THE DOMINICAN FRIARS OF HAVERFORDWEST: THEIR SITES AND LANDS BEFORE AND AFTER THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MONASTERIES Introduction The arrival of the Dominican (Black) Friars in Haverfordwest was the product of a new movement which affected the whole of Europe in the thirteenth century. The original monastic principle that a monk must live apart from the world and follow under strict rules a life of prayer, study and contemplation was broadened by Dominic Guzman who was born in 1170. The order of St. Dominic which was founded in 1215 gave the brothers, or 'fratres', a more attractive life. The new orders stated that they were to go out into the community to teach and to preach the gospel, relying on alms and charity for support. In 1221 thirteen of the new Dominicans led by Friar Gilbert of Fresnoy were sent by St. Dominic from Bologna to England. When they arrived at Canterbury they presented themselves to the Archibishop, Stephen de Langton, who was so impressed by Father Gilbert's sermons that he commended them to other places in England. One of these places was Oxford where they began teaching and preaching according to their order using words that ordinary people could understand.(l) In 1221, when Henry III visited Oxford to celebrate Christmas he expressed his pleasure with the friars by encouraging earls and barons to follow his example and give generously to their cause. The number of friars in England grew rapidly and there is evidence of their arrival in Wales before 1240. Five Dominican houses were set up in Wales, at Bangor, Brecon, Cardiff, Haverfordwest and Rhuddlan.(2)