Norman Walks: East Gate

Step 7 - The East Gate

  • Location : Pembroke
  • Length : 2 miles
  • Parking : Next to Pembroke Castle
  • Picnics spots :There are benches and scenic views throughout the walk
  • Accessibility : Generally quite a flat gentle stroll with one relatively steep incline
  • Description of this walk : A circular walk around the town of Pembroke

Turn up Gooses Lane, past a well-preserved medieval defensive tower, and climb the sloping ridge - back to the Main Street.

You are now in the East Ward, the newer part of the town, and an area that was devastated by the Black Death in the years after 1349.

Pembroke's East Gate used to straddle the street here, across what is now called East End Square. It was the largest and most significant of the town's three gates but was destroyed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell in 1648. None of the gate now remains. In the complex and complicated history of the English Civil War, Pembroke - under the control of its Mayor John Poyer - declared first for Parliament and then, in 1647, for the King.

Pembroke Castle
Following the Royalist defeat at St Fagans on 8 May 1648, the remaining forces under John Poyer and Rowland Laugharne took refuge in Pembroke

Following the Royalist defeat at St Fagans, the remaining forces under Poyer and Rowland Laugharne took refuge in Pembroke. The siege lasted for seven weeks and only ended when Oliver Cromwell himself appeared. Poyer was expecting relief from the forces of Prince Charles and had "laid in" several weeks' supplies. Relief never came and, with food and water running low, had no alternative but to surrender.

Poyer, Laugharne and Rice Powell (who had held the town of Tenby for the king) were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. In the end Parliament decided on leniency. Only one man would die. Poyer was the unlucky one, his fate being decided when a child drew lots to see who would survive - a strange decision for a Puritan government. Poyer was shot by firing squad on 25 April 1649.

Many of the houses in this part of the town are Georgian in origin. The town's second important church, St Michael's, is also to be found here. Originally a Norman church with a "stunted tower," it was rebuilt in 1835 and again in 1887.


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