All photography provided by Pembroke Castle

The town of Pembroke is steeped in history, dating back to the 11th century when Arnulf of Montgomery raised an earth and timber fortification on the banks of the Pembroke River. Although something of an outpost, it was considered to be of sufficient strategic value to justify progressive strengthening over the next 150 years, the first stone structure on the site dating from the beginning of the 13th Century. William de Valence, one time Mayor of Pembroke, is thought to have been responsible for encircling the town with walls at some time during this period.

It was while a guest of her brother-in-law, Jasper, at Pembroke Castle in 1457 that Margaret Beaufort, widow of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, gave birth to Henry Tudor.

He was to become the founder of a dynasty that was to have a profound effect on the course of history far beyond the confines of Wales. Prosperity developed in the Middle Ages with the establishment of the woollen trade, originating from the activities of Flemish immigrants, but by the 16th Century it had declined.

Pembroke came into prominence during the Civil War when, in 1648, John Poyer, Mayor of the town declared for the King in spite of strong local support for the Parliament. Together with a group of sympathisers Poyer occupied the Castle, by this time a formidable stronghold. Cromwell failed to take the Castle after an eight week siege but on 10th July 1648 his great siege guns arrived and destroyed the north gate of the town. The defenders surrendered the next day without another shot being fired.


In 1977 the medieval town was declared an Outstanding Conservation Area and in 1981 about 90 of the properties were designated Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest – including the town walls.
— Pembroke Town Guide