Carmarthen is the capital of Carmarthenshire on the South Wales Railway, and the river Towey, with a population of 9,993. It is one of the most healthy towns, and commands a view of one of the finest vales in the principality.
The capital of the county. In conjunction with Tenby and two or three other little boroughs it returns one member to parliament. Population, 15,071. Both the town and shire take name from the Welsh words, Pen fro, signifying the head of the peninsula, as the town lies on a long point, marked on both sides by a creek of Milford Haven. In this commanding spot, Arnulph de Montgomery began a Norman Castle in 1092, which a few year’s after was strengthened by the famous Richard de Clare, or Strongbow, before he sailed for the conquest of Ireland. Its ruins still exist on a hill over the town; the round keep is 75 feet high.
There is a large cave under the hall; and in one of the town-gates the Earl of Richmond (whose mother was of the Welsh family of Tudlor or Tudor, descended from Edward I.) afterwards Henry VII. was born. He landed on this part of Wales after his escape from confinement in Brittany; and supported by Rhys ap Thomas, and other Welsh adherents, marched towards Bosworth Field, where his defeat of Richard III., and subsequent marriage with Elizabeth of York, terminated forever the wars of the roses.
There is nothing else worth notice in the town; except the old church of St. Michael. Two short bridges cross to Monekton (where there was a priory), and to the suburbs on the north side, from whence roads, about 2 miles long, lead to Pembroke ferry and to the dockyard at Paler, which covers a site of 88 acres, 15 or 16 of which are occupied by iron building slips. The sea front is nearly half a mile long; one new slip has an open glass and metal roof. Important docks have been constructed at a cost of about £100,000. Until 1814 the dockyard was at Milford, five miles to the left, on the north side of the Haven, which has declined since its removal. The town possesses a little coasting trade.
In the neighbourhood of Pembroke are the following:–Upton Castle, seat of Rev. W. Evans. Pill Priory; Carew (4 miles), is one of those old baronial seats so abundant in South Wales; built in Henry I’s reign, by the ancestor of the Fitzgeralds. There are two great halls 100 feet and 80 feet long. Effigies in the church; and an old roadside cross, 14 feet high. Orielton (6 miles) belongs to the Owens.
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This is a small decayed borough, having a population of about 1,652, engaged principally as tin-workers.
Tenby, on the coast of Pembrokeshire, was at a very remote period occupied by the ancient Britons as a fishing town, and is most romantically situated on the eastern and southern sides of a rocky peninsula, stretching out into the Bristol Channel.