Return to Research Topics.

The First Civil War.

It would appear that most if not all of the action involving Pembrokeshire in the Civil Wars was concentrated in the south of the County.

No record of personal bravery can be attributed to those who commanded or led for the King within the county - with the sole exception of that of John Gwyn, governor of Tenby, who paid for this dubious distinction with his life. He was, in any case, a Carmarthenshire man.

It is no less obvious that when the forces of the Parliament were confronted by a more professional soldiery under Colonel Gerard they were marked by a similar lack of determination, a deficiency minimised in their case by the greater experience and commitment of Rowland Laugharne and a few of his officers, and by the possession of defensible towns in Pembroke and Tenby, on which they could fall back.

The Parliamentary cause was supported in Pembrokeshire principally by a group of men motivated mainly by what may be called 'anti-Popery and the experience of Ireland'. . Irish immigrants were already concentrated in that part of the county which was most vulnerable, near the chief ports, and doubts had plainly been raised in some minds about their true allegiance.

Other Prominant figures.

John Wogan, in his old age, was one of two members of Parliament for Pembrokeshire firmly associated with the Parliamentary cause. At no time did he sign any kind of declaration in favour of the King (a fact sufficient to distinguish him from almost all his fellow-gentry); his mother was Sybil, daughter of Sir Hugh Owen of Orielton. He was educated, like Sir James Perrot, at Jesus College, Oxford (as, incidentally, was Nicholas Adams); his wife was Jane Colclough of Tintern. His sons, Rowland and Thomas, served as colonel and captain, respectively, in the army of the Parliament, the latter earning a very special and in some quarters hated name as one of the regicides of 1649.

In the vicinity of, and within the town of Pembroke, prominent  families which included Parliamentry supporters were: Meyrick’s, Adam’s, Powel’s, Cheere’s, Shakerlyne’s, Lynche’s, Marychurch of Manorbier and Cuny of Welston. The Meyrick’s fought for the Parliamentary side but not in Pembrokeshire.


 In August, 1635, the King demanded ship money from the County of Pembroke. It was raised and the High Sheriff personally conveyed the specie to London, but was unfortunately drowned with his followers while crossing Ensham Ferry about the 1st of February 1636  and  part of the money lost. The money had to be raised again.


Presbyterians of Scotland became so aggressive that it was necessary to send an armed force to the north. This consisted of 6000 foot and a like number of horse. It was raised early in 1639, the Earl of Arundel receiving the command, the Earl of Essex being nominated Lieutenant-General. The latter according to Clarendon was "The most popular man in the kingdom, and the darling of the swordsmen." The army for service in Scotland was raised by general levy, towards which the County of Pembroke contributed 150 men. Two demonstrations were made against the Scots but not a single shot fired or a man injured on either side. On June 18th peace was signed and the armies disbanded.


Charles was terribly pressed for ready money. Indeed so great were his difficulties that after a lapse of more than eleven years he summoned a Parliament to meet him on April 13, 1640. In this assembly John Wogan of Wiston represented the county. Sir John Stepney of Prendergast was elected for the Pembroke Boroughs, and Sir Hugh Owen of Orielton for Haverfordwest. This Parliament for once and all declared that the levying of ship money was illegal.


12 May the Earl of Strafford was executed and on 23 October following, the Irish of Ulster rose in revolt, claiming an intent to rescue the King from his Parliament and confirming in the minds of all Puritans the suspicions they had had of Strafford's activities in Ireland and the involvement of the King in his plans. The Commons, appealed to by the King for money to strengthen Ormond's army in Ireland against the rebels, resolved to raise 8,000 men but also to select such officers for service in Ireland as they could trust. Sir John Meyrick of The Fleet, Monkton, and member for Ashton, was one of the first three chosen


January 14.

