A walk to Newport sands in North Pembrokeshire.

A walk to Newport sands in North Pembrokeshire.

Walk to Newport Sands. OS Maps Online.

We started in the vicinity of this house, TyNewydd.

TyNewydd, field 328.

The Tithe Map Apportionment shows Anne Phillips, house and land (also fields around), in 1845.[1] At the 1841 census she was of independent means, living with Jane Phillips her daughter, Anne would have been born around 1763 in the county.[2] The 1851 census corroborates this with a bit more detail, Anne Phillips a widow aged 86, Head of household, born Newport, Pembrokeshire a Proprietor of Houses, Jane Phillips unmarried 36, Daughter, born Newport, Pembrokeshire a Housekeeper. The National Library of Wales holds a copy of Anne’s will (along with many others pre 1858) the can be some interesting reading between the lines. Anne did not sign her name, she made a mark, it can be assumed, but not certain she was illiterate, in common with many of her gender at that time due to neglecting women and girls education by the powers that were. The main beneficiary of her will was Jane, her unmarried daughter who it would seem had looked after her mother. She mentions two married daughters and their children but not her daughters’ husbands, other than they should have no control over any bequests. Interesting family dynamics? [3]

We walked on a little way and turned down Feidr Brenin, on down the lane, a map from about 1940 shows only the historical map from about 1937 shows only the dwellings of Keeping Stone and West End House near our route on Feidr Brenin. The earliest record I can identify is in 1851 Eliza James married aged 39, wife of head of household born Newport, Pembrokeshire, a Master Mariner’s Wife, so he was at sea it would seem, David James 8, Son born Newport, Pembrokeshire, a Scholar, and Elizabeth James aged 3, Daughter born Newport, Pembrokeshire.[4] In 1861, not at sea at this census, the husband John James, Head, Married aged 57, a Retired master mariner born Newport, Pembrokeshire. Elizabeth James his wife aged 49, born Newport, Pembrokeshire. Elizabeth James their daughter aged 13 at school.[5] I have their wedding record, they married at St. Mary’s parish church in Newport, he was a Mariner his father ws a farmer, Elizabeth Thomas was his wife, her father was a mariner, I’m sure there is a story here. But what it does sow is they weren’t living at West End house then. The addresses were Trewerddig fach and Parrog respectively.[6] Mariners and farmers reflecting the area’s occupations.

We had turned left just before West End house, and head down to the coast path. The path we were on was not there at the time of the tithe map around 1845, but was on later maps around 1890 and branched towards Bettws, near a place called the Mariners. 1841 found Benjamin and Hannah Roach at the Mariners, he was a publican, so the Mariners was a pub, it is a holiday let now, the last entry I can find at present to a pub there is for the licence renewal in 1905 to James Evans. [7] he had been there in 1901 viz. James Evans married aged 60, Head born Fishguard, Pembrokeshire Licensed Victualler Publican, his wife Mary Evans 56, Meline, Pembrokeshire (this was a village on the river Nevern), and their daughter M.E. A. Evans unmarried aged 36, she was born Swansea. [8] it wasn’t named as a pub in 1891 but James Evans was there, a Master Mariner. [9] Along the coast path past the holiday homes and kayak hire, past the little bays and the children swimming in the Nevern.

Through to Parrog: I found this piece, in a letter to the South Wales Daily Post in 1897 from ‘Trefdraethwr’, seems prescient…

“…located for the time being at a more ancient and historical place, viz., the town of Trefdraeth, which had its Celtic name changed to Novus Burgus (New Burgh) after the erection of its celebrated castle by the Norman conquerors in the 13th century. We read that in the year 1215 Nicholas Fitz Martin, Lord of Cemes, in the reign of King John, obtained a charter of the town and Corporation of Newport, and Sir Marteine Owen Mowbray Lloyd, Bart., of Bronwydd, is the present lord of the manor. In a commercial sense the town has fallen back. Fifty years ago the seaside known as Parrog was alive with busy hands building and rigging ships of Hearts of Oak under the able supervision of the Havards. There was also a fleet of coasters belonging to the place slate quarries and lime kilns in full flow. All these industries have come to an end. But, though the ships are gone, the mariners, who trade to all parts of the globe, continue, and are multiplied. Many of these are master mariners of note, and though the ships they command sail out of other and larger ports the hearts of the men cling to this charming spot with a tenacity equal to the numberless limpets that stick fast to the rugged rocks of the beautiful Newport Bay. A number of these who have done well have retired, and live luxuriously in “ceiled” houses which are an ornament to the town and vicinity, while the Parrog can now boast of handsome villas for the accommodation of summer visitors who flock here more and more to breathe in the refreshing oxygenic pure air wafted as upon hygienic wings from the blue bay of Newport. No doubt in time as the beauty of the place is better known it will become crowded with summer visitors. Let men of means and enterprise go in for more seaside villas, as well as a lot of bathing machines on the lovely beach, for better accommodation…”[10]

There are no bathing machines but plenty of boats, paddle boards and leisure craft now.

