Pembroke and Monkton Local History Society  was founded in October 2009 with the following aims:

  • To raise public awareness of the heritage of our communities

  • To research, record and disseminate the history of Pembroke and Monkton

  • To encourage community participation

  • To support Pembroke Museum

To achieve these aims we have a programme of speakers, events and exhibitions. We organise visits and carry out research, scan photographs and record memories. We are now a registered charity.

Society President George Lewis receives the Civic Award from

Pembroke Town Council for our contribution to the community



It had been the wish of many in Monkton to set up a Local History Society as Monkton is very much a 'hidden history' - there is so little published. So we launched the Monkton History Project by organising a walk through Monkton with Pauline Waters, Vera John and Dot Lloyd who were able to tell us about the old community, who lived there and where the shops and businesses were. Many people responded to our appeal for information, photos and memories of old Monkton and we combined the event with a coffee morning and exhibition in the Priory Church Hall. 

The History Walk photo by Gwen Griffiths Coffee Morning in the Priory Church Hall by Gwen Griffiths

We were delighted with the response as so many people came and it was a wonderful community affair.  The Local History Society Committee were so impressed with the Church Hall that they made it their base for future events,  establishing a pattern of monthly coffee mornings, accompanied by an exhibition on differing topics to encourage community participation:  reminiscing over coffee in a friendly atmosphere is a great way to bring people together!

We established ourselves in Monkton Priory Church Hall where we rent the back room and which we converted into an office and resource centre; made possible with funding from the WCVA Communities First Trust Fund.   We are completely voluntary and noone makes monetary gain - every penny of funding goes into the organisation for the benefit of the community.  To cover running costs we fundraise ourselves in our coffee mornings and Quiz Nights.

We have now been going six years and it is amazing how we have progressed since then and what a great impact we have made.   We have received awards for our volunteering work and a Civic Award from Pembroke Town Council.  We are now a registered charity.


We have an annual programme of events, which is available to download.  We organise Local History Coffee Mornings in Pembroke Town Hall, evening talks and fundraising events in Monkton Church Hall and organise visits. 

We have to raise money in order to run events and put on our exhibitions - we do this with our regular Coffee Mornings and Quiz Nights and the odd Murder Mystery Night as well.  Our events are free (financed through sale of coffees and raffle tickets) but we do supply a rather superb buffet at the Quiz Nights for which we make a charge of £4.  Organised by Pauline Waters, they are a thoroughly enjoyable social evening and continue to be very popular.

Quiz Night at Monkton Church Hall Winners of the P&M Quiiz A great buffet


We never thought when we formed the P & M that we would actually get the opportunity to set up a museum!  A museum for Pembroke has long been an aspiration and it is amazing that for a town such as Pembroke, one of the oldest towns in Wales, that this has never happened.  Recent attempts through Pembroke 21C failed despite them receiving a large HLF grant.

The Museum finally came about through Pembroke Town Council's initiative to set up a Regeneration Committee and sponsoring projects to enhance the town and thereby increase visitor footfall.


Pembroke Town Council offered the disused Courtroom in the Town Hall for the Museum and with a £5,000 grant, working also with Pembroke Civic Trust and West Wales Maritime Heritage Society, we were able to put together a fledgling museum which has continued to grow:  Now approaching its 3rd year, it is amazing how much we have been able to achieve: it just goes to show what can be achieved with very little funding when people pull together voluntarily for the good of the community.  We act as a Friends of the Museum to help fundraise and this is written into our charitable aims.

Pembroke Museum


Research is important and we welcome anyone who would join in - there is much work to be done.   We began by publishing 2 heritage leaflets: Monkton: a Sense of Place and Pembroke: a Sense of Place with funding from PLANED (see our Publications Page where they are available to download).

Then our recording of memories led to an interest in digital storytelling which the resultant publication of our DVD and book 'Through My Eyes: a Community History of Pembroke and Monkton'.  This is a great achievement and has given Pembroke a sound oral archive which is available to all who wish to purchase or obtain through the public library.  Working with the National Library of Wales this project can also be accessed on the People's Collection website.


We seek to make ourselves known in the community and hold stalls to support local events and give talks to other organisations.

