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Historic Background
This is a small character area comprising the village and fields of Rosemarket. The medieval Manor of Rosemarket, coterminous with the parish, was initially a member of the Lordship of Haverford. It was clearly under joint tenure when in c.1145 it was granted, along with the parish church, to the Knights Hospitaller of Slebech by the knights William FitzHait, Robert FitzGodebert and Richard FitzTancard. Jurisdiction continued to be subordinate to the Lordship of Haverford. Slebech received £24 annually from the manor in 1338. A large earthwork enclosure at the southern end of the village is not fully understood. It may represent an iron age hillfort, but the village morphology suggests that it was reused as a castle during the medieval period. It adjoins the parish church, and a planned arrangement of three parallel streets leads northwards from it. It appears never to have been fortified in stone and, by the 17th century at least, had been superseded by a mansion. This lay opposite the church where the present Cross Farm is located. At the dissolution, the manor fell to the crown but towards the end of the 16th century one Morys Walter gained control of many of the tenements and much land and eventually acquired the manor. The manor remained in the hands of the Walter family until the early 18th century. It appears to have been subdivided before 1735 when the Walters leased ‘the capital messuages called Walter’s Hall and the Hall of Rosemarket’ to William Owen of Landshipping. As noted above, Walter’s hall lies beneath the present Cross Farm. A dovecote, probably early 17th century, stands in the adjoining field. From documentary sources it would seem that by the end of the medieval period Rosemarket was a small agricultural community centred on the village and surrounded by open field systems with common land towards the boundaries of the parish. Howells describes the means by which Morys Walter gained control of many of the tenements. He enclosed the common fields and turned arable land to pasture, encroached and enclosed Her Majesty’s commons and put to ruin houses. By the tithe survey of 1843 the village appears to be in a thriving condition. The system of small, fairly regular fields close to the village may well be a result of Walter’s enclosure. However, enclosed strip fields shown on the tithe map indicate more piecemeal enclosure of the open fields, perhaps as late as the 18th century. These strip fields have now been largely amalgamated into rectangular enclosures, and the only real clue to the former open fields resides in place-names such as the farm called Westfield. Nineteenth century maps show that settlement within the village was very sparse indeed. Dwellings were spaced far apart along the three streets. Much of this space has been infilled during the 20th century. A small area of relict common lay immediately north of the village. The GWR Haverfordwest-Neyland railway line that opened in 1856 and closed in the 1960s crosses the area, but a station did not serve the village.

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
Rosemarket historic landscape character area essentially consists of a small village together with its neighbouring fields, and deciduous woodland on steep valley sides. It lies across and to the north of a steep sided valley. Land above the valley is undulating, but with a south-facing aspect, and lies between 40m and 60m above sea level. The village has a planned morphology, with a main north-south aligned street flanked by two parallel streets, one to the west and one to the east. The medieval church of St Ishmael, and the possible castle, lie in an axial position at the southern end of the main street. This street is flanked by the other two streets that form ‘back lanes’, though possibly not in the formal sense. Nevertheless, it is possible that crofts and tofts were laid out between the streets in a system approaching that of urban burgage plots. Houses which front onto the streets are mostly detached and vary in character and date, with 19th century one- and two-storey, stone-built, slate-roofed dwellings broadly in the vernacular style, interspersed with mid to late 20th century houses and bungalows. Small-scale 20th century housing developments are also present. Several stone-built farm buildings in the village lend an agricultural aspect to parts of the settlement. There is a public house and a chapel here. Farms included in this area are generally small. The grade II* listed masonry dovecote on the outskirts of the village, close to the former mansion house, is the only listed building. The village ends abruptly on the south side against a steep sided valley heavily cloaked in deciduous woodland. A disused railway line that runs down the valley has recently been converted to a cycle-way. Small fields of improved pasture lie to the west, north and east of the village. Many of the hedges that surround the fields are overgrown, and this together with woodland provides a wooded aspect to the area. Archaeological sites include an iron age hillfort/castle site, at the southern end of the village, the sites of several mills, including a fulling mill, a holy well and the dismantled railway.

The boundaries of Rosemarket historic landscape character area are not easy to define. In essence, this area forms a buffer zone between large farms with large regular fields to the south and a more broken landscape of smaller farms, smaller fields and small stands of woodland to the north.

Sources: Howells 1955-56; Jones 1996; King 1988; Ludlow 1998; PRO D/LLW/30956; Rees 1897; Rosemarket Parish tithe map 1843; Ordnance Survey 6” First Ed. Sheet XXXSE, 1869