Rowland Laugharne

Rowland Laugharne

Rowland Laugharne was born in Wales in about 1610. He worked as a page to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, who owned large estates in Carmarthenshire. Laugharne joined the army and saw action in the Netherlands.

At the outbreak of the Civil War Pembroke was the only town in Wales that declared support for Parliament. Soon afterwards Laugharne was appointed parliamentary commander of the town. Charles I gave orders for Pembroke to be attacked. Richard Vaughan, the Earl of Carbery, lieutenant-general of the king's army in south-west Wales, decided to make sure that other towns in this region were secure before dealing with Pembroke.

The Earl of Carbery did not begin his assault on Pembroke until the beginning of 1644. However, before he could capture the town, parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from England. The Earl of Carbery now decided that he was not strong enough to capture Pembroke, and withdrew his forces.

Laugharne took this opportunity to go on the offensive. His troops soon gained control of Haverfordwest, Tenby and Carew Castle. His forces then marched east and it was not long before Carmarthen and Cardiff were also captured by the parliamentary army.

In 1645, the king ordered Colonel Charles Gerard and 2,700 of his soldiers to leave Wales and go and help the royalist campaign in England. With the royalist forces weakened in South Wales, Laugharne decided to go on the offensive again. After defeating the royalist army at Colby Moor, Laugharne was able to capture Carmarthen and by the spring of 1646 the whole of western Wales was under the control of the parliamentary army.

After its successful victory over the royalist forces in 1647, Parliament began to make plans to disband its army. This created a great deal of concern as many of the soldiers had not been paid for several months. Others were worried about the increase in taxes imposed by the parliamentary government.

On 24th December, Parliament declared that all soldiers who had enlisted after 6th August, 1647 were to be dismissed without pay. Those that had joined at an earlier stage of the war were to receive only two months wages.

John Poyer, the governor of Pembroke Castle, was furious when he heard the news and began making speeches to his soldiers attacking Parliament's decision to disband the army. When Parliament discovered that Poyer was making hostile speeches they sent Colonel Fleming to replace him.

Poyer refused to give up the castle and instead sent a letter to Parliament demanding the payment of £1,000 in wage arrears for his men. Colonel Fleming offered £200, but this was rejected. Other soldiers based in South Wales, who had heard about Poyer's actions, began to head for Pembroke to give him their assistance. John Poyer's supporters included the two most senior army officers in South Wales, Major-General Rowland Laugharne and Colonel Rice Powell.

Parliament now realised that they had a major rebellion on their hands. The situation became even worse when news arrived that Charles I had made an agreement with the Scots. In return for the support of a Scottish army, Charles agreed to accept the establishment of the Presbyterian religion in England.

On 10 April 1648, Colonel Poyer declared that he now supported the king. Encouraged by Poyer's declaration for the king, ex-royalist soldiers began joining Poyer in Pembroke. When Parliament heard about Poyer's actions in Pembroke they sent Colonel Thomas Horton with 3,000 troops to deal with the rebellion. Rowland Laugharne and nearly 8,000 rebels left Pembroke and engaged Horton's parliamentary army at St. Fagans in Glamorgan. Although outnumbered, Horton's experienced and well-disciplined army was able to defeat Laugharne's poorly armed soldiers. Over 200 of Laugharne's men were killed and another 3,000 were taken prisoner. Laugharne and what was left of his army, managed to escape back to Pembroke.

The rebellion now spread to other parts of Wales. In North Wales Richard Bulkeley and the people of Anglesey declared their support for the king and Sir John Owen attempted to take Denbigh Castle from the parliamentary army. In the south of the country Rice Powell took control of Tenby and Sir Nicholas Kemeys and other local royalists captured Chepstow Castle.

Realising that the rebellion had to be put down quickly, Parliament decided to send Oliver Cromwell and five regiments to Wales. Cromwell's troops won back Chepstow Castle on 25th May and six days later Rice Powell was forced to surrender Tenby.

Cromwell now marched on to Pembroke to deal with John Poyer and Rowland Laugharne. The castle, built on a great mass of limestone rock and nearly totally surrounded by the Pembroke River, was considered one of the strongest fortresses in Britain.

Oliver Cromwell did not have canons large enough to break through walls that were in some places 20 foot thick. Nor did he have besiegers' ladders that could deal with the 80 foot high walls. Attempts at storming the castle failed and so Cromwell was forced to wait and starve the rebels into submission.

Cromwell wrote back to Parliament forecasting that Poyer and his men would be forced to surrender in about two weeks. However, he was initially unaware that the castle had its own excellent water supply. Eventually, a local man betrayed the secret to Cromwell and the besieging army was able to cut the exposed water pipe on the outskirts of the town.

