Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire
A thirty second exposure of Pembroke Castle.
Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied since, at least, the Roman period. Yet its history is one of inheritance and acquisition not wars and sieges.
The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by Cleddau Estuary. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.
In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. The Earl Marshal then set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle.
In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral stairwell was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.
In the 15th and 16th centuries the castle was a place of peace. But at the outbreak of the English Civil War, although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven.
Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew. But in 1648, when the war was at its close, Pembroke's leaders changed sides and led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their own purposes.
The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880 when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until World War I veteran Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle in 1928 and started an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses and towers. After his death a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke Town council.
* This image is a Limited Edition Print of 450 for all prints larger than 12"x8".
Location: Pembroke Castle