Tuesday, November 28, 2017

At the Christmas Market

Pembroke Castle Christmas Market was again a great success and we again held a stall to advertise what we do - as well as raising funds with the sale of our books and merchandising.  Rose Blackburn donated a very large dog for us to raffle which proved very popular - the raffle was drawn in the Town Hall by the Town Clerk on Monday and the lucky winning ticket was number 101.  This was purchased by Dominic Stanley pictured here with his little sister Lily-Rose- clearly delighted to have won!

Our shop window competition entry

We have entered the Pembroke Town Council shop window competition with this snowy offering.  All credit to Vicki Haggar for masterminding this snowman made of recycled white cups and to Rachel Norman for making the smaller ones from pompoms (think we need a close up!).  We managed to find some historic snow scenes as a background - some from the famous winter of '82.  

Archaeology Day

We took part in the annual Archaeology Day organised by the PCNP and Planed.  A most interesting talk was given by Liz Rawlings of the Llangwm Historical Society - we really must organise a visit to see the amazing work this Group are doing. 

Our Christmas Quiz a great success!

Our Christmas Quiz proved very popular raising £204.  Worthy winners against much opposition were Meg Burrell, Mel Phillips, Pam Evans and Pru Pattison pictured here with Quiz Master Rose Blackburn (right). The lovely buffet was prepared by the committee of the P&M History Society and the raffle organised by Rachel Norman.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Christmas Quiz

Talk by John Thompson Saturday November 4th

John Thompson with P&M History Society Trustee, Rose Blackburn

Metal Detector John Thompson gave a talk at our Coffee Morning on Saturday, bringing with him a collection of thimbles which he has accrued over many years.  The thimble he told us reveals an amazing social and technological history.

The earliest known thimble, in the form of a simple ring — dates back to the Han Dynasty ancient China. Thimbles dating to the 10th century have been found in England, and thimbles were in widespread use there by the 14th century. Although there are isolated examples of thimbles made of precious metals—Elizabeth I is said to have given one of her ladies-in-waiting a thimble set with precious stones—the vast majority of metal thimbles were made of brass. Medieval thimbles were either cast brass or made from hammered sheet.

Early centers of thimble production were those places known for brass-working, starting with Nuremberg in the 15th century, and moving to Holland by the 17th. In 1693, a Dutch thimble manufacturer named John Lofting established a thimble factory in Islington, in London, expanding British thimble production to new heights. He later moved his mill to Buckinghamshire to take advantage of water-powered production, resulting in a capacity to produce more than two million thimbles per year. By the end of the 18th century, thimble making had moved to Birmingham, and shifted to the "deep drawing" method of manufacture, which alternated hammering of sheet metals with annealing, and produced a thinner-skinned thimble with a taller shape. At the same time, cheaper sources of silver from the Americas made silver thimbles a popular item for the first time.

I don't think anyone realised that there was such history behind the simple thimble.  After the talk those present were encouraged to examine the thimbles - John's talk and collection certainly created a great deal of interest.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pembrokeshire Murders - Talk by Keith Johnson

‘Pembrokeshire Murders’ was the topic of Keith Johnson’s talk at Monkton Church Hall last Friday and this drew a large audience despite the bad weather conditions.  Well known author and former editor of Pembrokeshire Life magazine, Keith is well familiar with local murder cases having scripted the ‘Music Hall of Murder’ which was performed to much acclaim by the East End Flyover Company at the Torch Theatre.  Keith began his talk with the shocking case of Tenby’s Mayor, Thomas Athoe and his son who murdered George Merchant in 1722.  The two set upon George and his son with such savage frenzy that poor George’s nose was bitten off before being strangled.  This appalling act resulted in the hangman’s noose.  
But not all murders were quite as brutal – Keith cited one where the pathetic perpetrator earned clemency and escaped hanging.  In the year 1864 Mary Prout gave birth to a baby girl in Narberth workhouse. Mary was poor, alone and unmarried: to have baby out of wedlock carried a great social stigma. She left the workhouse and began the eight mile walk to her grandmother’s house in the village of Amroth, carrying her new-born baby but on the way she threw the baby down a disused mineshaft. She was subsequently charged and convicted of the wilful murder of her newborn baby, a crime that carried the death sentence. However, Mary Prout’s case resulted in widespread public sympathy and she escaped the death sentence: fourteen years later she was released and returned to Pembrokeshire where she married a farmer (James Rees) in 1883 and had two more children. 
A murder that has a Pembroke connection was that of William Roblin, the last man to be hanged in Pembrokeshire.  His body was anatomised and dissected, then buried within the prison grounds without Christian ceremony. But, even then, he was not allowed to rest in peace. His body was dug up and the skeleton sold. After passing through several hands, most of it was lost - except the skull. And that now lies in a box in Pembroke Castle. How it got there remains a mystery!

Our next talk on Saturday, November 4th