Primrose Hill Cottage

Located adjacent to the railway line that once ran through Rosemarket and a short distance from the former Upper Rosemarket Crossing, Primrose Hill Cottage has a fascinating history. Working with Roy Foster, owner of the property for over 24 years, and combining memories from Rosemarket residents, we are proud to tell its story.

The original part of the property is believed to date back to the 1860s, perhaps even earlier, with the entire plot extending to approximately seven acres, with a couple of small outbuildings, one of which was possibly a pigsty. The cottage itself was small, with two bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen, bathroom and attached coal store. It had a central front door, a small window either side to the front and a small entrance porch. Although single storey, it was elevated as the ground level is about six feet higher than the roadway. There was a small retaining wall either side of the gateway and on the right-hand side within this wall was a small recess within which was one of the village wells.

Historical maps show the well on the perimeter of the property on the roadside, for which Rosemarket residents recall sourcing their water before the arrival of mains water to the village. Future renovations identified a below-ground well closer to the property and was thought to be the owners private access to the same source of water.

Electoral records during the 1940s show Richard J Owen as living there during this time and interestingly, the property address is listed as ‘Primrose Hill, Rosemarket Crossing’. Indeed, the property shares its postcode with just two other properties, either side of the nearby former railway crossing.

Mr & Mrs Isted moved in c1950 and became well known for the garden nursery they established in the grounds. Primrose Hill Nursery sold flowers, plants and a range of vegetables. For some years they also ran a stall in the market hall in Haverfordwest on a Saturday, selling their flowers and plants.

In later years and after the passing of Mr Isted, Mrs Isted continued to live at Primrose Hill and was the victim of a terrible crime. One evening in September 1985, whilst 75-year old Mrs Isted was alone in the property, there was a break-in and she was threatened with violence. Newspaper reports at the time detailed how Mrs Isted had her hands tied by hooded intruders who ransacked her home, stealing jewellery and cash.

No-one was ever formally identified and charged with the crime although in subsequent years, similar incidents were happening around the village and in the neighbouring villages of Sardis, Honeyborough and Hazelbeach, each becoming more violent and with the perpetrator being armed with a shotgun. This perpetrator was eventually apprehended some years later and who interestingly only lived a mile away from Primrose Hill. At the time of arrest, many formed the opinion that perhaps the offence at Primrose Hill was the forerunner of what was later to come to many. Reference is indeed made to this crime in a book entitled ‘The Pembrokeshire Murders – catching the Bullseye killer’, by Steve Wilkins.

The next owners of Primrose Hill were Mr & Mrs Lymer and family, who moved in during 1989, with their children attending Rosemarket School. In 1990, plans were drawn up for ‘extensions and alternations’ to the property. It is believed that the original plans included demolition of the original cottage but permission was refused and new plans that incorporated the original cottage were drawn up and subsequently approved.

When the Lymer family moved overseas in 1998, Mr & Mrs Foster came to Primrose Hill to enjoy their retirement. Estate agent particulars from the time describe the property as a ‘6 bedroom, L-shaped dormer bungalow with approximately seven acres of woodland garden’.

Primrose Hill Cottage in 1998

Interestingly, the map provided by the estate agent to illustrate the plot in 1998 was actually taken from an earlier image as it looks to be prior to the developments undertaken by the Lymer family – and indeed still showed the original property and outbuildings, as well as being entitled ‘Primrose Hill Nursery’.


Mr & Mrs Foster added a conservatory later in 1998 and renovated the two outbuildings, now a workshop and garage. As the years passed, the grounds became too much to maintain themselves and so the sloping field at the far end of the plot was eventually sold to a local farmer. Today, Primrose Hill Cottage retains much of its early charm, set in beautifully maintained gardens, a particular passion of Mrs Foster, who sadly passed away in 2022.

Front view of Primrose Hill Cottage, 2023


Side view of Primrose Hill Cottage, 2023, showing conservatory added in 1998


Gardens of Primrose Hill Cottage, 2023

 Rosemarket Local History Society would like to thank Roy Foster for his contributions as well as the Rosemarket residents who kindly shared their memories of Primrose Hill.