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Wales/Cymru: ° Aberdyfi ° Aberystwyth ° Bangor (Gwynedd) ° Borth (Ceredigion) ° Cardiff, Pontypridd, Swansea (Glamorgan) ° Holyhead (Anglesey) ° Fishguard, Milford Haven, Pembroke (Pembrokshire) ° Porthmadog (Eifionydd) ° The Welsh Language ° The Mandans and Owain of Wales

Fishguard, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire

April 23, 1910, Mariposa Gazette, Mariposa, California, U.S.A.

Where Women Hate Spineless Men.

The selection of Fishguard in Wales as a new port of call for the big steamshlps of the Cunard line has enabled hundreds of travelers who never had heard of the place before to find a lively interest in the little village of Llangwm, near by.

Most of the inhabitants are of Flemish origin, descendants of the soldiers of fortune who pushed th eir adventurous way all along the southern coast of England and finally settled in Wales 400 or 800 years ago, and thelr quaint costumes and customs still mark them off from their neighbors as a people apart. The most remarkable feature of their life lies in the position which the women hold among them.

Llangwm might stand as the ideal of ithe most extreme advocates of women's rights, for there the women are in supreme control. The men an regarded merely as household conveniences. They stay at home and look after their domestic duties as the women go out and act as the "men of the family," earning the family livelihood and also holding the family purse strings. The women are the owners of the farms and cottages, and their husbands are perfectly satisfied that everything should be in their hands, doing such work aa their wives tell them and fllllng an entirely secondary place in the household.

August 7, 1910, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Queenstown Will be Calling Station Again
Cunard Line Will Stop There on Eastern Trips

Fishguard to London and the Continent via Cunard.

LONDON August 6. -- In consequence of the pressure to bear on it through Irish and other influences, the Cunard line today decided to to revert to Queenstown, as a port of call on eastbound journeys, landing passengers and mall there continuing to Fishguard, the new port on the Welsh coast. All steamers except the Lusitania and Mauretania will put in at both Queensbown and Fishguard, commencing September 1.

September 6, 1910, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California

Sailors Adrift Suffer Horrors
Captain of Burned Steamer West Point Tells Story of Suffering
Fire Consumes Ship Stores
Men Rescued After Six Days in Small Boats 'Without Food or Water

(Associated Press)

FISHGUARD, Wales, Sept. The steamer Mauretania arrived here today, having on board Captain Pinkham and fifteen of his crew, who were picked up by the Cunarder after they had been at sea in a small boat for six days following the burning of their vessel, the British tramp steamer West Point.

Captain Pinkham said the fire on the West Point started In the engine room on August 27. The flames drove the engineers from their posts and spread so rapidly that soon the donkey engines operating the pumps were disabled by the heat. An attempt was made to extinguish the fire by a bucket brigade, but the hopelessness of the effort was quickly apparent and the captain ordered small boats lowered. From the bunkers the flames made their way to the storeroom and galley, and prevented the provisioning of the boats, the intense heat repeatedly driving back the sailors who hoped to secure food sufficient to keep them until they were picked up by a passing vessel.


Though pressed hard by the fire the crew stood by their ship until Sunday afternoon, when the captain ordered all hands into the boats. Throughout that night the boats, each carrying sixteen persons, cruised in the vicinity, and in the morning, another attempt was made to secure much needed stores. The burning craft, which was then sinking, was again boarded, but scarcely anything of consequence was secured.

Monday evening the ship foundered. The two small boats last Wednesday drifted apart. The other boatload was picked up by the Leiland line steamer Devonian Friday morning, while Captain Pinkham and his companions were rescued by the Mauretania Friday night. Tho captain and the men suffered severely, and only by dint of hard work saved their boat from sinking.

"We suffered horrors," said Captain Pinkham, in telling his story. "We were without food, or water and were very cold. The men had to ball the boat incessantly to keep it afloat."

Tramp Steamer Burns at Sea. Men and Officers Saved by Liners

LONDON, Sept. 5. A -wireless message received today from the steamer Mauretania, bound from New York to Liverpool, gives further details of the rescue Friday night of the missing officers and crew of the burned British tramp steamer West Point. The first news that the shipwrecked men had been picked up was transmitted to the American side of the Atlantic yesterday.

