Dominican Friary of St Saviour’s
The walk along here affords splendid views of the castle and immediately below it, the rear of Bridge Street on the opposite side of the river.
Along the river bank that you are looking at, between the New and Old Bridges, the Dominican Friary of St Saviour’s stood for about three centuries.
The Dominicans had been founded as an order in 1215 in France by a Spanish monk named Dominic Guzman, who in 1234 became St Dominic.
By 1240 Haverfordwest was one of five Friaries established in Wales. The Dominicans, or Black Friars, had a different agenda to most monastic orders in that they went amongst the population, preaching, praying and teaching.
The Friary appears to have been an extensive set of buildings with stables, gardens, dormitories, chapels and a cemetery. At its zenith it accommodated up to forty friars.
Fierce rivals of the Augustinians, they too were dissolved in 1539 when the effects of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII reached west Wales.
Although some of the buildings appear to have been used for centuries after this, the existence of a large amount of ready cut stone as building material is undoubtedly partly to blame for the entire disappearance of the Friary.
Much later, an iron foundry was established on the same bank, by the name of the Marychurch Foundry, which imported ingots of iron from one or other of the Welsh foundries established during the Industrial Revolution, and from which were made a huge range of agricultural or domestic metal products.
The railings that can be seen around some of the churchyards in and around the town were undoubtedly made here, as was the extremely impressive ironwork balcony that graces the property, ‘Spring Gardens’, at the bottom of Barn Street.
The modern property that perches itself partly over the river was opened in 1982 as the Riverside Market. In more recent times, a decision has been reached to relocate the County Library to this building.
For many years, a Farmer’s Market has been operating on Fridays along the patio area that you are currently walking along.
Cross the metal pedestrian bridge when you come to it and venture through one of the narrow lanes into Bridge Street.