Foley House was designed by John Nash (1752-1836). Born in London in 1752, John Nash trained as an architect. He was declared bankrupt in 1783 and fled to Carmarthen where his family originated from. For a dozen years, Nash remained in Wales where his style developed. He is responsible for structural renovations to St Davids Cathedral, several impressive mansions and three gaols whilst in Wales.
Foley House is described as one of his classical villas. It was built for Richard Foley, solicitor, whose family owned Ridgeway House and estate in Llawhaden. Foley’s brother, Captain Thomas Foley (later Admiral Sir Thomas Foley) was responsible for the remarkable victory at Aboukir Bay in 1798 which added considerably to Nelson’s reputation.
In 1802 Nelson with his paramour, Lady Emma Hamilton (and her husband Sir William Hamilton) visited Pembrokeshire. During their stay in Haverfordwest, Nelson was awarded the freedom of the town and the visitors were treated to a ‘public breakfast’ on the patio in front of Foley House. They were served by the members of the Borough Council acting as waiters. On completion, the townsfolk removed the horses from the front of the carriage and pulled the famous group around the town.
In later years the property became the home (as a child) of George Essex Evans (1863-1909) who later became famous as the national poet of Australia. During the 20th century the George family, brewers and pub owners used the property as their home before it was purchased by the local authority for use initially as an extra classroom for Tasker’s School for Girls and then as a Magistrates Court’s Office.
In later years, errors in the management of the property led to its structural decline with attempts to sell it consistently falling through.
John Nash went on to become architect to The Prince Regent and left his mark on the country with many other buildings, amongst them, Buckingham Palace, The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, Regent Street and Regent’s Park.
Continue to the end of this street and turn left into Upper Market Street. The building facing you across the road is the...