12th Century history with a 21st Century experience
Celtic Haven is steeped in Welsh history and our guests are often keen to learn more about it, especially if they’re staying in one of our restored former farm cottages which are believed to date back as far as the 12th Century. Your cottage name is a clue to its past, and here’s a little insight into the history of Celtic Haven, and what our charming cliff-top cottages have seen over the years….
A brief history of the Lydstep area
Hidden amongst the wooded valleys, spectacular shorelines and rugged terrain of Pembrokeshire National Park is a history riddled with war, romance and intrigue.
Dating back to the Iron Age, human civilisation has walked the paths of Pembrokeshire for near-on 3,000 years. However, it was with the 11th century Norman invasion that the path towards Celtic Haven really began.
As the Normans marched their colonial way through England, the man in charge of much of Western Wales went by the name King Rhys ap Tewdwr. In a desperate attempt to maintain his family’s importance in the area, he promptly offered the hand of his youngest and most beautiful daughter to the Norman Lord, Gerald de Windsor.
This maternal knot started a cascade of events that eventually lead to the construction of what today is Celtic Haven.
Over the subsequent 700 years, the lands around Pembroke Castle – the Manorbier Estate – were steadily sold off, broken down and built upon.
With the coming of the industrial revolution to western Europe in the late 18th century came the acquisition by John Adams of an area of the Manoriber Easte called Lydstep Haven. Adams set about quarrying the land for stone to service the ever growing needs of industrialising Britain.
Steadily, the townships of Lydstep, Manorbier and, eventually, Tenby grew with the arrival of workers and ever increasing tourists.
Becoming Celtic Haven
After nearly 100 years of quarrying, the Lydstep Estate was sold to future Lord of the British Parliament, John Wynford Phillips. By 1908 Philips had turned the once industrial land into a rich area of farmland including stables, two lodges and a public reading room. With the success of one his horses, Atrato, at the Scottish Grand National came the demolishment and construction of the buildings that, today, having been fully renovated, form the basis of our accommodation at Celtic Haven.
A little bit about our cottages
With a lineage dating back to Middle Ages, here’s a quick insight to what some of the older buildings at Celtic Haven used to be – you’ll find the clue in the name
The Parlour was originally part of the old staff living quarters when Celtic Haven was the heart of Manorbier Estate.
Flemish Cottage gives a wonderful insight into a Welsh cottages as they would have been hundreds of years ago, with exposed pitch pine beams, whitewashed walls and tiled floor.
Atrato’s Stable was once the stable and loose box of Lord St David’s Grand National winning horse, Atrato.
Tackrooms was once the original saddling room of Atrato, Lord St David’s Grand National winning racehorse.
Bridleways was originally the pretty lodge cottage leading from the road into the village.
The blacksmiths would shoe the working horses in The Old Forge and, later, the race horses.
Once home to the jockeys and their equipment, Boot Cottage has lovely vaulted ceilings.
Goose Cottage is where the geese were kept and fattened for the Lord of the Manor’s table.
Doves and House-martins were the original occupiers of Dovecotes and they are still your neighbours!
Cranberry Cottage originally led into the estate’s soft fruit orchard.
As you might have guessed, Servant’s Quarters was once the sleeping quarters for the servants to the Manor House!
Some people insist they can still detect the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread in The Bakery, originally provider of the village’s baked goods.
One of the oldest properties with metre thick walls and pitch pine beams, St David’s Lodge is named after Lord St. David who owned this land hundreds of years ago.
Bravehearts was the resting place for the soldiers when the King of Dyfed ruled and the Bishop Gower resided in the palace opposite.
The Manor House has a fabulous history – the 10th Century Flemish chimney was found when the renovations took place and the huge manor kitchen still has the old flagstone floor walked on by the lord of the estate.
If you’d like to check availability for these or any of our other Pembrokeshire holiday cottages, please don’ hesitate to contact us on 01834 871850 or use the availability checker at the top of the page.