After a siege of eight weeks and completely without food and water, the rebel soldiers in the castle were forced to surrender. Cromwell dealt leniently with the ex-royalist soldiers. His main anger was directed towards those who had previously been members of the parliamentary army.

Laugharne, Poyer and Rice Powell were tried by court-martial in London and after being found guilty were all sentenced to death. Thomas Fairfax, the leader of the armed forces, decided that only one should die. The three men refused to take part in the lottery to decide who would be executed. The military authorities chose a young child to draw the lots. The papers drawn for Laugharne and Powell read: "Life Given by God". Poyer's paper was blank and he was shot in front of a large crowd at Covent Garden on 21 April, 1649.

Rowland Laugharne was imprisoned but survived until the Restoration and was released by Charles II in 1660.

Colonel Poyer... had from a low trade raised himself in the war to the reputation of a very diligent and stout officer, and was at the time trusted by the Parliament with the government of the town and castle of Pembroke.

A few men... have already gotten too much power into their hands, and want to disband us... So they can enslave the people... and establish taxes. We promise to protect the people from injury and maintain the Protestant religion... as established by the law in this land. We therefore crave the assistance of the whole kingdom.

As commander of these counties... I cannot ignore the affronts put upon my men... Instead of receiving their pay allowed them by Parliament... they have been disbanded... This happened in my absence, and to my knowledge, still unrighted... I believe that my past service for your country... merited much better treatment.

On Monday morning... the enemy advanced towards us... we took the best ground... About sixty men on horses charged once, but we beat them back, and after that none of the men on horses appeared again... The enemy tell us they were 8,000. We had a sharp dispute with them for about two hours. Our men on horses charged the enemy, who were wholly routed... Many of the enemy were slain... We have taken 3,000 prisoners... we have not lost many soldiers and not one of our officers.

I desire that we have your assistance in procuring some necessaries to be cast in the iron-furnace in your county of Carmarthen, which will enable us to reduce the castle of Pembroke. The principal things we need are mortar shells, the depth of them being fourteen and three-quarter inches... We also desire some cannon-shot... This service being done, these poor wasted lands may be freed from the burden of the army.

We have not got our guns and ammunition yet. We only have two little guns... we made an attempt to storm the castle but the ladders were too short... so the men could not get over. We lost a few men but I am confident the enemy lost more... we hope to take away his water supply in two days.

Pembroke Castle was the strongest place that we ever saw... We have had many difficulties in Wales... We have a desperate enemy, and few friends, but a mighty God.

I must tell you that if this offer is refused... misery and ruin will befall the people with you, I know where to charge the blood you spill. I expect the answer within two hours. If this offer be refused, send no more letters to me on this subject.


Victory by cow!

Many things can bring about victory in battle or war, not least a liberal helping of luck. But victory thanks to a herd of cows? Now that really does take some beating.

The English Civil War began in 1642 and was, amongst many other things, the culmination of disputes between the king and parliament.

It was a bloody and violent interlude that, like any civil war, saw brothers fighting against brothers, fathers against sons. It ended with the execution of the king and the setting up of a Commonwealth in Britain - a relatively short-lived Commonwealth, to be sure, but the only time the British state has run without a monarch at its head.

The civil war in Wales was a confused and troubled time, with people changing sides on a regular basis. One of the hotbeds of Parliamentary support and effort was South Pembrokeshire where men such as John Poyer, the Mayor of Pembroke town, and the outstanding Welsh general of the war, Rowland Laugharne, led by example.

In December 1643 and the early part of 1644 Poyer and Laugharne were holed up in the town and castle of Pembroke, not quite under siege by the king's forces but with their movements curtailed and the very real risk of death and destruction hovering in the wind.

Help was at hand, however. During that winter a feeling of resentment began to grow amongst the people of the region regarding the behaviour of many of the Royalist troops and, banking on local support, Laugharne decided it was time to take action.

On 30 January 1644 he took the fortified manor house at Stackpole and four days later moved on to Trefloyne, outside Tenby. After four or five hours of artillery bombardment his forces charged and took the house. Now all that remained were the Royalist bases in the northern part of the county.

On 23 February Laugharne crossed the Cleddau River and lay siege to the Royalist fort of Pill, just outside the modern town of Milford.

Four ships from the Parliamentary fleet aided Laugharne's artillery bombardment. They moored below the fort and added the weight of their broadsides to the battering.

The fort surrendered the following day, 300 officers and men, 18 large guns and 160 smaller weapons falling into Laugharne's hands for the loss of just one man killed.

Rowland Laugharne now decided to march on Haverfordwest. As well as being a vital market town, it was the centre of Royalist support north of the Cleddau and Laugharne knew that it must be taken. The town and its castle were well supplied, well armed, and he expected a fierce fight.

