A LEADING Pembrokeshire local historian and author and one of the county’s characters, Roscoe Howells of Amroth, has died at the age of 94.

Born in Saundersfoot in 1919, Mr Howells began his working life as a dairy farmer but was to establish a career as a prolific and passionate writer, with the Pembrokeshire countryside and landscape, and its people, at the heart of his books, newspaper and magazine articles.

His observations - frequently controversial - on rural life and personalities had a wide readership in newspapers and farming publications, and he was proud to be the first member in Wales of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists.

His most recent book, published when he was 90, was There 'Tis Then - a rural miscellany compiled from his writings, and named after the trademark phrase that he would use to sign off his articles.

In a tribute, veteran Pembrokeshire author and journalist Derek Rees - who was a former president of the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society - described Mr Howells as “a larger-than-life character and a man of many parts - journalist, columnist, local historian, author, farmer, campaigner and raconteur."

Mr Rees added: "He enjoyed being controversial and could occasionally be cussed, irascible and cantankerous, but his love of his native Pembrokeshire and particularly Amroth, Saundersfoot and the Pembrokeshire Islands, shone through in his writings during the past 70 years.

“Few people knew more about the history of his favourite places than he did, and he was always ready to fight worthy causes and what he perceived as the shortcomings of officialdom. He campaigned successfully to improve official response to the scourge of brucellosis - of which he had personal experience as a dairy farmer, losing his whole herd without compensation - and a successful exhibitor of pedigree Guernsey cattle.

“As a writer, his output was prodigious and in his determination to write novels he enlisted the advice and aid of no less a tutor than Alexander Cordell.

"He will undoubtedly be missed by his wife and general factotum, Margaret; his friends and his adversaries."

Mr Howells passed away on Monday of last week at Park House Court Nursing Home, Tenby, where he had been a resident for just over a year.

His funeral takes place tomorrow (Thursday), when a service at St Bride’s Catholic Church, Saundersfoot at 10.45am will be followed by cremation at Parc Gwyn at 12.15pm.