Pembroke Castle first sprung into existence as a Norman motte-and-bailey in 1093 - meaning some kind of castle has stood on the site for 921 years! - beside the River Cleddau in Pembrokeshire. It's the original seat of the Earldom of Pembroke, the birthplace of Henry VII and the place from which the Second English Civil War began. That's a lot of history!
The Castle went through a lot of restoration work in the early 20th century, meaning that it's a beautiful place to visit and there's still so much there to explore and walk around. The steps were pretty steep and slippery though; I almost broke my neck walking up and down them, so I have no idea how women managed it in their floor-length dresses!
Inside there were lots of long, dripping hallways and narrow windows and murder holes. It was very atmospheric, and really inspiring for my NaNo project this year!
One of the best things I saw while I was there was this little tidbit of information regarding the beginning of the Tudor dynasty:
|Sounds like a great party!|
I love me some Tudor history. The main reason I wanted to visit Pembroke Castle is because it is the birthplace of Henry VII, the first Tudor King who won the Wars of the Roses and began the Tudor dynasty.
|Lady Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII's mother.|
|Baby Henry VII and his nursemaid.|
It turns out that Pembroke Castle is also home to one of the only remaining Medieval dungeons that was originally built as a dungeon; many dungeons were originally built as cellars!
|I quite like this shot of the dungeon tower through the arch.|
During the Medieval period dungeons were reserved for nobility, most of the lower classes were either fined, maimed or executed. Then again, judging by the sad story of John Whithorne, being a member of the nobility wasn't really any better than any other punishment.
|A mannequin of Whithorne in the dungeon.|
Oh, and it turns out there's a cave under Pembroke Castle that's been there since the Romans were around!
So if you ever find yourself in Pembrokeshire I recommend checking out Pembroke Castle, it's a fantastic day out!