In the 1850s and 1860s, a remarkable number of families from south Pembrokeshire left their homes to begin a new life thousands of miles away in what was then the Wild West of America.

Many of the menfolk were coal miners from Landshipping and Stepaside, and few can have previously ventured more than a dozen miles from their homes before embarking on a hazardous sea voyage across the Atlantic, to be followed by a thousand-mile overland trek by ox-cart.

The reason for this extraordinary exodus is that they had been converted to the Mormon faith and were intent on joining the community of Latter-day Saints on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Mormon missionaries such as Penally-born Daniel Williams preached with great success in Pembrokeshire, despite often facing hostile opposition from jeering crowds, and hundreds of converts answered the call to emigrate.

The remarkable story of Mormonism in Pembrokeshire is the subject of the next talk hosted by the Pembrokeshire Historical Society. The speaker will be Jill Morris from Swansea, a leading historian of the Mormon church in south Wales, and all are welcome to this event which takes place at Tabernacle Chapel, Haverfordwest, on Friday, March 3 at 7.30pm.