The Bishops Palace a Lamphey was built by the bishops of St Davids as a Country retreat away from worries of Church and State. Here, amongst fishponds, fruit orchards, vegetable gardens and sweeping parklands, they could enjoy the life of country gentlemen.
The palace was improved over two centuries, though it was mainly the work of Henry de Gower, Bishop of St Davids from 1328 to 1347, who built the splendid Great Hall. Later additions included a Tudor chapel with a fine, five-light east window. Keep a look out for the splendid arcade which resembles the one at St Davids Bishop's Palace.
Lamphey Bishop's Palace is in the care of CADW who preserve and maintain Welsh Historic monuments.
Free entry during Winter months (1 November - 31 March) 10am - 4pm
Admission Charge at other times of the year - £3.20 (concessions available)
This wonderful 13th Century Chapel can be found perched precariously on the cliff at St Govan’s Head. It sits amongst the rocks, almost at sea level and is only accessible by climbing down 52 steps. It was built on the site of a holy well which once attracted pilgrims. Inside the sandy-floored chapel is a simple stone altar and a small cell carved into the rock which contains a fissure. Legend has it that this first opened to hide St Govan when he was being pursued by hoodlums. It’s said that if you make a wish while standing in the fissure it will come true, provided you don’t change your mind before you turn around. Outside the chapel there is a large rock boulder known as the Bell Rock. The legend is that St Govan was given a silver bell which was stolen by pirates from its bell tower. St Govan prayed for its return and angels retrieved it and placed it inside a rock where it would be safe. St Govan used to tap the rock which gave a note a thousand times stronger than the note of the original bell.
Bosherston is a lovely picturesque village just 5 miles South of Pembroke. It's well known mainly for the lily ponds which are surrounded by a network of paths which lead down to serene sand dunes and a secluded beach area. The Lily ponds are within easy walking distance of the village and there is a pay and display car park right next to them aswell. There is a lovely pub in the village and a great looking coffee shop. Not far away is the majical, mystical St Govans Chapel which lies nestled in the rocks near St Govan's head.
Right next door to the Castle is the brass rubbing centre which is open during the summer months and at other times by arrangement. Even though we did not experience this first hand, this is a great way to keep the Children occupied for a few hours. Brass rubbing kits are also on sale in the Castle shop.
Manorbier is a small village on the south coast of Pembrokeshire not far from Pembroke town. We called after visiting Lamphey Bishops Palace.
It is known mostly for the Castle and the beach in the cove nearby that is a said to be ideal for surfing.
The Castle is privately owned (by the Phillips family of Picton Castle) It is well looked after with beautiful gardens and some life size wax dummies depicting life at various times in the castles history.
The original castle was a Motte and bailey built on land that had been granted to Odo de Barri (a Norman knight), at the end of the 11th century. It was Odo's son William de Barri who rebuilt the castle in stone in the early part of the 12th century.
In 1146 Geraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) was born at the castle, He was a great twelfth century scholar and wrote much about Wales and medieval life. He wrote that Manorbier "In all the broad lands of Wales, Manorbier is the most pleasant place by far"
Adults £4.00, Children £1.50, Senior Citizens £3.00
The Castle is open daily from April to October 10.00am to 6.00pm (It is also Open half term in October)
The church on the hill opposite the castle was once part of Monkton Priory which was a Benedictine Priory granted to The Abbey of Seez in Normandy in 1098 although the site was already in use before the Normans arrived with a Celtic Christian community having existed here for many years.
Although the Priory fell into disuse the disolution of the monasteries in the 1530s some arches and the Priory Farmhouse which might have been the Prior's dwelling can still be seen.
There are substantial remains of the town walls which are thought to have been constructed in the later thirteenth-earlier fourteenth century's which run around the perimeter of the narrow peninsula along which the town lies with the castle crowning the cliffs at it's seaward end. The wall was repaired, and partly rebuilt during the 15th century, but was damaged, and finally slighted as a result of the Civil Wars of the 1640s.
