The origins of the name of the village have long caused controversy; it was first documented in 1244 as Landegunnie, and at one time this was thought to be of Flemish origin. A plaque commemorating the opening of the village school in 1870 spells it Langum, but the late local historian Grenville Thomas believed that this was a corruption of the Welsh Llangwm, meaning 'church in the valley.'
The village is part of the ancient cantref of Rhos, one of the main areas settled by the Flemings in the early twelfth century. Remnants of a local dialect still survive in such words as cleggar, (meaning a boulder), cunnigar, a rabbit-warren, and toop, silly. "Thee" and "thou" were commonly used as a form of address well into the twentieth century.
Little is known about the pre-Norman period. But evidence of the strip farming introduced by the Normans survived until the eighteenth century, and there was a Manor House at Great Nash, once the home of the de la Roche family. None of this remains, but a medieval dovecote survives amongst the outbuildings of the present farm.
Llangwm Church, dedicated in the 1800's to St Jerome, probably originates from the twelfth century, and contains some interesting features. More on history of St Jerome's can be found on the Places of Worship page.
Occupations in the village would have changed little over the years, agriculture and fishing a way of life for generations. Llangwm was once famous for its oysters, which were exported to Bristol and many other places; piles of oyster-shells survive in nearly every garden! Large numbers of herrings were caught and sold each spring, and salmon were caught by the old method known as compass netting, for which licences are still issued. Both men and women were involved in the fishing industry, but traditionally it was the women who walked miles in their colourful dresses and shawls to sell the fruits of the river from their heavy panniers.
Many believe that Llangwm women dominated their menfolk, and in many cases the women chose their own husbands.
Some Llangwm men had also found work at the Hook colliery, but with the decline of fishing during the twentieth century, followed by the closure of the mine, many of them went to the dockyards at Pembroke and Milford, and subsequently in the latter half of the 20th Century to the oil industry. Until the arival of the motor car, the normal mode of transport in and out of Llangwm would have been by boat. Right up until the construction of the Cleddau Bridge, workers in Pembroke Dock would take the ferry from Burton to Pembroke.
Leisure pursuits were limited, but both the Methodist Chapel, built in the late nineteenth century, and Galilee Chapel, founded in 1850 and rebuilt in 1904, had choirs, concerts, anniversary celebrations and social events as well as regular, well-attended services.
There was a strong Temperance movement in the village, which at one time had several pubs, but eventually the Cottage Inn became the only hostelry.
There has been a strong tradition of rugby in Llangwm dating back to 1885. The village team was the smallest community to be admitted to the Welsh Rugby Union in the 1950's. Today the village has a thriving Rugby, Cricket and Social Club and in recent years, villagers have taken to the water in longboats instead of herring boats.
The village started its annual Scarecrow fortnight and festival in 1999. Today it has grown to include concerts, comedy nights, cream teas, a carnival and other events involving the whole community.
Here are a selection of pictures that depict people, places, pastimes and professions of days gone by...
Son's and Daughters
John Tucker Davis:
CAPTAIN JOHN TUCKER DAVIS, a "master mariner," was born 3 March 1806 in Llangwm, Pembrokeshire, Wales. He was the son of Henry Davies (1772-1849), a mariner and fisherman, and Elizabeth Tucker (1767-1841). Click here for his full story