Jemima Nicholas

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Gravestone of Jemima Nicholas outside St Mary's Church, Fishguard

Jemima Nicholas (also spelt Niclas; c. 1750 – July 1832), also known as Jemima Fawr, was a Welsh heroine during the 1797 Battle of Fishguard (commonly known as the last invasion of Britain).

Early life[edit]

Jemima Nicholas was the daughter of William and Elinor Nicholas of Llanrhian, and was baptised in Mathry in 1755.[1][2] She was a cobbler or a cobbler's wife.[3][4]

The Battle of Fishguard[edit]

In 1797, 1400 French troops, many of them drawn from prisons,[5] sailed from Camaret and landed at Llanwnda in Wales.[6] Armed with a pitchfork, Nicholas led a group of women and rounded up twelve French soldiers who had been drinking, and held them captive inside a locked church overnight. The French surrendered shortly afterwards at the Royal Oak.[1] She was awarded a lifetime pension for her efforts.[7]

A Jemima Nicholas was also involved with rioting in Fishguard in 1824, though she was not convicted of any crime.[8]


She died at the age of 82, in 1832. Her grave in Fishguard[9] was marked with a plaque in 1897, on the occasion of the invasion's centennial. She is featured in the Last Invasion Tapestry commissioned by the Fishguard Arts Society for the 200th anniversary of the invasion. The 100 foot long tapestry is housed in its own gallery in the library attached to Fishguard Town Hall.[10][11]

In 2019, a hat said to have belonged to Jemima Nicholas sold by one of her brother's descendants at a charity auction, for £5000. The buyer was a distant relative who lived in Australia.[12][13]

The town of Fishguard had an official Jemima Nicholas re-enactor, Yvonne Fox, until her death in 2010;[3] A new Jemima, Jacqui Scarr, was named in 2013.[14]

A children's book about Nicholas, Jemima Nicholas: Heroine of the Fishguard Invasion by Sian Lewis, was published in 2012, as part of a series on Welsh women's history.[7][15]

Jemima Nicholas was included in the list of 100+ Welsh women who have made a significant contribution to Welsh life produced by WEN Wales.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Invasion heroine's records find". BBC News. 4 April 2006. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Jemima steps out of the shadows". Tenby Observer. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b Hancock, Lucy (2019). "Jemima Nicholas, a Fishguard Heroine". Coastal Cottages. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  4. ^ Hayward, Will (28 October 2017). "The Welsh woman with a pitchfork who faced down an invading army". WalesOnline. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  5. ^ Shakespeare, Andrew-Paul (22 February 2019). "The Glorious Army of France, Beaten by a Bunch of Girls!". Medium. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  6. ^ Johnson, Ben. "The last invasion of Britain by the French at Fishguard". Historic UK. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  7. ^ a b "The Royal Oak, Fishguard". Land of Legends. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  8. ^ Lewis, Mike (3 May 2017). "Did heroine Jemima have a later brush with the law?". County Echo. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  9. ^ "The Parish of Fishguard". The Church in Wales. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  10. ^ "The Last Invasion Tapestry". Fishguard Library. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Jemima the Great and the Fishguard Tapestry". Historic Houston. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  12. ^ "War heroine's traditional hat sells for £5,000". BBC News. 25 August 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  13. ^ Lewis, Mike (1 August 2019). "Last Invasion heroine Jemima Nicholas' relative flies in from Oz". County Echo. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  14. ^ "New actress to play invasion heroine". BBC News. 11 April 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  15. ^ Lewis, Siân, 1945- (2012). Jemima Nicholas : heroine of the Fishguard Invasion. Howells, Graham. Llanrwst: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. ISBN 978-1-84527-364-4. OCLC 782986756.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ "100+WELSH WOMEN". WEN Wales. Retrieved 28 October 2020.