by  • August 13, 2013 • Cilgerran, Modern, Pembrokeshire, Period, Post-Medieval, Site Type • 9 Comments


    In 1633 probate was made of Elizabeth Roberts of ‘The Gaol’, Cilgerran. The remains of the stocks nearby were removed c.1836. There may have been a crude lock-up here from about 1840. In 1844 William Henry Lewis was paid £30. 5s. towards building a new lock-up. On 19th November 1844 contractors were being sought for building and alterations to Cilgerran Lock-up. The Police Station was erected in 1845, adjacent to Babell C. M. Chapel, at a cost of £200 to the county. Major John Phillips of Penalltrheiny gave the land as a gift. On 17th October 1845 the following appeared in the ‘Pembrokeshire Herald‘:

    “…LOCK-UP HOUSES. To cash paid William Jenkins & David Jones, the contractors for building the lock-up house at Kilgerran, the balance of their contract, as per order No. 50 £ 103 10s. 0d….”

    In 1845-53 Constable William Allen was stationed here. On 23rd October 1846 the following account appeared in the ‘Pembrokeshire Herald‘:

    “…LOCK-UP HOUSE. To cash paid Messrs. Lloyd and Co. Cardigan, their bill for an iron bedstead for the lock-up house at Kilgerran, as per order-No. 75: £1 19s. 6d. Do. Thomas Griffiths, his bill for two rugs for the lock-up house at Kilgerran, as per order No 76. £0. 4s. 6d…”

    On 16th February 1848 Maria Anne Allen, daughter of superintending Constable William Jenkins Allen and his wife, Maria Allen, was baptised at Cilgerran Church. On 17th November 1850 George David Allen was baptised at Cilgerran Church – the son of the same couple. In 1851 the following persons lived here: William Allen, 40, Superintendent Constable; Maria Allen, 40, his wife; Edward Allen, 15, their son; William Allen, 13, son; Maria Ann Allen, 3, daughter; and George David Allen, 5 months, son. In 1852 William Allen was the Constable, earning £4. 4s per month. £5. 18s. 6d. was spent that year on repairs to the lock-up. On 8th October 1852 the following item appeared in the ‘Pembrokeshire Herald‘:

    “…ACTION AGAINST THE SUPERINTENDENT CONSTABLE OF KILGERRAN FOR FALSE IMPRISONMENT. by Griffith Griffiths, his Friend v. William Allen. This was an action for false imprisonment, tried at the last court, and adjourned by the judge to consider some points of law raised by the defendant’s counsel. Much public interest had been manifested in connection with the case, the court being quite crammed during the trial. His Honour now delivered his judgement, and stated that the plaintiff was the farm servant of Mr. Griffith Griffiths of Penyrallt Fach and the defendant a superintendent constable, stationed at Kilgerran. At the trial it had been contended that the defendant was entitled to Notice 0f Action, which point His Honour said he had fully considered. His opinion was that, as the defendant had been appointed under the general Constable’s Act, 5 and 6 Victoria, he failed to discover that he was entitled to Notice- nor that the case came within the Malicious Injuries Acts as it had been contended on behalf of the defendant, since the defendant himself had stated before the magistrate that the plaintiff had been taken into custody for disorderly conduct. Neither did the defendant act in obedience to any warrant from a justice nor, as far as he could see from the facts proved, had the defendant any reasonable grounds to believe he was acting in the execution of his duty. On the whole, therefore, his Honour thought the defendant was not entitled to any privilege, but that the case must be decided on its merits. His Honour then recapitulated the evidence, and stated that it had been proved on the part of the plaintiff, who was a boy, sixteen years of age, that he had a message for his master, in the town of Kilgerran, on the evening of the 25th of August last; and while on the street, near the Post Office, with three other little boys, one of whom had a small musical instrument called Accordion, the defendant came up to him, stared at him, and asked him if he would he drummer, then collared and shook him, and said he must be. Then they both struggled and fell. Then a boy named Bowen advising the plaintiff to go with the defendant, he did so, and was taken to the Lock-up House, placed in the cold cell, and left there for the night, and taken to Cardigan before a magistrate about noon the following day, and then set at liberty without preferring any charge against him. His Honour then said that he could find no clue, from the evidence produced on behalf of the defendant, to any just cause for the plaintiff’s arrest. The defendant had stated that he had, some time before, been desired by Thomas Thomas, shoemaker, who kept the Post Office, to take care of his house, as his windows had been broken, and his door rattled, on some previous occasions, by boys who lurked about. That he went there on the evening in question, and found those boys making noise; and that he desired plaintiff three times to go home, who refused, saying that he had business in town. It was also proved that the plaintiff, while among the boys. had jumped up, bellowing “1 know the tricks,” which was the only incident tending to show any misconduct on his part. While the evidence for the plaintiff proved that the defendant was not sober at the time, it was on his part endeavoured to be proved that he was not drunk, or rather, as Thomas Thomas, the shoemaker, said “Not too drunk to do his duty.” His Honour then observed that peace officers, while acting with good faith in defence of persons and property, were entitled to protection but as they had great powers entrusted to them, it required a proportionate caution on their part as to how they wielded them. He considered that the defendant’s conduct towards the plaintiff, who appeared to be behaving at the time quite harmless and peaceable, having only exhibited a little buoyant spirit, which he would much regret the absence of in the youth of his country, could not at all be justified; neither were there any palliating circumstances to entitle him to the sympathy nor consideration of the Court. He therefore gave judgement for the plaintiff for £2 damages, the amount claimed, and costs. The defendant being asked the amount of his salary & retorted it was £ 1 per month, and his family consisting of a wife and six children. His Honour told him it was in consideration of his family, and not of himself, that he would grant him time to pay, and then ordered the damages and costs to be paid in two monthly instalments. Attorney and advocate for the plaintiff, Mr. Smith for the defendant, Mr. R. D. Jenkins, attorney; counsel, Mr. Lascelles…”

