Recently I visited a holiday village for the first time. The archaeological theme was in the title – Bluestone – perhaps selected to evoke the iconic association of Pembrokeshire with the striking blue stones of the Preseli Mountains visible to the north. Remember dear reader, Preseli blue stones were transported to compose the earliest phase of Stonehenge.
I had a great holiday. It was pleasant. Too pleasant…
The friendly staff, the uniforms, the golf cars as well as the quasi-historical village focus with shops, cafe and eateries served to remind me of the famous 1960s television series staring Patrick McGoohan.
This was sinister utopia.
As you will all undoubtedly know, The Prisoner featured a sinister pleasant village – The Village – as prison for political detainees who were tortured to extract required information. As well as the memorable opening sequence, the series of course also inspired one of the greatest metal tracks ever composed (and performed) by the legendary Iron Maiden.
No-one told me to ‘feel free’ or ‘be seeing you’, and we never met No. 2. I should have been assured by the fact that our residence was No. 9, not No. 6. Consequently, by day three I began to calm down and embrace the serenity. Crucially, I never told anyone why I resigned and we got away without being chased by a giant white weather balloon.
Anyway, the point of this blog is to highlight some real antiquities within the grounds of the holiday village. Only a decade or so ago, this was fields surrounding the remains of a ruined Norman church of North Newton.
Developed into a holiday resort, the church has been preserved near the new ‘village’. The heritage signboard gives details of the evaluation trenches opened to explore the environs and promises that the church will be restored as a place of worship. For now it remains a prisoner, defiant against its landscaped and transformed surroundings, a fabulous and ruinous Pembrokeshire medieval church imprisoned by holiday cabins and fun…. Will it ever escape?