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Site Details

NPRN 404188

Map Reference SM72SW

Grid Reference SM70162371

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community St Davids and the Cathedral Close

Type of Site ISLAND


Period General

Site Description Lying only some 700 metres west of mainland Pembrokeshire across a treacherous stretch of water known as Ramsey Sound, the slopes of Ramsey bear evidence of human settlement dating back some 4,000 years. Ramsey is thought to be either a personal Viking name, `Hrafn's isle', or to mean simply `wild garlic'. In Welsh it is known as Ynys Dewi, St David's Island, and also Ynys Tyfanog, St Tyfanog's Island. In legend Ramsey is the burial place of 20,000 saints; today it is a bird reserve managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The sea cliffs and grassy hill are home to a rich variety of wildlife, from major seabird colonies of guillemots and razorbills, kittiwake and fulmars, to deer and the largest colony of Atlantic grey seals in southern Britain. In 1811 cheese made on the island was noted to have been held in great repute, possibly due to the vegetation being predomintly Dutch clover and wild thyme. Two chapels’ St Justinians and St Tyfanog's (NPRN 419235) were located on the island.

The island is depicted in a map of 1815 on page 84 of the Maps of the Bishops of St Davids by William Couling, National Library of Wales 094/9/2

Sources include:
Driver, T. 2007. Pembrokeshire, Historic Landscapes from the Air, RCAHMW, pages 84-86.
Fenton, R. A Historical Tour Through Pembrokeshire

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 27 June 2007.

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