East Williamston & Broadmoor
Some 8 estates owned land locally in the 19th century. The predominant interest was that of Lawrenny. There are two Williamstons just a few miles apart. In the Middle Ages they were distinguished by a following name, possibly that of a manorial owner.
But with the passing of time they were identified by the words ‘East’ and ‘West’. So Williamston Elnard (or Eluard) became East Williamston. Broadmoor is an area at the extremity of East Williamston Chapelry, where a village has grown relatively recently.
Chapelry and Community
Although East Williamston has its own church, it was never a separate parish. For centuries, it was a Chapelry or Hamlet of Begelly, and was served by its rector. Recently it has been joined with Jeffreyston for church purposes. The modern Community Council area of East Williamston includes also part of the historic parish of St Issell’s.
Field and farm names are clues to features which have by now disappeared. The farm name ‘Beaconing’ probably originates from a place on which a beacon might be lighted. Beacons were often sited on prominent Bronze Age barrows. A group of 6 fields with the element ‘castle’ were surely part of a fortified site possibly an Iron Age hillfort.
The Middle Ages
The arable land was organised in big open fields. An individual person’s share of the arable land consisted of a number of strips scattered in these open fields and his home tended to be in the village. It is possible that the fields named ‘Hoarstone’ recall a boundary stone.
Over the centuries, the strips have been brought together and enclosed, often in long narrow fields. But until quite recently there still were holdings which had fields intermixed with other farms; there even were landowners whose properties were interspersed with parcels of land belonging to others. The common land and unfenced roads are a feature of the village, and despite all modern changes, it retains its traditional lay out.
How Old is East Williamston?
There was certainly a settlement here over 700 years ago. Two fields west of the parish church used to be called ‘moat meadow’. Was this the site of a motte castle or fortified dwelling? The church around which the homes are clustered is dedicated to a Welsh saint, Elidyr. For centuries, all the main traffic between Carmarthen and Pembroke travelled via Begelly and Temple Bar and along the north west border of East Williamston village. This road was crossed by the one leading from the direction of Jeffreyston to Stoneybridge.
From the 18th century, Turnpike Trusts came into existence. A new road from St Clears to Kingsmoor built by the ‘Main Trust’, joined the new road of the ‘Tavernspite Trust’ to Hobbs Point. This crossed the long existing road from Jeffreyston at the point where later, Cross Inn was to be established. On 6th April 1839 the Royal Mail travelled for the first time on the turnpike road from Carmarthen to Hobbs Point and East Williamston was by-passed. Amongst the side roads of the village in 1842 was ‘One Way Lane’.
There was coal mining in East Williamston in 1620, and there is specific mention of Watershill and Masterland in 1632. In the period 1792-3, collieries called Williamston and Williamston Meadow were worked by Alexander Smith, William Bowen & Co. Williamston Meadow was still occupied by William Bowen and Co. at the turn of the century, but by 1809 Williamston was being worked by Thomas Manning and Co. About the same time, Hill Moor and South Field collieries were operational. These collieries closed with the introduction of deeper mining and better technology. However, mining continued to take place beneath East Williamston from other collieries such as Moreton (closed 1887).
Broadmoor evolved as a mining village. Even in the early 20th century there continued to be some activity at Masterland, one of the places where there was mining in the early 17th century. M.R.C. Price has pointed out that ‘the name Broadmoor Colliery … was attached to at least four different workings within a century’. These were Wilson and Smith’s colliery in the first half of the 19th century, the Greenhill Colliery active from about 1853 to 1881, and Cross Park and Gunter’s both worked after the first World War. (Cross Park was opened in 1926) A short row of cottages still to be seen at Broadmoor was built by the owners of the Greenhill Colliery. Wilson and Smith’s colliery was one of the earliest to use a steam operated pump. Work in the mines was a traditional occupation and when there were insufficient local opportunities, people walked to Bonvilles Court, Saundersfoot.
Several fields in the Tithe Apportionment Schedule of 1842, including the one where Cold Inn chapel was later to be built, are called Cantons Leat. The identity of Canton is unclear, but there is a document of 1799 which records the sales of culm at Cantons Leat. Another 1842 field name is ‘(part of) Harris leat’.
A small group of fields had the name ‘Priest’s Pool’. There are some partly Welsh names like 4 fields called ‘Gelly land’ (‘gelly’ could be a grove of trees or just possibly a personal name). Of natural history interest is the group of names which are variants of ‘kite’: for example ‘Kite Hill’, ‘Kitle’ and ‘Kettle’. The bittern also figures.
East Williamston in the 20th century
The village received mains water in 1937; until then the population relied on 4 wells. Mrs Cole, who moved to the village in 1939, recalls that the village had just 19 houses at that time: 3 farms, 6 small holdings and 10 cottages. A bungalow was being built. Many new properties have been built since. The village hall was built in 1953 and electricity arrived about 1959. Miss Jermin of the Brotherhill family gave the land for the hall, and as the oldest inhabitant presented the keys at the opening.
This name is a local mystery. Today it refers to a group of houses and Ebenezer Chapel. There is no hostelry. The name Cold Inn existed in the late 18th century but the public house seems to have been called New Inn. The date of its closure is unknown. Probably Susannah Howells was the last innkeeper. Her residence is described in the Land Tax of 1829 as ‘New Inn’, 1830 as ‘New End’ and 1831 as ‘Cold End’.
Concurrently this house and the others nearby were usually referred to in the parish registers as ‘Gould’/’Gold Inn’. In 1842 she lived on the other side of the road from Cold Inn Farm and slightly closer to East Williamston. There is however a local tradition that the inn was on the same side as the farm. Cold Inn Farm continues to be the home of the Protheroe family who lived here in the early nineteenth century. ‘Mr. Reg Protheroe decided during his lifetime that he did not wish to be buried in the cemetery of either East Williamston Church or Cold Inn Chapel, but would prefer to be laid to rest on his own land.
He completed all the required formalities and permission was granted, so his grave and that of his wife are in a specially tended area.’ Before the second World War, there was a slaughter house and butcher’s here and 2 cottages additional to the farm, and the house on the corner of Clayford Road.
Farms such as Masterland and Morgans (now Hanbury Lodge) existed in Tudor days. However, there was little nucleation of population until after the building of the turnpike road. A house on the site of Cross Inn was occupied by one James Humphreys in 1842.
Other local occupations besides mining have included the manufacture of bricks and pipes and concrete blocks. The village was known locally for its garage (established in the 1920′s) which sold bicycles and footwear as well as petrol and oil. It had its own slaughter house and butcher until 1945. The holiday industry has taken over from mining and ‘Cross Park’ for example, formerly the name of a pit, is now a holiday park.
Walks & Wildlife
Hedgerows of Hazel, Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Ash support many varieties of wild flowers, including Cuckoo Pint, Red Campion, Herb Robert and Foxgloves, while Chaffinches, Wrens and Blackbirds nest in the thick undergrowth. The hedgerows also act as a ‘corridor’ for mammals such as Badgers, Foxes, Stoats and Weasels to travel along during their foraging expeditions. The low lying area around Prouts Park and Kite Hill is on heavy, impervious clay, and the resulting marshland and heath is an important wildlife habitat frequented by birds such as Snipe, Buzzard and Woodcock, with occasional visits by hunting Hen Harriers and Barn Owls. Several species of rushes and sedges grow in these areas, and other plants include Meadow Sweet, Wild Iris and Purple Loosestrife. Footpaths starting from East Williamston, include a pleasant circular walk around the marshland area described above, and paths linking with Saundersfoot and Tenby.