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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fishguard (Welsh: Abergwaun, meaning "Mouth of the River Gwaun") is a coastal town in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with a population of 3,419 in 2011; the community of Fishguard and Goodwick had a population of 5,407. Modern Fishguard consists of two parts, Lower Fishguard and the "Main Town". Fishguard and Goodwick are twin towns with a joint Town Council.

Lower Fishguard is believed to be the site of the original hamlet from which modern Fishguard has grown. It is in a deep valley where the River Gwaun meets the sea, hence the Welsh name for Fishguard. It is a typical fishing village with a short tidal quay. The settlement stretches along the north slope of the valley.

The main town contains the parish church, the High Street and most of the modern development, and lies upon the hill to the south of Lower Fishguard, to which it is joined by a steep and winding road. The part of the town that faces Goodwick grew in the first decade of the 20th century with the development of Fishguard Harbour.

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  • ✪ The Battle of Fishguard and "Brandy": Citation Needed 8x01
  • ✪ Fishguard
  • ✪ The Last Invasion of Britain, Fishguard 1797
  • ✪ Fishing at Fishguard Harbour in Pembrokeshire
  • ✪ Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast - Fishguard to Cwm yr Eglwys: July 2013


This is the Technical Difficulties, we're playing Citation Needed. Joining me today, he reads books y'know, it's Chris Joel. Hello. Everybody's favourite Gary Brannan, Gary Brannan. Well, I'm cock-a-hoop. And the bounciest man on the internet, Matt Gray. This is a public service announcement. These public services are closed. Please use the nearest toilets on the other side of the concourse. In front of me I've got an article from Wikipedia and these folks can't see it. Every fact they get right is a point and a ding. And there's a special prize for particularly good answers which is... And today we are talking about the Battle of Fishguard. Is a Fishguard a shield? Yes, they hold it in their little... hands. Good luck with this one, Gary. -Oh, s***. -We have started well. I meant the battlers, what are they called, warriors? Let's call them warriors. Were they warriors holding up fish as shields, the Fishguard? What, like a flatfish and then a swordfish in the other hand? Oh! Squelching your way forward and making a… Now, that's a proper combination. Yeah, or a pike. Oh! F*** you. No, is the answer to all of that, I'll just shut that down immediately. I'm going to say Wales. Yes, and have a point. It's a place? Yes, yeah, I learnt it in a Beano annual. I learned it from the shipping forecast. Well, there we go, we all have different routes to education(!) This isn't one, by the way. Yeah, well you'll say at the end, "that taught me a lesson." -Hey! -Ah. -Beano annual? -Well, up yours then. The Fishguard is as place in Wales and this is where the battle took place. No, f***, really? They named the battle after where it happened, unlike all the other battle naming conventions, which were a good 50 miles away. Just to confuse the future tourists. Yeah, it's like in World War 2 when they switched the road signs round. That's a fair point, Battle and actual site of the Battle of Hastings is debatable for instance. So yeah, it has been done. Battle of Waterloo, you can see the remains in Waterloo Station to this day. That's true, you wouldn't have thought they'd have it so close to London, would you? I know. It's just a Friday night before Christmas and everyone's trying to get north, it's just… That's when Abba fell out. When you're ready. Oh, they've turned. -They've turned, they've turned. -It's a poor audience. This was a battle in Fishguard, who might have been attacking and when? -Fishermen. -Actually is it a Cod War? -I was going to go for trawlermen, yeah. -Yeah. Oh no, no, it's a little early for trawlers. So it wasn’t an uprising, oh, was it Vikings? It's a little late for Vikings. So it's somewhere between Vikings and the advent of modern fishing. Where we sit the best. Well, using my extensive historical knowledge… I'm bracing myself, carry on. It's not Victorian. -What! -That was the only other time period I know. I'm going to go 13th century. No, it's… it's much later, this was during the War of the First Coalition. Well, is that... political joke incoming, Is that somewhere around about 2010? This was 1792 to 1797, who might Britain have been battling then? -Virtually everybody. -Yes. Tom, does the wheel spin and land, as it does 50% of the time, on France? Playing the hits, ladies and gentlemen! "We are coming for you." This was an attempt to land a force of French troops in Britain to support another invasion. So they went via Wales? -Yes. -The soft underbelly of England. So where might have been the primary attack force headed? -Ireland? -Yes. Oh, hang on. Because Wales, boat wise, is on the way to Ireland, isn't it? Sure! Well, because if you're boating from the France bit, you get to the Wales bit before you get to the Ireland bit, don't you? If you're coming the right, top right bit of France? Yes. -He's… he's not wrong. -It often depends on which direction you're heading, I suppose, doesn't it, yeah. -The top left. -No, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So what was this invasion force intended to do? Invade. That is technically a correct answer. This was a third attempt at invasion, why did some of the earlier ones fail? Far too windy. Yeah, you're absolutely right. That's what you get for having beans on the journey. "Oh, mais oui, le bilious..." "Le windy-pop, c'est grande." So the Wales-bound invasion force, 1400 troops from the Black Legion. Oh, "la Légion noire"! Under the command of an Irish American, Colonel William Tate. Was it the Black Legion from our side? No, this is... well, I'm translating, La Légion noire. -Sorry, Tate rings a bell. -It does actually. Did they… did they invade with art? Tate. No, it actually wasn't recent enough for modern art. Who clapped? Just once as well, which... Thank you. Well, we're going to arrange it so each person takes a single clap at each joke, and on average... Is one clap a greater degree of shade...? 