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Welsh: Abergwaun

Lower Fishguard
Fishguard is located in Pembrokeshire
 Fishguard shown within Pembrokeshire
Population 5,043 [1]
OS grid reference
Community Fishguard and Goodwick
Principal area Pembrokeshire
Ceremonial county Dyfed
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SA65
Dialling code 01348
Police Dyfed-Powys
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Preseli Pembrokeshire
Welsh Assembly Preseli Pembrokeshire
List of places

Fishguard (Welsh: Abergwaun, meaning "Mouth of the River Gwaun") is a coastal town in Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales, with a population of 3,419 recorded in the 2011 Census. The community of Fishguard and Goodwick had a population of 5,043 recorded in the 2001 Census and 4,869 in the 2011 Census.

The actual town of Fishguard is divided into two parts, the main town of Fishguard and Lower Fishguard. Lower Fishguard (locally known as 'Lower Town') is believed to be the site of the original hamlet from which modern Fishguard has grown. It is situated 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 hill. The western part of the town, facing Goodwick, grew up in the first decade of the 20th century with the development of Fishguard Harbour.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demography 3
  • Landmarks 4
  • Transport 5
  • In the media 6
  • Business 7
  • Notable people 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


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, 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.[7] 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 in 1797, the last successful invasion of Britain, when a force of 1,400 French soldiers landed near Fishguard but surrendered two days later.[8] 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.[9]

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 (now defunct) was founded in 1921. The club closed in the 1960s.[10]

Since 1995, the town of Loctudy (Breton: Loktudi) in Brittany, France has been twinned with Fishguard.


Fishguard in Pembrokeshire

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 40 metres (131 feet).

Wildlife around Fishguard is rich in flora and fauna 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. 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.[11]

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

Fishguard hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1936 and 1986.

Fishguard has a thriving Round Table with 20 members doing community work including running the Fishguard & Goodwick Carnival and the Fishguard Autumn Festival which have been voted the most popular community events.

The Gwaun Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, is a thriving charitable organisation within the community who host a number of sponsored events and other community works throughout the year thanks to the influx of younger brethren to the Order.

Fishguard has a 180-seat cinema/theatre called Theatr Gwaun which provides a venue for film, music and live theatre.


Fishguard Harbour railway station

A regular ferry operated by Stena Line leaves for Rosslare in Ireland from the port of Fishguard Harbour (not actually in Fishguard, but a mile away at Goodwick). Fishguard is the terminus of the A40 London to Fishguard trunk road. It is on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Fishguard is served by Arriva Trains Wales from Fishguard Harbour and Fishguard and Goodwick stations. The stations serving Fishguard are on the West Wales Line, that continuing from Swansea as the South Wales Main Line and Great Western Main Line to London Paddington.

In the media

Fishguard has acquired a reputation, especially within Wales, as a result of "Hugh Pugh", a comic character in the Welsh TV series Barry Welsh is Coming, who reports from Fishguard and constantly points out the rivalry between Fishguard and Haverfordwest.

Fishguard's Royal Oak pub appeared in the film I'll Sleep When I'm Dead starring Clive Owen.

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.

In sci-fi comic 2000 AD, Fishguard was the landing point for the Allied liberation of the United Kingdom in Savage Book 5.

The short-lived Welsh S4C soap-drama Halen Yn Y Gwaed was set in Fishguard, and on board the Stena Felicity which was based at Fishguard Harbour at the time in the early 1990s.


Fishguard and Goodwick Chamber of Trade and Tourism is a business support group with over 170 members and a useful website and App for visitors and residents alike.

Notable people

See Category:People from Fishguard

See also


  1. ^ Fishguard Ward, 2001 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. ^ Sites and Stones: Fishguard Fort, Pembrokeshire
  8. ^ Latimer, Jon (12 July 2003). "The Battle of Fishguard: The Last Invasion of Great Britain". Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  9. ^ "GENUKI - Fishguard". Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  10. ^ “Fishguard & Goodwick Golf Club”, “Golf’s Missing Links”.
  11. ^ "Visit Pembrokeshire - Fishguard & Goodwick". Retrieved 19 October 2014. 

External links

  • An historic account of Fishguard
  • Photographs and description from Strolling Guides
  • Panoramic photograph looking down into Lower Fishguard
  • Fishguard Music Festival
  • Fishguard history on GENUKI
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