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Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Historical Description

Tenby, a market-town, a seaport, a watering-place, a municipal and parliamentary borough, and a parish in Pembrokeshire. The town stands on the W side of Carmarthen Bay, 9½ miles E by S of Pembroke, and 253 by road and 263 by railway from London. It has a station on the Pembroke and Tenby railway, which connects with the G.W.R. and L. & N.W.R. at Carmarthen, and a head post office. Tenby was anciently called Dynbech-y-Pyscoed, signifying " Denbigh the Fishy," to characterise it as a fishing village, and to distinguish it from Denbigh in North Wales. It owed its rise, if not its origin, to the settlement of Flemings in the reign of Henry I., who established the woollen trade. The date at which the castle was built and the town surrounded with walls is uncertain, but the town was incorporated in 1402, and gave shelter after the battle of Tewkesbury to Henry of Richmond, afterwards Henry VII., until his escape to Brittany by the help of Thomas White, a wealthy merchant and the mayor of the town. The walls were repaired and the defences of the town strengthened against the expected arrival of the Spanish Armada. Tenby declined gradually after the time of Elizabeth, till almost threatened with extinction; but has revived in modern times, and as a fashionable watering-place has undergone extensive reconstruction and great improvement. Tenby occupies the summit and sides of a peninsula, bounded by steep rocks; retains considerable portions of its old walls, includes some fine terrace-lines of buildings; enjoys good facilities for sea-bathing and remarkably attractive environs, and is noted particularly for pure air and water, and for command of scenery and objects interesting to tourists and to naturalists. A pier was constructed in 1895-96. The church of St Mary is a large edifice, rebuilt in 1256, and is chiefly Early English and Perpendicular. It has a massive semi-detached tower with a. graceful spire, 152 feet high, and contains several ancient monuments, including one to Thomas White. There is a seaman's mission chapel near the quay. There are also Roman Catholic, Baptist, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan chapels. The town-hall is in the High Street, and the basement is used as a meat market. The Castle Hill has been laid out with walks and provided with seats, and forms a favourite-promenade, commanding charming views. On its summit is a statue of the late Prince Consort, erected by subscription in 1864. The museum and the coastguard station are also on Castle Hill; the former, opened in 1878, contains a good collection of shells, fossils, and local curiosities. The only portions of the castle which remain consist of the keep, part of the main entrance, and some parts of the walls. Tenby contains a public ball, used for auction sales and entertainments, assembly rooms, several clubs, a cottage hospital, two-banks, a police station, baths, and a skating rink. There are cricket and lawn-tennis grounds and golf links. Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and a fair on 31 July and two following days. Cargo and passenger steamers call regularly from Bristol, Ilfracombe, &c. A fort, mounting nine guns, stands on St Catherine's Rock,. which is insulated at high water. The Royal Naval Reserve have a silent battery on the South Cliff, and a drill hall on the South Parade. Tenby has a meteorological station. Two weekly newspapers are published. There are slight remains of a Carmelite friary near the church. The municipal borough is conterminate with the in-liberty of the parish, and comprisse 629 acres}-population, 4542. The corporation consists of mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors, and has a commission of the peace. The parliamentary borough is coextensive with the municipal borough, and unites with Pembroke, Haverfordwest, Fishguard, Milford, Narberth, and Wiston in returning one member to the House of Commons. The parish includes also the out-liberty, and comprises 2046 acres of land and 1 of water, with 2 of adjacent, tidal water, and 252 of foreshore; population, 4710. The living is a rectory and a vicarage in the diocese of St Davids; net value, £350 with residence. Patron, the Crown.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Pembrokeshire is available to browse.

Newspapers and Periodicals

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