Enter the Dragon

Enter the Dragon

In the few short weeks after he landed on the shores of Pembrokeshire in 1485, local boy Henry Tudor.

And more than 500 years later, with the support and guidance of PLANED, Pembroke and Monkton Local History Society, along with Pembroke Town Council and a newly formed Millpond Group, is showing the same resourcefulness and determination in the face of the COVID pandemic to ensure the successful completion of their Dragon Fountain project at Pembroke Millpond.

The idea for this innovative project sprang from a desire to improve the environment of Pembroke Millpond. Not only have reeds there grown out of control, but green algal bloom has also long been covering the waters of the millpond, both problems, understandably, a cause for public concern. The Society, The Town Council and the Millpond Group all believed a fountain would help aerate the pond water, improve water quality and consequently have a beneficial effect on the local landscape as well as the pond life itself.

Initial funding of £12,138.70 was obtained via LEADER funding from Arwain Sir Benfro for stage one of the project specifically to (i) explore the design and technology involved in the fountain’s working and construction; (ii) involve local schools in a STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Maths) project; and (iii) build a small working model, a maquette, of the fountain.

After successfully completing this first stage, the various groups involved have managed to maintain momentum even though the fundraising campaign for the remainder of the total project cost of £17, 341, as well as the planned public consultation at Pembroke Town Hall have had to be temporarily postponed.

In addition to regular posts on the progress of the project on the Society social media pages and website pembrokeandmonktonhistory.org.uk Comments are being invited via the Society’s email address: pembrokehistory@live.co.uk or in person at the Town Hall, in place of the postponed public consultation; while the maquette of the Welsh dragon is currently being exhibited as part of a display in the shop window next to Brown’s Café in Pembroke.

This striking maquette was crafted by local sculptor Gideon Petersen, the man responsible not only for the acclaimed statue of Llywelyn ap Gryffyd situated in Llandovery, but also, and more recently, the Bertie the Sea Bass sculpture, cleverly created for Amroth and Saundersfoot community council’s ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ project.

“It has been a pleasure to work on such an interesting project,” Linda Asman, Chair of the Pembroke and Monkton History Society told PLANED, “…and I would like to thank all those involved: Harriet Addyman of Narberth based Autodromo, who coordinated the STEAM project, Joanna Burton and Paris Rouse, who took the project into local schools, as well as Gideon Petersen for the impressive maquette. We are indebted also to Pembroke Town Clerk Suzie Thomas and PTC for their help and support, which will be much needed for the project’s eventual completion, a stunning fountain in Pembroke Millpond.”

The fact that the fountain, in sight of Pembroke Castle, Henry VII’s birthplace, will be sculpted in the shape of the dragon is a fitting nod to Henry VII’s coat of arms, which, as well showing the white greyhound of Richmond in honour of his father, also features the red dragon of Cadwaladr, Cadwaladr of Gwynedd, the last king of the Britons, a powerful King Arthur-type figure in the memory of many Welsh, and, until his death in 682, a man who seemed likely to win an ultimate British victory over the Germanic invaders.

Fingers crossed that Pembroke and Monkton Local History Society, along with their project partners, will soon be able to claim their own victory over the COVID pandemic, complete their ambitious Dragon Fountain Project, then sit back and quote a certain Professor JRR Tolkien who once famously said, “A story simply isn’t worth telling if there aren’t dragons.”

 

       

The maquette is on public view in the shop window next to Brown’s Cafe, Pembroke Main Street.