However, when he and his soldiers approached the town they were met, not by a hail of gunfire or by a phalanx of soldiers ready to give battle, but by local dignitaries who were happy to surrender the town and all its supplies.

The garrison in Haverfordwest had, simply, run away. They had heard the sound of the cannonade from the south and knew that they would be next. Then, as they waited, tense and frightened, a lookout saw dust on the horizon. Laugharne and his victorious troops were coming.

Panic seized the garrison and they abandoned their positions and fled.

Only later did they realise the dust was not caused by advancing soldiers but by a herd of bullocks, running in frenzy, frightened by the firing and by the sudden appearance of dozens of armed men. Rowland Laugharne did not care what had caused the garrison to flee. Haverfordwest was his, that was all that mattered.

Over the next few days Laugharne moved on to take the castles of Roch, Picton and Wiston. By the beginning of March not a single Royalist stronghold remained in North Pembrokeshire - and all because of a herd of frightened cows.

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ExecutedToday.com

On this date* in 1649, John Poyer, late the mayor of Pembroke, was shot at London’s Covent Gardens for switching sides in the English Civil War.

But the silly hats in Parliament wanted much of the potentially dangerous army to demobilize, and do so without settling the small matter of its back pay. Poyer refused to hand over his command and Pembroke Castle to a Parliamentary agent, and sought a better deal from monarchists.**

Only with a painstaking siege was the imposing medieval fortress of Pembroke reduced. Poyer, his superior Rowland Laugharne, and Rice Powell were hauled to London and condemned to death.&dagger

In an interesting twist, it was decided that one example would prove the point as well as three, and to allot the clemencies by chance. When the three refused to draw their own lots, a child was given the job instead, and distributed three slips of paper. Laugharne and Powell read “Life given by God.” Poyer’s was deathly blank.

Mark Twain latched onto the singular role of a child in this deadly lottery, and wrung it for every drop of pathos in a short story, “The Death Disk”.

Unlike the proposed victim of that story, Poyer did not benefit from any last-second Cromwellian pity. His death is related in the zippily titled “The Declaration and Speech of Colonell John Poyer Immediately Before his Execution in Covent-Garden neer Westminster, on Wednesday, being the 25 of this instant April, 1649. With the manner of his deportment, and his Proposals to the people of England.”&Dagger

Having ended his speech, he went to prayers, and immediately rising up again, called the men designed for his execution to him, which were six in number, and giving them the sign when they should give fire, which was by holding up both his hands, they observed his motion, who after some few expressions to his friends about him, prepared an embracement for death, and casting his eyes to Heaven, with both hands lifted up, the Executioners (with their fire locks) did their Office, who at one voley bereav’d him of his life, his corps being taken up, was carryed away in a Coach, and the Souldiery remanded back again to White-Hall.

* A few sources say April 21, but the overwhelming majority concur on the 25th — as do the primary citations available in 17th-century comments on his death (e.g., “he was upon the 25 of this instant Aprill being Wednesday, guarded from White-Hall in a Coach, to the place of execution” in “The Declaration and speech of Colonell John Poyer before his execution…”)

** D.E. Kennedy observes that the divide between Parliament and Royalist was not so bright as might be imagined — and that Cromwell himself was at this time negotiating with the future Charles II as an expedient to get around Charles I.

&dagger The rank and file of Welsh insubordination basically skated, a display of clemency from the Lord Protector that Ireland would not enjoy.

&Dagger The title promises much more scaffold drama than two and a half forgettable pages deliver — basically, that Poyer died (a) penitent (b) Anglican and (c) wishing for peace.


VAUGHAN family, of Golden Grove, Carmarthenshire

The Vaughans of Golden Grove claimed descent from Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, prince of Powys. The first member of the family to settle at Golden Grove was JOHN VAUGHAN. His son, WALTER VAUGHAN married (1) Katherine, second daughter of Gruffydd ap Rhys of Dinefwr (see Rice family), and (2) Letitia, daughter of Sir John Perrot. He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN VAUGHAN (1572 - 1634),

who served under the earl of Essex in the Irish campaign of 1599. He was Member of Parliament for Carmarthen borough in 1601 and 1620-22. Appointed Comptroller of the Household to the prince of Wales (afterwards Charles I), he accompanied him to Spain in 1623. He was created baron Vaughan of Mullingar and earl of Carbery in the Irish peerage. He married (1) Margaret, daughter of Sir Gelly Meyrick, and (2) Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Palmer of Wingham, Kent. He died 6 May 1634, and was buried at Llandeilo-fawr.

