Former Tasker School
Mary Tasker was born into the wealthy Howard family on the outskirts of Haverfordwest at the time that the bubonic plague was ravishing the town in the very early 1650s. Despite surviving the ‘pestilence’ her family were not destined to live long, healthy lives and Mary died, like most of the others, at not much more than forty years.
By the provisions of her will, made in August 1684, an almshouse school was to be built for poor children of both sexes in Haverfordwest. Despite delays in executing her wishes, a school was started close to the Corn Market where poor children had three years of education, the boys wearing long tailed blue coats, red waistcoats and corduroy knee breeches and the girls, white kerchiefs, Irish cloth aprons, blue jackets, red skirts and buckled shoes.
In the mid 19th century, visiting commissioners examining the state of education in Wales found the school being conducted in a ruinous garret, with poor quality teaching and commented on the embarrassment of the children still being obliged to wear, ‘18th century’ uniforms.
Although things improved somewhat after this visit, it wasn’t until the end of the century (1892) that attitudes to education had improved sufficiently (essentially to fall in line with other Continental countries) to allow the building of the school for girls that you see in front of you.
New premises were built in 1962 on a new site and the girl’s school joined Haverfordwest Boys Grammar School to form a comprehensive school in 1978. The building here is now flats.
At the bottom of the steps that you have just come down, and attached to the high wall of St Mary’s, was the...