The West Point was burned at sea Sunday, August 23. On Thursday the Iceland line steamer Deconian, westbound, picked up sixteen of the crew, while the remainder, making another boatload, were found by the Mauretania. It was 11 o'clock Friday night when the Mauritania was battling with a northerly gale that a lookout sighted the West Point's small boat with Capt. Plnkham, the second officer, two engineers and twelve seamen aboard. All the party were well in spite of having been tossed about in an open boat for six days. Capt. Pinkham said that just before he made out the lights of the Mauretania, he had given up hope of being saved by a passing vessel and was steering toward the Azores.

The rescue was effected in 33 minutes from the time that the lookout discovered the little craft. The passengers of the Mauretania subscribed $450 for the relief of the West Point's men.

Milford Haven

The Milford Haven Waterway is one of the deepest natural harbours in the world, formed by a Ria or drowned valley flooded at the end of the last Ice Age. The Pembroke River and the Daugleddau estuary converge and wind west to the Irish Sea, forming 22 miles of spectacular waterway.

From the 790s until the Norman Invasion in 1066, the waterway was used by Vikings looking for shelter. In 1171 Henry II started his Irish expedition from the area. His army of 400 warships, 500 knights and 4,000 men-at-arms gathered in the haven before sailing to Waterford and on to Dublin. This expedition marked the first time an English king had stood on Irish soil and was the beginning of Henry's invasion of Ireland.

The town of Milford Haven on the Northern bank was first founded as a whaling centre and then developed in 1790 by Sir William Hamilton. Situated on the Southern bank, Pembroke Dock was established in 1802 as the site for a new Royal Naval Dockyard. Both towns have experienced a history of shipbuilding and fishing as railheads and terminals. The towns created concentrated trading that had previously carried out at up-river quays, jetties and landing places.

Benton Castle, Milford Haven
Paul Sandby.

By the late 18th Century, the two Milford Haven creeks of Hakin and Castle Pill, were being used as harbours for ships to load and unload coal, corn and limestone. Small ports up-river such as Pennar, Lawrenny, Landshipping and Cosheston served the coal mines of the Pembrokeshire Coalfield and also the large limestone quarries at West Williamston. These ports continued to work through the 19th Century by changing to using barges to transship cargoes down river to the new generation of larger vessels using Pembroke Dock and Milford.

September 6, 1891, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.


What is claimed to be the largest three-masted sailing ship afloat is now loading at Cardiff for this port. She is the British steel ship Ditton, built at Milford Haven for K. W. Leyland of Liverpool. Her length between perpendiculars is 320 feet, length on deck 350 feet, beam 43.2 feet, depth of hold 27 feet. Her registered tonnage is 2850 and she will carry 4500 tons on a draught of 24 feet. One peculiar feature about the vessel is that she has no poop, quarters for captain and the other officers being found in a long deck-house. The ship is fitted with three of these houses, one of them containing a large donkey-engine and the galley, while the other is for the men, of which she carries twenty-five in each watch. She is commanded by Captain H. Stap, well known as once in command of the well known ship Great Britain.

May 17, 1892, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

The Earl of Aberdeen Sunk -- Many of Her Crew Drowned

London, May 16. The bark Earl of Aberdeen ran ashore on the coast of County Pembroke. It is supposed sixteen of the crew were drowned by the capsizing of a boat. Fourteen others have reached MilfordHaven.

Twenty-two persons in all are known to have been saved. A seaman named O'Neill, one of the shipwrecked sailors who arrived at Cardiff, says: "Alter the bark struck an effort was made to free her by manning the pumps, but it was useless, and the Captain ordered all hands to the rigging, and arrangements were made for leaving the vessel. Two lifeboats were smashed, and the crew attempted to launch the other, which was a difficult task in the dangerous sea running. When one of the boats was launched the ship's carpenter and an apprentice jumped in. Other members of the crew attempted to follow, but the boat was torn from the vessel's side, and quickly disappeared. Another boat was launched, and thiee men got into it, when it was capsized by an immense wave and the occupants thrown into the foaming sea. By almost superhuman efforts the men regained the overturned boat, and after an exciting struggle righted it and scrambled in.

