Britannia, by William Camden


Big T THE Sea, now winding it self to the south, and by a vast compass and several Creeks rendering the shore very uneaven, beats on all sides upon the County of Penbroke (commonly call’d Penbrokshire, and in ancient Records The Legal County of Penbroke, and by some, West-Wales) except on the east, where it is bounded with Caer-mardhin-shire, and the north, where it borders on Cardiganshire. It is a fertile Country for Corn, affords plenty of Marl and such like things to fatten and enrich the Land, as also of Coal for Fuel; and is very well stock’d with Cattel. This Country (saith Giraldus) affords plenty of Wheat, and is well serv’d with Sea-fish and imported Wine; and (which exceeds all other advantages) by its nearness to Ireland, enjoys a wholesom Air.

First, on the Southern Coast, TenbighTenbigh. a neat town, strongly wall’d, beholds the Sea from a dry rock; a place much noted for its harbour and for plenty of Fish (whence in British it is call’d Dinbech y Pyskod;) and govern’d by a Mayor and a Bailiff. To the west of this place, are seen on the shore the small ruins of Manober Castle,Manober Castle. call’d by Giraldus Pyrrhus’s Mansion; in whose time (as he himself informs us) it was adorn’d with stately Towers and Bulwarks, having on the west-side a spacious Haven; and under the Walls, to the north and north-west, an excellent Fish-pond, remarkable as well for its neatness, as the depth of its water. The shore being continu’d some few miles from hence, and at length drawing-in it self, the sea on both sides comes a great way into the land, and makes that Port which the English call Milford-haven;Milford-haven. than which there is none in Europe, either more spacious or secure; so many Creeks and Harbours hath it on all sides, which cut the banks like so many Fibres; and, to use the Poet’s words,

Hic exarmatum terris cingentibus æquor
Clauditur, & placidam discit servare quietem

Here circling banks the furious winds controul,
And peaceful waves with gentle murmurs rowl.

For it contains sixteen Creeks, five Bays, and thirteen Roads, distinguish’d by their several names. Nor is this Haven more celebrated for these advantages, than for Henry the seventh of happy memory landing here; who from this place gave England (at that time languishing with Civil Wars) the first Signal of better Times approaching.

Penbroke. At the innermost and eastern Bay of this Haven, a long Cape (saith Giraldus) which is extended from Milver-dike with a forked head, shews the principal town of this Province, and the Metropolis of Dimetia, seated on a rocky oblong Promontory, in the most pleasant Country of all Wales; call’d by the Britains Penvro, which signifies the Cape or Sea-Promontory, and thence in English, Penbroke. Arnulph de Montgomery, brother to Robert Earl of Shrewsbury, built this Castle in the time of King Henry the first; but very meanly, with Stakes only and green Turf. Which, upon his return afterwards into England, he deliver’d to Girald of Windsor, a prudent man, his Constable and Lieutenant-General, who with a small garrison was presently besieged therein, by all the Forces of South-Wales. But Giraldus and his party made such resistance (tho’ more with courage, than strength) that they were forced to retire, without success. Afterward, this Giraldus fortify’d both Town and Castle; from whence he annoy’d and insulted the neighbouring Countries a great way round. And for the better settlement of himself and his friends in this Country, he marry’d Nest, the sister of Prince Gryffydh, by whom he had a noble Off-spring; and by their means (saith Giraldus, who was descended from him) not only the Maritim parts of South-Wales were retain’d by the English, but also the Walls of Ireland reduced. Origin of the Giralds in Ireland. For all those noble Families in Ireland call’d Giralds, Giraldines, and Fitz-Giralds, are descended from him.Rotulus Servitiorum. In regard of the Tenure of this Castle and Town, and the Castle and Town of Tinbigh, and of the Grange of King’s-Wood, the Commot of Croytarath, and Manour of Castle-Martin and Tregoir, Reginald Grey, at the Coronation of Henry the fourth, claim’d the honour of bearing the second Sword, but in vain; for it was answer’d, that at that time those Castles and Farms were in the King’s hands, as is also at this day the Town of Pembroke, which is a Corporation, and is govern’d by a Mayor and two Bayliffs.

On another Bay of this Haven, we find Carew-castle,Carew-castle. which gave both name and original to the illustrious Family of Carew, who affirm themselves to have been call’d at first de Montgomery, and that they are descended from that Arnulph de Montgomery already mention’d.

Two Rivers are discharg’d into this Haven, almost in the same Chanel, call’d in the British tongue Cledheu,Cledheu. which in English signifies a Sword, whence they call it Aber-dau-Gledheu, i.e. the Haven of two Swords. Hard by the more easterly of them, standeth Slebach,Slebach. once a Commandery of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, which, with other Lands, Wizo and his son Walter settled upon that holy Order; that they might serve, as the Champions of Christ, in order to recover the Holy-Land.