The Earl of Essex informed the House of Lords that he had been commanded by the King to attend at Hampton Court in his office of Lord Chamberlain and Groom of the Stole. It was resolved by the House not to dispense with his presence, and he was bidden to inform His Majesty of their decision. The King again repeated his command and again the Lords declined to let the Earl go. A third time the King bade his Chamberlain attend and in return received a somewhat insolent resolution from both houses, "That the Earls of Essex and Holland did not disobey the King by attending to their Parliamentary duties." The King then as was but natural, deprived the Earl of all office and command. This royal order marks the rupture between King Charles I. and the colonists of South Pembrokeshire. So long as the Earl served the King they were prepared to do the same, and put up with a great deal of aggravation from the high churchmen, but now that the Earl whom they knew to be a most moderate man had broken with the King the outlook was hopeless.

18th January.

Sir Hugh Owen had laid Poyer's reports about possible French aid for the Irish rebels before the Commons, who directed that Poyer, in his capacity as mayor of Pembroke, should 'stay' ships from Ross, Wexford, Kilkenny and other ports and examine both merchants and goods thoroughly.

12 February.

John Poyer informed Sir Hugh Owen (for transmission to the House of Commons) that since his last letter of 18 January 'there have been hundreds of poor English landed in Milford stript by the rebels, who do increase daily. If aid be sent to the rebels it is very likely some of them may be driven or willingly will come into the river of Milford, where 500 or 1000 are armed men, as I conceive, may possess themselves of the whole country, and fortify Pembroke town with the castle and other strong places in the said county which will not so lightly be regained'.

He also asked Sir Hugh Owen to make plain to the Commons the sad disarray of the trained bands in Pembrokeshire, not two hundred of whom could be armed adequately to repel invasion, he went on: “We have not in this brave river of Milford one piece of ordnance mounted, the trained bands are not exercised, arms provided or power granted for punishing of persons refractory in this service”.

Poyer, himself a merchant trading to Ireland, was profoundly nervous about all ships coming in from that country. There were refugees from Ireland for whose relief the member for Pembroke, Sir Hugh Owen, was in February 1642 authorised to spend £100. 3 8. And there were travellers who might not be genuine refugees, about whom John Poyer was especially concerned. Delegates from Lords and Commons together discussed the defences of Milford Haven, long decayed; dilatorily enough, they concluded that the only defence possible at short notice lay in an adequate naval force. The vulnerability of Milford and the southern Pembrokeshire ports induced Sir Hugh Owen to be more active in the House of Commons than he had ever been before.  Owen was by January 1642 authorised to formulate instructions to the mayor of Pembroke (none other than that same John Poyer) about the detention of Irish ships, their goods and the merchants aboard them as they lay in harbour. These instructions were part of Parliament's measures to counter what was announced as a Popish plot, expected to culminate in an invasion from Ireland. Magistrates were ordered to set watches, secure magazines and hold fast all fortified places.

Poyer, whose continued pressure had been instrumental in obtaining precise instructions from the Commons, co-operated with John David, mayor of Haverfordwest, in February 1642 in seizing a number of Catholics, some of them unexplainedly itinerant officers from Ormond's army, and on 31 March was thanked by the House for his services.

5 March.

Both Houses drew up a Militia Ordinance, nominating Lords lieutenant to command forces in the shires. A few months later the King answered this with his Commissions of Array, attempting to secure the same ground.

 12 July.

The Commons had formed a Committee of Safety and resolved to raise an army of 10,000 men from London and its vicinity.

July 12.

After a long debate, the two Houses of Parliament “Did choose the Earl of Essex to be Captain-General of such forces as are or shall be raised for the maintenance and preservation of the Protestant religion, the King's person, the laws of the land the peace of the kingdom , the liberty and property of the subject, the rights and privileges of Parliament, and this house doth now declare that they will maintain and adhere to him the said Earl of Essex with their lives and estates in the same cause”.

