Legends, Lore & Landsker Line: Warpool Court Hotel's Peter Trier Talks Tales
"Explore the beautiful countryside of Roch to uncover Pembrokeshire’s hidden history," suggests Warpool Court Hotel owner Peter Trier.
Have you heard of the invisible Landsker Line? It’s the boundary between what's traditionally known as the Welsh side (to the north) and the English, Flemish and Norman side to the south. Roch Castle, just off the A487 Haverfordwest to St. David's road, was part of the frontier.
The name Roch appears to have evolved from the Norman French name, la Roche, meaning the same in Welsh – ‘the rock’. There is no firm date on the construction of Roch Castle itself, though it appears to have been built at the end of the 13th century by Adam de Rupe (or de la Roche) the grandson of one of the first Flemish settlers, Godbert the Fleming.
The castle's stone tower was built on an imposing raised outcrop of igneous rock. The castle was used for defence and as a garrison as well as being a means to intimidate the locals. One legend attached to the castle is that after a seer told de Rupe that he or his daughter would die from a viper's bite, a snake struck, fulfilling the prophecy.
The lineage of the Roch family ended in the early 1400s, and the castle was held by several different owners until the Civil War in 1642 when it was twice besieged in action. The castle fell into ruin until the early 1900s, when restoration was started and continues through today.
A short distance from the castle is Roch Mill, a grain mill thought to date from the 14th century. Roch Mill is the last of several water mills once in use along the Brandy Brook valley.
Brandy Brook is rumored to have earned its name as a result of the transportation of French brandy and smuggling in the area, with the coves, caves and castle cellars offering ample opportunities to hide bounty.
Nearby Roch Bridge sits in ancient Eweston Wood. Follow the footpath and travel east to discover the water source which fed the former New Mill and Tucking (woollen) Mill and the ford at Stoopers Mill.
"As in other areas of Pembrokeshire, wherever you look, there is more history to be discovered," attests Mr. Trier.
If you’d like to come and enjoy a cultural holiday on the Pembrokeshire Coast, why not book one of our luxury rooms or a stay in our private, self-catering Garden Cottage here at Warpool Court Hotel. Simply book online, send us an email, or give us a call on 01437 720300.