That part of the Country which lies beyond the Haven, and is water’d only with these two rivers, is call’d by the Britains Rhos:Rhos. a name, deriv’d from the situation; for it is a large green plain. This part is inhabited by Flemings,Flemings, when seated in Wales. who settled here by the permission of King Henry the first; when the Sea, making breaches in the fences, had drown’d a considerable part of the Low-Countreys. They are at this day distinguish’d from the Welsh by their speech and customs: and they speak a language so much English (which indeed has a great affinity with the Dutch) that this small Country of theirs is call’d by the Britains Little England beyond Wales.Little England beyond Wales. This (saith Giraldus) is a stout and resolute Nation, and very troublesom to the Welsh by their frequent skirmishes: a people excellently skill’d in the business of cloathing and merchandize, and always ready to increase their stock at any pains or hazard, by sea and land. A most puissant Nation, and equally prepar’d, as time and place shall require, either for the sword or the plow. And to add one thing more, a Nation most devoted to the Kings of England, and faithful to the English; and which, in the time of Giraldus, understood Soothsaying, or the inspection of the Entrails of beasts, even to admiration. Moreover, the Flemings-way,Flemings-way. which was a work of theirs (as they are a People exceeding industrious,) is here extended through a long tract of ground. The Welsh, endeavouring to regain their old country, have often set upon these Flemings with all their power, and have ravag’d and spoil’d their borders; but they have always been ready, with great courage, to defend their fortunes, their fame, and their lives. Whence William of Malmesbury writes thus of them, and of William Rufus; William Rufus had, generally, but ill fortune against the Welsh; which one may well wonder at, seeing all his attempts elsewhere prov’d successful. But I am of opinion, that as the uneavenness of their country and severity of the Climate favour’d their rebellion, so it hinder’d his progress. But King Henry, that now reigns, a man of excellent wisdom, found out an art to frustrate all their inventions, by planting Flemings in their country, to curb and to be a continual guard upon them. And again in the fifth Book; King Henry, by many expeditions, endeavour’d to reduce the Welsh, who were always prone to rebellion. At last, very advisedly, in order to abate their pride, he transplanted thither all the Flemings that liv’d in England. For at that time there were many of them come over on account of their relation to his mother, by their father’s side; insomuch that they were burdensome to the Kingdom: wherefore, he thrust them all into Ros, a Province of Wales, as into a common-shore, as well to rid the Kingdom of them, as to curb the obstinacy of his enemies. ⌈To this we may add what Dr. Powel hath deliver’d upon this occasion, in his * * P.277.History of Wales.Rys

In the year 1217. Prince Lhewelyn ap Jorwerth march’d to Dyved, and being at Kevn Kynwarchan, the Flemings sent to him to desire a Peace; but the Prince would not grant them their request. Then young Rŷs was the first that pass’d the river Kledheu, to fight with those of the town [of Haverford:] whereupon Jorwerth, Bishop of St. David’s, with all his Clergy, came to the Prince, to intercede for Peace in behalf of the Flemings, which after long debating was thus concluded. First, That all the Inhabitants of Ros, and the Land of Penbroke should become the Prince’s subjects, and ever from thenceforth take him for their liege Lord. Secondly, That they should pay him one thousand Marks toward his charges, before Michaelmas next coming. Thirdly, that for the performance of these, they should deliver forthwith to the Prince twenty Pledges of the best in all the Country, &c. —And again, In the year 1220.P.279. Lhewelyn Prince of Wales led an Army to Penbroke against the Flemings, who contrary to their Oath and League had taken the Castle of Aber Teivi, which Castle the Prince destroy’d (putting the Garrison to the sword,) and ras’d the Castle, and went thenceWiston. to the Land of Gwys, where he ras’d that Castle, and burn’d the Town. Also he caus’d all Haverford to be burn’d to the Castle-gates, and destroy’d all Ros and Daugledhau; and they that kept the Castle sent to him for Truce till May, which was concluded upon Conditions, and so he return’d home.

On the more westerly of those two rivers call’d Cledheu, in a very uneaven situation, lies Harford-west,Haverford-west. call’d by the English formerly Haverford; and by the Britains, Hwlfordh: a town of good account, as well for its neatness, as number of inhabitants. It is also a County of it self, and is govern’d by a Mayor, a Sheriff, and two Bayliffs. There is a Tradition, that the Earls of Clare fortify’d it on the north-side with walls and a rampire; and we have it recorded, that Richard Earl of Clare made Richard Fitz-Tankred Governour of this castle.

Beyond Ros, is a spacious Promontory, extended with a huge front into the Irish Sea; call’d by Ptolemy Octopitarum,Octopitarum. by the Britains Pebidiog and Kantrev Dewi, and in English St. David’s Land.St. David’s Land. A Land (saith Giraldus) both rocky and barren, neither clad with trees, nor divided with rivers, nor adorn’d with meadows; but expos’d continually to the winds and storms: however, it was the retiring-place and nursery of several Saints.Rhos Doll aedes pepulchrae For Calphurnius a British Priest (as some have written, I know not how truly) begat here, in the vale of Rhôs, St. PatrickSt. Patrick. the Apostle of Ireland, on his wife Concha, sister of St. Martin of Tours. And Dewi, a most Religious Bishop, translated the Archiepiscopal See from Kaer-Leion to the utmost corner of this place, viz. Menew or Menevia, which, from him, was afterwards call’d by the Britains Ty Dewi, i.e. David’s house,St. David’s. by the Saxons Saxon Dauydmynster, and by our modern English, St. David’s. For a long time, it had its Archbishops; but the plague raging very much in this country, the Pall was translated to Dôll in Little Britain, which was the end of this Archiepiscopal dignity. Notwithstanding which, in later Ages, the Britains commenced an Action on that account, against the Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of England and Wales; but were cast. What kind of place St. David’s was heretofore, is hard to guess, seeing it has been so often sack’d by Pirates: at present, it is a very mean city, and shews only a fair Church consecrated to St. Andrew and St. David. Which having been often demolish’d, was built in the form we now see it, in the reign of King John, by Peter then Bishop thereof and his successors, in the Vale of Rhôs (as they call it) under the town. Not far from it, is the Bishop’s Palace: and † Ædes perpulchræ, C. ann. 1607.very fair houses, of the Chanter (who is chief next the Bishop, for here is no Dean) the Chancellor, the Treasurer, and four Archdeacons, who are * * E Canonicis.of the Canons (whereof there are twenty-one,) all inclos’d with a strong and stately wall.