John Vaughan was succeeded by his eldest and only surviving son,

RICHARD VAUGHAN (1600? - 1686),

who had been knighted on the occasion of the coronation of Charles I in February 1625/6. He was a Member of Parliament for Carmarthenshire, 1624-9, and admitted to Gray's Inn in February 1637/8. In March 1642 the House of Commons nominated him lord-lieutenant of the militia, to be raised in Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire but on the outbreak of the Civil War he was appointed by the king to the command of the Royalist Association of the three western counties. The House of Commons, therefore, resolved to impeach him in April 1643. Carbery does not appear to have taken any active steps until the summer of 1643 when he summoned representatives of Pembrokeshire to a conference at Carmarthen, with a view to suppressing those who had Parliamentary sympathy there, and to the security of Milford Haven, where troops, withdrawn from Ireland, might land. He entered the county in August. Tenby submitted on 30 August, and a garrison was placed in Haverfordwest. Pembroke, however, proved defiant under the leadership of the mayor, John Poyer, who was joined by Rowland Laugharne. Carbery appointed his uncle, Sir Henry Vaughan of Derwydd (below), commander of the Royalist forces in Pembrokeshire. With the assistance of ships of the Parliamentary fleet, Laugharne took the offensive, reduced the Royalist garrisons, and captured the fort which they were building at Pill on Milford Haven (23 February 1644). Sir Henry Vaughan withdrew from Haverfordwest and Carbery left the county, resigning his commission in April. He was ordered to pay an immediate fine of 𧵘 for his delinquency to the Committee for Compounding, and on 17 November 1645 his full obligation was assessed at ٢,500. But Rowland Laugharne personally intervened in his favour, and on 9 April 1647 the House of Commons remitted the fine. The fact that he escaped sequestration suggests that he took no definite part in the struggle after 1644. He tried to dissuade the Carmarthenshire gentry from lending any support to Poyer and Laugharne in the revolt against disbanding in 1648. During the Civil War disturbances Jeremy Taylor took refuge at Golden Grove and dedicated his Holy Living, 1650, and Holy Dying, 1650/1, to Carbery as his patron and protector. After the Restoration Carbery was appointed lord-president of the Marches of Wales at Ludlow, and there he had Samuel Butler as his secretary and steward of the castle part of Hudibras is said to have been composed there. Carbery was removed from the presidency in 1672 owing to charges brought against him of ill-treatment of his servants and tenants at Dryslwyn. He died 3 December 1686. He married (1) Bridget, daughter of Thomas Lloyd, Llanllyr, Cardiganshire, (2) Frances, daughter of Sir John Altham, Oxhey, Hertfordshire, and (3) lady Alice Egerton, daughter of John, 1st earl of Bridgwater. His surviving children were by his second wife. FRANCIS VAUGHAN, the eldest son, was Member of Parliament for Carmarthen, 1661-7, and died in 1667 without issue. He was, therefore, succeeded by John, who was the 3rd and last earl of Carbery.

JOHN VAUGHAN (1640 - 1713), 3rd earl of Carbery,

matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, 23 July 1656, and was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1658. He was knighted in 1661 and represented the borough of Carmarthen in Parliament, 1661-79, and the county, 1679-81 and 1685-7. He was appointed governor of Jamaica in 1674. There he was in constant conflict with the deputy-governor, the notorious Sir Henry Morgan, who intrigued with buccaneers and endangered the peace with France and Spain, which the governor was instructed to preserve. He was superseded by the earl of Carlisle in 1678. After his succession to his father's estates he settled down in London, pursuing his scientific investigations. He was president of the Royal Society (1686-9). He was also a member of the Kit-Kat Club, and is described by Samuel Pepys as ' one of the lewdest fellows of the age.' As he died in January 1712/13 without male issue, the earldom became extinct.

Sir HENRY VAUGHAN (1587? - 1659?),

Royalist, was the 6th son of Walter Vaughan of Golden Grove and a younger brother of John Vaughan, 1st earl of Carbery. He settled at Derwydd. He was sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1620 and Member of Parliament for the county in 1621-9 and 1640. He was knighted at Oxford 1 January 1643, and disabled from sitting in the Commons 5 February 1644. Accompanying Carbery into Pembrokeshire in 1643 he was given command of the Royalist forces there. After the success of Rowland Laugharne at Pill (February 1644) he abandoned Haverfordwest and retired to Carmarthen. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Naseby (14 June 1645) and committed to the Tower.


CIVIL WAR IN PEMBROKE

When the Civil Wars began in 1642, most of Wales declared for the King. Pembroke was one of the few strongholds that declared an allegiance to Parliament. Threatened with attack and often short of supplies, the castle and its garrison held out until the summer of 1645 when King Charles became a prisoner of Parliament and the fighting ended in an uneasy peace. Pembroke, however, still had a surprising and dramatic part to play in the nation&rsquos fortunes.

