A Weekday Journey to Mathry and Melin Tregwynt Mill: Warpool Court Hotel’s Peter Trier Recounts History
“There are so many places in Pembrokeshire where you can get an outstanding view of the stunning landscape,” says Warpool Court Hotel owner Peter Trier.
As well as beautiful scenery, Pembrokeshire’s rich history is well worth exploring, with scores of historic sites to be found around the county. The village of Mathry, north of St Davids is said to be one of the oldest settlements in Pembrokeshire. The current village name of Mathry is subject to debate. In its earliest written form, identifiable in a book dated to 1150, it is spelled differently, as Mathru and Marthru. Some historians believe the name is tied to the Welsh name Merthyr, based on the Latin Martyrium, the reference to a saint’s burial place.
From its location in the centre of the village on top of a hill, The Church of the Holy Martyrs provides panoramic views of the Pembrokeshire countryside. The building dates to 1869, and it underwent refurbishment in 2016. Inside, you’ll find a local history and community exhibition.
Of course, as with many places throughout Pembrokeshire, it has its own local legend! The tale involves a man from Daugleddau named Cynwayw and his wife. The story goes that they had a son every year in succession, but this ceased, and for seven years no children were born. Then seven children were born in one birth. The father didn’t think he could provide for so many new children at once and saw no other option but to drown them. However, Saint Teilo intervened and saved all seven children. The boys were fed every day by miraculous intervention, with seven fish provided on the same stone in the river every day. In later life, the seven brothers moved to Mathry and lived out their lives. They were known as the seven saints and are reportedly buried in the village, close to the Celtic Church.
Just a few miles away from Mathry you’ll find a traditional Welsh woollen mill, Melin Tregwynt (Tregwynt Mill). It’s believed a mill has operated here since the 17th century, although a roof truss shows the building dates from 1819. This trip is best made on a weekday when you can see the weaving. The distinctive textiles and goods produced from here are highly sought after by global buyers, from the United States to Japan, China and Europe.
Originally a corn mill, it was converted into a woollen mill in the 19th century. Equipment has been preserved in the old section of the mill; although the mill’s water wheel still functions, it is no longer used to power the machinery. When it was in operation, water from the local stream powered the mill and the water wheel drove hammers to beat the woven cloth to clean and soften it. The water wheel later drove leather belts that powered the carding engines and looms. For many years, fleeces from the sheep farms of the area have come to the mill to be washed, carded and spun into yarn which is then woven into beautiful cloth and blankets.
Looms today are still manually warped; the knots are tied by hand and the blankets are finished by hand. The mill today is a thriving business which employs dozens of people who make fashionable upmarket blankets and throws, cushions, bags, simple stylish clothing and accessories, which you can purchase at the mill’s shop. It even has an entry in the 2008 Guinness Book of Records for weaving the world's largest picnic blanket for Waitrose.
Why not come and visit these beautiful locations in person during your holiday in Pembrokeshire? Book a short break or a long holiday in one of Warpool Court Hotel’s luxury rooms or stay in our private, self-catering Garden Cottage. You can relax in peaceful surroundings and enjoy some of the best hotel views in the world. We look forward to welcoming you this Summer!