⌈As to the ancient name of St. David’s, there is, not far from it, a place at this day call’d Melin Meneu;Melin Meneu. wherein is preserv’d the old denomination. But the original signification of the word Meneu is now lost, and perhaps not to be retriev’d. However, I would recommend it to the curious in Ireland and Scotland (where the names of places agree much with those in Wales) to consider whether it may not signify a Frith or narrow Sea: For we find the Chanel betwixt Caernarvonshire and the Isle of Anglesey to be call’d Aber-meneu; and there is here also a small Fretum, call’d the Sound, betwixt this place and the Isle of Ramsey; and another place call’d Meney, hard by a Frith in Scotland, in the County of Buquhan.⌉

This Promontory is so far extended westward, that in a clear day you may see Ireland: and from hence is the shortest passage into it. Pliny erroneously computed Ireland to be thirty miles distant from the Country of the Silures; for he thought their country had extended thus far. But we may gather from these words of Giraldus, that this Cape was once extended farther into the sea; and that the form of the Promontory has been alter’d. At such time as Henry the second (saith he)Trunks and Stumps of trees in the sea. was in Ireland; by reason of an extraordinary violence of storms, the sandy shores of this coast were laid bare, and the face of the land appear’d which had been cover’d for many ages: Also, the Trunks of trees, which had been cut down, were seen standing in the midst of the sea, and the strokes of the axe as fresh as if they had been yesterday: with very black earth, and several old blocks like Ebony. So that now it did not appear like the sea-shore, but rather resembled a grove (made by a miraculous Metamorphosis, perhaps ever since the time of the Deluge, or else long after, at leastwise very anciently,) as well cut down, as consum’d and swallow’d up by degrees, by the violence of the sea, continually encroaching upon and washing off the land. And that saying of William Rufus, shews that the lands were not here disjoyn’d by any great sea; who when he beheld Ireland from these rocks, said, he could easily make a bridge of ships, whereby he might walk from England into that Kingdom; as we read in Giraldus.

⌈Besides this instance of the Sea-sands being wash’d off, we find the same to have happen’d about the year 1590. For Mr. George Owen, who liv’d at that time, and is † † Pag.758.mention’d in this work as a learned and ingenious person, gives us the following account of it in a Manuscript HistorySee below, at Kemaes. of this County.

About twelve or thirteen years since, it happen’d that the sea-sands at Newgal, which are cover’d every tide, were by some extraordinary violence of the Waves so wash’d off, that there appear’d stocks of Trees, doubtless in their native places; for they retain’d manifest signs of the strokes of the axe, at the falling of them. The Sands being wash’d off, in the winter, these Buts remain’d to be seen all the summer following, but the next year the same were cover’d again with the sands. By this it appeareth, that the Sea in that place hath intruded upon the Land. Moreover, I have been told by the neighbours of Coed Traeth near Tenby, that the like hath been seen also upon those Sands, &c. To this an ingenious and inquisitive Gentleman of this Country, adds, that the same hath been observ’d of late years near Capel Stinan or St. Justinian’s; where were seen not only the roots or stocks of Trees, but also divers pieces of squar’d timber. As for roots or stumps, I have often observ’d them my self at a low ebb, in the Sands betwixt Borth and Aber Dyvy in Cardiganshire, but remember nothing of any impression of the Axe on them; but on the contrary, that many of them, if not all, were very smooth; and that they appear’d, as to substance, more like the cole-black Peat or Fuel-turf, than Timber.⌉

There are excellent and noble FalconsFalcons. that breed in these rocks, which our King Henry the second (as the same Giraldus informs us) was wont to prefer to all others. And (unless I am deceiv’d by some of that neighbourhood) they are of that kind which they call Peregrins. For, according to the account they give of them, I need not use other words to describe them, than these verses of that excellent Poet of † † So said, ann. 1607.our age, Augustus Thuanus Esmerius, in that golden book which he entitles Hieracosophion:

Depressus capitis vertex, oblongaque toto
Corpore pennarum series, pallentia crura,
Et graciles digiti ac sparsi, naresque rotundæ

Flat heads, and feathers laid in curious rows
O’er all their parts, hook’d beaks, and slender claws.

