Monkton

Monkton was once a small, closely-knit community mostly built of single-storey terraced cottages.

Part of Pembroke, yet separate from it, Monkton's population has grown since the construction of the power station and oil refinery on the west of the peninsular. Its little cottages like the one below were arranged in streets named Long Mains, Cross Mains and Short Mains; and the village boasted many shops and public houses. There was no need to go into Pembroke Town for supplies - everything was in Monkton.

Vera John's photograph below was taken in 1917 and shows members of her family outside her grandmother's cottage in Short Mains. Click on the picture or speaker icon to find out more.

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In the 1970s most of the old cottages of Monkton were torn down to make way for modern housing development; and with it much of the strong and close-knit community was fractured. Many of the original homes were in disrepair however, and lacked bathooms and 'mod cons'. This meant that some families were very happy to be rehoused up to half a mile away in modern houses in The Green in Pembroke. Monkton's new development is now maturing and the school is thriving, but all the pubs have gone – The Dragon, The Salutation, The Queen Victoria, The Old Priory Inn and The Old Appletree among others. The quay at Monkton Bridge, where for centuries cargo ships would berth, trade and be fitted-out, has now all but disappeared.

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Photo no 1 shows the Harries and Reynolds families outside their home in Long Mains. Photo no 2 is Mary Roblin from India Row. No

3 was taken in 1916 and shows the Hill family. No 4 shows an early delivery van outside The Dragon Pub

 

The Origins of Old Monkton

There was an early Christian settlement established here long before the Normans came; and archeaological finds discovered in a nearby cave established that early people (and sabre-toothed tigers) were here at least 5,000 years ago.

In 1098 Arnulph de Montgomery founded the Benedictine Priory at Monkton on a much earlier Christian site. The new priory was a daughter house of the abbey of Séez in Normandy, and occupied land overlooking the north side of Pembroke Castle, with a quay and slipways beneath it.

Monkton retains some interesting and fine medieval remains. Yet its story starts some 10,000 years ago in a cave in the limestone ridge bordering the Pembroke River. This cave, called Catshole or Castell Quarry or Priory Farm Cave, was excavated in 1908 and found to stretch over 120 feet into the limestone rock. Finds include human and animal remains, flints, and a rare Bronze Age hoard which can be seen the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

The Priory Cave, also known as Catshole Cave

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The Priory Church

The Priory survived until the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. It fell into disrepair and was restored in the 1880s.

Oliver Cromwell is supposed to have set up a battery in the churchyard firing canon at the castle during the siege of Pembroke 1648.

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The Priory

The only remains of the Priory buildings, other than what was incorporated into the Priory Church, are limited to some freestanding arches and a gable wall. The Priory Farmhouse is thought to have been the Prior's Mansion. It is in the form of a 14th or 15th century manor or tower house with later additions.

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The Dovecote

In the fields, a short distance west of the Farmhouse, is a medieval dovecote - recently renovated.

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Monkton Old Hall

This mediaeval building has been restored by the Landmark Trust and is let as holiday accommodation. It has a notable vaulted crypt. At the back of the building is a Flemish Chimney.

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Royal visit of Edward VII seen here leaving the church

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Old Monkton and the Priory seen from Pembroke Castle

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Above left: Quoits Mill, site of an early water turbine. Above centre: Priory Dairy workers. Above right: Old Conduit early water supply.