Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Llanwnda, Pembrokeshire, Daniel Paterson's Direct and Principal Cross Roads, published in 1811 for masters of stage-coach services and their passengers, pauses on the coast of Pembrokeshire. “Fiscard,” it says, having no truck with those who would call it Fishguard: “Near this place, 1200 Frenchmen landed in 1797 under a General Tate who shortly after surrendered to Lord Cawdor at the head of the yeomanry and peasants, without firing a shot.”
This note was made barely a dozen years after the event. The story of the French landing at Carreg Wastad, just North of Llanwnda. is famous. It gives the impression that France expected little of the landing except to be rid of persons who were something of a burden; and that the galley-regiment itself was looking for better accommodation than it had at home. There were, however, a good many Irish among the invaders. Little damage was done, except that the Irish-American leader of the French commandeered a dinner laid for a neighbouring landowner; and the only shot fired went through a grandfather clock in the same house, because it chose an unfortunate moment to strike. Even the communion plate at Llanwnda church, which the French seized, was returned unharmed. But the sequel at Llanwnda was more serious.
The Nonconformist tradition in Wales was still, at the end of the 18th century, as suspect as it had been in the 17th; religious dissent was thought capable of becoming political dissent. Since the Restoration, Pembrokeshire, where the castle at Pembroke had been the only one in all Wales to declare at once for the King, was particularly under suspicion. It was even rumoured that in the Risings of 1715 and 1745 the Pretenders to the throne of Britain, Old and Young, had had active sympathizers there; the Young Pretender was even supposed to have made his escape from Scotland by finding refuge in Cardiganshire, just to the North of Pembroke. And a curious society, calling itself the Sea Serjeants and prevalent among the gentry of Wales, was suspected of revolutionary and anti-Hanoverian sympathies. With this in mind, after the surrender of Tate's forces, the authorities arrested two men in Llanwnda, curiously enough named Thomas William and William Thomas, for fraternizing with the enemy; two others, Thomas John of Little Newcastle and Samuel Griffith of Pointz (or Punch) Castle, were sent for trial. Both were prominent Nonconformists in the district. They were imprisoned in Haverfordwest on charges of having incited the enemy not to surrender, and betrayed the fact that only women were paraded against them. But both were discharged in due course, the only evidence against them coming from French prisoners.
There is a monument to the occasion on the cliffs at Carreg Wastad, where they drop to a sea that besieges them more effectively than the French fleet. From the lonely but flowered cove of the hills that stand at the entrance to Fishguard Bay, a magnificent view can be had. But Llanwnda church itself, old and isolated, recalls days long before 1797. One of its vicars was Gerald de Barn, the Welshman of the 12th century who deeply loved his birthplace in Pembrokeshire, loved his little home at Landeu even more, and loved all Wales both well and wisely. Beyond Llanwnda, along the hill-tops are the stone circles and hut dwellings of people who, legendary even in his day, had seen the ships that brought back gold from Ireland and carried it again to the Mediterranean, that transported the stones of Preseli to Stonehenge, and were the merchant fleets of the Age of Bronze.
In the near area, one of the most interesting of these remains is the settlement known as Gaer, or Garn, Fawr on the topmost point of hills by Strumble Head overwatching Cardigan Bay and the promontory of St David. A modern lighthouse stands offshore; but some may find the house of Sealyham, between Fishguard and Haverfordwest, of even greater interest. It was there that the breed of Sealyham terriers was first introduced. Today these small and wiry dogs are recognized as one of the four kinds distinctively Welsh, the others being the corgi, or cattle-dog, whose short legs and brown, underslung body were developed to avoid the back-kick of resentful cows; the Welsh terrier, a smaller and smoother variant of the Airedale type, a black-and-tan; and the Welsh foxhound, whose distinguished ancestry comes from the Middle Ages, when the strains used at St Hubert's Monastery in Champagne, by the Counts of Brittany and the Kaids of Barbary, were mingled. The sheep-collie, though found everywhere in Wales, is of a sort common in Scotland and England and has the same hardihood and intelligence. The lurcher, faithfully following the gypsy caravan with his muzzle close to the bucket slung behind it in which he is trained to put such game or poultry as he may find by the roadside, is an altogether international type.
Nearby towns: Goodwick, Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Newport
Nearby villages: Abercastle, Abereiddy, Brawdy, Cilgwm, Croes-Goch, Dinas, Granston, Granstone, Hayscastle, Hayscastle Cross, Henrys Moat, Jordanston, Letterston, Little Newcastle, Llandeloy, Llanreithan, Llanrian, Llanychaer, Maenclochog, Manorowen, Mathry, Middle Mill, Morfa, Morvil, Nevern, New Moat, Pontfaen, Porthgain, Puncheston, Rosebush, Saint Dogwells, Saint Nicholas, Solva, Trecwn, Treffgarne, Trefin, Walton East, Whitchurch
Have you decided to visit or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a bed and breakfast (a B&B or b and b)
- a guesthouse
- a hotel (or motel)
- a self-catering establishment, or
- other accommodation