The sea with great violence beats upon the land retiring from this Promontory; which is a small region call’d the Lordship of Kemaes.Barony of Kemaes. In it, we first meet with Fiscard,Fiscard. seated on a steep rock, and having a convenient harbour for shipping: so call’d by the English from a Fishery there; and by the Britains, Aber-Gwain, which signifies the mouth of the river Gwain. Next, is NewportNewport. on the river Nevern, call’d in British Trevdraeth, which signifies the town on the sand. This was built by Martin of Tours, whose posterity made it a Corporation, and granted it several privileges, and constituted therein a Portrieve and Bayliff; and also built themselves a Castle above the town, which was their chief seat. They also founded the Monastery of St. DogmaelSt. Dogmael. on the bank of the river Teivi,Brit. St. Tegvael. in a Vale encompass’d with hills, from which the village adjoyning (as many other towns did from Monasteries) took its beginning. This BaronyLords of Kemaes. was first taken out of the hands of the Welsh, by Martin of Tours,The family of the Martins. from whose posterity (call’d from him Martins) it descended by marriage to the Barons de Audeley. They held it a long time; till, in the reign of King Henry the eighth, William Owen, descended from a daughter of Sir Nicholas Martin, after a tedious suit at law for his right, obtain’d it at last, and left it to his son George; who (being an exquisite Antiquary,) has inform’d me, that there are in this Barony, besides the three Boroughs (Newport, Fishgard and St. Dogmael) twenty Knights-fees and twenty-six Parishes.

More inward, on the river Teivi already mention’d, lies Kil Garan;Kil Garan. which shews the ruins of a Castle built by Giraldus. But now, being reduced to one street, it is famous for nothing but a plentiful Salmon-Fishery. For there is a very famous Salmon-Leap,The Salmon-Leap. where the river falls headlong; and the Salmons, making-up from the sea towards the Shallows of the river, when they come to this cataract, bend their tails to their mouths (nay sometimes, that they may leap with greater force, hold it in their teeth;) and then upon disengaging themselves from their circle, with a sudden violence, as when a stick that’s bent is reflected, they cast themselves from the water up to a great height, to the admiration of the spectators: which Ausonius thus describes very elegantly:

Nec te puniceo rutilantem viscere, Salmo,
Transierim, latæ cujus vaga verbera caudæ,
Gurgite de medio summas referuntur in undas

Nor thou, red Salmon, shalt be last in fame,
Whose flirting tail cuts through the deepest stream,
With one strong jerk the wondring flood deceives,
And sporting mounts thee to the utmost waves.

⌈There are in this County several such circular stone Monuments, as that describ’d in Caer-mardhin-shire by the name of Meineu gwyr, and Karn Lhechart in Glamorganshire. But the most remarkable, is that which is call’d y Gromlech,Y Gromlech. near Pentre Evan in Nevern Parish, where are several rude stones, pitch’d on end, in a circular order; and in the midst of the circle, a vast rude stone placed on several pillars. The diameter of the Area is about fifty foot. The stone supported in the midst of this circle is eighteen foot long, and nine in breadth; and at the one end it is about three foot thick, but thinner at the other. There lies also by it a piece broken off, about ten foot in length, and five in breadth, which seems more than twenty Oxen can draw. It is supported by three large rude Pillars, about eight foot high; but there are also five others, which are of no use at present, as not being high enough, or duly placed, to bear any weight of the top-stone. Under this stone, the ground is neatly flag’d, considering the rudeness of Monuments of this kind. I can say nothing of the number and height of the stones in the circle, not having seen this Monument my self; but this account I have of it, is out of Mr. George Owen’s Manuscript History above-mention’d, which was communicated to me by the worshipful John Lewis of Manour Nowen, Esquire. And I have also receiv’d a description of it from a person, who at my request lately view’d it, not differing, materially, from that which we find in the Manuscript. Lhech coelatum The name of this Monument seems much of the same signification with Meineu gwyr; for Krwm, in the Feminine gender Krom, signifies (as well as gwyr) crooked or bending; and Lhêch, a stone of a flat form, more or less, whether natural or artificial. And as we have observ’d another Monument in Caernarvonshire, call’d Lhêch or Maen gwyr, so we meet with several in Anglesey, and some in other parts of Wales call’d Kromlecheu. Now, that these Monuments have acquir’d this name from bowing, as having been places of worship in the time of Idolatry, I have no warrant to affirm. However, in order to farther enquiry, we may take notice, that the Irish Historians call one of their chiefest Idols Cromcruach;O Flaherty’s Ogygia, p.196, &c. which remain’d till St. Patrick’s time in the plain of Moy-sleuct in Brefin. This Idol is describ’d to have been † Auro & argento cœlatum.carv’d, with gold and silver, and said to be attended with twelve others much less, all of brass, placed round about him. Cromcruach, at the approach of St. Patrick, fell to the ground, and the lesser Idols sunk into the earth up to their necks: the heads whereof (says one of the Authors of the life of St. Patrick, cited by Colganus) are, in perpetual memory of this miracle, still prominent out of the ground, and to be seen at this day. Now altho’ we should question the authority of this Writer, as to these miracles; yet if we may be allow’d to make any use at all of such Histories, we may from hence infer, that this circle of stones (which are here mentioned by the name of Idol’s heads) was, before the planting of Christianity in this Country, a place of Idolatrous worship. And if that be granted, we shall have little reason to doubt, but that our Kromlech, as well as all other such circular Stone-monuments in Britain and Ireland (of which, I presume, there are not less than one hundred yet remaining) were also erected for the same use. But to proceed farther; this relation of Idolatrous worship at Crumcruach, seems much confirm’d by the general Tradition concerning such Monuments in Scotland. For upon perusal of some Letters on this subject, from the learned and judicious Dr. James Garden, Professor of Divinity at Aberdeen, to an ingenious Gentleman of the Royal Society ** Joh. Aubrey of Easton Pierce in Wiltshire, Esq;, (who, for what I can learn, was the first that suspected these Circles for Temples of the Druids;) I find that in several parts of that Kingdom, they are call’d Chapels and Temples; with this farther Tradition, that they were places of worship in the time of Heathenism, and did belong to the Drounich. Which word some interpret the Picts; but Dr. Garden suspects that it might originally denote the Druids: in confirmation whereof, I add, that a village in Anglesey is call’d Tre’r Driw, and interpreted the Town of the Druid. Now the diminutive of Driw must be Driwin (whence, perhaps, Kaer Drewin in Merionydh-shire,) and ch is well known to be an usual Irish termination in such Nouns.

