Five Arches Tavern, Tenby

Five Arches Tavern, Tenby

This pub’s frontage has changed many times over the centuries. Part of the building is said to be medieval. Notice the low doorway, now blocked, which faces St George’s Street. The stonework was reputedly moved here from a windmill.

In the 20th century there were shop windows to the right and around the corner, facing Upper Frog Street. The walls and windows were rebuilt in harmony with the rest of the Georgian frontage, but you can still see the boards where shop names were displayed.

The pub is named after the nearby gate in the medieval town walls, which unusually features five archways. In Victorian times it was the George Hotel.

In the 1890s the hotel was run for a while by William Bryant, previously a wine merchant in Barry. He wasn’t successful here either, so he left his wife and children in Wales and sailed to Canada. He was in a group of Welshmen who, in late 1897, worked on building the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Crow’s Nest Pass, connecting British Columbia to the rest of Canada.

The men initially had to sleep in an unheated shack in Macleod, despite the bitter cold. William suffered frost-bitten toes. He became the group’s spokesman and insisted on better accommodation. He met Welshmen who had left the railway project after being forced to live in tents, without washing facilities. Reports of mistreatment spurred the Canadian government to send an investigatory commission from Ottawa. William was one of the commission’s witnesses.

By June 1898 William was the cook at the Klondike Hotel in Macleod. He went on to buy two ranches, which he left in 1914 to serve in France in the First World War as a Sergeant in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Thomas Davies, then the licensee of the George Hotel, appealed against conscription into the armed forces in October 1916. He said his wife couldn’t run the business if he had to leave. The military tribunal ordered Thomas to enlist, pointing out that women managed three other pubs within 100 yards of the George Hotel.

Postcode: SA70 7JB    View Location Map

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