Dewisland Hundred

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Dewisland hundred in Pembrokeshire

The Hundred of Dewisland (often written "Dewsland") is a hundred in the north-west of Pembrokeshire. It is bounded by Cemais Hundred to the east; by Dungleddy Hundred to the south-east; and by Roose Hundred to the south. On all other sides it is bounded by the sea: St George's Channel to the north, and St Brides Bay to the south. It had a population of 10,524 in 2011.


It originates as the pre-Norman cantref of Pebidiog:[1] one of the seven cantrefs of the Kingdom of Dyfed.

Named after Dewi Sant, the Welsh language name for Saint David,[2] Dewisland is in north-western Pembrokeshire, including the city of St David's and the peninsula on which it stands.[3] Almost all of the hundred was within the Marcher Lordship of the Bishop of St David's, and St David's was its civil and ecclesiastical headquarters. It was said to be divided into two commotes: Mynyw (Latin: Menevia) and Pencaer.[4]

Dewisland boasts of being the only part of Wales never conquered. The English before the Norman conquest did not get so far, and the Normans respected Dewisland as a possession of the Church, so that it was spared the fierce fighting which took place everywhere else when they conquered Wales.[5] Nevertheless, it was occupied by the Normans in the 12th century, and made part of the March, but remained exclusively Welsh-speaking, except for small English plantations in the City of St David's and at Abercastle and Letterston. These were extinct by the time of George Owen, who described the hundred as wholly Welsh-speaking.[6]

The Petty Sessions for the hundred were held at Solva.[7]


It comprises the ancient parishes of:


  1. Charles, B. G., The Placenames of Pembrokeshire, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1992, ISBN 0-907158-58-7, p 197
  2. William Owen Pughe, Cambrian register vol. 2 (1799), p. 79: " took the name of Dewisland among the Englishmen, for that it was given to the bishop's see of St Davids."
  3. Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales (1848), p. 39: "(Dewisland hundred): — This district embraces the north-west quarter of Pembrokeshire."
  4. W. Rees, An Historical Atlas of Wales, Faber & Faber, 1959, plate 28
  5. Raphael Samuel, Alison Light, Theatres of Memory: Island stories : unravelling Britain (1997), p. 51
  6. Owen, George, The Description of Pembrokeshire, Dillwyn Miles (Ed), Gomer Press, Llandysul, 1994, ISBN 185902-120-4
  7. Nicholas Carlisle, A topographical dictionary of The Dominion of Wales, a continuation of the topography of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1811), Solfach

Outside links

Hundreds of Pembrokeshire

Cilgerran • Cemais • Dewisland • Roose (including Haverfordwest) • Castlemartin (including Pembroke) • Narberth (including Tenby) • Dungleddy