As for such as contend that all Monuments of this kind, were erected by the Danes, as Trophies, Seats of Judicature, places for electing their Kings, &c. they will want History to prove, that ever the Danes had any Dominion, or indeed the least Settlement in Wales or the High-lands of Scotland; where yet such Monuments are as frequent, if not more common, than in other places of Britain. For although we find it register’d, that they have several times committed depredations on our Sea-coasts, destroying some Maritim places in the Counties of Glamorgan, Pembroke, Cardigan, and Anglesey, and sometimes also making excursions into the Country: yet we read, that they made no longer stay, than whilst they plunder’d the Religious Houses, and extorted money and provisions from the people. Now, if it be demanded, why they might not, in that short stay, erect these Monuments; I have nothing to answer, but that such vast perennial memorials seem rather to be the work of a people settled in their Country, than of such roving Pirates, who for their own security must be continually on their guard, and consequently have but small leisure, or reason, for erecting such lasting Monuments: And, that we find also these Monuments in the Mountains of Caernarvonshire, and divers other places, where no History does inform us, nor conjecture suggest, that ever the Danes have been. To which may be added, that if we strictly compare the descriptions of the Danish and Swedish Monuments in Saxo Grammaticus, Wormius, and Rudbeckius, with our’s in Britain, we shall find considerable difference in the order or structure of them. For (if we may place that here) I find none of them comparable to that magnificent, tho’ barbarous Monument, on Salisbury Plain; nor any that has such a table in the midst, as the Kromlech here describ’d; whereas several of ours in Wales have it, though it be usually much less; and very often this Table or a Kist-vaen is found without any circle of stones, and sometimes on the contrary circles of stones, without any Kist-vaen or other stone in the midst. But this we need not so much insist upon: for tho’ they should agree exactly, yet are we not therefore oblig’d to acknowledge that our Monuments were erected by the Danes. For as one Nation since the planting of Christianity hath imitated another, in their Churches, Chapels, Sepulchral Monuments, &c. so also in the time of Paganism, the Rites and Customs in Religion must have been deriv’d from one Country to another. And I think it probable, should we make diligent enquiry, that there may be Monuments of this kind still extant in the less frequented places of Germany, France, and Spain; if not also in Italy. But I fear I have too long detain’d the Reader with probabilities, and shall therefore only add, that whatever else hath been the use of these Monuments, it is very evident they have been (some of them at least) us’d as burial-places; seeing Mr. Aubrey in that part of his Monumenta Britannica which he entitles Templa Druidum, gives us some instances of human Skeletons, found on the outside of one or two of them in Wiltshire. alias And Dr. Garden in his foremention’d Letters, affirms that some persons yet living have dug ashes out of the bottom of a little circle (set about with stones standing close together) in the center of one of these Monuments, near the Church of Keig in the Shire of Aberdeen; and adds farther, that in the Shire of Inverness, and Parish of Enner Allen, there is one of these Monuments, call’d the Chapel of Tilligorum, aliàs Capel Mac-mulach, which is full of Graves, and was, within the memory of some living, an ordinary place of burial, at least for poor people, and continues to be so at this day for strangers, and children that dye without baptism.

We have not room here to take notice of the other Monuments of this kind, which this County affords; and shall therefore only observe, that in Newport-Parish there are five of these Tables or Altars (that we may distinguish them by some name,) placed near each other, which some conjecture to have been once encompass’d with a circle of Stone-pillars, for that there are two stones yet standing near them. But these are nothing comparable in bigness to the Gromlech here describ’d, nor rais’d above three foot high: nor are they supported with pillars, but stones placed edgewise; and so are rather of that kind of Monuments which we call Kistieu-maen or Stone-chests, than Krom-lecheu.Lhech

I had almost forgot to acquaint the Reader, that there is also in Nevern-Parish, besides the Gromlech, another Monument call’d commonly Lhêch y DrybedhLhêch y Drybedh. (i.e. Tripodium) and by some the Altar-stone. It is of somewhat an oval form, and about twelve yards in circumference, and placed on four stones (whereof one is useless, as not touching it) scarce two foot high. At the south-end, it is about four foot and a half in thickness, but sensibly thinner to the other end, where it exceeds not four inches; at which end, there is cut such a Ductus or Conveyance, as might serve to carry off any liquid that should run down; but to what purpose it was design’d, I shall not pretend to conjecture.sacrifice?