Here’s a list of households in Parrog from the 1841 census with ages and occupations where listed:

Elizabeth Jenkins 52.

Stephen Henton 72 Seaman.

John Griffith 30 Butcher (his 6 week old daughter Elizabeth was listed too)                              

William Williams 65 Shipwright.

Samuel Davies 60 Smith

Richard Morris 50

James Bowen 38 Coroner (this is an interesting entry the transcription gives James Bowen’s occupation as a Cowner, looking at the original document it is clearly coroner, so a tip is don’t go by transcripts alone it’s clear he was of substance there were two servants living in the home with him and his wife)

Anne Thomas 63 of Independent means

Sarah Williams 25

Phoebe Lloyd 36

Sarah Davies 60 Maltster (a brewer, would have sold Malted barley for beer)

Sarah David 40   

Margaret Havard 50 Publican – The Ship Aground (also see the piece above mentioning the ‘Havards’).

What is noticeable is that there are a number of women listed. The census was a snapshot taken on 6th June 1841, and only those there at the time were enumerated, an implication I take, is that some were mariners’ wives or daughter, the mariner at sea would not be given at the household. The other stand out is Parrog was a working hamlet, shipping, brewing and blacksmiths. There were many lime kilns in the vicinity, one can still be seen.

Parrog lime kiln crucible. cc-by-sa/2.0 – © ceridwen – geograph.org.uk/p/732044

Past this lime kiln is Newport Boat Club, you can see it in the photograph above. The building is interesting, it is an ancient warehouse dating back to the time when Parrog was a busy port. Five storehouses, of which this is the survivor, were built on this site between 1758 and 1825.[11] This storehouse was originally built by David Harries ‘40 feet long and 25 feet in breadth…   near the sea shore’.[12]

From here the path wends along the shoreline of the River Nevern, in about half an kilometre on the left is an ‘enclosure’ on the OS map, it is the site of the first Newport Castle was built by the FitzMartin family. Normans with estates in Somerset and Devon who took part in the conquest of South West Wales in the early twelfth century. Robert FitzMartin, Lord Cemmaes built Nevern Castle as his administrative centre however, after the Battle of Crug Mawr (1136), where the native Welsh decisively defeated the invaders, Nevern Castle was re-captured and the FitzMartins displaced to Newport where the proximity to the sea, made an ideal spot for the first castle; an earth and timber ringwork fortification.[13] Some time later they built a stone castle up in the town of Newport.

A more ancient resident was buried in Carreg Coetan Arthur Burial Chamber, a bit further along the path and up a hill from where Evan and I were walking, it is a “Neolithic tomb with links to Arthurian myth. This small chambered tomb from the New Stone Age is one of the best-preserved of a number of burial sites clustered along the slopes of the Nevern Valley. A large wedge-shaped capstone balances on two of its four original stone uprights. Excavations of the site have uncovered artefacts including Neolithic pottery, stone tools and cremated human bones The ‘coetan’ part of its name is a reference to the game of quoits, often associated with monument of this type. According to legend, King Arthur himself played the game with the stone of this tomb.”[14]

A favourite part of the stroll is crossing the bridge over the Nevern, always a prompt to take a photograph.

Sunset on the Nevern.

We walked along the river bank shore opposite the castle and head for the golf links, past Ffynon Brycyn, the lime kiln here is grade II listed, 19th century “large circular limekiln in rubble stone with sea boulders and slate shale masonry, overgrown top. Two large pointed kiln-eyes, boat-prow shaped curving walls within crucible leading down to small rear fire-opening. E kiln-eye is intact, W kiln-eye collapsed on one side. Rear of kiln is built into bank.”[15]

