Hundleton & Maiden Wells

The name Hundleton existed in the later Middle Ages and possibly means ‘a farm where hounds were kept’. Possibly it was associated with nearby Orielton (Orieldum in a document of 1335). ‘Maiden Wells’ goes back at least to 1336 (‘Maydene Welle’). The plentiful springs nearby used to feed 3 cisterns which supplied water for the town of Pembroke.

Prehistory

From about 15,000 BC there has been human activity in the area. Flint working floors (Mesolithic and Neolithic periods) existed, for example, on Kilpaison and Newton Burrows, at Goldborough, at Chapel Hill Farm and at Crook tŷ cam. Groups of burial mounds and individual barrows such as those at Dry Burrows, Wallaston and Corston, are evidence of the Bronze Age, and there was formerly a Bronze Age stone circle at Penny Bridge.

Amongst Iron Age Hillforts are Bowetts Wood and Quoits Wood.

Early Religious Sites

Before the Normans came to West Wales, Rhoscrowther was one of the 7 Bishop Houses of Dyfed.

Quoits Mill was part of the property of Monkton Priory, a medieval foundation. At Crygmarren there was a chapel while the name Crosty Well for a field near the top of Bowett Lane suggests another religious building (Croesty – Crosshouse). The name Pater Noster (farm) means ‘Our Father’.

Contacts

Amongst commodities shipped in were coal and limestone, the limestone being burnt for agricultural use at kilns such as the one at Goldborough Pill.

People from throughout Castlemartin, including dockyard workers, made for the ferry from Bentlass to East Pennar. In an accident on that ferry on 8th February 1889, nine people were drowned.

The tidal waters from the Gut to Pembroke Quay were treacherous to trading vessels, and ships were navigated by pilots; Seymour Griffiths of Bentlass was the last of these. A local ‘story’ of which there are several versions, tells of an escaped smuggler who tried to cross from Bentlass to Pennar, but was held by the thick slime and eventually brought to trial (and died by hanging).

The roads of Castlemartin peninsula were quiet, but the development of the Castlemartin range and of the oil industry and Pembroke Power Station meant an unprecedented increase in all types of road traffic.

Agriculture

During the second World War, flax was grown and post-War, early potatoes. Around 1948, where River View now stands, there was a small factory making potato boxes. The acreage of early potatoes has declined, however, since the mid 1980′s. After the War, an important market garden at Orielton was run by Alfred Hitchcox.

Occasional field names give glimpses of the past rural economy: with mention of Cherries, the Great Cunnegan (rabbit warren), Malthouse Meadow, and Hare Park.

Gentry

Amongst the landowners of the past were major Pembrokeshire proprietors, like Meyrick and Cawdor but there were also families whose base was local: for example, Leach of Corston, Dunn of Crickmarren and Meares of Eastington (a medieval fortified dwelling).
Hentland / Lower Henllan was a gentry house in Rhoscrowther, built in the 16th century for the White family, who owned it for some time afterwards.

Parishes and Community

Formerly part of Monkton, Hundleton became a separate civil parish following the Local Government Act of 1894. This is now united with Rhoscrowther, Pwllcrochan and a small portion of St. Mary’s, as the Community of Hundleton. It is the second largest in South Pembrokeshire and in 1991 had 866 inhabitants.

Orielton School

Built on land donated by the Saurin family, it opened on 15th December, 1873, as Orielton Undenominational School. ‘Seagull Billy, the True Story of a Tame Seagull’ (published 1929) is a work of fiction based on the childhood of Horace Hitchings in Hundleton, where his father was headmaster 1889-1898, by his sister Winifred M. Hitchings.

The story is kept alive locally by the sweater badge of Seagull Billy worn by the pupils of Orielton County Primary School. Head teacher Mr E John Gibby, in 1958 writes in the log ‘Issued badges designed by myself. Scarlet O with white seagull on sky-blue background. This done to foster pride in school work and conduct’. The school motto is ‘Near enough is not good enough for me’.

Hundleton

On the Green is the war memorial. There were 3 Inns: The Ivy Green, The Elms (closed c.1920), and The Speculation. There is now a new public house, The Highgate. One house (Bushes today) used to be called Laundry because of the function its householder performed.

The Church Hall was built (1921-2) in part of the garden of The Ivy Green, and nearby was a bakery and shop. Modern residents recall Fred Phillips, the smith (who also made hoops for children) and his wife’s grocery shop.

From the 1970′s the village has grown. The community playing field given to the Parish by Pembroke Rural District Council was originally a smallholding ‘Ontario’, of 5 fields. Tremendous work, both voluntary and paid, has transformed it into a very acceptable play area.

Maiden Wells

The smallholding on which the Maiden Well was situated became the nucleus of other developments – for example, the smithy at the foot of Highgate Mountain Lane, and two public houses, The Sun and The Wells.

Texaco Refinery

The designation of Milford Haven as an oil port in 1957 was to have radical effects on the parishes of Rhoscrowther and Pwllcrochan. In 1962 the Regent Oil Refining Company (later to become Texaco) purchased 975 acres of land between the two villages. By 1964 the Company was operating an oil terminal and refinery on the site. Further developments have taken place subsequently.

Walks and Wildlife

There are several circular walks which can be started from Hundleton village, using the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, quiet lanes and inland paths. The ‘All Saints Walk’, for which a separate leaflet is available, can be started from Hundleton. The walks feature the many Anglo Norman churches in the area.

The area is rich in wildlife, despite being close to heavy industry. On the mudflats of the Pembroke river many waders feed, including Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatcher. Inland, the hedgebanks are ablaze with colour throughout the year – Bluebells and Primroses in early spring, followed by Red Campion and Cow Parsley, and, later in the year, Betony and Yellow Toadflax – to name but a few. The hedgerows and woodlands abound with bird life – Nuthatches, Goldfinches and Wrens and many other small birds, while Herons and Ducks may be seen on the decoy pond and on the ponds in Crygmarren Wood.