The village of Lamphey is a few miles east of Pembroke on the road towards Manorbier.
On the northern edge of the village are the remains of Lamphey Bishop’s Palace, one of three grand fortified palaces in Pembrokeshire belonging to the Bishop of St Davids.
Set in a peaceful pastoral location a few miles east of Pembroke, it’s still a substantial structure today.
Lamphey and the surrounding villages are served by local bus service 349 connecting them to Tenby and Haverfordwest. Lamphey also has a railway station.
Lamphey was a seat of the last of the Welsh, pre-Norman bishops, according to Giraldus Cambrensis. Subsequent Norman bishops embellished and extended the site considerably. They added The Old Hall, The West Hall and The Great Hall.
After the reformation, Lamphey passed into secular hands and was acquired by the Earl of Essex and his descendants but quickly fell into ruin.
The palace was more recently acquired by CADW, the Welsh historic buildings agency, who have restored it.
At Lamphey, the medieval bishops of St. David’s built themselves a magnificent retreat away from worries of Church and State, Lamphey Bishop’s Palace. Here, amongst fishponds, fruit orchards, vegetable gardens and sweeping parklands, they could enjoy the life of a country gentleman.
Standards of accommodation were also suitably inviting, so it was hardly surprising that by the early 14th century Lamphey had become the favourite residence of the bishops.
The Palace, as it stands today, was mainly the work of the dynamic Henry de Gower, Bishop of St. David’s from 1328 to 1347 (it comes as no surprise to discover that he was also largely responsible for the magnificent Bishop’s Palace alongside St. Davids Cathedral).
The shell of de Gower’s Great Hall, over 25 metres long, is his most impressive contribution, and it is interesting to note the use of the lofty arcaded parapets, an architectural device and de Gower trademark also used to such good effect at St. David’s. De Gower also re-modelled the courtyard, enclosing it with a battlemented wall
Food and drink
Lamphey has a pub and two hotels with restaurants; there is also a village shop with a bakery.
The most striking accommodation available in Lamphey is The Lamphey Court Hotel, a fine Georgian colonnaded country house hotel. A few B&Bs and guesthouses can be found in neighbouring villages such as Hodgeston or Pembroke. The nearest camping sites and touring caravan sites can be found in Manorbier and Freshwater East. There are also several holiday parks at Manorbier and Freshwater East. There are numerous self catering cottages in Lamphey and surrounding villages.