Welcome to Pembroke Town Trail

The medieval town of Pembroke, birthplace of Henry Tudor, is one of the oldest boroughs in Wales. Dominated by its magnificent castle founded in 1093 by Arnulf de Montgomery, Pembroke grew prosperous through its sea trade under the powerful rule of the Earls of Pembroke, the greatest of whom was William Marshal.  The historic core of the town was established then and is still apparent today: one long main street flanked by shops and houses constructed in burgage plots and surrounded by town walls.

Pembroke Castle is famous as the birthplace of the Tudor dynasty.  Here in 1457 13 year old Margaret Beaufort gave birth to the future Henry VII whilst under the protection of her brother-in-law, Jasper Earl of Pembroke.  On his death the Earldom passed to Henry VIII who later bestowed the title of Lady Marquess of Pembroke on Anne Boleyn.

Pembroke again rose to pre-eminence during the 17th Century Civil Wars when Cromwell himself came to Pembroke to oversee the destruction of the Castle and its walls.  While Pembroke was never again to assume national importance, the 18th Century saw a revival of its fortunes and was described by Daniel Defoe as “the largest, richest, and at this time the most flourishing town in all of south Wales”.

The following centuries witnessed great changes and fluctuations in the fortunes of Pembroke as it evolved from thriving port and agricultural centre to the tourist destination it is today.

So follow Pembroke’s Town Trail – there is so much more to discover about our historic town.

Pembroke Town Artwork by S.G. Lewis