Monkton Old Hall

Monkton, Pembrokeshire

Overview

The Old Hall retains a strongly medieval character and dates from 1400 when it was probably the guest house of a small priory outside the walls of Pembroke. It was rescued just in time and this atmospheric Landmark still welcomes guests today.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • Outside Dining FurnitureOutside Dining Furniture
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • ShowerShower
  • Table Tennis TableTable Tennis Table

Beds 1 Single, 2 Twin, 1 Double

Sleeps
7
4 nights from
£438 equivalent to £15.64 per person, per night

Just off the pilgrim route to St David's

Given the absence of dateable details, the debate as to when Monkton Old Hall was built still goes on. It has proved a very difficult building to date. What can be established is that the plan type for the building is a very early one. Upper halls were common in England in the two centuries following the Conquest but were very rarely seen after 1300. Its chequered career since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 has only added to the difficulties when trying to unlock the history of this Landmark. It has been in a ruinous state twice and both times it was rescued. Even with these restoration processes and the difficulty in dating it, what can be certain is its unmistakably medieval feel which conveys to those who stay here the warm welcome that greeted so many of those who visited here before. 

Spoilt for choice

Monkton Old Hall sleeps up to 7 people and is a spacious and welcoming Landmark. With its open fireplace, accommodating feel, enclosed garden and unrivaled views of Pembroke Castle, you may feel a distinct lack of motivation to stray further afield. For those who do, there is the lively town of St David's and the castles of Pembrokshire, including Pembroke Castle, the birthplace of Henry VII. More adventurous guests will find that the Celtic Quest Coasteering is a unique way of getting closer to the beautiful Pembrokshire coastline, whilst the seaside village of Saundersfoot with its cafes and restaurants is within easy driving distance.

‘Vaulted ceiling, fire at night, ping pong in the 'dungeon', stone spiral stairs, peep hole windows to poke hands through and make ghost noises, just magical.’

From the logbook

Floor Plan

Map & local info

Monkton Old Hall looks out over Pembroke Castle, on the edge of the town with the Pembrokeshire coast all around.

Nearby Pembroke Castle is a must-see. The birthplace of Henry VII is now a magical day out for all the family. Children will love special events such as the Merrymaker's Knight School, and Keepers of the Castle.  

Adventure seekers will love Celtic Quest Coasteering. Suitable for all ages and abilities, this is a truly unique way to explore this stunning area of coastline. 

The friendly seaside village of Saundersfoot is within easy driving distance from Monkton, where you can find restaurants and cafes, as well as a wide and sandy blue flag beach. 

Bosherston Lily Ponds are a beautiful site for walking, and suitable for all abilities. 

For more information and ideas of things to see and do suring your stay at Monkton Old Hall, take a look at our Pinterest Page  

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Monkton Old Hall
Monkton, Pembrokeshire
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via the short driveway.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Pembroke – 1 mile.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes – there are two spaces in the parking area just inside the gates.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is gas central heating and an open fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also a gas cooker, a dishwasher and a microwave.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There are two bathrooms, one with a free-standing shower unit and one with a bath. There is also an additional wc.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    Yes, the stairs are steep, narrow and spiral. There are stairs between the bedrooms on both floors.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is an enclosed garden.
  • Is there higher than expected background noise?

    Yes, this property is in a town centre and you may experience a level of noise associated with an urban location.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Built as a guest house for the Priory

A small Benedictine priory was founded at Pembroke in 1098, and probably established itself on the hill opposite the castle, which came to be called Monkton, a century later. The main buildings of the Priory are thought to have lain immediately next to St Nicholas' church. The Old Hall is further away, but there is a very strong tradition that it was connected with them and the likelihood is that it was built as a guest house.

 

 

Hospitality was one of the requirements laid down in the Benedictine Rule, and in the days before inns became common, but when a surprising number of people in fact travelled, the monasteries were almost the only place where they could be sure of a night’s lodging. If a monastery was on a pilgrim route they could expect to put up a steady flow of guests.

Monkton Priory was small and not very wealthy, with only four or five monks in addition to the Prior; but it was close to a great castle, and on the pilgrim route to St David's, so a guest-house would have been very necessary. This would also explain the arrangement of the Old Hall, which is more typical of a medieval house than of a monastic building, with its Great Hall, and cross-wing containing separate chambers.

