It’s not only Pembrokeshire’s placenames that indicate its long history as an English colony. It’s also evident in some of our vernacular architecture.
- Pembrokeshire gets the full brunt of Atlantic storms. Locals have responded by adding slate shingles on exposed walls of houses. Many cottages have a concrete overcoat on slate roofs.
- The Flemish chimneys littered around the county were introduced by Dutch settlers who moved into the area in the Twelfth Century.
These chimneys are distinctive in their shape & size, with a high conical chimney and fieplaces that are sometimes large enough to sit in. Tenby Tudor Merchant’s House has a fine example. Plantagenet House restaurant has a fireplace so large they can seat eight people on two tables. St Florence has perhaps the biggest collection of Flemish chimneys. Some are attached to cottages and some standing as the last remains of now-demolished buildings.
At Warren Farm, Wales
We are Warren Farm, Wales aren’t to be outdone though. We have our own chimney at the south gable. It’s a modest size, especially when compared to the one at Plantagent House. Originally, it may have been able to fit just one comfortable chair. These days, it’s only got standing room, as two washing coppers were added in the Victorian era. It still has a little fire basket. It also has one of our favourite farm features, a beautiful – and beautifully preserved – domed, brick-lined bread oven with iron door.
You can also see traces of where the stairs used to wind around the chimney on the left hand side, rising into the bathroom above. Talking of the bathroom, it’s dominated by the great chimney. It is squared off and stepped as it narrows – with more than a hint of pyramid! Visitors in the bunkhouse also get a glimpse, as the distinctive rounded shape intrudes into the back of the toilet and wet room cubicles.
Although it’s obviously stood the test of time for many centuries, we’re not brave enough to light a fire in it yet. Maybe one day!