The Story of Tenby








Cap-a-Pie suit of armour









Penny Farthing bicycle









Robert Recorde Display – Inventor of the Equals (=) Sign

Recently refurbished stairwell








Forged in Wales








Forged In Wales – officially opened by Kenneth Griffith’s daughter, Dr Eva Griffith









Tenby In Two Words

Tenby In Two Words



















Story of Tenby

  • History
  • Research

The Story of Tenby Gallery traces the history of the town from the 9th century through to the present day. The gallery features bilingual interpretive panels, photographs and artefacts from the museum’s collections as well as a Kid’s Corner where children can enjoy doing drawings and quiz sheets.

In the gallery you can learn about Henry Tudor’s legendary escape from the town, discover which Tenby born mathematician invented the equals (=) sign, read about the decline and growth of the town as a resort, uncover Tenby’s exciting involvement in the lead up to the D-Day landings during World War II, learn about the time when pigs roamed the streets and find out exactly what the dramatic building is on St Catherine’s Island. There is also the chance to see how the town has altered since 1586 from a painting by Eric Bradforth and model by John Horne and provides the history of St Mary’s Church, the Civil War and the plague and other fascinating tales from the ebb and flow of Tenby’s fortunes.

Highlights of the gallery include a 19th century Minton Monk’s Rock meat plate, a 19th century Penny Farthing high-wheeled bicycle, a John Speed map of Pembrokeshire from the 17th century and a Cap-a-Pie suit of armour.

The museum is grateful to Tenby Town Council in assisting with the purchase of a large showcase.

A ten minute film in this gallery gives a fascinating insight into the growth of Tenby as a tourist resort and features moving image, postcards, photographs and reminiscence from the museum's collection. There is a Youtube link to this film below.

There is also a hands on display for children entitled Become A History Detective. Funding for this was provided by the Friends of Tenby Museum and Port of Milford Haven.

The museum is also grateful to the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries in Wales for financial assistance with the interpretive panels in this gallery.

The Story of Tenby on YouTube
You can even try a spell in our stocks if you wish!


Robert Recorde was born in Tenby c1510, the son of Thomas Recorde, Mayor of Tenby in 1519. At the age of 15 Robert went to Oxford University and after gaining a B.A. and probably an M.A., he was elected a Fellow of All Souls College in 1531 teaching mathematics. Robert then went to Cambridge where he continued his studies and became a Doctor of Medicine in 1545. Here he taught astrology, explained cosmology and illustrated geometry and music.
Recorde's book The Whetstone of Witte, published in 1557, is the first book where the modern equals (=) sign was used.
He died in 1558 in King's Bench Prison, Southwark.

The display on Robert Recorde is housed in an area which also shows a recreated Antiquarian's Study based on the collections of Rev. Gilbert Smith, whose collections formed the basis of the museum's original collections in 1878. Work is currently underway on creating a changing display space for natural history collections in this area.

The foyer now houses a small maritime exhibition.

The stairwell area features displays on Dylan Thomas and Roald Dahl.

This area also houses the piracy display where children can dress up as a pirate and the Sedan Chair, conserved in 2012 with assistance from the AIM Conservation Grant scheme supported by Pilgrim Trust and the Friends of Tenby Museum. See if you can spot the raven in the pirate display!

FORGED IN WALES, housed in the second gallery upstairs, is drawn from a private collection and archive material from the museum’s collection, examines the work of five important contributors to cinema, all of whom came from Wales – Richard Burton, Stanley Baker, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Sheen and Kenneth Griffith.

These iconic cultural icons of cinema have played integral roles in ensuring Wales’ cultural importance and relevance to cinephiles and the film industry. Four of them hailed from the Welsh valleys around Port Talbot and one was born and continued to visit Tenby. “I am enormously proud of being Welsh,” Richard Burton once declared. And this exhibition shows that we should be enormously proud of the talent and contribution to the arts that has originated here. Long may that tradition continue.


This site-specific artwork began life in the Easter of 2013. It is a display that asked viewers to respond to the question: what two words remind you of Tenby?

The colours of the words relate to a palette created from a photograph taken looking through each window. So the existence of sky, sea, sand and grass can be witnessed in the shades of each word.
The word ‘Tenby’ was also used in the description so each image has a local link.

The artist would like to thank everyone who gave words, and in turn, life to this series of paintings.

Tenby in Two Words is on display in the Story of Tenby Gallery.