William Paxton and Cold Blow, Pembrokeshire
I have been leading tours of the Regency landscape created by Sir William Paxton (1743-1824) for a while now. In doing some background reading for that I came across a puzzling reference stating that he purchased the Inn at Cold Blow. I knew Cold Blow as a remote and tiny cluster of a few houses lying on a hill to the south of Narberth. What could have driven him to want to purchase its inn? What’s more – I later found that he actually built the inn at Cold Blow.
Questions and clues
A clue lay in an advert for the newly opened inn, taken from the Carmarthen Journal in 1812. He appointed a late guard of His Majesty’s Royal Mail. It seems he was trying to build a case for the inn to become a Receiving Station (where the local mail was re-distributed from) on the Royal mail route from London to Ireland. It came through Cold Blow on its way to Narberth Receiving Station.
The nearest Receiving Station after St Clears was then at Narberth, a distance of 12 miles, although the ideal distance was about 8 miles for each change of horses. Cold Blow would be shorter, but only by a mile and a quarter. Then I came across a letter in Narberth Museum archive from the District Surveyor of Posts written in 1814. It proposed to the Postmaster General (PMG) the establishment of a Receiving House at Cold Blow,
which is a more convenient point of communication, both with Tenby and Pembroke as by that means a long steep hill called Narberth Mountain is avoided … I therefore propose that a Receiving House …shall be fixed at the Inn called the Windsor Castle in Cold Blow …
And thus it appears Paxton was successful – But why would he bother?
That’s the next question to find the answer to. It’s like detective work – gathering clues from different sources, one snippet at a time to build up an overall story that they all fit. It drives us along to find out more.