As a building it is very difficult to date. There are almost no dateable details - mouldings and such-like - and what there are have a rather faked-up air, as though they have been inserted later by someone with a romantic sense of the past. However, the plan type is a very early one. Upper halls, that is halls over a vaulted undercroft, were common in England for the two centuries after the Conquest, but were seldom seen after 1300. In Wales and Scotland they continued for longer - their defensive advantages are obvious - and fine examples were built by Bishop Gower at his palaces at St David’s and Lamphey in the early 14th century. So the likelihood is that Monkton is also 14th century - but it could be up to a century later.

One of the difficulties of dating the building is that since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, Monkton has had a chequered career. It has changed hands several times; it has been in a ruinous state at least twice; and has been rescued and restored twice, once in 1879 by a scholarly medieval enthusiast called J.R. Cobb, and once in this century by Miss Muriel Thompson (later Mrs Bowen), with some help from Clough Williams-Ellis.

So the hooded 'Edwardian' fireplace, now in the hall and previously (but not originally) in the south-east wing, could come from this building or from another. All dateable carpentry has disappeared long ago. Even the slender cylindrical chimney, so characteristic of Pembrokeshire and thought to be early, was added onto a stack built for a square shaft, so is secondary to the original building, at least, and may be much later.

Whatever its problems for scholars and archaeologists, Monkton Old Hall feels early, and certainly conveys to us an early pattern of life, with its uncompromising stoniness but strong sense of hospitality. It is remembered by many for Mrs Bowen's Christmas parties, and that is quite right for a building which was intended to welcome travellers.

Restoration

In need of some major repairs

The Landmark Trust, as a charity which rescues buildings of architectural and historic importance, bought Monkton Old Hall in 1979 from Mrs Campbell, who had been left the house by her godmother, Mrs Bowen. Although the house had been lived in and looked after by Mrs Bowen until her death in 1978, there were still some major repairs that she had not been able to undertake.

The chief of these was the eradication of dry rot, which had started in a wing built onto the north-west corner by J.R. Cobb,and then spread into the roof of the hall. In the end it was decided to take down the wing altogether, since the accommodation it contained would not be needed. The two doors leading to it had medieval stone surrounds, and these have been left visible. The roof was stripped, and rotten or infected timbers replaced, before the slates were laid.

The second problem was the round chimney, which was leaning dangerously over the roof, due to subsidence in the wall beneath. The stack had to be taken right down, each stone being carefully numbered; the wall was then strengthened, and the whole chimney rebuilt, exactly the same as before, but vertical.

Thirdly, the upper face of the south-east wing, corbelled out over the curious arch, was leaning badly outwards over the road. This was mainly due to the weight of the hooded fireplace inside, which the wall beneath was too thin to support - one reason for thinking that it was not originally in that position. The fireplace was therefore removed to the hall, where it is more in character, and the wall of the wing rebuilt.

At the southern end of the cross passage there was a medieval doorway, possibly put there by Cobb. It made the passage into something of a wind tunnel and since its lintel was entirely rotten - this being the weather side - it was decided to block it up, but again leaving the stone surround visible.

The only other alterations inside the Old Hall have been to provide a new kitchen, and bathrooms, together with new wiring and heating, and redecorating. The walls have been limewashed, which allows them to breathe, and helps prevent damp. The timbers in the hall have been painted with zinc chromate, usually used for painting ships, but providing exactly the right sort of 'William Burges' red. Some of the furniture, such as the table in the hall and the four poster bed, belonged to Mrs Bowen and have been lent to the Trust by Mrs Campbell.

Outside, a wall was built in place of the north-west wing, to shelter the courtyard. The ground level of this was raised to bring it up to the entrance door, as it appeared in an old engraving. Mrs Bowen's garden, planted on old terraces and between old walls, was an important part of Monkton's special character. It has only been possible to maintain a skeleton of this, but the view across to the Castle is as grand as ever.

The architect for the restoration was the late Leonard Beddall-Smith; the building work was carried out by Argent's, the same firm that worked at Monkton in the 1950s. The work was completed in 1981.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.