At Armed Forces Day at the Garrison Chapel At the River Rally


Presented at the AGM on Friday, February 17th 2017 at Monkton Priory Church Hall

In Remembrance

It is with great sadness that I have to report the loss of Pauline Waters, our Vice Chairman.  Pauline was a founder member and steadfast supporter of our Society, an inspiration to us all.  She believed in community and did so much for everyone – as a Society, community is at the heart of everything we do, seeking not only to promote our community’s heritage but to work with and support other groups, and to make our events accessible to all. Pauline will be missed greatly, more than I can say, but at the same time her enthusiasm and faith will always be with us.


This has been a sad year, for we also lost Dorcas Thoburn – a lady who was with us from the very beginning when we set up the Society and who loved to attend our meetings and Quiz Nights.  Dorcas was a real character and, like Pauline, contributed such a lot to our local history.


The Henry VII Statue

Of paramount importance this year has been the Henry VII statue.  The statue is a project of Pembroke Town Council and we have enthusiastically joined in the campaign.  We held the initial public consultation back in October 2015 and hosted the unveiling of the maquette by its sculptor Harriet Addyman in the Town Hall in January 2016.  Money raised from these two events amounted to £500 and we presented a cheque for this amount to the then Mayor, Cllr Pauline Waters, on Henry’s birthday January 28th to kick off the fundraising appeal.  £20K had to be raised to match fund the grant of £20K from PCC’s Town Centre Support Programme.  This was achieved through donations from individuals, organisations and fundraising events and above all we must thank the generosity of Valero and Richard Evans for their substantial contributions.  Such a lot can be achieved when the community works together. In all we have raised £1500 to the appeal.  I have given regular updates on the progress of the statue which looked impressive when I last saw it as an 8 foot clay sculpture.  From this a mould was made and Henry is now in the process of being cast in bronze.  The red letter day will be June 10th when the statue will finally be unveiled on the Mill Bridge – Pembroke Town Council is organizing a big community party to which all are invited.


Portable Henry

The Society commissioned a second maquette ‘a portable Henry’ which we could take to events and this has been a big success.  Stuart and I have taken him far afield, to Anglesey to research the origins of the Tudors, to Raglan Castle’s Tudor Weekend in May and the Battle of Bosworth Visitor Centre, Leicestershire in August for the annual Battle of Bosworth re-enactment.  Thanks to the Rotary Community Raffle we were able to sell raffle tickets at these events which helped raise money for the statue. Our Henry also caught the attention of the BBC which borrowed him for a programme about the Wars of the Roses with Lucy Worsley.  This was £250 well spent! 


Wales Community CIC

Our collaboration with Pembroke Town Council has been regarded favourably and resulted in a very large donation to further what is being done.  The liquidation of the assets of Wales Community CIC, amounting to £30,000 has been transferred to our Society on condition we use it for another joint statue project.  This is particularly satisfying as I had hoped that the Henry statue would be the catalyst for future public art and I am very grateful in the confidence placed in our Society. 


Pembroke Town Trail

The new Town Trail is another joint project in which we have been involved. Working with Pembroke Civic Trust, I revised the Trail as a booklet for which George Lewis drew the map and illustrations. Harriet Addyman, designed the bronze plaques which are installed in the pavements and mark out the Trail. The project was funded jointly by PCC and PTC. Building on this, I successfully applied to the HLF for a ‘Sharing Your Heritage’ grant to create a digital trail which is now well on the way to completion. A grant for £9,900 was received and included in this is a new website for Pembroke Museum and a training programme.


Pembroke Museum

A great achievement too has been the museum which continues to grow.  Written into the charitable aims of our new constitution, adopted in 2015, is support for the museum for which we help raise funds.  The museum is a community project involving also Pembroke Civic Trust and West Wales Maritime Heritage Society working in partnership with PTC, which allows free use of the old Courtroom. This makes it a sustainable enterprise run entirely by a dedicated group of volunteers who last year won a civic award for their work from PTC. What started out as an experiment has now become permanent and we are now becoming more professional in our approach by putting proper procedures in place so that we can eventually apply for accreditation.  So much has been achieved through goodwill – in 2013 we started from scratch and are now bursting at the seams with so much to display.


