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March Monthly Meeting – Pembroke Castle

A thousand years of history...

We are all very familiar with Pembroke Castle, a place where many of us have taken visitors.  Our Speaker for the month of March was Jon Williams General Manager of the Castle.  One thinks of historic buildings as having a curator rather than a General Manager but it became apparent that the Castle doesn’t function from simply being a well know Castle.  Jon, a local lad from Saundersfoot, explained he was a frequent visitor, with his parents, never dreaming for one moment that, in 2007, his career would take him to a managerial post.  It is a position which he clearly loves but uppermost in his mind is always ways to generate income to enable improvements and repairs to be carried out. 

To begin his talk we were show a short film documenting the history of the Castle narrated by none other than Eddie Butler who has a deep interest in Welsh History. 

Each year there are between 110,/120,000 visitors and Jon has some very inventive ideas for entertaining both adults and children.  The Castle is now providing a venue for outdoor concerts, weddings and of course, The Antiques Road Show. 

Penny Thomas 7th March 2019

Sue Thomas has passed away

Sue was an enthusiastic leader of  the Exercise to Music group which she took over from Gloria Droy and also a Stretch for Health group. She had a great sense of fun. She retired from both groups to enable her to have freedom to travel. Sadly her illness struck before this could happen.

February Monthly Meeting – National Trust Volunteering in Pembrokeshire

Ian Hextall – National Trust Volunteer

Ian Hextall gave a most interesting and sometimes humorous talk about his work as a National Trust Volunteer.  The National Trust owns some 7770 acres in North Pembrokeshire alone with very few fully employed Rangers   overseeing its’ management thus volunteers are a very important labour source.  The Southwood Estate is one of Ian’s favourite Trust properties he gives guided tours of the farmhouse and works alongside others on the land to include weeding the farmyard by hand, no herbicides are permitted!  With reference to an old Ordnance Survey Map it could be seen hedgerows had been removed leaving a large open field the Trust decided to reinstate the hedges, the work of planting many hundreds of trees fell to the Volunteers, the time of year chosen November, Ian showed a photograph of said Volunteers looking decidedly like mud larks!

 The National Trust helps to maintain and reinstate important historical sites for future generations to enjoy but it became apparent during Ian’s talk the Trust would struggle without the help of its’ many Volunteers.

Penny Thomas 7th February 2019

Joan Noyce has Passed Away

It is with sadness that we report that one of our members Joan Noyce passed away on Thursday, 7th February 2019. Joan was elected to the committee, but attended few meetings due to illness. She was a member of the Play Reading group, and also she attended the Cryptic Crossword group and the Ex Libris group, both curtailed through illness.

The funeral will be held at 11am on Monday, 25 February at St Mary’s Church, Haverfordwest .

January 2019 Monthly Meeting – Pembrokeshire Shipwrecks

The speaker at the January Meeting was Mr James Hedley-Phillips who gave an animated and most informative talk about shipwrecks off the coast of Pembrokeshire.  Surprisingly there are some 1000 wrecks.

However, he spoke, in the main, about the schooner Frederick constructed in 1833 for Sir John Tobin who, like some of the period, made his fortune from the slave trade.    The Frederick sailed from Liverpool bound for West Africa loaded with trinkets and muskets for trade, onward to America’s Southern States where the slaves where offloaded after which the schooner would return with cotton and other commodities.  The schooner sunk off the coast of Pembrokeshire having been caught in a gale. 

Schooners were replaced by steam ships, the next element of the talk concerned the ship “Nimrod”, constructed in 1843 just ten years after the Frederick but now with the benefit of steam propulsion with additional sails.  The Frederick too was to founder just off the coast near St David’s Head breaking in to three parts. 

James showed photographs of items recovered from the stern where the first class berths were to be found and the dining room, rows of silver spoons, serving utensils and forks but no knives! 

It is amazing to think what lies on the sea bed not far from where we paddle and to be told there are some 300/400 wrecks alone in the locality of Ramsey Sound, a really entertaining and interesting talk.