Remains include four of an original six flanking towers and a part of one of three gatehouses. The strongest sections were those that crossed the peninsular to the east where there was a gate and where the remarkable detached Bernard's tower remains. Other gates gave acess to the causways across the inlets in the west just below the castle (a fragment of the West Gate still survives). Remains of four other towers, two of which, overlooking the now filled in southern inlet have eighteenth and nineteenth century gazebos built on top of them.
Lamphey Bishops Palace is the extensive remains of a lavish country retreat built for the bishops of St Davids The site of the Bishops’ Palace at Lamphey was an estate of St. David’s from before the Norman invasion until the Reformation but the remains you can see today are mainly the work of Henry de Gower who was Bishop of St David's from 1328 to 1347 (he was also largely responsible for the great bishops palace alongside St David's Cathedral).
You can see the remains of great halls and chapels with distinctive arcading (similar to that found at St Davids Bishop's Palace) raised over undercrofts as well as two gatehouses and a large barn or granary.
After the reformation the palace changed hands but continued as a noble house into the seventeenth century before declining. During the nineteenth century the site was made into a garden which was associated with a classical mansion erected to the north west
1 April - 31 October 2011 open daily 10.00am - 5.00pm
(Last admission 30 minutes before closing)
Adults - £3.20
Family - £9.20 (Admits 2 adults & all children under 16)
Senior citizens, students and children under 16 - £2.80
Disabled and companion Free
November to March - Free entry during this period
Saint Govan died in 586, he was a hermit that lived in a fissure at the side of a coastal cliff not far from Bosherston near Pembroke, Saint Govan's Chapel was built in and on the fissure in the 14th Century on what is now known as Saint Govan's Head.
Approximately 74 steps lead down to the Chapel from the cliff top path. (you can count different numbers depending on if you are going up or down)
Saint Govan miraculously escaping pursuit by pirates when the rock itself is said to have opened and closed around him thus keeping him hidden until his persuers had gone. where this happened can be seen at the rear of the church, some people say they have seen the ghostly image of a monk in their photographs, sadly i can only see damp rock on mine :(
According to some legends Sir Gawain ( King Arthur's nephew) According to local legend is buried here after having retired to live out his days as a hermit after Arthur's death.
The Castle at Pembroke was first built from wood in 1090, it's great tower keep was built by Gilbert de Clare when he became the first earl of Pembroke in 1138
In the fifteenth century the castle was held by Jasper Tudor and it was here that the future King Henry VII was born, The son of Margret Beaufort (Jaspers sister) and The Earl of Richmond. He is supposed to have been born in a room in the tower which is now named after him.
After the Yorkist victory at Tewkesbury Jasper, Henry and his mother escaped to Brittany. 14 years later Henry returned to Milford Haven with a small army and went on to capture the throne of England at Bosworth.
During the Civil war the castle was under siege for seven weeks before it was surrendered to the parliamentary forces.
The castle was in ruins until being partialy restored in 1880 by J. R. Cobb of Brecon and i'm glad he did because it is a fantastic castle!
There are exhibitions in the gatehouse and some nice views of Pembrokeshire from the walls and towers. There is a nice cafe where you can get a drink or something to eat, I had a nice copffee and Vicky had a fantastic looking Hot White Chocolate drink with whipped cream and marshmellows
A large area in the castles outer bailey is used for events.
1st April – 30th September 9.30am – 6.00pm (last entry 5.15pm)
March and October 10.00am - 5.00pm (last entry 4.15pm)
November – February 10.00am – 4.00pm (last entry 3.15pm)
Adults £5.25 Gift Aided £4.75 Non Gift Aided
Concessions £4.25 Gift Aided £3.75 Non Gift Aided
Family Tickets (2 adults plus 2 children under 16): £14.75 Gift Aided £13.25 Non Gift Aided
Children under 5: FREE
The Millpond in Pembroke is a nice place to take a stroll alongside the waters edge. Another favourite pastime here is feeding the ducks & swans or sit by the waters edge just admiring the scenery.