Pembroke Castle, Inner Courtyard
This summer my husband and I took a little trip down to the Pembrokeshire coast and decided to visit the astonishing Pembroke Castle.
I am a complete history nerd so a trip to a castle is my idea of heaven and this little beauty did not disappoint!
Pembroke Castle has a phenomenal history. It is also in amazing condition! So you can actually walk around the same rooms as such people as William Marshal and Henry VII!
Pembroke Castle is famous for being the birthplace of Henry VII in 1457. The castle belonged to Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke and uncle to Henry. Henry’s father, Edmund Tudor, had previously been Earl of Pembroke before his untimely death. Jasper invited the pregnant Margret Beauford, wife of Edmund, to stay at the castle and here she had Henry.
It is also where in the twelfth century Henry II plotted the invasion of Ireland with Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke. Richard had inherited Irish lands from his wife’s father, who was an Irish King. Henry II saw this and he too wanted supremacy in Ireland. He spent four months in Pembroke Castle devising his strategy that would ultimately end in his conquest of Ireland.
William Marshall, greatest knight in English history held the position of Earl of Pembroke through marriage to his wife, Isabel de Clare in 1189.
Due to its fantastic condition you can visit the room where Henry was born. A plaque was erected to commemorate his birth and is still visible.
You can walk around all the rooms and walls of the castle. Some contain exhibitions describing its origins in the eleventh century and how each Lord made improvements into the magnificent structure it is today.
Within the grounds are the ruins of the Lord’s and Earl’s houses where they would have lived with their families. Underneath is an absolutely fabulous cavern that you can reach from a spiral staircase. This natural space was used to store food for the castle and is absolutely fascinating!
The grounds also hold the keep. The keep at Pembroke Castle is unusual because it has a stone, domed roof. Other keeps of this period had wooden roofs. A keep is a large stone tower where the family and men of a castle could retreat to in times of invasion. Once inside wooden steps to the only door on the first floor would be destroyed and the family would be safe inside.
When invaders were targeting castles, their flaming projectiles would set the roof on fire and force the family out. Not so with Pembroke Castle. The stone roof deflected anything directed at it back towards the invaders.
The keep is still in excellent condition. A door at ground level has been tunnelled out. A spiral staircase leads you up to the roof level with fantastic views of Pembroke and the surrounding area.
View from the Keep
This really is a place you can spend a whole day exploring. The exhibitions are really informative and interesting. The castle provides daily guided tours which show you the main points of interest around the castle and I definitely recommend!
It is also dog friendly. Your pooch is allowed in all areas of the castle and there is plenty of space for his to roam in the grounds.
There is a café onsite and plenty of space with picnic tables if you want to bring your own food with you,
If you’re in the Pembroke area definitely add this to your must visit list. This stunning castle is full of history and architecture that will keep you busy all day long.