Welsh Journals

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WALES. Vol. III.] OCTOBER, 189G. [No. 30. THE PEOPLE OF NORTH PEMBROKESHIRE. By Artiiur Wade Evans, B.A., Josus College, Oxford. TRAVELLER in Pembrokeshire will immediately notice if he moves from north to south that he is going from among one dis- tinct race of people into the midst of another. The cutting between the two is quick and sharp. Suppose for example he travels along the road from Haverfordwest to Fishguard, ho will hear English only in Haverford¬ west and English only along the road for about five miles. Afterwards he hears little but Welsh. If a line is drawn from St. David's due east through Brawdy, Trefgarn, straight on to Whitland, roughly speaking all Pembrokeshire north of this line is Welsh, the other portion of the shire is English, Flemish, or what not. How far the people of Welsh north Pembrokeshire are really Welsh, is the question I now wish to touch upon. The inhabitants of north Pembrokeshire are Welsh in language and customs. Welsh only is heard in Nonconformist places of worship; so also in rural Welsh churches. In meetings, political, religious, or literary, Welsh is the language mostly employed. It is also the tongue heard along the streets and roads. English as a rule is restricted to the higher classes. Judging from the census reports, I should think that seventy per cent at least of the north Pembroke¬ shire folk speak Welsh. Their customs also are similar to those of other Welsh parts. Local cisteddfodau are pretty 28 433 numerous, whilst " monthly meetings " and a " cymanfa ganu " are equally prevalent. " Dydd Calan " is still kept up with the same assiduity as the Sabbath day, and some other Welsh customs are extant whilst more have become obsolete within human memory. By merely casual obser¬ vation however, I have noticed three points by which we might detect a foreign element by no means small and in¬ significant in the composition of the north Pembrokeshire people. There are other reasons that tend to prove the same argument. Nicholas, if I rightly recollect, in his " Pedigree of the English People," devotes a whole chapter to its discussion. But the following three are based solely on the number of foreign local names of undoubtedly ancient standing. 1. The prevalence of English names of places in the heart of a Welsh district. 2. The prevalence of Danish names of places along the coast line. 3. The durable extent of these Danish settle¬ ments as shewn by the town of Fishguard. 1. The great majority of these English names end in " ton," e.g., Puncheston. They are dotted hither and thither over the whole range of the map. They gradually decrease in number towards the north. In south Pembrokeshire, that is, in the English district, they are very numerous. I take up the St. David's Diocesan Calendar and find that Pem¬ brokeshire is ecclesiastically divided into eight deaneries, named from S. to N.,— Castlemartin, Roose, Narberth, Dungleddy, Dewisland, Fishguard, Kemes, and Emlyn. Now the number of parishes whose names end in " ton " in these deaneries will shew distinctly how the English names gradually decrease towards the Welsh parts,—