clear, and to the south where the character area has yet to be delineated boundary definition is poor, with no hard-edged border but rather a wide zone of change.

Sources: Angle parish tithe map 1842; Hundleton Parish tithe map 1841; Jones 1987; Kissock 1993: Lockley 1977; Ludlow 1993; Ludlow 1998; Nash 1986; NLW VOL. 1; NMR Cawdor Map Book, 1787; Owen 1918; PRO D/EE/7/338; PRO D/LLC/674; PRO D/ANGLE/5; PRO D/ANGLE/92; PRO HDX/198/2; PRO D/BUSH/6142 & 144; Pwllcrochan Parish tithe map 1840; Ramsey 1999; Rhoscrowther Parish tithe map; Walker 1950