Artefacts found on new £6.3m Haverfordwest town centre development

Pembrokeshire County Council is beginning to outline the next steps to redevelop the Western Quayside in Haverfordwest, but not before a significant archaeological dig is complete.

Dyfed Archaeological Trust is working at the retail and hospitality redevelopment site for 18 weeks following the discovery of artefacts and human remains dating back to the 14th Century AD.

The team and Council officers were surprised at how well-preserved remains survived across some of the site.

This work is a great opportunity for the dig team and residents to find out more about an area in the town that has significant historical value.

Fran Murphy

Fran Murphy, Head of Archaeological Services at Dyfed Archaeological Trust with a 15th/16th century floor tile and a fragment of roof ridge tile that may have come from the medieval friary of St Saviours.

A former 19th to 20th century iron foundry once occupied the site but below that emerging evidence of a cemetery is coming to light, a cemetery believed to be associated with the medieval friary of St. Saviour’s, whose exact location has never been ascertained. It is hoped that remains of friary buildings will be identified.

The ambitious regeneration project will not only will help drive footfall to the town, it will also support business growth and create an additional community hub.

In addition, it is further evidence of Pembrokeshire County Council delivering on its commitment to support the regeneration of Pembrokeshire’s county town – and is an integral part of the Authority’s vision to revitalise Haverfordwest town centre.

The transformational development aims to create a vibrant, attractive environment on the quayside with plenty of space for pedestrians, a quality retail offering and opportunities for businesses to invest.

Western Quayside

Rachel Moxey, Head of Economic Development and Regeneration at Pembrokeshire County Council, said: ‘This is a rare opportunity to carry out an archaeological excavation within the town.

‘The £6.3m project also complements the regeneration work we are undertaking to transform Haverfordwest town centre to ensure it is fit for the future.

‘I am grateful for the work of PCC’s development staff, John Weaver Contractors, and Dyfed Archaeological Trust to ensure that we document this for future generations.

‘By working together we can make the most of this wonderful opportunity to uncover some of Haverfordwest’s rich history.

‘I want to thank residents, and local heritage groups for their support during these archaeological works – and I was fascinated by the enthusiasm and what has been unearthed to date.

‘Haverfordwest is a great town – and I am looking forward to seeing the completed redevelopment which will showcase this Authority’s commitment to improve the environment for our communities.

‘The project we have planned will be transformational for the town and we are looking forward to starting work as soon as possible.

‘Supporting the businesses of this great town is a key part of our economic resilience and regeneration.

‘The people of Haverfordwest are proud of their town’s history – and the Western Quayside provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate that, and its flourishing future.’

The modern and stylish development includes a three-storey local food and beverage emporium with bar and roof-top terrace. It is part of the Authority’s wider plan to transform key town centres, offer a new type of built environment and ensure Pembrokeshire is a great place to visit, live and work.

Fran Murphy from Dyfed Archaeological Trust said:‘This is the first major archaeological excavation to have taken place in the medieval town of Haverfordwest and will tell us so much about the continuous development of this thriving town through the ages, and its vital connection with the Western Cleddau River.

‘It will give us insights into how people lived and died, their occupations, what they ate and drank even, and prove a valuable source of information for years to come.’

Terry Edwards, JWC’s Managing Director said: ‘It’s a great privilege to have been selected as the contractor of choice to construct the proposed Western Quays Regeneration project and nothing gives us greater pleasure than to expose artefacts from the generations that came before us.

‘During the course of any conservation construction project, you have the potential to seriously impact / disturb the important archaeological remains that have been left behind, our conservation arm of the business are focused on ensuring existing landmarks and heritage buildings – which form the backbone of a significant portion of the Welsh tourism industry – are kept safe, usable and aesthetically correct.

‘Our dedicated team of experts and artisan tradesmen understand not only the finer technical details when it comes to conserving buildings, but also the heart and soul of the structures that are in our care.

‘Historical and cultural artefacts are a part of our Welsh heritage, and have an inherent value for education, research, leisure, tourism and the economy. They are a finite, non-renewable resource, and we have a responsibility to mitigate the potentially-damaging effects of any development we work upon.’

Western Quayside work

Cllr Thomas Tudor, County Councillor for the Castle Ward of Haverfordwest, added: ‘This important archaeological heritage excavation site of the Ocky White / Western Quay Development will enable us to provide an educated history of human activity over hundreds of years in the centre of Haverfordwest and it will be acknowledged as a resource of unique cultural and social value.

‘As the County Councillor for the Castle Ward I am pleased that theWork which is underway at Western Quayside in Haverfordwest (the former Ocky White building) as part of a major construction project to redevelop the site. Commenced earlier last year, the project will provide a modern and stylish three-storey development, including a food emporium, bar and roof-top terrace.

‘The Pembrokeshire County Council scheme incorporates public realm improvements including an attractive waterfront square with space for events which could extend its use into the early evening. The project is anticipated to be complete in early 2023 which is very exciting news for Haverfordwest, our County Town of Pembrokeshire.’

ID: 8593, revised 16/03/2022