Hanes yr eglwys hon
The village was set out in the medieval period, as an important part of the estate of the Bishops of St Davids. The overall linear settlement is typical of the Anglo-Norman period, with faint traces surviving of strip fields. Evidently the early inhabitants were of English or Flemish origins, part of the ongoing ‘re-settlement’ of areas of Wales during the period following the Norman conquer of Pembroke in 1093. Beneath the streets lie the remains of the Bishops Palace once here, built perhaps by Thomas Bek, Bishop 1286-93, but nothing above ground survives. The settlement is unusual in that the main street (Ffordd-y-Felin) was terraced into the rocky slope at two levels.
Much of the village was rebuilt during the 19th Century. Amid cottages dating from the early 1900’s are larger Victorian houses built for local ‘sea captains’. As well as farming and shipping, local industries included the coastal slate quarries, which were mechanised and expanded during the 1860s, the slate exported from the new harbour at Porthgain.
As the village grew, chapels were built. Trefin Calvinistic Methodist Chapel was first built in 1786 (rebuilt 1834), becoming a notable centre of Welsh Methodism. It preserved as a museum in partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Wales and the local community, and when it’s open you’ll find a true time capsule inside with all its fixtures and fittings intact, paint peeling and floorboards creaking, a unique survival of times past. This is one of two chapels at Trefin. The other is the Baptist Chapel, built in 1840 as a branch of Croesgoch, and rebuilt c 1870.
To the south of the village, in a rocky cove are the remains of Aberfelin Mill, the medieval mill built for the Bishops, in use until 1918. It was immortalised in Archdruid Crwys’ Melin Trefin, one of the most famous poems in the Welsh language, emotively describing the silent closed mill.