Another curious name - North Pole

In north-west Pencaer the farms at Llanwnwr, Tresinwen and Trenewydd have dominated the rural economy for centuries, providing employment and accommodation for generations of local people.
On a north-facing hillside 2Km south of Strumble Head, at 140m elevation, stands the house North Pole, with post code SA64 0JN (See OS Map). On the road below lies Salem Cottage and graveyard.

Closer to North Pole, on the hillside, is Gwtws, a grade 2 listed, single-storey cottage. There is a steep lane up to North Pole and a popular hiking route passes nearby.
The 1843 Tithe Map shows that half-way up the lane on the east side there was a garden area, plot 629; and south-west of the house lay plot 595 with a cottage and garden occupied by Henry Lewis.
Other neighbouring properties were Tai Bach, Trenewydd and Caerlem.
The land is of poor agricultural quality, limited to sheep-grazing, and there is little protection against the northerly winds.

The Tithe Map shows three plots, 628,626 and 627 around the house: 7 acres called Trenewydd Mountain, 3 acres called Llan Trenewydd and a cottage garden.
John James of Trenewydd Farm owned North Pole and much of the surrounding land, totalling some 242 acres, whilst Thomas Batine made use of the house and some adjoining plots.

Local tradition asserts that timbers used to build the dwelling were salvaged from a ship of the same name that foundered on the coast nearby. However, the list of over 800 Pembrokeshire wrecks, from 1543 to 1985, gathered by “Dive Pembrokeshire” does not include this name.
In his 1992 book “The Place-Names of Pembrokeshire” B G Charles dismisses it as a facetious name for a cottage on high ground.

The census returns are as follows.
1841 Not listed.
1851 North Star: Eleanor Lewis 72, formerly farmer’s wife. Mary Owen 34, daughter. Ellen Owen 6, grand daughter. Ann Owen 4.
(Eleanor, Mary and Ann had moved to Salem by 1861)
1861 and 1871 Not listed.
1881 North Pole: Mary John 35, mariner’s wife. John John 11, son. Phoebe A John 7, daughter. Mary John 5, daughter.
1891 Uninhabited.
1901 North Pole: Martha Davies 62, widow. Hannah Davies 19, single. William Davies 11, grandson. Thomas J Davies 13, grandson.
1911 North Pole: Martha Davies 72, widow. Hannah Davies 29, single, dressmaker.

(Hannah Davies may have attended Henner School. Later she married Tom Barwick from Lynmouth who helped to build Strumble Lighthouse in 1908)
The census returns seem to confirm that this was never a prosperous holding.

In the early 1920s Alwyn and Maggie Edwards were walking the two miles to Henner School. (See photo with Alwyn in lower left corner and Maggie in upper right one)
There is some evidence that Thomas and Elizabeth Evans, both born in 1875, were residents in the 1920s.
The Edwards family is commemorated by a gravestone at nearby Harmony Chapel which records that William Edwards of North Pole died in December 1938 aged56; also his daughter Dorothy died in May 1921 aged 2 years; and his wife Mary died in January 1955 aged 75. (See photo)

At Llanwnda cemetery, a memorial states: In Loving Memory of Dilys Maud, beloved daughter of A & D Thomas, North Pole, who died on 4th September, 1946, aged 21 years. Also Arthur James Thomas who died on the 29th June 1963, aged 75 years. Also Dinah Alice Thomas, who died on 27th August 1966, aged 1977 years.

Comments about this page

  • The formerThomas was the maternal grandfather of Sgt. William Batine James of Pencnwc Farm, Dinas, who died with Lt. Col George Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana in June 1876.

    By Len Urwin (04/05/2023)
  • Thomas Batine, mentioned above, was either the elderly farmer of 330 acres at Llanwnwr or his son, also a Thomas.

    By Len Urwin (01/05/2023)

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