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Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire. County of south-west Wales. The county was created at the Act of Union with England in 1536. The peninsula, part of the Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth, was conquered by Arnulf de Montgomery, who established the lordship of Pembroke in the south. This was later to become the palatine earldom of Pembroke, which included the lordship of Tenby and the baronies of Daugleddau, Carew, and Walwynscastle. To that basis was added the smaller lordships of the north of the peninsula, Cemaes and Cilgerran, together with the episcopal lands of St Davids (Pebidiog, or Dewisland), the cathedral city of the patron saint of Wales, as well as those of the centre, Haverfordwest and Narberth, and the barony of Llawhaden which belonged to the bishops of St Davids. Henry I reinforced the occupation of the south by promoting a Flemish immigration. The result was that the county had a distinctive dual character, markedly English to the south, Welsh to the north. So clear was the dividing line that it acquired a name—the Landsker. In 1974 the county became part of Dyfed, but, reflecting the basic internal contrast, it was divided into two districts, South Pembrokeshire and Preseli. To a degree the divide marks a physical contrast between the low coastal plateau of the south and the Preseli mountains of the north.

Pembrokeshire has been pre-eminently an agricultural county, the southern section being one of the few areas of arable land in Wales, its mild maritime climate giving rise to early vegetable- and flower-growing. A further distinctive feature is its fine coast and offshore islands (Skomer, Skokholm, and Ramsey). The whole coast is designated a heritage coast and makes up the Pembrokeshire National Park. Tourism is in consequence a major economic aspect. The coast is broken by the major sea inlet (ria) of Milford Haven. Once a major fishing port, it is now dominated by oil refineries, developed for supertankers.

North–south contrasts dominate the county, 68.8 per cent speaking Welsh at Crymych in the north but only 4.6 at Manorbier in the south. The district percentages in 1991 were 8.2 in South Pembrokeshire and 24.4 in Preseli. The population in 1991 was 109,534. In 1996 the county was reconstituted as a unitary authority.

Harold Carter

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Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire, Welsh Sir Benfro, county, 614 sq mi (1,590 sq km), SW Wales. In 1974, the county of Pembrokeshire became part of the nonmetropolitan county of Dyfed, but in 1996 Dyfed was dissolved and Pembrokeshire was restored as a unitary authority.

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