Angle, Pembrokeshire

Angle, Pembrokeshire

infobox UK place
country = Wales

static_image_caption=Saint Mary's Church
official_name =Angle
population = c.240
shire_county= Pembrokeshire
metropolitan_county =
postcode_district =
os_grid_reference= SM8602

Angle is a village and Community located on a narrow peninsula on the very southwest tip of Wales in Pembrokeshire. It has two public houses, a school, post office, a castle, St Mary's church and a sandy beach to the west of the village. The nearest viable rail station is Pembroke, from where there is a bus link. The Angle lifeboat received silver medals in 1878 rescuing the crew of the Loch Shiel on rocks near Thorn Island which carried cases of whisky.

The village

A major occupation is tourism as people travel to use the sheltered beach at West Angle bay which has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The rockpools in the bay are home to a small green starfish with the scientific name "Asterina phylactica". [ [ Angle] ,, accessed 30 August 2008] The starfish was only formally identified in 1979. [ [ Asterina phylactica] ,, accessed 31 August 2008]

The "castle" in the village is a single pele tower that was built by Robert de Shirburn in the 14th century. [ [ Angle Castle] , Castles of Britain, accessed 30 August 2008] It is within Castle Farm but can be easily accessed. The castle may have been built by the Shirburn family during the time of Owain Glyndŵr. A French army landed at Angle in 1405 to assist Glyndŵr . Some sources see this as a tower but others see evidence of a moat and another tower and see this ruin as the remains of a castle. [ [,M1 Welsh Castles] : A Guide by Counties, Adrian Pettifer, 2000, ISBN 0851157785]

In the nineteenth century it was reported that 388 people lived in the village with the women involved in plaiting straw for bonnets and mats, whilst the men would trawl for oysters when they were in season. [ A Topographical Dictionary of Wales] , S. Lewis,, 1844, Genuki, accessed 30 August 2008]

In the same century a large number of forts were constructed around Pembroke Dock and Milford Haven. Three of these are on the coast around Angle, the East Blockhouse Battery, Thorn Island Fort and the Chapel Bay Battery. Their construction was funded as part of advice to Lord Palmerston following a Royal Commission.

t. Mary's church

The church stands in the main street surrounded by a full graveyard and more unusually a seaman's chapel. The chapel is a fairly small building that was built in the 15th century (1447) by Edward de Shirburn a "knight of Nangle". Beneath the chapel is a crypt where many anonymous seamen's bodies that had been found on the coastline were readied for burial until the early twentieth century. [ The Benefice] , Rev. Jones, accessed 30 August 2008 ]

The church itself is thought to have been built in the thirteenth century with the tower added in the fifteenth century. The church's grounds also include a number of graves for a Japanese ship that sank locally during the First World War.

Notable residents

*Lieut-Col Richard W.B. Mirehouse (1849-1914) High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire, 1886, and Lieutenant Colonel of 4th Batt. North Staffs Regiment. [‘MIREHOUSE, Lieut-Col Richard Walter Byrd’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 [, accessed 30 Aug 2008] ] [ [ Richard Mirehouse, formerly Levett, The Eton Register, Part III, Old Etonian Association, Spottiswoode & Co., Eton, 1906] ]


A lifeboat station was established here in 1868; since then there have been a number of lifeboats and even a number of different slipways. The crew here has received numerous awards including seven silver medals from the RNLI. [ Angle History] ,, accessed 30 August 2008<] In 2008 there are two lifeboats, "The Lady Rank" and the smaller "Richard John Talbot Miller".

The first rescue where the crew received silver medals was in the rescue of 27 (some say 33) people who were on board the 1878-built "Loch Shiel" which had ran into rocks off Thorn Island. Two lifeboat crew members and the honorary secretary received silver medals. It was said that the lifeboat was unable to reach them but these brave people managed to reach them.The rescue is particularly noteworthy as it is described as Wales' "Whisky Galore". The Loch Shiel was carrying goods from Scotland to Adelaide and included gunpowder, beer [ Loch Liel] , Pembrokeshire wrecks] and 7,500 (some say 7,000) cases of Glasgow whisky. Much of this was never recovered. Some of the bottles are still amongst the wreck which are described as "undrinkable", but much of the cargo was only partially recovered by the customs men. [ letters] ,, accessed 30 August 2008] It was said that one local drank himself to death on the 100 proof whiskey. In 1999, bottles of beer from the wreck were auctioned for £1000 per bottle. [ Diver sinks £1,000 pint] , BBC, accessed 30 August 2008]

The next award was a bronze medal awarded to Coxswain James Watkins for rescuing 28 people on the 26 November 1929 from the single-screw steamship "Molesley" which had been caught by a sudden wind change and a poor decision by its captain. [ [ Wreck report for Molesley] , 19 August 1930, GB Board of Trade] James Watkins went on to be awarded both a silver medal for rescuing 6 people in 1944 from the motor boat "Thor" and a year later another bronze medal for a difficult rescue of nine people from the steamer "Walter L M Russ." (This steamer had been seized from the Germans and sank on the 15 July before it could be renamed the "Empire Concourse". [ [ EMPIRE - C] ,] )

More recently, Coxswain William John Rees Holmes has been awarded two bronze medals. The first was in 1977 when the tanker "Donna Marike" was thought to be about to explode and the lifeboat stood by her in December 1976. The second bronze medal was for rescuing three people from the fishing boat "Cairnsmore" on 1 December 1978.

In 1997 a third coxswain, Jeremy R. Rees, and his crew were awarded another bronze medal for rescuing four people after their motor boat, "Dale Princess", was blown onto cliffs on Skomer Island. The rescue was made in gale force winds and stormy seas.

Recent events

In 1996, the coastline around Angle was severely effected by an oil spill from the Sea Empress. The eventual cleanup of all the beaches took several years and cost £60 million. [ [ BBC Wales On Air:Sea Empress] ]


ee also

*RAF Angle

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