Haverfordwest serves the county of Pembrokeshire as a market town. It also serves has a hub for roads that like Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock, Fishguard and St David's that go through Pembrokeshire. The major part of the town is on the right or west bank of the river. This is made up of old parishes named St. Mary, St. Martin and St. Thomas. Across the river are Prendergast and Carlett which are suburbs of Haverfordwest.
While it appears that this is the ideal location to be settled even in early times there is no evidence of a settlement there before the 12th Century. At that time was when the first Norman castle was built in approximately 1110. A Flemish marcher named Lord Tancred erected the castle. The town then sprouted up around the castles and the St. Martin's Church. The town then ventured out to what is now the High Street area.
Since it was in such a great location and had the commercial center of western Dyfred, the town immediately the capital of the part of Little England beyond Wales known as the English hundred of Roose. It is still the capital today. It has huge population increases in the 1300s and 19th Century much like all British towns. By the 19th Century its population was around 5,000 which was large for that time period.
Sometime from 1213 to 1219 William Marshall the 1st Earl of Pembroke gave the town its first march charter which gave it the trading privileges of the English borough which were very lucrative. Trading was done by land as well as by sea. It was a significant source of wool manufacturing and had at least 10 guilds in operation.
Edward, Prince of Wales declared in a charter that the area was a county corporate in April of 1479. This was done to support the opposition to piracy in its local waters. Only Carmarthen and few other select towns in England share this distinction. It was still officially known as The Town and County of Haverfordwest until the borough was abolished in 1974.
The plague or Black death hit the town hard as it did in the other large English towns. It is believed that the town lost up to half of it residents to the Black Death. The depopulation was combined with a slowing trade industry. Due to these factors huge areas of town were abandoned and would not see recovery until the Tudor period.
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