Each street has a name and history! Learn about the Quaker families from Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, explore the whaling trade and how their impact remains in Milford today.
Before the town of Milford Haven was founded, the Vikings would use the waterway to shelter during the winter and ships from Ireland would dock at the small village of Hakin. Later, in 1790 Sir William Hamilton obtained an Act of Parliament to allow him to build a port. He had inherited the land from his wife so he and his nephew, Charles Greville, invited Quaker families from Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in America to settle here, build the new town and develop a whaling fleet.
Twenty three Quaker families arrived over the next few years, the first ones arriving on a ship called ‘The Maria.’ These families brought many skills with them which helped with the building of the new town. The Quaker families built a Meeting House which is still in use in the town and where many of the founding families are buried. The 1st row of houses - now known as Hamilton Terrace (or Front Street as the locals call it) were built overlooking the harbour for the whaling captains. Many of these original Quaker families gave their names to streets in the new town like Starbuck Road and Fulke Street. The Milford Haven whaling fleet would sail to the southern oceans to hunt whales. The blubber was used for street lighting in cities like London. Some of the whale bones were used in items like corsets and soap. You can still see the grade 2 listed building of the home of Samuel Starbuck up on ‘doctors hill’ c1800.
One of the oldest buildings in the town is now the Museum. Originally it was a warehouse where the whale oil was stored before being sent to the cities. The famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel wanted to use the Haven for transatlantic ships to sail to America and so the docks were started in the 1870s but when the docks opened in 1888 the first vessel to come in was a fishing boat called The Sybil. This led to the amazing fishing heritage we have today.
These stories have been researched and written by the pupils of Milford Haven School, who have used their creativity to tell the stories of Milford Haven’s history in their own words.
Discover Milford Haven's history
The tide has brought invaders, crusaders, would-be kings, sea merchants, admirals, pirates and global energy leaders, up the Cleddau estuary to the safe haven of Milford. They’ve all played a part in our extraordinary story.