1400 troops invading Wales, essentially. And did anyone ask the Welsh, were they alright with this? It sounds dreadfully rude. Well, you say that, there was a bit of response when 1400 troops arrived. What were these troops made up of? Horses? Cavalry. No, infantry. Horses riding men. That was a real diversionary tactic. 600 were regular soldiers that Napoleon had not required to conquer Italy. So the B team? Yes, 800 were irregulars, now what does that mean? Slight factory seconds. Maybe some chips in the glaze but still useful. Irregulars are paid mercenaries, aren't they? Not quite. Conscripts. Again, not... not quite, it's more general. So they're a special force but not in an SAS kind of way? Yeah, just in, there's something different about these folk. They're special. They're special as in you wouldn't trust them with anything important? -Yes. -Right. -So we have… -This is good. We have the B team and we have the irregulars. And actually I am going to give you a point because it includes: republicans, deserters, convicts and royalist prisoners. Nice. Now, at least that last category is probably not going to be that up for this, would I imagine? Are they going to choose this as a running away opportunity? Yeah, you know what, that's a point. Discipline broke down amongst the irregulars on landing. What a delightful euphemism. Discipline broke down amongst these prisoners that we tried to order into doing something. "And no naughty running away while you're at it, I want you all here by teatime, you understand? "You're on your honour." And yes, they did indeed desert; where and why might they have deserted? Because they're being forced to do things against their will in a foreign nation. Oh, but very specifically they went to try and do something. Cocktail bars. Did they just want some fish and chips and they found a place on the map called Fishplace or whatever it was called? I mean it wasn't so much they were paying for the fish and chips. Did they steal fish and chips? -They just went looting? -That is exactly the right word, yes, they… They're robbers, they'll just go looting! Yes. "You mean these people who we've arrested for stealing, "we've let them go of their own free will, are stealing again?" Let's not forget, we've given them rifles! The set up for the battle, if you like. I don't know what, there is probably a formal term for the armies amassing themselves and getting ready to fight. It is, it's the armies amassing themselves and getting ready to fight. The armies amassed themselves and got ready to fight. But that took a little while, so on the French side they'd sort of taken over a few farmhouses. What's happening in the British command? Tea. A social event is happening. Oh, that's nice. A messenger on horseback arrives to instruct the commanding officer. And the commanding officer was William Knox, what was his immediate reaction? "More brandy!" Yes! "We'll fight them in the morning... "... lunchtime." The thing is you're about right. "Wednesday." -The import… -"I'm not done." "Don't you interrupt an officer of the crown. "Now you may speak." -The import… -"But not about that." The import of this news was slow to dawn on Knox. "I don't know what you mean." His initial reaction was "Really?" The next title here is Battle Averted. Ah. So what happened? A pint of rum for anybody who switches sides. Oh, you know what? Two pints of rum for anybody who switches sides! Mercy for anybody who switches s... "Brandy for anybody who switches sides!" F***ing something for f***ing switching sides and some people did. It's... it's not quite switching sides, is wh... discipline among the recruits had collapsed once they discovered the local supply of wine. So they themselves were drunk. Why might there have been wine in Wales? -Stolen. -Medicinal? Stolen is close. Stollen. The bready thing. "This wine is German Christmas bread! "I'll have none of it." It was actually Portuguese wine. -Washed up? -Yes. A Portuguese ship had been wrecked, some wine had come ashore. -Because they're on the lefty bit. -Yes, where the boats go. Where the boats all go. So Portuguese's version of man o' war probably sank. And some bottles had washed up that were full of probably port. Well, that's gout-worthy, isn't it? -You'd know. -Y.. dammit! The most painful thing that ever happened, don't do it. And I only wish I'd got it through better means. While the British are marching in, what's happening with the locals? Are they rapidly sobering the French up to get them to actually have this fight they fancied? Chasing them out in… with like comedy implements, like people chasing them out with rolling pins and s***? You know what? Mystery Biscuits. The French are approaching, the British under the command of Lord Cawdor, whose HQ is