Pembroke Castle

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Pembroke Castle (Welsh: Castell Penfro) is a medieval castle in Pembroke, West Wales.

The first castle was established in 1093 during the Norman invasion of Wales. However its present appearance owes much to William Marshal, one of the most powerful men in 12th-Century Britain.

Contents

Construction

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by Pembroke River. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.[1]

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. The Earl Marshal then set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral stairwell connected its four storeys. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward.[1]

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral stairwell was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres (16 ft) thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

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