Southern end of Knights’ Way, Amroth

acc-logoThe Knights’ Way trail follows part of the route taken by medieval pilgrims who arrived in Amroth by ship before walking to St Davids. 

Amroth and nearby areas were strongly associated with the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller (or Knights of St John) – orders which became involved in the Crusades. Waging war in Palestine and tending the casualties of the Crusades were gradually supplanted by protecting pilgrims throughout Europe. The Templars were dissolved in 1312.

The church in Amroth (where St Elidyr’s Church now stands) and 50 acres of sanctuary land were given to the Hospitallers c.1150. Papal decree allowed the Hospitallers to grant sanctuary to all criminals, except those guilty of treason and sacrilege, on condition that the outlaw would then proceed to a port and leave the realm forever.

In Pembrokeshire, the Commandery of the Knights Hospitallers was based around the old church of Slebech, now a ruin within the Slebech Estate. The Commandery administered the Hospitallers’ considerable estates in St Davids diocese, and was a hospital for the infirm and a recruitment centre for the Crusades. It became famed for its hospitality for pilgrims.

Between Amroth and Blackpool Mill on the boundary of the Slebech Estate, the pilgrimage route is commemorated by the 15km (9.3-mile) Knights’ Way. The trail passes through other villages connected to the Hospitallers such as Ludchurch and Templeton. Waymarkers feature a white Maltese Cross.

The western end of Amroth is known as Templebar, earlier “the Burrows”. Rabbits introduced for breeding had made their burrows there. Buildings in this vicinity carried the name, such as Burrows Cottages and six garages built by Thomas Richards c.1930. All have been lost to the sea. The garages were divided with wire netting and let to summer visitors for a shilling per night. In winter the partitions were removed to form one large space with the grandiose title of the Burrows Hall.

The Burrows was also the name of one of the “patches” where iron ore was mined.

With thanks to Mark Harvey

Postcode: SA67 8NG    View Location Map

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