where? Mordor. It doesn't have to rhyme. "Lord Cawdor of Mordor!" "Lord Wellington of Hellington." I mean, no, the local pub, the Royal Oak. -Really? -He set up in the pub, that was his HQ, so he's taken his men from there. It's a very drunken invasion on both sides, this. But pubs could be used for official uses, because they were like a community. You often had inquests and things that took place in the local pub. Obviously not on the top of the bar, that would be rude, but in an upstairs room. So suddenly someone kicking the door in and going, "mine now," they were probably quite used to it, it could be used as courtrooms and things as well. You'd just go over to the Winchester and wait for it all to blow over. Pretty much. The French realised that the British had more people than them. So as the light fails, they go back to their camps for the night. The next morning, what happens at the pub? Well, the British get up and realise that there's nothing left in the pub and therefore have to seek out things like bacon sandwiches, possibly a McDonald's, something like that, just to get them over the night before. -Who comes along to the pub? -Do the French come along to the pub? Yes, two French officers turned up, why would they do that? They too were in search of bacon sandwiches, possibly a McDonald's. Why do you send only two officers to the opponent's HQ? Because one of them is a horse, and has been riding on the back of the man. He knocks on the door with his hooves. I'm looking for a specific word here. Oh my… well, if we start at A. They're negotiating the terms of… Surrender! -Surrender, absolutely, right, thank you, sarcastic clap... Yes, I deserve that(!) Insert French surrender joke here, cutting room floor, there we go, there we go. Yeah, they wish to negotiate a conditional surrender and Lord Cawdor said? -No. -Yes. I mean yes, you're right, that's why did he say that? Because he hadn't had a fight yet and he'd come all this way and brought all those things. And he was hungover and God damn it, somebody was going to suffer. And he's been knocked up early in the morning by these bloody French already. We're going to deal with them well after one, he hasn’t got the papers with him or anything. Does he not have the authority to accept it? No, he absolutely has the authority to accept it. He just didn't want to? Yes, why might he have done that, why might he have turned away a conditional surrender, and insisted that no, it's got to be unconditional? Saw an easy career promotion with a crushing victory. Oh, crushing victory is interesting. -I was going to say... -Crushing loss, I don't know. A sly glance. An impropriety at a society party. I don't f***ing know. No, he... he was saying we can get a crushing victory, essentially, to them. Was he getting a bonus if he won? No, he was bluffing, he was flat out bluffing that he had more people and more on the way, and, 'If you don't surrender you will all die, there are no conditions on this.' "You can't come into the pub because it's full of men, full of them you hear, full of them. "Well, no you can't, you simply can't come through the door. "I can't accept your surrender, there's far too many of us, bye. "Well, lads." And so there is some speculation here, that he got a little bit of help from some people looking on from the cliffs. So what did the French see on the cliffs? People? Turn of the 18th century, does anyone know what a traditional Welsh costume looks like for women? Yes, the pointy hat and the little apron and they tie it under your thing, and then, yeah, yeah, like that, you look like a little Welshwoman, on all the spoons that they sell at the seaside resorts. They sell spoons, alright, they have Welsh ladies on them. I'll give you the point, it's a top hat and a red dress. Yeah. Now, if you're looking at someone far away on the top of a cliff… Oh s***, he didn't think he'd seen more soldiers, did he? Yes. Because they had a shako and the red coat, so he's confused a bunch of watching Welshwomen for a force of infantry, is what you're saying? That is the speculation, that he looked up at the top of the cliffs, and thought, 'There's a lot of people up there, 'and they look like soldiers.' One, invent glasses, two, whatever happens in your life, whatever it is, you're never going to be the man who confused a load of Welshwomen in traditional dress for backup. So what do the French do? Run away. Unconditional surrender, yes, I'll give you the point. The French surrender, the British accept it, Tate is imprisoned briefly, and then returns to France along with most of the force. There is something about this invasion though, there is something; 1797, this was. And there's something special about it, something that is marked out every time, on every little… on every little memorial plaque about this, there is something about the invasion of mainland Britain in 1797. That will be the last invasion of mainland Britain. Mystery Biscuits. Unlike - going back to the start of this, so it's not thrown together - 1066, which is what everyone else thinks it is. Yes, you are absolutely right. The Battle of Fishguard was the most recent landing on mainland Britain by a hostile foreign force. As we record this... -And on that note... -Wow. congratulations, Gary, you win the show. You have won a device to help cool the lower jaws of South American rodents. It's a chinchilla chin chiller. So with that we say thank you to Chris Joel. Thank you. To Gary Brannan, to Matt Gray. I've been Tom Scott, and we'll see you next time.