The Leaders of the Garrison

Three men were to play a defining part in the history of Pembroke during the Civil Wars.

John Poyer, a prosperous merchant of the town, had been elected as Mayor in 1641. When the Civil War began a year later, he seized the castle and held it for Parliament. Though he was later accused by his enemies of drunkenness and embezzlement, he used much of his own fortune to strengthen the town&rsquos fortifications.

Rowland Laugharne was a Pembrokeshire gentleman whose family estates lay near the western shores of Pembrokeshire. He had served in the Thirty Years War in Europe and had considerable military ability.

Rice Powell was also member of the Pembrokeshire gentry. His family owned land near Pwllcrochan and Rice had served as a soldier in Ireland.

The First Civil War 1642-1645

Pembroke was an important bulwark in Parliament&rsquos plans for the defence of western Britain . Had it fallen, the Royalists would have been able to bring large numbers of troops from Ireland via the Milford Haven Waterway and the whole course of the war would have been chanted.

Parliament was therefore determined to give what help it could to the garrison. The Parliamentary navy brought in men and supplies. By 1644, Rowland Laugharne felt strong enough to march out against the surrounding Royalist strongholds. One by one they fell in February. the fortified houses at Stackpole and Trefloyne followed by Pill Fort in March, Tenby and Carew Castle were captured.

Though he suffered some reverses in 1644 and 1645, Laugharne fought on and following the final defeat of the Royalists at Colby Moor near Haverfordwest on 1 August 1645 , Parliament was supreme in west Wales .

An Uneasy Peace

With King Charles a prisoner, Parliament began to disband some of its regiments. This was a popular move, as communities across Britain had been forced to pay for the upkeep of the armies, Many soldiers, however, were unhappy – they were owed large amounts of back pay and their officers, who had often used their own money to equip the troops, were heavily in debt.

John Poyer claimed to have spent most of his fortune in Parliament&rsquos service. In 1648 he refused Parliament&rsquos demand to hand over control of Pembroke Castle and insisted that he should be recompensed.

Rowland Laugharne was also unhappy that his regiment of soldiers was to be disbanded and was called to London to explain his actions.

Whilst he was there Poyer, without warning, opened fire from the castle on the Parliamentary troops occupying the town. Within days he had driven them from Pembrokeshire and had declared for King Charles. Shortly afterwards, he was joined by Rowland Laugharne who had escaped from London .

The Siege of Pembroke

Within weeks of Poyer&rsquos defiant actions, other rebellions occurred in other areas of Britian. Discontented Royalists made their way to Pembroke and it was commonly said that:

Great England &rsquos honour lies in the dust

And Little England lends a hand to raise it up.

Anxious to smother the flames of revolt, Parliament sent Oliver Cromwell and a large force of soldiers to Pembroke, He arrived before the town towards the end of May 1648 and quickly established what became known as &lsquoThe Camp of the Leaguer&rsquo on St Daniel&rsquos hill, with smaller camps on the east of the town and on Golden Hill and in Monkton.

For the nest 6 weeks, Pembroke endured a long and bitter siege. On one occasion, Parliamentary troops forced an entry through a breach in the town walls and a running battle took place along Main Street in which 130 men were killed. A few days later, the town was battered by mortar fire and over 30 people died.

Cromwell sent his ultimatum in the following terms …..

Sir, I have together with my Council of War renewed my propositions, (and) I thought fit to send them to you with these alterations, which if submitted unto I shall make good. I have considered your condition, and my own duty, and (without threatening) must tell you that if (for the sake of some) this offer be refused, and thereby misery and ruin befall the poor soldiers and people with you, I know where to charge the blood you spill. I expect your answer within these two hours. In case this offer be refused, send no more to me about this subject.

July 10 at 4 o&rsquoclock this afternoon, 1648

Eventually, faced with dwindling supplies and with no help in sight, Poyer and Laugharne took the decision to surrender. On July 11 the siege was formally ended.

The treaty of surrender ensured that the townspeople were &lsquofree from plunder and violence and enjoy their liberties as heretofore they had done.&rsquo Many of the garrison&rsquos soldiers were allowed to leave for their homes, provided they promised never again to bear arms against Parliament. Others were sent into exile. John Poyer, Rowland Laugharne and Rice Powell were taken to London and tried for high treason. All were found guilty, but in the event only Poyer suffered the death penalty. He was shot at Covent Garden on 25 April 1649 .

There is a story that while all three men were condemned to death, the Council of State decided on leniency. Only one man need die and it was ordered that lots should be drawn to decide which prisoner would be executed.

