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. A questionable decision, as Pembroke was the only town in Wales to do so.
Together with a group of sympathisers, Poyer occupied the castle and eventually surrendered after prolonged bargaining, but not before Cromwell himself came to Pembroke to supervise a two month long siege which caused significant damage to both the castle and the town. Pembroke eventually fell in July 1648, and Poyer was subsequently executed in the following year.
Despite the trials and tribulations of the 17th century, Pembroke would become, in the words of Daniel Defoe, in his 3 volume work “A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain” published between 1724 and 1727 ‘the largest, the richest, and at this time the most flourishing town of all South Wales’.