The town of Pembroke is steeped in history, dating back to the 11th century when Arnulf of Mongomery 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 middle of the 13th Century. William de Valence, one time Mayor of Pembroke, is thought to have been responsible for girdling 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 be 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, and eventually surrendered after prolonged bargaining, but not before Cromwell’s men had laid siege to the town with artillery and inflicted much damage.
Arguably, the main contribution of the Industrial Revolution was the railway, which had already done much to open up communication in rural areas of Britain and which reached Pembroke as a standard gauge line from Tenby in 1863. Connection with one of the arteries of Brunel’s broad gauge Great Western Railway at Whitland was made a few years later.