At a crossroads on the road from Fishguard to St Davids lies the village of Croesgoch. The first recorded use of the name Croesgoch was in 1813 in the Bishop’s Transcripts of the Parish Records. There are a number of possible explanations for the origin of this name. Croes (Cross) could simply refer to the crossroads and Coch (red) may refer to the colour of the soil. Another more intriguing explanation is the story of an ancient battle and mass slaughter, resulting in a mythical river of blood that formed the shape of a cross. It is not certain whether this battle took place during the Dark Ages or even earlier during Roman times.
Ancient History of Croesgoch
A number of archaeological finds demonstrate human activity in the area as far back as the Mesolithic period (10,000 – 4,400BC). Several flint tools dating to this period have been found. Two stone spindle whorls, used to give a spindle momentum during wool spinning, were found at Treglemais Farm; these have been dated to the Neolithic period (4,400 – 2,300BC). Another stone tool, a perforated axe-hammer thought to date from the Bronze Age (2,300 – 700BC), was also found in the area. These type of ‘hammers’ often show very little signs of wear, and may have had a ceremonial or symbolic purpose.
The stones that form Lecha Cromlech, near Lecha Farm, seem to have sunk into the ground and the capstone has been dislodged from its position. In 1800 a Long Cist Burial (stone coffin) was found at Parc y Fynwent (Cemetery Field) which contained human remains and a sword. In 2000 building work uncovered further graves, dating from AD 370-600.
The windmill (Yr Hen Felinwynt) which stood on a prominent position near the village was first recorded in 1511. Records from 1591 show that William James Harries, Yeoman, paid a yearly rent of ten shillings for a portion of land in ‘Trevoughlloyd, Velinwinte and Tregwy to John David Perkyn, Yeoman’.
In 1773 a lease was agreed on Velin Wint for an annual rent of ’6 guineas and a couple of fat hens at Shrovetide annually’. The windmill was still working in the 1830′s. Yet by the first OS map in the early 1840′s it is recorded as a ruin. There are no remains to mark the site of the windmill today.
Bonnie Prince Charlie
The ‘Society of Sea Serjeants’ was a restricted club formed by a group of Welsh country gentlemen. The emblem of the society was the Jacobite eight pointed star, but with a dolphin in the centre. The group met once a year at various towns and villages along the Pembrokeshire coast. Legend has it that one of their meetings was held at Trefeigan and that here the ‘Society of Sea Serjeants’ secretly hosted the exiled Charles Edward Stuart, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, leader of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion.
Rev. John Reynolds and the French Invasion
The Rev. John Reynolds (1759 1824) of Treglemais Farm, a well known minister throughout the Baptist movement in Wales was involved in the founding of Croesgoch Baptist Chapel. In 1798 the farm at Treglemais was raided by a troop of military red coats who had arrived to investigate an alleged involvement of the Reverend Reynolds in the planning and support of the French landings at Fishguard. The accusation arose after he had conveyed a newspaper containing written comments from a shopkeeper in Haverfordwest to a neighbouring farmer. His Welsh language letters and documents were considered highly suspect and were searched but nothing traitorous was found. His nephew the Reverend William Reynolds, gave the land for the building of Croesgoch Baptist Chapel Cemetery and the Manse. Both are buried at Middle Mill Chapel.
Development of the Village
According to the Tithe Map in 1842 there were only five cottages and the chapel located on the cross roads in Croesgoch. Most of the 31 people living in the village were Agricultural Labourers. Trefeigan Cottage is an example of a traditional labourers home, it is largely unaltered. The 1851 census shows a shop and 39 inhabitants in the village. By 1861 there is a carpenter’s workshop, a draper’s shop and the Croesgoch Inn, Tafarn Ucha, but only 36 inhabitants. The Smithy first appears on the 1871 census and by 1881 the village had expanded further when there was a Post Office and another Grocer’s shop.
The first recorded information on the school comes from an inspectors report of 1847. ‘On the 11 of January I visited the above place. The school was held in a small room which is part of the Baptist chapel, but it often happens that it does not meet. It had one small window and a fireplace. The furniture consisted of two benches and a plank laid across two upright pieces of loose timber to serve the purpose of a table, all in wretched repair. It was kept by a man who although not more than fifty two years of age, was very infirm, and appeared totally unfit for the duties of School Master’. In 1902 there were two full time and two part time teachers. During the 1940′s the number had dropped to two full time teachers. The school moved to its current location in 1966. The larger new school also accommodated pupils from the schools at Llanrhian and Trefin which subsequently closed.
Home Guard Headquarters
During the Second World War the Local Defence Volunteers, the Home Guard, met and had their headquarters in the former chapel caretaker’s house – Ty Leisa Morris which has now been demolished. They paraded on the cross roads every Sunday afternoon. The interior of the house was gutted and posters of a military nature were mounted on the walls. There were large coils of a military barbed wire outside the house. They erected various sandbag guard posts along the road towards St Davids and used the quarry in Porthgain for live ammunition firing practise. The regular army often used the area to practise establishing communications networks, in readiness for the D-Day landings. They would land at Whitesands Bay near St Davids, and drive to Croesgoch, laying their telephone cables along the route. There was a Royal Observer Corps tower near the reservoir during the war and later during the cold war, a nuclear bunker was built underground at the side of the reservoir.