On through the dunes to the beach and the walk’s end. But not without mentioning a place we would pass (or not pass by) on a walk back on another day. The Golden Lion with the mounting steps outside to help one onto one’s horse. The pub’s been there at least 300 years, probably known as the Green Dragon in the late 1700’s . An early reference (1790’s) to a pub in Newport mentions the Green Dragon in East Street. By 1830 the Green Dragon had been renamed to the Golden Lion. The publican between 1871 and 1911 according to the census returns was George John, thus in 1871 George John 23, Head born Newport, Pembrokeshire Publican, Margaret John 26 Wife born Newport, Pembrokeshire Publicans Wife, Blanche John 2 Daughter born Newport, Pembrokeshire Publicans Daughter, William John 1, Son born Newport, Pembrokeshire Publicans Son,[16] in 1911 George John 63, Head Widowed, born Newport, Pembrokeshire Innkeeper, Hilda Rosamond John 25, Daughter Single, born Newport, Pembrokeshire Housekeeper and Ellen Beynon 34, Single, born Newport, Pembrokeshire General Servant (Domestic).[17]

The Golden Lion, Trefdraeth/Newport
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Pauline E – geograph.org.uk/p/1505545

It is difficult to pass by without stopping in for a pint.


[1] Goode, H.P., 1845. Plan of Newport parish in the County of Pembroke. http://hdl.handle.net/10107/4641071 : accessed 14 September 2021.

[2] Census records. Wales. Tynewydd, Newport, Pembrokeshire. 06 June 1841. PHILLIPS, Anne. HO107 PN:1446 BN:25. Page:278. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. www.thegenealogist.co.uk : accessed 20 September 2021.

[3] Testamentary records. Wales. St. David’s. Anne Phillips: Will, 18 November 1852. The National Library of Wales. http://hdl.handle.net/10107/712389 : accessed 15 September 2021.

[4] Census records. Wales. King Road west End, Newport, Cardigan, Pembrokeshire. 30 March 1851. JAMES, Eliza. HO107 PN:2481. Page:141. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. www.thegenealogist.co,.uk : accessed 20 September 2021.

[5] Census records. Wales. King Road west End, Newport, Cardigan, Pembrokeshire. 07 April 1861. JAMES, John (head). RG09. Piece number 4173. Folio 51. Page 2. Schedule 9. Collection: 1861 England, Wales & Scotland Census. www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 20 September 2021.

[6] Marriages (PR) Wales. St. Mary. Newport, Pembrokeshire. 03 February 1842. JAMES, John and THOMAS, Elizabeth. P 18. Entry 36. Collection:  Pembrokeshire Marriages And Banns. www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 16 September 2021.

[7] Cambrian News 17 March 1905 p 2f. www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 16 September 2021.

[8] Census records. Wales. Mariner’s Arms, Parrog, Newport, Cardiganshire.  EVANS, James. RG13 PN:5134. Page:90. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. www.thegenealogist.co.uk ; accessed 16 September 2021.

[9] Census records.  Wales. Mariners, Bettws, Parrog. 05 April 1891. EVANS, James (head)    RG12 PN:4542. Page:88. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. www.thegenealogist.co.uk : accessed 16 September 2021.

[10] NEWPORTPEMBROKEORTREFDRAETH – South Wales Daily News 1897-10-30 David Duncan and Sons https://hdl.handle.net/10107/3739944 : accessed 20 September 2021.

[11] Newport Boat Club. History. https://www.newportboatclub.co.uk/ : accessed 20 September 2021.

[12] Jones, Ray. AROUND THE PARROG IN NEWPORT, PEMBROKESHIRE. http://www.pembrokeshirehistoricalsociety.co.uk/around-the-parrog-in-newport-pembrokeshire/ : accessed 20 September 2021.

[13] Castles for Battles. Newport Castle. http://www.castlesfortsbattles.co.uk/south_west_wales/newport_castle_pembrokeshire.html : accessed 20 September 2021.

[14] CADW. Carreg Coetan Arthur Burial Chamber. https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/carreg-coetan-arthur-burial-chamber : accessed 20 September 2021.

[15] British Listed Buildings. Limekiln at Ffynnon Bryncyn A Grade II Listed Building in Newport, Pembrokeshire. https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/300012761-limekiln-at-ffynnon-bryncyn-nevern : accessed 20 September 2021.

[16] Census records. Wales. Newport Pembs. 02 April 1871. RG10 PN:5538. Page:87. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. www.thegenealogist.co.uk : accessed 20 September 2021.

[17]  Census records. Wales. Newport Pembs. 02 April 1911. RG14 PN:33275 RD:603 SD:1 ED:13 SN:135 Page:269. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. www.thegenealogist.co.uk : accessed 20 September 2021.


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