Y maen sigl,Y maen Sigl. or the Rocking-stone, deserves also to be mention’d here; although (having never seen it my self) I am not fully satisfy’d, whether it be a Monument, or, as Mr. Owen seems to suppose, purely accidental. But by the account I hear of it, I suspect it rather an effect of human industry, than chance. This shaking stone (says he) may be seen on a Sea-cliff within half a mile of St. David’s; it is so vast, that I presume it may exceed the draught of an hundred Oxen; and it is altogether rude and unpolish’d. The occasion of the name is, for that being mounted upon divers other stones, about a yard in height; it is so equally pois’d, that a man may shake it with one finger, so that five or six men sitting on it, shall perceive themselves mov’d thereby. But I am inform’d, that since this worthy Gentleman writ the History of this Country (viz. in the late Civil wars) some of the Rebel-soldiers looking upon it as a thing much noted, and therefore superstitious; did, with some difficulty, so alter its position, as to render it almost immoveable. There is also a Rocking-stone in Ireland in the County of Dunegall, and Parish of Clunmany, no less remarkable than this, call’d by the vulgar Magarl Fhin mhic Cuill, which is describ’d to be of a vast bigness, and somewhat of a pyramidal form, placed on a flat stone, the small end downward, but whether by accident or human industry, I must leave to further enquiry.

In the Church-yard at NevernNevern. on the north-side, I observ’d a rude stone pitch’d on end, about two yards in height, of a triquetrous form, with another smaller angle; having on the south-side this Inscription, which seems older than the foundation of the Church. It was, perhaps, the Epitaph of a Roman Soldier; for I guess it must be read Vitelliani Emeriti.


In the same Church-yard, on the south-side, is erected a very handsom pillar, as the shaft or pedestal of a Cross. It is of a quadrangular form, about two foot broad, eighteen inches thick, and thirteen foot high; neatly carv’d on all sides with certain endless knots, which are about one and thirty in number, and all different sorts. The top is cover’d with a cross stone, below which there is a Cross carv’d on the east and west-sides, and about the midst these Letters:


which perhaps are no other than the initial letters of the names of those persons that erected this Cross. But whatever they may signify, the second character is such as I have not met with elsewhere, and therefore I thought it worth the publishing.

There is also an Inscription within this Church, which to me is equally obscure, and seems more like Greek than Roman Characters; of which the following Copy was sent me by Mr. William Gambold of Exeter-College, Oxon, who, I presume, hath transcrib’d it with due exactness.


The stone is pitch’d on end, not two foot high; and is round at top (about which these Letters are cut) like the Monument describ’d at Mynydh Gelhi Onnen in Glamorganshire.

I receiv’d also from the same hand the following Inscription, copy’d from a stone amongst the ruins of the Abbey of St. Dogmael;St. Dogmael. which he describes to be seven foot in length, two in breadth, and six inches thick.

Another Inscription

The latter of these words [Cunotami] I take to be a British name, and the same with what we call Kynèdha or Kynèdhav; but the former is a name which I cannot parallel with any that are now us’d, or that are extant in our Genealogical Manuscripts.Kynedha Kynedhav Krigeu Kemaes

In this County,Barrows. are divers ancient Tumuli, or artificial Mounts for Urn-burial, whereof the most notable I have seen, are those four call’d Krìgeu Kèmaes, or the Barrows of Kemaes. One of these, a Gentleman of the neighbourhood ** Mr. Lloyd of Kwm Gloin., out of curiosity, and for the satisfaction of some friends, caus’d lately to be dug; and discover’d therein five Urns, which contain’d a considerable quantity of burnt bones and ashes. One of these Urns, together with the bones and ashes it contain’d, was presented to the Ashmolean Repository at Oxford, by the worshipful John Philips of Dôl Haidh, Esquire. Dol I shall not pretend to determin what Nation these Barrows did belong to; though from the rudeness of the Urns, as well in respect of matter as fashion, some might suspect them rather Barbarous than Roman. But we know not how unskilfil some Artists amongst the Romans might be, especially in these remote parts of the Province, where probably not many of them, besides military persons, ever settled. Another Urn was found not many years since, in a Barrow in the Parish of Melineu, and one very lately on a mountain not far from Kil Rhedyn.

But seeing the design of this Work is not confin’d to Antiquities and Civil History, but sometimes, for the Reader’s diversion, is extended also to such occurrences in Nature, as seem more especially remarkable; I hope it may be excusable if I add here some few observations in that kind: and shall therefore communicate part of a Letter from my ingenious Friend, the Reverend Mr. Nicholas Roberts, A. M. Rector of Lhan Dhewi Velfrey, which contains an account of some migratory Sea-birds that breed in the Isle of Ramsey, with some other relations that seem remarkable.