Three pieces of paper were prepared – on two of them were the words &ldquoLife given by God&rdquo while the other was blank. A child drew the lots. Poyer was handed the blank paper and he declared &ldquoSon est contra me&rdquo – &ldquoFate is against me&rdquo.

Poyer was shot at Covent Garden in April 1649.

Destruction of Pembroke's Defences

Pembroke took many years to recover form the siege. Sections of the town walls were said to have been destroyed and several of the towers of the castle were blown up so that it could never again defy Parliament. For many years afterwards, there were still ruined and empty houses to be seen along Main Street .


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THE HISTORY OF CARDIFF'S SUBURBS

One of the manuscripts translated was called 'Historia Brittonum' and written in the 9th century.

In it, there was a record of Roman missionaries called Saint Fagan and Saint Darnian (who were responsible for bringing the Catholic faith to South Wales in around 175 AD), who may have built a church where the Manor House now stands. There does not seem to be any remaining evidence of the original building.

Early Fortification

The Norman Lord Sir Peter Le Sore built a fortress on the site of where the church is thought to have stood.

The imposing 13th century walls and a filled in moat are still clearly visible throughout the estate. The nearby village of Peterston is named after Le Sore, which was given to him by Robert Fitzhamon.

St Fagans' fort would have been the first thing people were confronted with as they tried to cross the River Ely.

By 1475, the castle was beginning to degrade and crumble when it had been acquired through marriage, by the powerful Mathew family.

By the 16th century there was hardly anything left of the original fort with the exception of the walls, and a Holy well. The water was said to have cured the ailments of those who drank from it.

Dr John Gibbon bought the remains of the castle and its lands in 1560, and began to build a fortified manor house, possibly re-using the stone ruins.

However due to a lack of funds to complete the building, the Gibbon family sold it to Sir Edward Lewis of Van, Senghenydd in 1616 and it was completed soon after.

The Second Civil War

In 1645 the first of Britain's three Civil Wars between the Parliamentarians and Royalists had begun.

In just two years it was over, but left many areas in the country without leadership.

The War flared up again as Charles I plotted to regain his power. By April 1648, Charles I had been defeated and Colonel Thomas Horton was marching on to Cardiff, with the intention of taking the town.

Once camp had been set up, he would have waited for reinforcement from Oliver Cromwell's troops. The Royalists, led by Major-General Rowland Laugharne, planned to seize Cardiff Castle before Horton.

On 8th May 1648, Laugharne launched his attack, but was driven back by Parliamentarian cavalry. The 3,000 roundhead soldiers were better trained and better equipped than the 8,000 strong Royalists army.

Laugharne was injured and his troops were eventually forced to make a hasty retreat. Nearly 700 people were killed on that day, with 65 people of those from St. Fagans.

Horton took thousands of prisoners and thus ended the most important battle in Wales of the Civil Wars between the Crown and Parliament (1642 - 51).

It is said that a nearby brook (Nant Dowlais) that ran through the estate into the River Ely, turned red with blood.

The Welsh Folk Museum

Through marriage, Windsor 3rd Earl of Plymouth acquired St Fagan's Manor House. The family neglected to maintain the property and by the early 19th century it was being used as a farmhouse.

An extensive restoration was carried out in 1868, and in 1946 the Plymouth family gave the property and land to the National Museum of Wales.

By 1948, the grounds and manor were developed for public use and the Welsh Folk Museum was opened. The name changed to the Museum of Welsh Life, and then finally to the St Fagans National History Museum.

Regardless of what its called - the museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Wales today.

Just a short walk from the museum is the Grade II listed Plymouth Arms, which was built in 1859.

There has been a public house on this site since the 14th century, but the original building burnt down. The inn has retained the look of a tradition country pub, and still commands an excellent view over the River Ely.

St. Fagans Today

During the early 20th century, most of the people in the village were employed on the estate and at the Manor.

In the early 1920s, Baron Glanely, otherwise known as William James Tatem, was one of the foremost shipping magnates in Cardiff. He ordered the construction of a fine mansion house on Michaelston Road, and called it 'The Court'.

The Tatem family lived at The Court at least until the 1950s. Today, the building has been extended, and is now a luxurious looking home for elderly residents.

The Earl of Plymouth gave an additional 45 acres of land, known as Plymouth Great Woods, to the people of Cardiff in 1922. Ramblers and cyclists can still enjoy this largely undeveloped piece of land to the north of Ely, particularly now Sustrans Cymru developed a tarmacked cycle trail along the route.

St Fagans village has hardly changed since it became a part of Cardiff in 1974. Very little housing development has taken place, and many of the ancient fields surrounding Cardiff's most picturesque estate are in private ownership.

