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St. David's, Pembroke and Pembrokeshire

St. David's, Pembroke and Pembrokeshire

St. David's, Pembroke and Pembrokeshire

The county of Pembroke, or Pembrokeshire, lies in south Wales, the UK, and is Wales' most westerly county. It's name in Welsh is Penfro, which means either 'The Headland' or 'Land's End'. 'Sir' is the Welsh for county to distinguish it from the town of the same name.

The first Pembroke Castle was  build of wood on the estuary of the River Cleddau during the Norman invasion of Wales. It was started in 1093, but was substantially rebuilt using stone and fortified with walls up to 23 feet thick in the 12th Century. It stands on a promontory that is naturally defended on three sides and was first chosen for its ease of defence by the Romans. King Henry VII was born there in 1457.

Both the Knight's Templars and the Knights of St. John had strong connections in Pembrokeshire, with the latter having their UK headquarters in Pembroke itself at one time. The county has a strong association with monks, priories, and religion in general (see St. David's later).

The county town of Pembrokeshire is Haverfordwest, or Hwlffordd in Welsh. It is hotly debated whether the Welsh name means 'ford for fat cows' or whether it is a corruption of the English name which was used to distinguish it from Hereford or Hartford. It is only a few miles from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the only one of its kind in the UK.

Milford Haven, Aberdaugleddau (Mouth of the two rivers Cleddau)has been used as a port since at least the Middle Ages. Until 1814, it had strong associations with the Royal Navy, but it then focussed more on commercial shipping until 1960 when an oil refinery was built there.

It is now Britain's fourth largest port in terms of tonnage and extremely valuable to the local economy. There are now several oil refineries located there.

Ask about beaches and holidays and most people will say Tenby, Dinbych-y-Pysgod, and nearby Saundersfoot. The monks on Caldy Island are a big attraction as they sell homemade objets d'art and perfume. The first references to the 'Little Fortress of the Fish' was in a 9th Century poem. Tourism is the main local industry  and it is home to a thriving artistic community.

Saundersfoot, the other of th two great seaside tourist hotspots, was known in the Middle Ages as Llanussyllt and as St. Issel's after the Norman invasion.

St. David's, Tyddewi (David's House) is named after the patron saint of Wales, who was born, lived and worked in this area on the western tip of Pembrokeshire. It is the smallest city in the United Kingdom with a population of about 17,000 and a cathedral, without which it could not be a city. it was granted city status in the 16th Century.

Saint David is said to have ben born in St. Non's, just to the south of the city in 500 AD, baptised in the city and brought up by his mother at Llanon. he later founded a monastery and a church at Glyn Rhosyn on the banks of the nearby River Alun. The brotherhood founded by David was very strict.

St. David's remains and many relics are housed in St. David's Cathedral.

by +Owen Jones