Publishing Company

Another big event for the Society is our new status as a publisher.  Two years ago we published our first major publication ‘Through My Eyes: a Community History of Pembroke and Monkton’.  The publication of the book and DVD of digital stories was funded with a grant from the Heritage Lottery and all money from sales went into a book publishing fund (all the work was done voluntarily).  It sold well and the money was ploughed into the publication of a new book on the Haggar family by Vicki Haggar ‘From Mummer’s Booth to Silver Screen: the Life and Times of the Haggar Family’.  We had a very successful Haggars Night and book launch on November 18th to a packed Town Hall at which 70 books were sold.  Sales have been good and at last, after quite a struggle, we have been vetted as a bone fide publisher to advertise on Amazon.  Hopefully this will lead to good future sales. 


Programme of Events

Important in the year of the Society is our Programme of Events - Saturday morning Local History Coffee Mornings as well as evening talks and are held both in the Town Hall and Monkton Church Hall. We aim at variety and talks have included a Museum’s Morning with West Wales Maritime Heritage Society, a talk on ‘Patagonia: a Welsh Colony’ by Richard Blacklaw-Jones, ‘Nelson and Pembrokeshire’ by Ted Goddard, ‘The Turnpike Era’ by Chris Woodward’, ‘Tenby Merchant’s House: a survivor in time’ by Angela Jones, ‘Tudor Herbs & Healing’ by Rev Luke Holden and ‘Wil and the Welsh Black Cattle’ by storyteller Phil Okwedy to introduce the Year of Legends.


Evening talks alternate with Quiz Nights which continue to be popular.  A lot of work goes into the events and our committee has gained a good reputation for the quality of its catering:  I should like to point out that all the food is given voluntarily. Fundraising is an important part of what we do: we like to keep our heritage events free at entry and rely on the sale of raffle tickets and coffees etc to cover costs


Taking Part in community Events

Working in the community and supporting local events is important.  We have organised displays for the Town Hall, shop window display in Brown's Café, Stackpole Church, St Mary’s Church, WWMHS Maritime Museum and taken part in events including the Pembroke Show, River Rally, Dyfed Family History Society, Pembrokeshire Archaeology Day and Christmas Market. 


Looking Ahead

Chairing the Pembroke & Monkton Local History Society has been a rewarding experience and we have achieved such a lot. A great impetus has been the working relationship with PTC and the regeneration fund of PCC without which we could never have aspired to the statue, the unveiling of which is eagerly awaited.  I want more; I would like to see a Henry VII Visitor Centre in Pembroke to equal that of Richard III in Leicester.  Pauline Waters, Rose Blackburn and Daphne Bush have supported me in this vision and, working with our Town Clerk Suzie Thomas, I am pleased to announce that we have now gained the necessary funding for a feasibility study.  We are on our way – I hope I may be able to deliver a positive message on this at our next AGM.

Linda Asman, Chairman, February 17th 2017


We celebrate a special birthday! 

Here we celebrated the birthday of one of Pembroke’s most respected citizens and our most senior Trustee, Dilys Hanmer MBE. This birthday was particularly special as it was Dilys’ 95th and we wanted to give her a really special birthday present.  So, amid great secrecy, a surprise birthday party was planned in Pembroke Town Hall to which Dilys was lured, unsuspecting.  Once there, the lights suddenly went on and she was applauded by a large gathering of friends and family who had conspired to make this a very memorable day.  “For once I was lost for words” she declared.

Greatly liked and esteemed by all who know her, Dilys is a lady who has devoted much of her life to helping others, beginning her career as a nurse in London on the day War broke out. Traumatic times nursing wounded soldiers, after the war, she returned to her home in Pembroke where she became Matron in Pembroke Cottage Hospital. Despite leaving nursing following her marriage and running her own hotels, she became involved with Macmillan Cancer Support in 1968.  She set up the Pembroke Committee in 1988 and tirelessly raised funds, which over the years must have amounted to over a million pounds for the relief of cancer patients.  For her outstanding work, Dilys was awarded the MBE at Buckingham Palace in 2006.

Now in her nineties, Dilys is a credit to us all. She is Hon President for Pembrokeshire Macmillan Cancer Support and is still actively involved in fundraising.   She also takes a keen interest in the town’s history and is a trustee and active member of our Society.

and ..... Goodbye Jacky.

It was with great sadness that we said 'goodbye' to Jacky Birthistle who is leaving Pembroke to live in Tetbury. Jacky is a founder member and Trustee of the P&M and has organised our Coffee Mornings with great efficiency .  We will be miss her lots but wish her well in her new home.  We have given her a lovely print of old Pemrboke by George to remind her of us!


























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