Angle village is set in a valley on the southern shore of the Milford Haven Estuary, at the south western tip of Pembrokeshire. Angle Parish is bounded on three sides by coastline which varies from high rugged cliffs to the beautiful beach at West Angle Bay and the tidal flats of East Angle.
The name Angle (also known as ‘Nangle’) is thought to make reference to the location of the parish, described in ancient deeds as ‘in angulo’ , meaning land in an angle or nook. The name may also refer to early landowners, the de Nangles (or d’ Angelo). Robert de Shirburn, upon his marriage to Isobel de Angulo, in 1278, was granted the manorial lands of Angle.
There is evidence that people lived here from the Mesolithic period (approx 4,000 BC). There was flint working in the Mesolithic period at Broomhill and South Studdock. There have been Neolithic finds from South Studdock and Rocket-Cart House. On Broomhill Barrows are the remains of a chambered tomb (circa 3,500BC – 3,000 BC), known in recent times as the Devil’s Quoit.
Rectory and Vicarage
The ecclesiastical living of Angle was formally awarded to a rector, who did not often live in the Rectory but appointed a Vicar to look after the parish instead. The most famous Rector of Angle was Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambriensis) who is known to have been Rector here in 1200AD. It is believed that the Tower House was a Rectory at one time, as was Kilnbank House for a short period in the 19th century. The current Rectory was built in the 1870′s.
Medieval and Early Tudor Chapels
It is believed that prior to 1500 there was a church dedicated to St Anthony at West Angle Bay. Its graveyard is currently a site of great archaeological interest with cist graves (stone coffins) dating from the 9th century – the graveyard is under threat from erosion and a number of graves have already fallen into the sea. There is also mention of a chantry chapel of St George the Martyr at Chapel Bay.
Brickworks chimney (rems of)
Two major occupations in Angle have been agriculture and fishing. Other occupations such as milling by wind power have taken place since at least 1298. A windmill, recorded in the late Tudor period, was re-built in the 18th century and modified for use during the second world war as a pill box.
Local limestone and red sandstone have been used for building. Limestone was also used to make mantelpieces, and burnt for agricultural purposes. Reminders of the limestone industry are mooring rings for vessels in the rocks, traces of the railway track leading out to the cliff quarry and the disused lime kiln at West Angle.
The Angle Brick Works was established in the 1880′s by the Angle Estate. At that time there were 3 kilns. The products included bricks of several varieties, roof and quarry tiles, ridge tiles, and drain pipes. Later, blocks of simulated stone were produced; there is a house in this material a hundred yards or so east of the Church. The chimney of the Works may still be seen at West Angle.
During the early 1800′s, women and girls plaited straw bonnets, hassocks and matting, baked biscuits for ship supplies, and made laver bread from seaweed collected from Freshwater West. There were also a number of lavender fields and a drying house in the village.
Alehouses and Inns
Angle has catered for thirsty fishermen, sailors, lifeboat men, farm workers, and the builders and artillerymen of Thorn Island and Chapel Bay forts to name but a few. Alehouses have come and gone, passing through the hands of local families. Five licensed alehouse keepers were listed in 1795, but the whereabouts of some alehouses, for example the King’s Arms and Mariner’s Arms, has been lost.
The Castle Inn once stood near the Tower House at East Angle Bay and opposite it, at the head of the creek, was the Dolphin. Midway along the village street stood the Anchor. These all closed by the end of the 19th century and are now private dwellings with new names. The prominent Globe House (Hotel) was originally two cottages, one of which was an inn which became an hotel in 1904 and later served as a First World War convalescent hospital. The Globe then became a pub until 1993. It now provides holiday accommodation. The fort at Thorn Island has also been a hotel in recent times.
Today there are two public houses in the village. The Old Point House (public house and farm), literally on the Point at East Angle Bay, dates back to at least the 16th century. It was reputedly frequented by pirates.
For over 300 years a culm fire was kept burning continuously in the grate, providing warmth for the lifeboat men, cold mariners and villagers alike. In 1865 the landlord of the Anchor moved to open the Hibernia Inn in the centre of the village. The name derives, it is said, from the Irish coin, dated 1805, found during building work at the pub, where the coin is still displayed.
As early as 1828 there is mention of a schoolmaster in the register of marriages for Angle parish. A Dame school (a small private school) was held at Number 7 Angle (now the Old Ruin). The village school was built in 1862 on land donated by the Mirehouse family from voluntary contributions and donations. Until 1880 the children paid for their education with contributions from the Mirehouse family who also maintained the building. After 1880 the school was put under government inspections in order to qualify for grants. The main building has remained largely unaltered since 1890.
The Old Point House‘ Loch Shiel’
During a violent storm in January 1894, the Scottish ship Loch Shiel was wrecked off Thorn Island. The Angle lifeboat rushed to its aid and courageously rescued all thirty three people on board. Amongst its cargo was a large quantity of whisky, beer, and other spirits, much of which washed up on shore. Customs men struggled to recover the cargo, as local people went to great lengths to hide the booty. Although there were no fatalities as a result of the wreck, two local men were killed when they tried to bring a keg ashore and another died of ‘excessive whisky drinking’. There are known to be bottles of whisky still in the village.