"Being thrown in the vicinity of the ship they grasped ropes and held on tenaciously until 6 o'clock in the morning, when they were rescued. The rest of the crew could not leave the rigging to assist them, as they were clinging to it for their lives. Their perilous position being discovered from the shore, assistance was sent, and a boat from her majesty's ship Hound rescued eleven men from the jigger mast. A number of others in the mainmast rigging went down with the vessel, and all were drowned. The carpenter and apprentice were rescued by the steamer Scotarlie, and the carpenter says eighteen men were drowned."

Neither the Captain nor members of the crew rescued understand how the ship was so far north out of her course.

August 16, 1899, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

The Paris Docked

Milford Haven, August 15 -- The American line steamer Paris has arrived here from Falmouth to be docked for repairs.


Bands of Norsemen marauded the Pembrokeshire coasts from the middle of the ninth century onward and plundered the cathedral at St David's on eight or more occasions. They left only their names on the offshore islands and on a few coastal settlements, like Angle and Goultrop and Dale in the south, and Fishguard in the north. Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his son, Arnulf, swept across Wales to Pembroke. Arnulf later joined his brother, Robert, in revolt against the king, Henry I, and was banished, and Pembroke became a royal lordship with Gerald de Windsor as its custodian.

Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Joseph William Turner

In north Pembrokeshire Robert FitzMartin occupied the Welsh stronghold at Nevern and established a Norman lordship in the hundred of Cemais. The hundred of Pebidiog, in which St. David's lay, remained in the hands of the bishop, but the Welsh bishop was replaced by a Norman.

Nowhere in Wales was the Anglo-Norman grip stronger than in south Pembrokeshire. A line of powerful castles reaching from Roch to Tenby was supported by a string of lesser fortresses along the foothills of the Presely Hills. In addition, there were the great castles of Carew, Manorbier and Pembroke. The Normans brought large numbers of English followers whose anglicising influence was such that the southern part of Pembrokeshire became known a "Little England beyond Wales."

Flemings were sent hy Henry I. The Welsh harassed the Anglo-Normans from the outset, and regained their territories except for Pembroke Castle. In 1096 they laid siege to the castle but they were hoodwinked by Gerald de Windsor who, although he had hardly any provisions left, threw his last few flitches of bacon over the palisade at the besiegers to make them believe that he was well supplied. The Welsh withdrew but only to fight and fight again, against overwhelming odds.

Llywelyn Ap Gruffudd

Rhys ap Gruffydd recovered south Pembrokeshire in 1189, and Llywelyn the Great came in 1215, and Llywelyn in 1277 overran the Norman lordships, but Pembroke was never taken.

On 28 January 1457, at Pembroke Castle, the thirteen year old Margaret Beaufort, Lancastrian heiress to the throne, gave birth to a son, Henry Tudor. In 1471, young Henry had to flee from the Yorkists with his uncle Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke: they sailed from Tenby and landed in Brittany; another fourteen years passed before he returned. In 1485, Henry defeated Richard III and became King Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty.

Henry VIII abolished the county palatine that had existed since Gilbert de Clare had been created the first Earl of Pembroke in 1138, and united it with the several other lordships to form the county of Pembroke as one of the thirteen counties of Wales.

May 10, 1896, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

In 1896, the dockyards at Pembroke are considered among the finest dockyards in the world, along with Devonport, Keyham, Portsmouth, Chatham and Sheerness, all in Great Britain. An estimated $140,000,000 was spent in building those yards. These yards employ as many men as in the entire United States army -- 26,000 -- and are paid over $8 million a year in wages.

Launch of HMS 'Windsor Castle'
September 1852

The Pembroke dockyard is the best adapted for building operations. It comprises some seventy-seven acres and has eleven building-slips, covered by substantial sbiphouses. It has, however, but one dock and no basins, and but few slips and stores, and cannot be used as a fitting-out station. The dockyards at Keyham and Devonport are really one. They contain in the aggregate 140 acres and are connected by a tunnel, through which a railway has been laid, and locomotives belonging to the yards transfer men and material from one yard to the other. The building-slips and most of the drydocks are in Devonport, while the shops and fitting-out basins are in the Keyham yard. A curiosity to bo seen in Devonport is a huge floating platform in the drydock and intended to be submerged and used to float out vessels while under repair. All the other dockyards in Great Britain are secondary to those mentioned, excepting, of course, several belonging to private firms.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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