Fishguard Town Hall
Fishguard Town Hall
Upper & Lower Fishguard, c. 1830
Upper & Lower Fishguard, c. 1830

Fishguard is within the historic Welsh cantref of Cemais, and part of the Welsh province of Dyfed, within the historic Principality of Deheubarth.[2] The coasts of Wales were subject to Norse raids during the Viking Era, and in the latter part of the 10th century Norse trading posts and settlements emerged within Dyfed, with Fishguard established sometime between 950 and 1000 AD.[2]

The town name Fishguard derives from Old Norse Fiskigarðr meaning "fish catching enclosure",[3] indicating that there may have been a Scandinavian trading post, although no evidence has been found.[4] Called Fiscard until the turn of the 19th century when the name was Anglicised, Fishguard was a marcher borough and in 1603 was described as one of five Pembrokeshire boroughs overseen by a portreeve.[5] The Norman settlement lay along what is now High Street between the church at its north end and the remains of a Norman motte at its south end.

Lower Fishguard developed as a herring fishery and port, trading with Ireland, Bristol and Liverpool. In the late 18th century it had 50 coasting vessels, and exported oats and salt herring.[6] In 1779, the port was raided by the privateer Black Prince,[7] which bombarded the town when the payment of a £1,000 ransom was refused. As a result, Fishguard Fort was completed in 1781, overlooking Lower Fishguard.[8] The port declined in the latter half of the 19th century.

Fishguard's ancient Royal Oak public house was the site of the signing of surrender after the Battle of Fishguard. This brief campaign, on 22–24 February 1797, is the most recent landing on British soil by a hostile foreign force, and thus is often referred to as the "last invasion of mainland Britain". A force of 1,400 French soldiers landed near Fishguard but surrendered two days later.[9] The story is told in the Fishguard Tapestry created for the 200th anniversary to emulate the Bayeux Tapestry, and is displayed in the Town Hall Library.

A 19th-century vicar of Fishguard, the Rev. Samuel Fenton MA, wrote the book The History of Pembrokeshire.[10]

The ancient Parliamentary Borough of Fishguard was contributory to the Borough of Haverfordwest. In 1907, it was created an urban district, which included Goodwick from 1934 until it was abolished in 1974. During the Second World War, the Fishguard Bay Hotel was Station IXc of Special Operations Executive where submersibles were tested in Fishguard Bay.

Fishguard & Goodwick Golf Club was founded in 1921 and closed in the 1960s.[11]


The town is situated at the back of a north facing bay known as Fishguard Bay (Welsh: Bae Abergwaun) which offers protection from waves generated by prevailing westerly winds. It has a relatively mild climate due to its coastal position. The winds coming from the west or south-west have a determining influence on temperature and precipitation. There is an islet in Fishguard Bay, Needle Rock which reaches 131 feet (40 metres).

