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Distributed for University of Wales Press

St. David’s and Dewisland

A Social History

Founded during the sixth century on the banks of the River Alun in what is now Pembrokeshire, the parish of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, is one of the largest in West Wales. In St. David’s and Dewisland, David W. James offers a comprehensive social history of the parish and the land it occupies, also known as Dewisland—the Land of David. The volume covers the parish’s early days—when it was a division of the Celtic Kingdom of Dyfed—through to modernity, detailing the development of this colorful community against the backdrop of the broader history of Wales and Western Europe.

228 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 1981

History: European History

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Table of Contents

Place Names of the Parish




Chapter One: In the Beginning

The Geographical Significance

First Inhabitants. Cromlech and Standing Stone

The Celts. Fort and Farm

The Romans

Old Roads to St David’s

The Celtic Saints


Chapter Two: The Coming of Dewi Sant

Genealogy of David

Emergence of the Saint

The Monastic Settlement

Welsh Kingdom and Expanding Diocese

Political Weakness. Viking and Saxon Raids.

Rhygyfarch’s Life


The Holy Wells

Chapter Three: The Cathedral Church

Norman Reorganisation

The Builder Bishops

The Protestant Bishops

Decline and Isolation

Nineteenth-century Reform


Chapter Four: Rural Life

Celtic Settlements

The Norman Settlement

The Growth of Estates­–Cruglas, Dr Jones’s Charity

Sales–The Break up

Old Round-chimneyed Farmhouses

Farming on Ramsey

Farmer and Labourer in the Nineteenth Century

The Lime Trade

The Wool Trade

Early Twentieth Century–Treginnis Isha

The Deserted Villages

Chapter Five: Trade and Communication

Porth Glais and the Church

Elizabethan Trade–The Port Books

The Porth Glais Boats

The Wrecks. Lighthouse and Lifeboat

Development of Roads. Coaches and Carrier Vans

The Railway that never came

Chapter Six: The Coming of Nonconformity

Dissent and Politics

Church Weakness and the Methodist-inspired Revival

The Nonconformist Chapels

Community and Chapel


Chapter Seven: The Parish and Its Administration–Past and Present


Overseers and the Poor. The Parish Chest

Maintenance of the Roads

The Vestry Room

Post 1894–      Parish Council

                        Parish Meeting

                        Parish Nurse

                        Parish Constable

The Clerical Cylch

The ‘Mayor’

Old Courts

The Parish Clerk

The Cathedral Close

Chapter Eight: Church and Chapel in Education

St. Mary’s College

The Cathedral School

Private and Charity Schools

The Blue Books

1870 and the New Schools

1895 and the County School

Chapter Nine: Population Past and Present

The First Census

1841 and 1851


Nineteenth-century Building and Rebuilding

Nineteenth-century Craftsmen

Population and Pilgrimage

Tourist Accommodation

Chapter Ten: Chronicles and Chroniclers

Old Characters

The Writers and the Visitors

The Welsh Poets

The Newspapers

Literary Contrasts



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