In the 21st century, St. Fagans has the smallest population of any of the suburbs. In conjunction with the fabulous museum, it is easy to spend an entire day exploring the area.

Whether you finish your day with an ale in the Plymouth Arms, or prefer a picnic in one of the many tranquil fields, St. Fagans is somewhere you'll want to visit more than once hence the high prices of the very desirable properties.


History

The borough or township of Laugharne was probably first founded soon after the castle was built in 1116.The town or borough of Laugharne received its first known charter in either 1290 or 1307 from Sir Guy de Brian. Sir Guy held the Lordship of Laugharne and its castle.

Though there is evidence to indicate that the town was founded well before this, Laugharne Corporation traces its formal history back to this charter.

The Corporation was not reformed in 1835 and was technically abolished in 1886. However it has continued and is a unique organisation operating under its original charter and administering lands it has held for hundreds of years.



The photograph was taken in the late 1930’s and shows the castle before all the ivy and vegetation was removed. The quayside is visible below the castle alongside the River Corran.

Laugharne Castle

The castle is first mention in 1116 in the Brut y Tywysogyon or the Chronicle of the Princes. This records that the Norman, Robert Courtemain, entrusted his castle at Abercorram to Bleddyn ap Cedifor.

The castle sits on the cliff overlooking the River Corran which flows past it and into the River Tâf. The early castle takes its name from the river. During the twelfth and thirteenth century the castle was called both Abercorram and Talacharn.

The first castle was a simple ringwork of earth and timber. A bank and ditch with a timber palisade on top of the bank defended the castle from the landward side.

The builders also used the natural defences of the river and cliffs to protect the castle. Traces of this structure were found during archaeological excavations. In 1171/72 Henry II visited the castle, where he met Rhys ap Gruffudd, the Lord Rhys, Prince of Deheubarth. This area of Wales at the time was part of the kingdom of Deheubarth and Rhys was an important and dominant figure in the region. Rhys and Henry reached an agreement in the castle and Rhys acknowledged the English crown as his lord.

Henry died in 1189 and the new king ignored the agreement. Rhys retaliated and attacked and captured the castles of Laugharne, Llansteffan and St Clears. Laugharne Castle was recovered from the Welsh soon afterwards and repaired and enlarged. In 1215 the Prince of Gwynedd, Llewelyn ap Iorwerth led an army which swept across the region capturing the main castles at Carmarthen and Cardigan and destroying other castles including Laugharne.

The catastrophic event was recorded in the archaeology of the site, with evidence of extensive burning and destruction. Numerous arrowheads found here, point to a substantial attack on the castle at the time.

In 1223, William Marshall, the 2 nd Earl of Pembroke, attacked Llewelyn and recovered Carmarthen and Cardigan. Laugharne would have been recovered at this time. Soon afterwards building work was carried out. By 1247 Laugharne was in the control of the de Brians. It was the de Brians who were responsible for substantially rebuilding the castle in stone.

The family were French and held land in Devon from the middle of the 12 th century. Torbryan in Devon became the main family home. The family name has various forms through the centuries, Bryan or Brian being the most common. Each son for several generations was given the same name, so each Sir Guy has been numbered for ease of recognition.

The de Brians appeared in west Wales from around 1247, when they acquired the lordships of Laugharne and Walwyn’s Castle in Pembrokeshire. It was Sir Guy de Brian IV who acquired Laugharne in 1247 and it was this Sir Guy who started a major rebuilding programme of the castle. He concentrated on building the inner ward of the castle. During 1257 and 1258 Llewelyn ap Gruffudd, the Prince of Gwynedd, attacked areas of Wales under Anglo-Norman control. Towns and castles in west Wales including Laugharne were attacked and burnt. Sir Guy IV was captured and then ransomed in 1258. He died in 1268.

Guy de Brian V succeeded his father and continued to strengthen the castle including the outer ward. He might have granted the borough its first known charter. He built the outer gatehouse facing the borough. Guy de Brian VI succeeded his father in 1307. He did very little work on the castle and because of ill health the estates were managed by his son from around 1330. Guy de Brian VII succeeded his father in 1349. He was the last and most famous in a long line of de Brians. He was a distinguished soldier and fought at the Battle of Crécy in 1346. He was a close friend of Edward III and Admiral of the Fleet. He continued to develop the castle though the period. He died in 1390 and is buried in Tewksbury Abbey. He outlived his eldest sons and was succeeded by his youngest son William. He died soon after his father and the estate was disputed by the daughters of his dead brothers. Almost a century later in 1488 the four claimants of the de Brian family reached an agreement and Henry Percy, the fourth earl of Northumberland acquired the castle.

