Eglwyswrw and District Heritage Society

Cymdeithas Treftadaeth Eglwyswrw a'r Fro

History of the Society.

The Eglwyswrw & District Heritage Society was initially started by residents, Paul Sambrook and Dave Jenkins. Then in October 2005 the group began regular meetings in the local pub, The Butchers Arms. Local people and those who had recently moved into the district met with the aim of finding out about the history of their village and their homes. By early 2006 the membership of the group had grown to over 20 people and they decided to work together to gather old photographs and information. Soon they had so many photographs that they were scanned, and a DVD was made, these were sold for £5 each. This was so popular that two further DVDs have been produced and hundreds have been sold and sent all over the country. However, despite extensive searches, there was one photograph that eluded the group – one showing the famous Meigan Fair that was held in Eglwyswrw every November. If anyone can help with the search, we would be very pleased to hear from you.
With Meigan Fair in mind the group decided to commemorate the event with an Open Day in the Old Village School – Yr Hen Ysgol and on 24th November 2007 the hall was filled with artefacts, photographs, maps, books and newspaper scrapbooks. The day was hailed as a huge success and the profile of the group was raised.
Then in early 2008 the group decided to embark upon their biggest challenge – to produce a book of the memories of their community, in words and photographs. For almost two years they worked collecting stories and memories. Then, on 12th December 2009 the book was launched to critical acclaim.


The book sold well, and it has been posted abroad to families who once came from the area and to those who have been researching their ancestry.
Since then the group have gone from strength to strength, membership for most years is around 30 - 40. They have all enjoyed listening to the stories of the regular guest speakers at the Butchers Arms and Yr hen Ysgol. Day trips to places such as the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth, the gardens at Aberglasney, and of course St Fagans the Welsh Folk Museum has been very successful. As have the ‘walk and talk’ days where we have explored our village and other places of interest such as the P.O.W. Camp at Henllan and the local ‘Ty Canol’ woods.
Over the years the Society has continued its work, collecting and recording history of the locality. We have been fortunate to receive donations of varied local history related documents and photographs. There are always projects being worked on. The most prominent to date was the James Brothers project so named as it was the first in a series of projects, for which the Society has received a substantial Lottery Grant.
In February 2013 the Society held workshops at the Shire Horse Farm, as part of the James Brothers project that is managed by Rheinallt James. Children of all ages and ability were given the chance to use tools of the period of Howard and Herbert James of Narberth who built and then flew their ‘Caudron Biplane’ some hundred years ago. The children worked on shaping a propeller, making flying helmets of leather as well as building an apparatus for steam bending lengths of wood. It was rewarding to see youngsters getting to grips with tools of yesteryear with many showing good level of skill. The second workshop saw even more people involved.
We continue to visit sites of historical interest, Gower Heritage Centre; Waterfront Museum in Swansea; Cardigan Castle; Manordeifi Church; Iron Age Fort, Castell Henllys; Cenarth Coracle Museum to name a few. In recent years we have concentrated on places of historical interest in our home county of Pembrokeshire.
We have attended meetings by 'Affiliation of History Societies' at Haverfordwest Library for lectures on a variety history related topics sadly these have discontinued.
The Society exhibited the James Brothers Caudron biplane, a life size model complete with a simulator at the Urdd Eisteddfod 2013 at Boncath, and the National Eisteddfod in Llanelli the following year.

There have been aviation related trips arranged. The most memorable was our visit to Control Tower, Carew where enthusiastic Control Tower volunteers described war time life at the base in an entertaining manner. A day that adults and youngsters alike will remember for a long time to come.
Our visit to Sunderland Trust at Pembroke Dock was also a fine experience.
We have been able help family historians from this country and abroad who have contacted the Society with enquiries about their ancestors, who lived in our neighbourhood.
We have continued to find very able speakers who have spoken on varied topics such as Cardigan Castle; The Cardi Bach; The Barony of Cemaes and Maritime Heritage of West Wales to name just a few.
In the past we have commemorated Meigan Fair with a sing along in the Butchers Arms and we will be commemorating the fair in future years.
The Society working with other parties started a project to erect a War Memorial for Eglwyswrw and surrounding area, twenty-five people are known to have died mainly during the First World War. Our intention was to have a memorial erected in memory of these men by the centenary of the start of World War One.
A Service of Memorial and Dedication of the new War Memorial was held at St Cristiolus Church, Eglwyswrw on Sunday, August 10th, 2014.
Around the same time as our Heritage Society started the War Memorial project, we began another, to remember the two boys Milton Jones and Donald Pritchard who were killed in an accident on the Preseli hills in 1944, when the boys handled or moved military ordnance which exploded, killing both.
This project had many facets aimed to help young people be aware of local as well as wartime history.
A service was held on August 31st, 2014 to unveil a plaque in their memory at Seion Chapel Crymych with the Sunday School children taking a prominent part.
The success of the Society is due to the hard work of members and the support from the community and further afield.
Our Society has recently had the privilege to work alongside others on a project to remember
Revd. Benjamin Thomas (Myfyr Emlyn), one of north Pembrokeshire’s famous sons.
A Baptist Minister, Poet, Lecturer and Author.
Born in a little cottage on the edge of the northern slope of the Preseli hills in 1836, he took advantage of the modest education available. Though he was one of many who were raised to become ministers of religion from an area known locally as ‘Rhos Glynmaen’, he was the most famous.
We are grateful for all the help we have received on this project from many different sources.
On Saturday, October 21st at 1.30pm, a Service of Appreciation and Unveiling of the Myfyr Emlyn Memorial Stone was held at Bethabara Chapel, Pontyglasier, featuring some of his work in Welsh and in English - Poems, Hymns and Songs. Our work continues.