MILFORD HAVEN, a market town, seaport, urban district and contributory parliamentary borough of Pembrokeshire, Wales, situated on the north shore of the celebrated harbour of the same name. Pop. (1901), 5102, including the adjacent village of Hakin. Milford Haven is the terminus of a branch-line of the South Wales section of the Great Western railway. The town possesses a pier and important dock accommodation, including a graving-dock 600 ft. long, and is the centre of a valuable and increasing fishing industry. The promenade of Hamilton Terrace commands a fine view of the broad expanse of the Haven with its various towns and forts.
The present town of Milford Haven, originally a hamlet in the parish of Steynton, is of modern growth, and was first called into existence by the exertions of the Hon. R. F. Greville, nephew of Sir William Hamilton, who in 1790 laid out a town on this spot, the advantages of which as a convenient port for the Irish traffic he clearly recognized. In the opening years of the 19th century a royal dockyard was established here, but in 1814 dockyard and arsenal were removed to Paterchurch near Pembroke. The growth of the town was further checked twenty years later by the development of Neyland, or New Milford, further east on the Haven, whither the Irish packet service was transferred; but towards the close of the 19th century the town recovered much of its former prosperity. The importance of the place is wholly due to its excellent situation on the splendid land-locked harbour, which is here 2 m. broad.
Milford Haven itself, designated by the Welsh Aberdaugleddau, as the estuary of the united East and West Cleddy rivers, has played an important part on several occasions in the course of history. Throughout Plantagenet times it formed the chief point of embarcation for Ireland. It was from Milford Haven that Henry II. set sail for the conquest of Ireland in 1172, and to this harbour he made his return journey. In 1399 Richard II. landed at Milford Haven from Ireland, shortly before his surrender to Henry of Lancaster, afterwards Henry IV., in whose reign a FrSnch fleet with 12,000 men on board sailed to the Haven and disembarked with the object of assisting the rebellion of Owen Glendower. In 1485 Henry, earl of Richmond, disembarked here on his return from France, and was welcomed on landing by Sir Rhys ap Thomas and much of the chivalry of Wales. In 1588 the leading persons of Pembrokeshire, with Bishop Anthony Rudd of St David's at their head, petitioned Queen Elizabeth to fortify the Haven against the projected Spanish invasion, upon which the block-houses of Dale and Nangle at either side of the mouth of the harbour were accordingly erected. During the 19th century numerous forts have been constructed for the protection of the Haven and of the royal dockyard at Pembroke Dock.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)