The Royal Oak, Fishguard

The Royal Oak, Fishguard

It was here in 1797 that a French invasion force formally surrendered – the last to have attacked Britain.

The building dates from earlier that century and was originally a private house. In February 1797 local leaders responded to the arrival of ships carrying French soldiers by holding a “council of war” here. It’s thought that the French commander signed a surrender document which lay on the large table you can see at the back of the pub. The story of the attempted invasion is told in a tapestry displayed in Fishguard.

The Royal Oak’s landlord at that time was probably Hugh Meyler. When he died, aged 88, in March 1846 it was said that he had kept the Royal Oak for over 60 years. He was still the innkeeper in 1841 but was confined to the building because he had suffered from gout for decades.

The inn had a coach house and stables. It hired horses and vehicles for trips to the countryside and events such as weddings.

In the 1890s Royal Oak proprietor David Richards was also known as an “omnibus proprietor”. He provided a “conveyance” between Fishguard station and Letterston three times a day. The North Pembrokeshire & Fishguard Railway sold through tickets for the train and omnibus that started from the Royal Oak and Commercial Hotel.

In 1906 the body of a Welsh-speaking Irish vagrant was discovered in the Royal Oak coach house. James Harrington had once run away from the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and proudly showed off the letter D which had been tattooed on his left side to mark him as a deserter. Jim was a familiar character in South-west Wales. Boys teased him and he fended off dogs with his battered hat. He lived on charity from people in large houses, and preferred to sleep in farms rather than lodging houses. He was said to be 76 at his death.

In 2020 the Royal Oak was named Pembrokeshire Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale.

Postcode: SA65 9HA    View Location Map

Website of the Royal Oak