Roy & Rona Archer

Who were Roy and Rona Archer? Why is there a bench dedicated to Roy and Rona Archer at Newport Parrog, Pembrokeshire?

Small silver plaque mounted on wood engraved with the dedication to Roy and Rona Archer
The dedication to Roy & Rona Archer on the bench overlooking Cwm at Newport Parrog.

For most of his working life Roy was a lecturer at Chester Teacher Training College and Rona ran the college bookshop. This meant that they both had the benefit of long summer breaks from work. As their elder children advanced through their teens, each year there were ever more reasons why the family summer holiday couldn’t be taken at a particular time and had to fit in between one child being away at a camp and the other being away at something else, plus Roy and Rona’s own commitments.

Enough! Something had to change or they’d never get away.

Sometime in late 1966 or early ’67, Rona was talking to her sister Marion and the idea emerged that they might holiday together. A couple of years previously, Marion’s stepson had enjoyed a visit to the little seaside town of Newport, Pembrokeshire, that none of us had heard of at the time but that sounded like a good holiday destination. From that emerged 15 years of lengthy holidays in the area for Roy and Rona and, as work allowed, Maz and Cam. Children were welcome to join of course but if they had activities to get to then they would jolly well have to depart from and return to Pembs – that’s where we lived for most of August. As the youngest child (I was 4 in ’67), these were the only holidays I knew – and I never wanted any other.

The family group on and around the bench
Two generations of descendents gathered at the bench .
A dinghy under sail. We see the beach in the background. The dinghy's number, W1824, is prominent
Blue Admiral under sail in Newport Bay, 1970

Roy was a craftsman who made beautiful furniture. In the late 60s he turned his hand to boat building and, using a Small Craft Construction Kit, built Blue Admiral, Wayfarer No. 1824, which was moored at Parrog every summer.

A major factor in our holidays was the tide times at Parrog. My job each year, around May-June time, would be to take the Liverpool tide table (i.e. the one readily available in Chester where we lived) and compile the Newport Parrog timetable, subtracting 4 hours from the Liverpool times.

Looking landwards along a narrow estuary with sand exposed to the left and rocks to the right.
The view along the estuary towards Parrog on an ebb tide

That’s why the location of the bench overlooking the estuary at Cwm is so perfect. Many was the time the wind dropped just as we were near Carregedrywy (the rock off the headland, Pen-y-bâl) and so we only just got back before the tide fell too low; or we had to get out and push across the sand bar because Dad had hoped there was enough water to not have to get that close to the rocks.

Newport Parrog was the location for some of the happiest days in the lives of Roy and Rona Archer. If you came to this page having been curious about the bench’s dedication, may your days here be as happy.

The picture shows the back of the bench at head height when sitting and therefore the view across the bay
The view from the bench across Newport Bay to Pen-y-bâl with Carregedrywy just off to its left.