    In 1853 Constable Robert Harrison became the village policeman and was stationed here in 1853-56. On 19th January 1855 the following appeared in the ‘Pembrokeshire Herald‘:

    “…SINGULAR DISCOVERY.—On Saturday week, as a mason, named David Jenkins, was employed in some buildings at the Station House, Kilgerran, which is near the ruins of Kilgerran Castle, on removing some ground for a foundation, he discovered a large quantity of human bones, of an unusually large size. They had evidently lain there for a great number of years, and it is difficult to imagine by what means they got there. The bones were re-interred…”

    On 8th July 1855 Anne Harrison, daughter of superintending Constable Robert Harrison and his wife, Elizabeth Harrison, was baptised at Cilgerran Church. On 14th March 1858 William Henry Wade, son of Sergeant of Police John Wade and his wife, Martha Wade, was baptised at Cilgerran Church. In 1861 the following persons lived here: Michael Carrell, 28, acting Sergeant of police; and Martha Carrell, 20, his wife.

    In 1864-71 Sergeant John Thomas was stationed at Cilgerran. On 25th May 1865 the children of Police Sergeant John Thomas and his wife, Anne Thomas, were baptised at Cilgerran Church, namely: Owen Thomas; John David Thomas; James Albert Thomas; Elizabeth Anne Thomas; and Benjamin Byron Thomas. In 1871 the following persons lived here: John Thomas, 47, Police Sergeant; Anne Thomas, 48, his wife; Owen Thomas, 16, their son, cabinet-maker; John David Thomas, 13, son; James A. Thomas, 11, son; Eliza A. Thomas, 9, daughter; and Benjamin B. Thomas, 6, son. In 1874 the lock-up was said to be in need of repairs. In 1875-79 James James was the Sergeant here. On 25th October 1879 Police Sergeant James James married Sarah Hillary of The Cottage. In 1881 £12. 10s. were allocated for repairs. On 21st October 1887 the following appeared in the ‘Pembrokeshire Herald‘:

    “…Kilgerran Lock-up.—There are sundry repairs urgently required at this building, such as renewing three of the narrow frames, which are completely rotten, scarfing door frames, purlins to roof, repairing roof, leads, &c, renewing part of flooring and repairing flue…”

    On 6th July 1888 the following appeared in the ‘Pembrokeshire Herald‘:

    “…Kilgerran Lock-up.—The whole of the roof of this building is in a bad condition and requires entire renewing. New lead gutters, and new flashings to chimney stacks. A portion of the front wall also requires rebuilding…”

    In May 1889 tenders were sought for re-roofing and other works at the Lock Up. In October 1890 Police Sergeant Phillips of Cilgerran left for Fishguard and Police Constable Rosser of St. Dogmaels was promoted to Sergeant and transferred here. In 1891 the following persons lived here: John Rosser, 33, police sergeant; Margaret Rosser, 28, his wife; John Rosser, 3, son; and Lizzie Rosser, 9 months, daughter. On 17th December 1891 a son was born here to the wife of Police Sergeant Rosser. In November 1894 P. C. Johns of St. Dogmaels was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and transferred to Cilgerran, and Police Sergeant Rosser was transferred to Fishguard.