Penny Thomas 3rd January 2019

November Monthly Meeting – Redundant Churches by Joe Rielly

Our Speaker for the November monthly meeting was our own Joe Rielly who is the leader of the Architecture and Design Group. The talk was entitled Redundant Churches – Who Cares.  Joe cares deeply, although a humanist, he is concerned that many of the disused Churches are falling into disrepair and will be lost to future generations.  The Church was once the hub of every village, in fact, yesterday’s Community Hub a place to meet your neighbours, marry, take your children for baptism and finally where you would be laid to rest in its’ cemetery.

Joe first gave this talk to Narberth U3A and has repeated it no fewer than seven times to include Swansea and it was not difficult to understand why.  Joe and is Wife Margaret had visited many redundant Churches in Pembrokeshire and Cardigan.  I am sure many of us will remember the explosion at the Texaco Oil Refinery many years ago following which it was deemed the village of Rhoscrowther was an unsafe place in which to live and in consequence the inhabitants relocated leaving the Church of St Decuman, which is Grade 1 listed, being left without a congregation but now in the care of Friends of Friendless Churches, what an apt title.

A most interesting and thought provoking talk which left you feeling you wanted to visit the Churches for yourself, in fact, Joe had prepared an information sheet with directions and post codes he must have known we would be inspired to do so!

Penny Thomas  1st November 2018

LOCATIONS OF THE PEMBROKESHIRE CHURCHES IN THE CARE OF

THE FRIENDS OF FRIENDLESS CHURCHES

Parking at Bayvil, Hodgeston and Manordeifi is very limited. Flimston is not accessible when the firing range at Castlemartin is active. Access is generally possible at weekends and bank holidays. Check this range number before setting out 01646 662367 or search on Google for Castlemartin Firing Range times.    The post codes are very approximate. The grid references are Ordinance Survey. The map numbers are Explorer or Landranger

1

BAYVIL.      SA41 3XN    o/s ref 101 406     map OL35 Exp or  Lan 145
Located off the Newport to Cardigan A487 road. Take the B4582 to Nevern, continue on this road past Nevern church for about 11/4 miles. Look out for the very small sign for Bayvil Farm on the left. Go up the lane to the farm and turn left at a bungalow on the corner.

HODGESTON       SA71 5JU   o/s ref   029 995   map OL36 Exp or Lan 158
Located on the A4139 that links Pembroke and Tenby

3

LLANDELOY    SA62 6LJ    o/s ref 856 266  map OL35 Exp or Lan 145
Located off the A487 Haverfordwest to St Davids road. At Penycwm take the minor roads signposted to Llandeloy.

4

MANORDEIFI     SA43 2QN    o/s ref 229 432    map OL35 Exp or Lan 145 
Located on the A484 Cardigan to Newcastle Emlyn Road. At Llechryd, coming from Cardigan direction, at the cross roads, turn right over the Teifi- river- bridge by the Castle Malgwyn Hotel. Then Immediately left, up the very narrow lane opposite the Hotel gates, to Manordeifi.

5

RHOSCROWTHER       SA71 5EB  o/s ref  904 022    map OL36 Exp or  Lan158
Located on the B4320 Pembroke to Angle road. Take the minor road on the right to Roscrowther, pass the refinery and continue down the hill where the church is located in the valley.

6

FLIMSTON     SA71 5EB  o/s ref  925 956   map OL36 Exp or Lan 158
Located on the range military road to Stack Rocks, at a T junction on the B4319 Castlemartin to Merrion-Camp road.

Most buildings are normally open during daylight hours.

For further information contact  WWW.friendsoffriendlesschurches.org.uk Telephone 020 7236 3934

Please leave a donation when visiting or join the Friends to support their work in maintaining these churches. Please report any damage or problems you see.

Joe Rielly January 2018

 

Mike Green, popular U3A Member and Ex-navy Diver

Mike passed away on Friday 2nd November. 

He was a popular and long standing member of Pembrokeshire U3A, who, members may recall gave a fascinating talk in June of 2014 about his life and adventures as a navy diver. 

We have been given details of his funeral arrangements and they are set out below. 