The earls of Northumberland held the castle until 1531 when the lordship and that of Walwyn’s Castle were rented to Thomas Perrot of Pembrokeshire. Eventually in 1575 it was granted to his son, Sir John Perrot, by Queen Elizabeth 1 st for an annual rent of £80 payable to the earl of Northumberland. By this time the castle seems to be in a terrible state of repair. Perrot set about converting the ruin into a substantial mansion, both comfortable and defendable. In 1591 Perrot was accused of high treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was found guilty but died before the death sentence could be carried out. A survey of 1592 indicates that Perrot did not finish his scheme for the castle. Sis son Sir Thomas then acquired the castle and estates. By 1627 the castle was the property of Sir Sackville Crowe and by then seemed to be in considerable disrepair.

Sir William Russell, a Royalist, then acquired the castle. It was in Parliamentary control in early 1644, but was captured and then held by Royalist forces. On October the 28 th 1644 Major-General Rowland Laugharne assembled a Parliamentary force of around 2000 men and besieged the castle for just over a week. It surrendered on November the 3 rd after a night time attack. The castle was damaged by cannon fire during the siege and then parts were deliberately demolished to reduce its capacity for defence.

The castle was restored to William Russell and then changed hands several times until it came to Richard Isaac Starke. During the eighteen and nineteenth it was landscaped as a

garden associated with Castle House. In 1973 it was put into the guardianship of the Secretary of State for Wales by the then owner Anne Starke. Between 1976 and 1993 extensive archaeological excavations were undertaken and the castle masonry was consolidated. It is now maintained by Cadw Welsh Historic Monuments.


Rowland Laugharne

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Victory by cow!

Many things can bring about victory in battle or war, not least a liberal helping of luck. But victory thanks to a herd of cows? Now that really does take some beating.

The English Civil War began in 1642 and was, amongst many other things, the culmination of disputes between the king and parliament.

It was a bloody and violent interlude that, like any civil war, saw brothers fighting against brothers, fathers against sons. It ended with the execution of the king and the setting up of a Commonwealth in Britain - a relatively short-lived Commonwealth, to be sure, but the only time the British state has run without a monarch at its head.

The civil war in Wales was a confused and troubled time, with people changing sides on a regular basis. One of the hotbeds of Parliamentary support and effort was South Pembrokeshire where men such as John Poyer, the Mayor of Pembroke town, and the outstanding Welsh general of the war, Rowland Laugharne, led by example.

In December 1643 and the early part of 1644 Poyer and Laugharne were holed up in the town and castle of Pembroke, not quite under siege by the king's forces but with their movements curtailed and the very real risk of death and destruction hovering in the wind.

Help was at hand, however. During that winter a feeling of resentment began to grow amongst the people of the region regarding the behaviour of many of the Royalist troops and, banking on local support, Laugharne decided it was time to take action.

On 30 January 1644 he took the fortified manor house at Stackpole and four days later moved on to Trefloyne, outside Tenby. After four or five hours of artillery bombardment his forces charged and took the house. Now all that remained were the Royalist bases in the northern part of the county.

On 23 February Laugharne crossed the Cleddau River and lay siege to the Royalist fort of Pill, just outside the modern town of Milford.

Four ships from the Parliamentary fleet aided Laugharne's artillery bombardment. They moored below the fort and added the weight of their broadsides to the battering.

The fort surrendered the following day, 300 officers and men, 18 large guns and 160 smaller weapons falling into Laugharne's hands for the loss of just one man killed.

Rowland Laugharne now decided to march on Haverfordwest. As well as being a vital market town, it was the centre of Royalist support north of the Cleddau and Laugharne knew that it must be taken. The town and its castle were well supplied, well armed, and he expected a fierce fight.

However, when he and his soldiers approached the town they were met, not by a hail of gunfire or by a phalanx of soldiers ready to give battle, but by local dignitaries who were happy to surrender the town and all its supplies.

The garrison in Haverfordwest had, simply, run away. They had heard the sound of the cannonade from the south and knew that they would be next. Then, as they waited, tense and frightened, a lookout saw dust on the horizon. Laugharne and his victorious troops were coming.

Panic seized the garrison and they abandoned their positions and fled.

Only later did they realise the dust was not caused by advancing soldiers but by a herd of bullocks, running in frenzy, frightened by the firing and by the sudden appearance of dozens of armed men. Rowland Laugharne did not care what had caused the garrison to flee. Haverfordwest was his, that was all that mattered.

Over the next few days Laugharne moved on to take the castles of Roch, Picton and Wiston. By the beginning of March not a single Royalist stronghold remained in North Pembrokeshire - and all because of a herd of frightened cows.

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