Tenby, Dyfed (Harbour Scene)- Framed Picture - 20" x 16"
Tenby is a walled seaside town in Pembrokeshire, Wales, on the western side of Carmarthen Bay.
With its strategic position on the far west coast of Britain, and a natural sheltered harbour from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea, Tenby was a natural settlement point.
The earliest reference to a settlement at Tenby is in "Etmic Dinbych", a poem probably from the 9th century, preserved in the 14th century Book of Taliesin. At this point the settlement was probably a hill fort, the mercantile nature of the settlement possibly developing under Hiberno-Norse influence.
Tenby was taken by the Normans, when they invaded West Wales in the early 12th century. The town's first stone-wall fortification was on Castle Hill. Tenby's mercantile trade grew as it developed as a major seaport in Norman controlled Little England beyond Wales. However, the need for additional defences became paramount after the settlement and castle were successfully attacked and sacked by Welsh forces of Maredudd ap Gruffydd and Rhys ap Gruffydd in 1153. Sacking of the town was repeated in 1187 and again by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1260. After the final attack, William de Valence, 1st Earl of Pembroke ordered the construction of the town's large outer walls in the late 13th century. The stone curtain wall, towers and gates enclosed a large part of the settlement.
In 1457, Jasper Tudor, the uncle of Henry Tudor, agreed to share with the town's merchants the costs of refurbishing and improving Tenby's defences because of its economic importance to this part of Wales. Work included heightening the wall to include a second tier of higher arrow slits behind a new parapet walk. Additional turret towers were added to the ends of the walls where they abutted the cliff edges, and the dry ditch outside walls was widened to 30 feet.
Consequently, in the Late Middle Ages, Tenby was awarded royal grants to finance the maintenance and improvement of its defences and the enclosure of its harbour. Traders sailed along the coast to Bristol and Ireland and further afield to France, Spain and Portugal. Exports included wool, skins, canvas, coal, iron and oil; while in 1566 Portuguese seamen landed the first oranges in Wales. It was during this period that the town was so busy and important, it was considered to be a national port. During the Wars of the Roses Henry Tudor, the future King Henry VII of England, sheltered at Tenby before sailing into exile in 1471.
In the mid 16th century, the large D-shaped tower known as the "Five Arches" was built following fears of a second Spanish Armada.