MANY who visit Haverfordwest will see a closed-down Poundstretcher on the edge of Bridge Street.

The older generations will remember that prior to being the discount store, the building was home to a popular pub called The Swan Hotel.

Here we take a look at the history of the Swan from its known origins before 1807 through to its demolition in 1968.

The initial origins of The Swan Inn as it used to be known have been dated in some text as 1536, but little is known about this according to Keith Johnson’s 2006 book Pembrokeshire Pubs and Simon Hancock’s 2020 book Victorian and Edwardian Haverfordwest.

Tivyside Advertiser: Swan Hotel in 1905. Picture: Bisley H. Munt collection via Simon HancockSwan Hotel in 1905. Picture: Bisley H. Munt collection via Simon Hancock

What both books agree on is that the Swan Inn was well-established by its advertised sale in the Cambrian newspaper in 1807.

The advert read: “All that well-accustomed inn called and known by the name and sign of the Swan Inn, with the brewhouse, back kitchen, two stables, yard and garden fronting Bridge Street in the parish of St Martin.”

At the time of that notice, the property was vacant but had recently been occupied by gardener Thomas Moore. Between 1826 and 1839, Samuel Midgley ran the inn and when he put another advert in for the sale of the property, it had been ‘newly rebuilt’ and had 10 bedrooms along with ‘extensive stabling, coach houses and corn lofts.’


There are records of Benjamin Fawkes taking up the lease, but shortly after, John Gwyther took over, being a popular landlord during the 1840s until his death in 1862 at the age of 82. His daughter Esther took the licence over after his death, with her sister Mary Emmett taking over in the 1880s.

She held the lease until John Sime took over in 1891 and ran it until 1895. He was succeeded by Mrs Sime in 1899.

Tivyside Advertiser: Swan Hotel. Picture: Rosemary Rees via Our Pembrokeshire MemoriesSwan Hotel. Picture: Rosemary Rees via Our Pembrokeshire Memories

In 1901, the licence was transferred to Frances Evans but in January 1905 former postmaster Edwin Bowles took over and he began doing lunches at 1pm. In 1906 Thomas Rees was granted transfer of the licence and the pub was later run by Adelaide Rees into the 1930s.

The upstairs of the Swan was badly damaged in a fire in 1953 and later that year, former Navy-man J.F Horrigan took over the pub. He was followed by Cliff Woozley, Eric Bradley and Raymond Llewellyn, who was there from 1963 until the pub’s closure and demolition in 1968.

Tivyside Advertiser: Demolition of Swan Hotel in 1968. Picture: Samantha Dalton via Our Pembrokeshire MemoriesDemolition of Swan Hotel in 1968. Picture: Samantha Dalton via Our Pembrokeshire Memories

Our nostalgia group – Our Pembrokeshire Memories – members remember the Swan fondly. Eirof Davies said: “I was drinking in the Swan in the 60s. Nice bar and wood wall panels.”

Primrose Griffiths remembered going to a 21st birthday party in the upstairs part in 1959. Phillip Mott said the closure was the start of the decline of Bridge Street.

If you want to share your memories of Pembrokeshire, join Our Pembrokeshire Memories on Facebook.