Wildlife around Fishguard is rich with a wide variety of colourful wild flowers and sea mammals including the grey seal, porpoises and dolphins. The local birdlife include Eurasian curlew, common redshank and sanderling regularly foraging in the lower Fishguard Harbour and European stonechat, great cormorant and northern fulmar can be seen from the coastal path.


According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, Fishguard had 3,193 inhabitants and 1,465 households. In 2001, 39.8% of the population could speak Welsh. This compares with 58.9% in 1951 and 90.3% in 1901. The population of 3,193 breaks down as follows:

Age Distribution Fishguard Pembrokeshire
0–4 years 5.8% 5.8%
5–15 years 13.0% 14.6%
16–19 years 3.7% 4.8%
20–44 years 24.4% 28.4%
45–64 years 25.2% 27.2%
65+ years 27.9% 19.2%


Outside Fishguard there is a stone monument commemorating the signing of the Peace Treaty after the last invasion of Britain in 1797. Women dressed in Welsh costume are said to have startled the invaders. The 19th-century parish church of St Mary's contains a memorial stone to the heroine Jemima Nicholas, who helped repel the French invasion. There is also a Bi-Centenary memorial stone monument in West Street, Fishguard to commemorate the invasion. A tapestry was created in 1997 to commemorate the invasion and is on display to the public in the Town Hall Library.[12]

There are more than 80 listed buildings in and around the town.[13]

Community and culture

Fishguard has hotels and is the main shopping town of North Pembrokeshire with a market in the town hall on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Fishguard has a Round Table doing community work including running the Fishguard & Goodwick Carnival and the Fishguard Autumn Festival.

The Gwaun Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, is a charitable organisation within the community who host sponsored events and other community works throughout the year.

Fishguard has a 180-seat cinema/theatre called Theatr Gwaun which provides a venue for film, music and live theatre and hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1936 and 1986.


Fishguard is the terminus of the The London to Fishguard Trunk Road (A40). A regular ferry operated by Stena Line leaves for Rosslare in Ireland from the port of Fishguard Harbour, Goodwick.

Rail services are operated by Transport for Wales Rail from Fishguard Harbour railway station and Fishguard and Goodwick railway station stations on the West Wales line to Swansea and Cardiff. Through trains to London were withdrawn in 2004.

In the media

An aerial view of Fishguard
An aerial view of Fishguard
Main Street, Fishguard in 2006
Main Street, Fishguard in 2006

Lower Fishguard was used as "Llareggub" in the film of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O'Toole. Many local people were involved in the production of this film as background characters. The film Moby Dick (starring Gregory Peck) was filmed there in 1955.


Fishguard and Goodwick Chamber of Trade and Tourism is a business support group.

Notable people

See Category:People from Fishguard


Fishguard is twinned with France Loctudy, Brittany, France

See also


  1. ^ Fishguard and Goodwick parish, 2011 census
  2. ^ a b Davies, John, A History of Wales, Penguin, 1994, foundations of pgs 17,19, 43, Migration of the Desi into Demetia, page 52 Demetia 17, 30, 34, ruling house of 52, 72, 85, 87 and the Vikings pages 85, relations with Alfred of Wessex, page 85, and the Vikings/Northmen page 98, and the Normans 106, 112, 114
  3. ^ Charles, B. G., The Placenames of Pembrokeshire, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1992, ISBN 0-907158-58-7, p 50
  4. ^ Charles, ibid, p xxxvi
  5. ^ Owen, George, The Description of Penbrokshire by George Owen of Henllys Lord of Kemes, Henry Owen (Ed), London, 1892
  6. ^ Barrett, J. H., The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, HMSO, 1974, ISBN 0-11-700336-0, p 44
  7. ^ [1] American Privateer ship Black Prince (1778)
  8. ^ Sites and Stones: Fishguard Fort, Pembrokeshire
  9. ^ Latimer, Jon (12 July 2003). "The Battle of Fishguard: The Last Invasion of Great Britain". Archived from the original on 27 April 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  10. ^ "FISHGUARD - from Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Wales(1833)". Genuki. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  11. ^ “Fishguard & Goodwick Golf Club”, “Golf’s Missing Links”.
  12. ^ "Visit Pembrokeshire - Fishguard & Goodwick". Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  13. ^ "British Listed Buildings: Fishguard". Retrieved 25 July 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 July 2019, at 15:24
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