    Cilgerran Police Station circa 1900 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Cilgerran Police Station circa 1900 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    In February 1898 Sergeant James Carr became Cilgerran’s new policeman. In 1901 the following persons lived here: James Carr, 53, Police Sergeant (b. Middlesex); Mary Ann Carr, 51, his wife (b. Tenby); and May Carr, 20, their daughter (b. Tenby). The household spoke only English. In 1908-20 Sergeant William Morris was based here. In October 1908 Miss Claudia Mary Morris, daughter of Police Sergeant & Mrs. Morris, died aged 20. His replacement was Police Sergeant Phillips. From 1922 until his retirement in November 1932, William Morris was the Sergeant here. On 1st August 1927 Edgar Stanley (“Jackie”) Morris, son of Sergeant William Morris, died aged 20. Sgt. Morris’ other surviving children were: Bronwen Morris; Reggie Morris; Idris Morris; and Leonard Morris. On 4th August 1928 Lionel George Morris of this address was buried at Cilgerran Church, having died aged 15. In July 1929 Police Sergeant William Morris complained about the condition of the Police Station. He had recently lost both sons and his wife was ill, and the doctor believed that the state of the building was the chief cause of his family’s illnesses. On 20th April 1930 Ethel Bronwen Morris, daughter of Sergeant William Morris, married Henry J. W. John of Haverfordwest. Idris Morris was elected a Trustee of Penuel Baptist Chapel, Cilgerran on July 8th 1932. In 1935 Police Constable Owen & Mrs. Owen lived here. In early January 1945 Gordon Owen of this address was home on leave from the forces. In February 1945 Police Constable Owens left and Police Constable D. L. Gronow became the Police Constable stationed here. In 1952, Police Constable D. L. Gronow lived here with his wife. In October 1956 Police Constable D. L. Gronow announced his retirement. On 9th January 1959 Cilgerran Police Station was scheduled for closure – despite local protests.


    Former Cilgerran Police Station, August 2010 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Former Cilgerran Police Station, August 2010 (c) Glen K Johnson

    In 1902 the building appeared as follows:

    1845 Police Station in colourwashed Cilgerran slate rubble with slate gabled roofs and brick end stacks. Two storey, two-window range with widely-separated windows, all 12-pane hornless timber sashes with painted slate sills and painted recessed stone voussoirs forming slightly-cambered heads. Ground floor windows have vertical bars. Door to ground floor centre with projected timber hood on brackets and projected timber sides. Raised slate plinth.

    In April 2000 the building had been altered with wide modern timber-framed windows with replacement sills and without voussoirs. Modern half-glazed panelled door, retaining original doorcase.


    Parish Registers for Cilgerran

    Pembrokeshire Herald 1844

    Census Returns 1851; 1861; 1871; 1891; 1901

    The History of Cilgerran, John Roland Phillips 1867

    Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1875

    Cardigan Observer 1889-91; 1894

    Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1898; 1908; 1912; 1919-20; 1922; 1924-25; 1927

    1929; 1932; 1935; 1945; 1956; 1959

    Hanes Eglwys y Bedyddwyr Penuel, Cilgerran, W Morris & Rev D J Michael B A,


    Cilgerran Bible Society Annual Report 1952

    Babell, Cilgerran – Annual Report 1952.

    © Glen K Johnson 12/08/2013.



    1. Heather Tomos
      December 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      Hello Glen

      Any ideas where I can find a list of Cilgerran Portreeves. I am looking to see if a Moses Griffiths ever held that position

      • glen
        December 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm

        Hi Heather!

        Apart from J. R. Phillips’ book mentioning a few, I’ve only got one or two names, and I can’t for the life of me remember if Moses Griffiths held the position. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did. Perhaps compiling a list between us should be a project for 2014!



    2. Anne Brown
      February 11, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      My aunt Margaret Thomas and her brothers George Thomas and Frederick Thomas lived here from 1946 to 1960. I visited and stayed there most summer holidays with my grandmother Mary Anne Davies
      who was their sister. Four brothers went to war in the first world war and all returned albeit with trench foot.

      • glen
        February 16, 2015 at 8:51 pm

        Thanks so much for sharing this information Anne. Regards, Glen

    3. Marcia Scandlan
      May 25, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      Hello Glen: I really appreciate your fascinating article on the Cilgerran Police Station. My great great grandfather was John Thomas. The birth certificate of my great grandfather Benjamin Byron Thomas states he was born “second January 1865 Police Station Kilgerran Father John Thomas Police Sergeant Mother Anne Thomas Formerly Davies”. It was exciting to see a picture of the building where my great grandfather was born and read the history of the police station.
      Thank you for researching and preserving the history of this area. Regards, Marcia

      • glen
        May 26, 2015 at 8:02 am

        Thanks Marcia, it’s always a thrill to hear from descendants of people who have formed part of the rich history of the area. Kind Regards, Glen

    4. Justine
      July 28, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      Hi Glen, John and Martha Wade were my great great great grandparents. I am always interested to learn more about them so glad to see them referenced on your site. Thanks Justine

      • glen
        August 2, 2015 at 1:52 pm

        Thanks Justine!

    5. Jo Williams
      December 29, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      Hello Glen,

      I’m hoping you may be able to help me with unearthing the history of a property in Cilgerran. I have just purchased a house named Highbury; a house opposite the Cardiff Arms Hotel and infronmt of the old police station (next to the Babell Chapel). I understand from the previous owners that Highbury as it is now known, was previoulsy the viillage court house – do you know if this is correct?

      I would love to know more about it’s history and if you are able to help me, that would be fabulous!

      Many thanks


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