PLEASE NOTE IF YOU INTEND TO ATTEND, PLEASE EMAIL MIKE’S SON (SEE THE FINAL PARAGRAPH BELOW)

The funeral will take place at:- Parc Gwyn Crematorium,  Narberth, SA67 8UD.

Date – Monday 19th November Time 12.15

Dress code – For non ACA members Informal strictly no black ties.  (ACA is the Association that Mike set up in the services)

The coffin will leave from his house:- 106 Cambrian road, Neyland, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, SA73 1ST.  Time  11.30 Feel free to leave from 106 Cambrian or meet at Parc Gwyn.  We will then return to “The Bar” Brunel Quay, Neyland, Milford Haven, SA73 1PY.

The family would prefer that flowers should not be sent but money should be donated to  Macmillan cancer support www.macmillan.org.uk 

 Any cards of condolence should be sent to 106 Cambrian Road.

Please RSVP to rayjohngreen@gmail.com and advise if you are attending the Funeral and or the Wake. 

Monthly Talk: “Living on an Island”

The speaker for October was Janet Gibbs, a member of the Canasta Group, who talked to the membership about her time living on the Island of Guernsey.

Photo: GW

Janet lived on the Island for six years, working for a private bank at the time when off shore accounts received tax benefits.  Her husband,was a policeman.  Guernsey to some conjures up Guernsey cows and the German occupation, but Janet told us so much more.  The second largest of the Channel Islands and once the home of Victor Hugo, whose home can be seen today and is, as you would expect, very much decorated ornately in the French style.  With a speed limit of just 35 miles per hour it is strange the racing driver Jensen Button should be a resident! 

In addition to its’ dairy industry, Guernsey was a grower of tomatoes but sadly in the 1987 gales many of the greenhouses were destroyed and remain today mounds of debris because of the difficulty and cost of removal and disposal.  Janet brought with her some very stylish jewellery designed by Catherine Best who has a workshop on the Island of much interest to the ladies!

The talk was both informative and interesting it is always great to hear from a member.

Penny Thomas 4th October 2018

Monthly Talk: “Gathering the Graves” a film

Local filmmaker Bob Phillips presented his debut film ‘Gathering the Graves’.

The story is based on the work of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission and follows the lives of several characters affected by the loss of Evan, a soldier who went missing on the Western Front during World War I.

An introduction was given by Bob.  He started with a short talk introducing us to a map with numbers written, 21, 13, 870 etc these represented the number of bodies found after the Great War some 10,000 in an area of not much more than an acre, shocking.  The hall descended into silence as Bob explained the reason behind the making of this truly remarkable film, a grandfather, great uncle members of his own family lost, the more he investigated the greater the desire to record events.  We followed the young lives of two friends who had seen the Buffalo Bill Cowboy Show when it visited Pembroke Dock, we saw photos of two boys playing cowboys and Indians.  These boys, as did so many, saw the War as an adventure and signed up to do their duty, my own tears started as we saw them leave, boarding a train which would take one to his death the other to be a prisoner of war.

The film centred on the commissioning of War Graves, those who had wealth were able to arrange for their loved ones to be brought home for burial others lay where they had fallen for some there were no remains.   War Grave Commission headed by Mr Fabian Ware set about finding the bodies buried beneath the killing fields each was given a burial and the grave marked with a simple cross to eventually be replaced by a simple headstone that we now recognise.  

Penny Thomas  6th September 2018

“Catharine Memorial Walk” – Saturday October 6th

The Rovers Walk on Saturday October 6th, led by John Baylis, has now been designated as the Catharine Memorial Walk, in memory of his wife who died suddenly earlier this year.   Anyone who would like to join us on this walk will be very welcome.  Details are in the current U3A Newsletter.  The distance is 7.5 miles; wear walking boots, and suitable clothing, and bring lunch and water.  Ring John the previous evening to inform him, and receive any last minute information.      Chris Taylor 01646-600225.

UPDATE:  If U3A members would like to join us, but are unable to manage the full 7.5 mile walk, the first three miles of the walk is a loop, and come back almost to the starting point, (at Haverfordwest Football Club, behind/beside Morrisons).  So you could drop off after three miles rather than complete the longer walk.