Over-against Justinian’s Chapel, and separated from it by a narrow Fretum, is Ramsey-IslandRamsey-Island. (call’d formerly Ynis Devanog from a Chapel there dedicated to that Saint, now swallow’d up by the sea) which seems by the proverb [Stinan a Devanog dau anwyl gymydog] to have been once part of the Continent, if I may properly call our Country so, when I speak of such small Insulets. In it there is a small promontory or neck of land, issuing into the sea, which is call’d Ynis yr hyrdhod ** Id est, Rams-Island., whence I presume is the name of Ramsey. To this Island, and some rocks adjoyning, call’d by the sea-men The Bishop and his Clerks, do yearly resort about the beginning of April such a number of birds of several sorts, that none but such as have been eye-witnesses can be prevail’d upon to believe it; all which, after breeding here, leave us before August. They come to these rocks, and also leave them, constantly in the night-time: for in the evening the rocks shall be cover’d with them, and the next morning not a bird to be seen; so in the evening not a bird shall appear, and the next morning the rocks shall be full. They also visit us commonly about Christmas, and stay a week or more, and then take their leave till breeding-time.pal Three sorts of these Migratory birds are call’d in Welsh, Mora, Poeth-wy, and Pâl; in English, Eligug, Razorbil, and Puffin; to which we may also add the Harry-bird; though I cannot at present assure you, whether this bird comes and goes off with the rest.

TheLomwia Hoieri in Epist. ad Clusium.
In Cornwal it is call’d a Kiddaw, and in Yorkshire a Skout. See Willoughby’s Ornithology, pag.324.
Eligug lays but one egg; which (as well as those of the Puffin and Razorbil) is as big as a Duck’s, but longer, and smaller at one end. From this egg she never parts (unless forced) till she hatches it, nor then till the young one be able to follow her; being all the while fed by the male. This and the Razorbil ¦ ¦ Alka Hoieri in Epist. ad Clusium.
Murre Cornubiens.
Wil. p.323.
breed upon the bare rocks, making no manner of nest; and sometimes in such a place, that being frighten’d thence, the egg or young one (which before was upheld by the breast, upon a narrow shelving rock) tumbles into the sea. The Puffin * * Anas Arctica Clusii, Fratercula Gesneri.
Wil. p.325.
and Harry-bird † † The Shearwater of Sir Tho. Brown.
Wil. p.334. Tab. ult.
breed in holes, either those of Rabbets (wherewith Ramsey is abundantly furnish’d, all black) or such as they dig with their beaks. The Harry-birds are never seen on land, but when taken; and the manner of taking these and the Puffins, is commonly by planting nets before their berries, wherein they soon entangle themselves. These four sorts cannot raise themselves upon the wing, from the land; but, if at any distance from the cliff, waddle (for they cannot be well said to go, their legs being too infirm for that use, and placed much more backward than a Duck’s, so that they seem to stand upright) to some precipice, and thence cast themselves off, and take wing: but from the water they will raise to any height. The Puffin lays three white eggs; the rest but one, speckled, &c.

He adds much more of the other birds that frequent these Rocks; and also gives a short account of several things remarkable in this County; but being confin’d within narrow limits, I shall only select two of them. The first is of a narrow deep pond, or rather pit, near the sea-side, and some Cliffs which by their noise presage storms, &c. whereof he gives the following relation.

Near Stack-pool Bosher, otherwise Bosherston, upon the sea-side, is a pool or pit call’d Bosherston-mear; the depth whereof, several that have sounded, have not yet discover’d. This pit bubbles and foams, and makes such a noise before stormy weather, that it is heard above ten miles off. The banks are of no great circumference at the top, but broader downwards; and from the bottom, there is a great breach towards the sea, which is about a furlong distant. So that, considering the bubbling, and the extraordinary noise this pit makes against stormy weather, I am apt to suspect it may have a subterraneous communication with the sea-water. But there is much more talk’d of this place, than I shall trouble you with at present, because I take some relations of it for fabulous; and living remote from it my self, I have had no opportunities of being satisfy’d of the truth from others. Its noise is distinctly known from that of the sea; which also on these coasts often roars very loud. And the neighbouring inhabitants to the sea, can give a shrewd guess what weather will ensue by the noise it makes. For when it proceeds, from such a Creek or Haven, they will expect this or that sort of weather will follow. And by these Observations, I have been told the evening before, what weather we should have next day; which has happen’d very true; and that not once, as by chance, but often.

The other, is a sort of Food, made in several parts of this County, of a Sea-plant, which, by the description I hear of it, I take to be the Oyster-green or Lectuca marina. This custom I find obtains also in Glamorganshire (where it is call’d Laverbread) as also in several parts of Scotland and Ireland, and probably in some Counties of England.

Near St. David’s (says he) especially at Eglwys Abernon, and in other places, they gather, in the spring-time, a kind of Alga or sea-weed, with which they make a sort of food call’d Lhavan or Lhaw-van, in English Black butter. Having gather’d the weed, they wash it clean from sand and slime, and sweat it between two tile-stones; then they shred it small, and knead it well, as they do dough for bread, and make it up into great balls or rolls, which some eat raw, and others, fry’d with oatmeal and butter. It is accounted sovereign against all distempers of the liver and spleen: and the late Dr. Owen assur’d me, that he found relief from it in the acutest fits of the stone.⌉

There have been divers Earls of PenbrokeEarls of Penbroke. descended from several families. As for Arnulph of Montgomery, who first conquer’d it, and was afterwards outlaw’d; and his Castellan Girald [of Windsor] whom King Henry the first made afterwards President over the whole country; I can scarce affirm that they were Earls. King Stephen first confer’d the title of Earl of Penbroke upon Gilbert Strongbow son of Gislebert de Clare. He left it to his son Richard Strongbow, the Conqueror of Ireland; who was (as Giraldus has it) è Clara Clarensium familia oriundus, descended from the famous family of the Clares. Isabella the only daughter of this Earl, brought this title to her husband William Marshal (so call’d, for that his Ancestors had been hereditary Marshals of the King’s Palace,) a very accomplish’d person, and well instructed in the arts of peace and war. Of whom we find this Epitaph in Rudburn’s Annals:

Sum quem Saturnum sibi sensit Hibernia, Solem
Anglia, Mercurium Normannia, Gallia Martem

Me Mars the French, their Sun the English own’d,
The Normans Mercury, Irish Saturn found.

