Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 1st - 7th - Christmas Tree Festival at Monkton Priory Church

Christmas is in full swing.  Here in Pembroke it began on November 29th when the Christmas lights were switched on and Father Christmas abseiled down the Keep of Pembroke Castle to mark the opening of the Christmas Market. Thousands made their way to Pembroke for the Market which looks set to becoming an annual event, supported by the whole community, with numbers topping last years’. Monkton too joined in the festivities with a repeat of last year's very successful 'Recycled Christmas Tree' Festival.
We as a Society are always happy to support our churches.  We are very much involved with Monkton Priory Church as we rent office space in the Church Hall and hold most of our events there.  The Priory Church is a beautiful Church, the oldest in Pembroke founded as it was 5 years following the establishment of Pembroke Castle itself. It certainly provided a lovely setting for this colourful festival.  
The idea was to make Christmas trees and decorations with recycled materials, a novelty perhaps for youngster nowadays, but something we all had to do in the ‘old days’!  It certainly gave food for thought and prizes went to the most inventive.  

November 22nd - Archaeology Day at Pembrokeshire College

One of the main events on Pembrokeshire’s ‘history calendar’ is Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s  Archaeology Day.  This is an event we as a Society like to participate in and Stuart and I were there on Saturday with our stall – I think we took up rather a lot of space!  The Event was oversubscribed so if you want to get a place for next year’s Archaeology Day make sure you book early.  It is scheduled to take place on Saturday November 15th 2014.

November 15th - Victorian Murder Mystery in Pembroke Town Hall

There were suspicious goings on in Pembroke Town Hall last week.  A Victorian Murder Mystery took place there last Friday, and  certainly appealed to many with all 80 tickets sold.  The Murder Mystery was performed by a group of actors called SeeSaw Productions, an amateur group raising money for charity.  
This is by far the biggest fundraising event that we, as a Society, have attempted.  Through our popular bi monthly Quiz Nights in Monkton Church Hall, we have developed a good reputation for food: we are fortunate to have such good cooks on our committee! A 2 course meal accompanied the proceedings.
 The History Society has its serious side as it is engaged in the very important work of researching and promoting our heritage: but it is also a community group aiming to bring people together in enjoyable events like this which give us the opportunity to raise our own funding.   Everything we do is voluntary and, as the ethos of the Society is free and open access to our heritage for all, our talks and exhibitions are always free at point of entry.    We do have overheads however, eg venue rentals, insurances, equipment, printing and display materials etc so we do have to raise money – and now that we are involved in the town museum we are contributing to that as well.  The actors also raise funds for charity and the fee we presented them with on this occasion will go to the Air Ambulance.  

Saturday November 2nd - Researching your Family Tree

'Researching your Family Tree' was the topic of Saturday’s meeting which proved very popular, reflecting no doubt the interest in this fascinating subject.  We were pleased to welcome members of the Dyfed Family History Society, Rosalie Lilwall, Jean Williams, Barbara Chester and Stella Donovan. 
So, how to get started?  This was what Rosalie Lilwall came to talk to us about; an introduction aimed to inspire people l on how to go about our search and inform us of the help we can call upon along the way.
Rosalie is Chairman of both the Dyfed Family History Society as well as the Haverfordwest Branch this year.  I asked her about her interest in family history and about the work of the Society. “The search for our family origins” said Rosalie, “has been called the fastest growing leisure activity and membership of the Dyfed Family History Society is evidence of this.  We now have about 1,200 members."  

October 18th - Pembroke's Ghostly Tales

It was a filthy night, the wind howled and the rain lashed down but many members (and non-members) turned out to attend our meeting in Monkton Church Hall.  Inside it was warm and cosy, everyone settling down with a warming drink and candles were lit to provide the right atmosphere for our ‘Ghostly Tales of Pembroke.’  

Pembroke has its fair share of eerie tales, many well known, others the result of personal experiences.  I cannot say that I have actually seen a ghost so I started the ball rolling by recounting a well known story, the story of the Bush House Ghost. Others followed and, by the end of the evening, everyone agreed that this had been a super evening and would like a repeat next year!

October 5th - Before the Camera: an artists view of Pembrokeshire

Last Saturday we recommenced our monthly Local History Coffee Mornings at Monkton Priory Church Hall.  Unfortunately our programme met with a hiccup when Rosalie Lilwall, of Dyfed Family History Society, was unable to speak to us as originally advertised.  She will come next month instead on Saturday November 2nd.   Hunting around for an alternative, I came up with the idea of an exhibition and talk on the subject of old prints of Pembroke.  

Pembroke has an amazing heritage.  The history of our nation can be told here – the Norman Conquest, the mighty Earls of Pembroke (including William Marshall, regent of England), the birthplace of the Tudor dynasty, the Civil War and much more.  On top of all that, we have a great artistic heritage.  Whilst in the distant past men came here to fight, in more recent times they came to paint inspired by the once mighty castle which had been left in a ruinous state following the 17th Century Civil War.  Most of the great topographical artists came here to paint providing us with our first glimpses of what Pembroke was like in the 17th and 18th century.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Visiting Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard

September 24th I visited Portsmouth's Historic  Dockyard which is not only the foremost Maritime Museum in the country but also of special interest to us in Pembroke and Pembroke Dock. For Portsmouth is now the home of HMSWarrior.  Whilst there I met with the Captain of the Warrior - Mr Ken Jones.
I was also able to visit the new Mary Rose museum which houses the preserved remains of the ship.  As you pass through dimly lit galleries you can see the ship through windows on your right while on the left are arranged artefacts in the position where they would have lain. A fascinating experience!  

September Quiz Winners!