Florence (St.) - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
FLORENCE (ST.), a parish, in the hundred of Castlemartin, union and county of Pembroke, South Wales, 4� miles (W. by N.) from Tenby; containing 396 inhabitants. This place is beautifully situated on a gentle eminence in the centre of a fertile vale, sheltered on one side by the northern declivity of the Ridgeway between Pembroke and Tenby. The parish is bounded on the north by the parishes of Carew and Redbarth, on the south by Manorbeer, on the east by Gumfreston, and on the west by Nash and Lamphey. It comprises by admeasurement 2470 acres of land, which is chiefly in pasture, and appropriated to dairy-farming, the produce of the parish being principally butter and cheese; the soil rests, in some places, on clay, and in others on limestone, and varies in its quality from great richness and fertility to absolute barrenness. The surface is broken into valleys and hills, and a small brook, flowing through the district to Tenby, diversifies and improves the scenery, which, throughout the whole locality, is highly picturesque and beautiful. Near the village, which forms one of the most cheerful and interesting objects in the delightful ride from Tenby to Pembroke, is situated Ivy Tower, a commodious modern residence, containing a good antiquarian and classical library; and the vicinity of which is ornamented with some ash and elm trees. Many of the cottages, to which large gardens are attached, and which are grouped in pleasing clusters around the church, are of ancient appearance, and coeval with the castles in the vicinity, having been built by the first generations of the Flemings, who settled in this part of the principality, in the reign of Henry I., by permission of that monarch, when driven from their own country by an inundation of the sea. There are some limestone-quarries, and a few hands are employed as masons in marblework.
The living consists of a rectory and a vicarage; the former a sinecure, rated in the king's books at �16. 12. 1., and in the patronage of the Master and Fellows of St. John's College, Cambridge: the vicarage, which is discharged, is rated at �4. 18. 4., and is endowed with �400 royal bounty; patron, the Rector. These livings, which are at present totally distinct, are in future to be consolidated. The rectorial tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of �160, with a glebe of twenty acres, valued at �35 per annum; and the vicarial for a rent-charge of �80, with a glebe of ten acres, valued at �20. The church, dedicated to St. Florence, is a very ancient, massive, cruciform structure, in the early style of English architecture, with a lofty belfry tower, containing four fine-toned bells; the edifice measures seventy-two feet in extreme length, and twenty feet in breadth, and will accommodate about 200 persons with sittings. On the north side of the altar is a mural tablet of brass, with a Latin epitaph, in choriambic verse, to the memory of Robert Rudd, A.B., formerly archdeacon of St. David's, who was ejected from his benefice for his adherence to the cause of Charles I., and died in October, 1648. There is a place of worship for Independents. A Sunday school is held in the village schoolroom in the morning, and in the vicarage-house in the evening; but no day school is supported here, the National school at Redbarth, an adjoining parish, being designed for the children of St. Florence also. The remains of antiquity in and about the village are considerable: in 1835, a small silver cross, inscribed with Saxon characters, was found in the vicarage-garden.