St David’s Church, Brawdy, may be early medieval in origin. It is situated some 330 metres from a road depicted as Roman on historic Ordnance Survey mapping, and some 1.8 kilometres north-east of the coast. The church lies some 430 metres west-northwest of Brawdy Castle Iron Age promontory fort, which is thought to have been occupied during the Romano-British period.
Three fifth to sixth century inscribed stones lie loose in the church. Two, with Ogham inscriptions, derive from nearby Cas Wilia Farm. The third has a roman-letter inscription and derives from Rickeston Farm. The church was first mentioned in documents of the twelfth century, specifically by Gerald of Wales. The church was, we know, a parish church in the post-Conquest period, belonging to the Deanery of Pebidiog. The earliest precise date we have for the church is 1326. St Mary’s Church, Haycastle was a dependent chapelry until the seventeenth century.
The church, a Grade Two listed building, was restored in 1884 to the specifications of EH Lingen Barker of London, Hereford and Tenby. At this time the fittings and floors were removed, the porch floor lowered and the chancel floor raised. The church was refloored and the pulpit, altar table and rail were installed. The nave and east wall’s window openings were widened and new windows inserted. The medieval chancel north window was unblocked. The church was reportedly further renovated in 1901.The east window, by WD Caroe, was inserted in 1904. But, as much as St David’s has been refurbished, this tiny church still has the feel of being a very ancient place of worship.
- In 1833, in his Topographical Dictionary of Wales, Samuel Lewis wrote: ‘It is related of the Revd Mr Wilcocks, the present respected vicar of the parish of Brawdy, that, prior to entering into holy orders, he paid two masters, during twelve years, out of his earnings by daily labour, to teach all the poor children of Brawdy and Hayscastle; and that the parishioners were so impressed with a sense of his meritorious conduct and love of learning, that he was ordained at their’
- An old motte and bailey settlement can still be found in the village of Brawdy, but its history is brief. During the Civil War Brawdy stood against a short siege, and afterwards passed into the hands of the Walters. Charles II’s mistress Lucy Walters could possibly have lived here, but it seems more likely that she lived at Rosemarket, where the family’s main residence was.
- Brawdy as an RAF station began life as a satellite to nearby St Davids, opening on 1st February 1944 for No 19 Group of Coastal Command. The unusual layout of three runways allowed large and heavily-laden aircraft to take off in all prevailing winds. These aircraft soon arrived in the form of No 517 Squadron’s Handley Page Halifaxes, which primarily carried out meteorological flights across the Atlantic, losing a number of aircraft and crews to the weather. Eventually, in November 1945, the station switched roles with St Davids to become the parent airfield as it proved the more effective of the two places. On 1st January 1946, the airfield was handed over to the Royal Navy and the Fleet Air Arm. The airfield was handed back to the RAF in the early 1970s. Subsequently, the army established a base at Brawdy in 1995, known as Cawdor Barracks and home to the 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare). However, under plans announced in 2013 the barracks were due to close in 2018, but this plan has now been delayed for the time being.
Brawdy: Church of St David
Haverfordwest, SA62 6LA
Rev Diana Hoare: 01437 721205
Rev Canon Michael Rowlands: 01348 831382