Quay Street Tower House, Haverfordwest

Has been described as a Questionable Pele Tower, and also as a Questionable Bastle, and also as a Uncertain

There are major building remains

NameQuay Street Tower House, Haverfordwest
Alternative Names
Historic CountryPembrokeshire
Modern AuthorityPembrokeshire
1974 AuthorityDyfed

A small medieval house from Haverfordwest. Its original location near the old quay suggests that it may have been the home of a merchant. Its construction, with a vaulted undercroft, harks back to the castle-building techniques found in domestic structures in many parts of Pembrokeshire, ranging in scale from the Bishop's palaces at St Davids and Lamphey, to more diminutive examples at West Tarr (St Florence) and Carswell (Penally). (National Museum of Wales)

A medieval vaulted tower house, with walls of random rubble and seventeenth century roof trusses. It was relocated to St Fagan's in 1983. (RCAHMW, 29 January 2008)

Gatehouse Comments

Tower House, similar to Carswell, dismantled and removed to Museum of Welsh Life in 1983. The recent (2011) rebuilding of the house was televised by the BBC. The remarkable resemblance to C16/C17 bastles of the northern borders appears to be coincidental rather an transfer of an architectural tradition, or rather an example of convergent architectural style arising from defensive needs and a basic stone and mortar building material. The building is suggested as a secure warehouse, with a watch keepers chamber above, rather than a merchants house. Generally medieval warehouses were built as undercrofts to merchants houses (The notable examples are at Winchelsea, East Sussex). However, the narrow space of the quay at Haverfordwest seems to have limited large quay side buildings so the merchants house was built higher up in the town with a vaulted stronghouse with watchman's chamber above. This appears to be a solitary surviving example although it maybe that other example of such relatively low status buildings has not be recognised. Additionaly quaysides tend to be areas of active continual redevelopment so most buildings of this type will have long been demolished or altered out of recognition. The given location is the original location of the house not the current location of the house within the St Fagans site of the National Museum of Wales.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSM955156
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  • Davis, Paul, 2000, A Company of Forts. A Guide to the Medieval Castles of West Wales (Gomer Press) p. 124


  • Dan Cruickshank and Charlie Luxton (presenters), 20 April 2012, (first broadcast), Brick by Brick: Rebuilding Our Past Episode 3 (Darlow Smithson Productions for BBC Television) Online details