Pembroke Story


Learning to use the Records Office April 2010 - photo L Asman Discussing illustrations for the Monkton Heritage Leaflet with artist George Lewis

The group has been getting to grips with learning how to research our past and visits have been organised to the Records Office and Reference Library, Haverfordwest.  The staff have been extremely helpful, opening up specially for us in the evening and giving us a talk.  The experience was so interesting that it was hard to get everyone away in time!

Discovering our past is central to what we do, and to this end we have a project 'The Story of Pembroke' which will result in the production of a series of Interpretation Panels depicting our history through the ages.  Chairman Linda Asman and local historian Terry John are leading the way in this project.

The results of this work is being assembled on our History Pages - this is a gradual process and they are by no means complete so keep coming back if you are interested!  

But If you think researching our history is all about pouring over books then you are wrong.  Members of the Pembroke and Monkton Local History Society have also been trekking over fields, clambering over fences to investigate our past. 

In Search of Ancient Wells

Whilst researching Monkton’s history, we came across an entry in the ‘Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments in Wales’ (1922) which listed St Nicholas’s Well.  No one seemed to know anything about this well, but we found it described in “Sacred Springs:in search of the Holy wells and Spas of Wales" by Paul Davis. It once served the Benedictine priory  and the priors were probably responsible for tapping the source and directing the stream to the Priory along an open culvert.  So we decided to go in search of it.  With considerable difficulty we found a quite amazing, domed stone chamber, well hidden in undergrowth between fields at the head of the spring.   It is this well that actually feeds into the ‘old conduit’ at the Watery Lane junction, opposite Church Terrace and the Priory Church.  This is described in our heritage leaflet as the place where once the drovers watered their cattle. 


Spurred on by this discovery, we went to look for another Monkton well and close by is Norgan’s well which is rather better known in Monkton’s history.  The well is now enclosed in a modern conduit but we found the strucuture to be in a bad way. A tree growing through it has dislodged some of the brickwork and the capping stones are falling away.   Breeze blocks now replace the old iron grill which lay discarded on the ground beside it and this had obviously been done recently.

The Story of the Cat Stone

Norgan’s Well has a really interesting story attached to it.  I first heard this story from Terry John who took us on a “Civil War” walk last year.  In May 1648 Pembroke was besieged by a Parliamentary force of around 6,000 men and for 6 whole weeks the garrison, led by Pembroke’s mayor John Poyer, held out against the might of Cromwell himself.  However, the story goes that Pembroke was forced into submission by the cutting off the water supply which was directed from Norgan’s well along pipes into the castle.  Its location was betrayed by a traitor named Edmunds who, it is said, did not benefit from his treachery: he was hanged near the spot and a cat stone placed over his grave.  Some people dismiss this story but others believe it: it is in any case part of local legend and it is stories like this which make history so interesting.  That being said, the stone does exist.  It was later incorporated into the perimeter wall of the old Monkton School and, after its demolition, taken to the Castle. 























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