After him, his five sons were successively Earls of Penbroke; viz. William, call’d the younger; Richard, who having rebell’d against Henry the third, fled into Ireland, where he dy’d in battel; Gilbert, who at a tournament at Ware was unhors’d, and so kill’d; and Walter and Anselm. All these dying in a short space without issue; King Henry the third invested with the honour of this Earldom William de Valentia, of the family of Lusignia in Poictiers, who was his own brother by the mother’s side, and marry’d Joan, the daughter of Gwarin de Mont Chensey by a daughter of William Marshal. To William de Valentia succeeded his son Audomar, who was Governour of Scotland under King Edward the first. His sister and coheir Elizabeth, being marry’d to John Lord Hastings, brought this title into a new family. For Lawrence Hastings his grandchild by a son, who was Lord of Abergavenny, was made Earl of Penbroke by a Rescript of King Edward the third; a copy of which it may not be amiss to subjoyn here, that we may see what right there was, by heirs-female, in these honorary titles: Rex omnibus ad quos, &c. salutem. Know ye, that the good presages of wisdom and virtue, which we have form’d from the towardly youth and happy beginnings of our well beloved Cousin Lawrence Hastings, deservedly induce us to countenance him with our especial grace and favour, in those things which concern the due preservation and maintenance of his honour. Whereas therefore, the inheritance of Aimar of Valence, sometime Earl of Penbroke (deceas’d long since without heir begotten of his body) hath been devolv’d upon his sisters, to be proportionably divided among them and their heirs: and because we know for certain, that the foresaid Lawrence, who succeedeth the said Aimar in part of the inheritance, is descended from the eldest sister of Aimar aforesaid, and so, by the avouching of the learned, whom we consulted in this matter, the Prerogative both of name and honour is due unto him: We deem it just and due, that the same Lawrence, claiming his title from the elder sister, assume and have the name of Earl of Penbroke, which the said Aimar had whilst he liv’d. Which, as much as lyeth in us, we confirm, ratify, and approve: willing and granting, that the said Lawrence have and hold the Prerogative and honour of Earl-Palatine, in those lands which he holdeth of the said Aimar’s inheritance; as fully, and after the same manner, as the same Aimar had and held them, at the time of his death, &c. Witness the King at Montmartin, the 13th day of October, in the 13th year of his reign.

This Lawrence Hastings was succeeded by his son John, who being taken by the Spaniards in a sea-fight, and afterwards redeem’d, dy’d in France in the year 1375. To him succeeded his son John, who was kill’d in a Tournament at Woodstock in the year 1391. And it was observ’d of this family, that (by a certain particular Fate) no father ever saw his son, for five generations. He leaving no issue, several considerable Revenues devolv’d to the Crown: and the Castle of Penbroke was granted to Francis At-court, a Courtier of that time in great favour; who, upon this account, was commonly call’d Lord of Penbroke. And not long after, John Duke of Bedford, and after him his brother Humfrey Duke of Glocester, sons of King Henry the fourth, obtain’d the same title. After that, William de la Pole was made Marquiss of Penbroke; upon whose decease King Henry the sixth created Jasper de Hatfield his brother by the mother’s side, Earl of Penbroke; who, being afterwards divested of all his Honours by King Henry the fourth, was succeeded by William Herbert, who was kill’d in the battel at Banbury. To him succeeded a son of the same name, whom Edward the fourth, having recover’d his Kingdom, created Earl of Huntingdon, conferring the title of Earl of Penbroke on his eldest son Edward Prince of Wales. A long time after that, King Henry the eighth entitled Ann of Bullen (whom he had betroth’d) Marchioness of Penbroke. At last King Edward the sixth, † † So said, ann. our memory, invested William Herbert, Lord of Caer-Diff, with the same title. bolyn He was succeeded by his son Henry, who was President of Wales under Queen Elizabeth; * * And now, C.after whom his son William, a person of extraordinary Accomplishments both of body and mind, † † Enjoys, C.enjoy’d that honour. ⌈Upon the death of William, the honour of Earl of Penbroke descended to Philip Herbert, who was also Earl of Montgomery, and was succeeded by Philip his son. After whose death, William his son and heir succeeded; as did, upon his death, Philip Herbert, half-brother to the last William; to whom succeeded Thomas his only brother, a person of great Virtue and Learning, who now enjoys the titles of Earl of Penbroke and Montgomery.⌉

This family of the HerbertsOrigin of the Herberts. is very noble, and ancient, in these parts of Wales. For they derive their pedigree from Henry Fitz-Herbert, Chamberlain to King Henry the first, who marry’d that King’s ¦ ¦ Amasiam.Concubine, mother of Reginald Earl of Cornwal, as I am inform’d by Mr. Robert Glover, a person of great knowledge in Genealogies; by whose untimely decease Genealogical Antiquities have suffer’d extremely.

Parishes in this County 145.

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06