and District Heritage Society
Treftadaeth Eglwyswrw a'r Fro
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
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
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
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,
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.