The ruins that exist today have been restored over the last century.
At one end of Pembroke town lies the West Gate and castle, the East Gate is the length of the town away. The river provided a natural defence on the north side and a deep escarpment protected the south. Roger Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury was responsible for the Norman infiltration into South-West Wales and in 1093 his son Arnulf was granted Pembroke where the first stake and turf fortress was built. Gerald of Windsor was made custodian and ‘deposited all his riches, his wife and family and fortified it with a ditch and wall with a gate with a lock on it’. N 1096, Cadwgan ap Bleddyn besieged Pembroke but was fooled by Gerald into believing they had abundant food and could hold out, the attack was abandoned. In 1138 the earldom of Pembroke was created by King Stephen and conferred on Gilbert de Clare who began fortifying the castle which was then used as a base during the Irish campaigns and took a significant part in the conquest of Ireland.
The castle changed hands as did the structure. Through marriage, William Marshall 1189 transformed the defences. His major contribution to Pembroke was the monumental circular keep which dominates not only the castle but the entire town and countryside. The cylindrical structure was 72 feet in height, contained two floors with a spiral staircase which led to the battlements. The entire structure was roofed with a dome. Later, William de Valence was responsible for the outer defences, their six towers and handsome gatehouse. In 1456, Jasper Tudor, and earl of Pembroke entertained his sister-in-law, Margaret Beaufort while her husband Edmund, earl of Richmond was fighting for the Lancastrian cause in a neighbouring county, where he died a prisoner in Carmarthen Castle leaving a fifteen year old widow. Three months later she gave birth to Henry Tudor, the future King Henry V11 in the tower which still bears his name. The boy was brought up by his uncle until the age of fourteen, the hostility between the Yorkists and Lancastrians put his claim the throne in great danger. He fled to Brittany returning in 1485 when supporters started a claim against Richard 111 which ended in victory at Bosworth Field.
Daily until September 9.30 to 6pm
Shorter hours during the winter
Admission: £3.50 adults - £2.50 concession – Family : 2 adults 2 children under 16 £10.
Children under 5years free.
Dogs admitted only on a lead. Picnics welcomed
Location Town Centre
Click here for the Pembroke Castle website
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015