Saturday, 18 April 2009

Fishguard Fort, Pembrokeshire

(Click photos to enlarge).

From the information sign outside the fort:

"The fort was built following a raid on Fishguard in 1779; the privateer vessel Black Prince demanded £1,000 to return a captured local ship and as a ransom for the town. When this was refused it bombarded Fishguard, damaging St. Mary's Church and some houses.

"As Fishguard was a prosperous port, protection was vital. The fort was completed in 1781; armed with eight 9-pounder guns manned by three invalid gunners from Woolwich, it became the headquarters of the Fishguard Fencibles.

"On 22nd February 1797, an invading French force appeared off the coast. Alarm guns were fired from the fort, but the Fencibles were withdrawn from the building which played no further part in the invasion.

"Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, Fishguard Fort fell into disrepair. It is now owned and maintained by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority."

Below is a view of the fort as seen from the other side of the harbour.

Below is a view of what is now known as Lower Fishguard and the actual harbour that was being guarded. This is not to be confused with the much larger commercial harbour from which the ferries to Ireland depart.

Date visited: 10 April 2009.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

The Church of St Brynach, Cym Yr Eglwys, Pembrokeshire

(Click photos to enlarge).

When I was a small child, we used to holiday at a farm near Dinas Head in Pembrokeshire, and as a family we would trek almost daily from the farm to the nearest beach at Cwm Yr Eglwys. We spent many happy hours playing there. It was a fantastic beach for bathing in the sea and for its many rock pools waiting to be explored. Set in a secluded bay, Cwm Y Eglwys is said to have its own micro-climate and is supposedly a few degrees warmer than elsewhere on the Pembrokeshire coast.

One of the main distinguishing features at Cwm Yr Eglwys beach is the ruins of the 12th Century church of St Brynach. Most of the church was destroyed in the almighty storm of 1859, and much of the ground that it was built upon and graveyard was also swept away.

Above: The old parish church of Dinas, Pembrokeshire, prior to its destruction in the 1830s. Scan of a hand-coloured print dated 1830. Copyright expired: from "Wales Illustrated", Jones & Co, London, 1831. Painting by Henry Gastineau (1791-1876). Engraved by Edward Kennion.

By the entrance to the churchyard, we find this memorial - a model brig consructed in metal by James Eifion Thomas, Blacksmith, of Dinas Cross. The plaque reads:
The Cwm Trader

This is a scale model of a coastal trading brig, typical of those that plied the waters of Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire about the time when St Brynach's Church in Cwm-yr-Eglwys was destroyed in the Royal Charter storm of 1859. These vessels were of relatively shallow draft and largely flat bottomed, so allowing them to be sailed into bays at high water and then unloaded at low tide by horse and cart transport. Many of these vessels were lost in that fateful storm and this model is erected as a memorial to those sailors and their ships and to mark the occasion of The Millennium.
Date visited: 10 April 2009