Ilkeston Cam On Holiday 2001 - South West Wales - Part 02
Sunday Afternoon - Pembroke & The Bishop's Palace, Lamphey

All the photos on this page were taken in July 2001
Following our brief look around Tenby and anxious to see what else our holiday destination had to offer, we continued westwards along the coast towards Pembroke. There are eleven areas of outstanding natural beauty in England and Wales that have been designated National Parks. We live near one of them, the Peak District and have visited several others but this was the first time we had seen the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. These two views of Manorbier Bay are prime examples of why the area has earned this coveted status.

We soon reached Pembroke and parked close to its impressive castle. Our first priority was lunch and a picnic beneath the castle walls sitting by the river provided a pleasant interlude in a busy day.

There are a variety of architectural styles within a few hundred yards in Pembroke. As well as the massive structure of the largest fortress in the area noted for being the birthplace of Henry Tudor, there are old cottages built on solid rock foundations opposite the castle that are but a stone's throw away from the modernistic extension built alongside the Parish Church.

Here in Pembroke too, as in Tenby, there was evidence that the locals had been busy with those pots of brightly coloured paints.

Being Sunday, Pembroke was a quiet town and wanting to leave something for another day, we decided to wend our way homewards and head back towards Saundersfoot via an inland route along the higher ground a little inland from the coast known as "The Ridge Way". On our way into Pembroke we had seen a sign for "The Bishop's Palace" at Lamphey and on an impulse, on our return journey, I turned down the lane that led to it. Of such impulses are memories made.

Armed with portable battery operated audio guides that not only pointed out the most interesting parts of the palace but also included a soundtrack that with a little imagination took you back to the early 14th century, we spent a delightful couple of hours wandering through the ruins of the palace.

In its heyday, the palace at Lamphey became a favourite residence of the bishops of St David's who as the brochure tells us "were worldly men who enjoyed the privileges of wealth, power and status". It was quite easy with the aid of the soundtrack to picture the ruins of the Great Hall in all their glory with a roof overhead and a second floor where all that now remains of the great beams that supported it are holes in the stonework.

Although established in the 13th century, the chapel that still displays a fine five-light east window was a 16th century addition to the palace.

Bathed in glorious sunshine I must admit I was in my element clambering over the ruins and taking photos by the score.

The Great Hall

It is still possible to make out the original mediaeval artwork at the top of this window opening.
As we prepared to leave, evidence of the mild climate in this part of Wales could be seen in the vegetation beside the palace walls (above left). Much of the work on Lamphey's Bishop's Palace is attributed to Henry de Gower, Bishop of St David's from 1328 to 1347. Henry was also responsible for another palace that stands alongside the Cathedral in the small city of St David's and that was to be our destination on Monday but for now it was time to return to Saundersfoot.


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