Lord Essex selected his tried old friend Sir John Meyrick to be President of the Council of War and Adjutant-General, or as it was then called Serjeant-Major General. Meyrick was M.P. for Newcastle-under-Lyne, nephew of old Sir Gilly Meyrick and son of  Francis Meyrick of Fleet, in the parish of Monkton, Pembroke, and uncle of Colonel Rowland Laugharne of St. Bride's. Sir John was already colonel of a regiment and among those serving in it as captains are to be found the names of his father Sir Francis Meyrick and Thomas Laugharne of St. Bride's. Also serving in it were young Gilly Meyrick and Thomas and Miles Button  (Rowland Laugharne's brothers-in-law).

August 23.

The King had raised his standard at Nottingham and a state of war existed.

September 20.

The King was at Shrewsbury and the men of North Wales had been summoned to his banner; in South Wales nothing had happened except the apparently bloodless surrender of Cardiff Castle to the Royalist commander, the marquis of Hertford, who had crossed the Bristol Channel from Somerset. Within the next few weeks, however, Hertford rode west to Carmarthen.

2 November.

At Carmarthen, Hertford summoned the gentry of Pembrokeshire to meet him. Some, like Roger Lort, who was commissioned to raise a regiment for the King, obeyed with alacrity; others, like his brother Sampson, and John Eliot, followed. Sir Hugh Owen, John Wogan and Sir Richard Philipps of Picton, on the other hand, are known to have refused.

Support for the King was sufficient, nevertheless, especially with the greater numbers from Carmarthenshire, to form a Royal Association which, as winter came on, made surreptitious moves against the enemy.

One of these was Captain Crowe's cattle raid on the lands of Lamphey Court, the home of that Major John Gunter who was known to be serving with the Parliamentary army and whose house was the property of the Earl of Essex. Here was maintained a garrison separate from, and apparently not subject to, the local Parliamentary command.


John Poyer, Mayor of Pembroke, put the town in a state of defence for Parliament. (Records of 1595 show that the town walls and castle were in substantial repair though the latter was unroofed and dismantled; but as no repairs had been made since that date Mayor Poyer must have expended a considerable sum of money). Pembroke, which he rendered impregnable to aught but famine. Probably most of this money came [from his personal resources. Cenquest. Ed].

We do not know anything of John Poyer's early days, but Clarendon states: “Had from a low trade raised himself in the war to the reputation of a very diligent and stout officer, and was trusted by the Parliament with the government of the town and castle of Pembroke”.

According to Carlyle he was given to brandy, and there is reason to suppose he was not particularly straightforward in money matters, He had acted as bailiff for Tenby in 1639, and a vessel belonged to him; so probably he was a merchant. The mayor of Pembroke was ably seconded by Rowland, son of John Laugharne of St. Bride's, who had served under the Earl of Essex as a volunteer in the Netherlands in 1614 and Rice Powell. Powell is spoken of as a veteran "that came from Ireland to endeavour the relief, and not like many others the destruction, of his bleeding country." He was a soldier of fortune, and was probably that Sergeant Major Powell who served for the King under the Earl of Northumberland in Colonel Lundsford's regiment in 1640. Colonel Powell proved a great acquisition to the Pembrokeshire Roundheads.


The King's party fearing lest Tenby should follow the example set by the sister town of Pembroke, directed Richard Vaughan Earl of Carbery (the Royalist Commander-in-Chief in South Wales) to occupy the place forthwith. The fortifications of Tenby were probably in a better state of repair than those of Pembroke; at all events they were restored in 1588. The people, if we are to judge from subsequent events, were at heart Parliamentarians; however they offered no opposition to the Earl, who was a popular man and well-known in Pembrokeshire as a nephew of old Sir Gilly Meyrick.


In August there were two Royalist men-of-war in Milford Haven: the Fellowship of Bristol, 400 tons, 24 guns, with four captains on board - Captain Barnaby Burly, Captain Brooks, Captain Will Hazle and Captain Richard Nelson; and the Hart frigate, Captain Nesson. The captains of the Fellowship had called together the gentlemen of the county and assured them that His Majesty had taken Bristol and that the war was over.

They were attacked by the Roundhead Captain William Smith in the Swallow, one of the Parliamentarian ships which was blockading the Irish coast. Captain Smith took the Fellowship without any loss on either side, and also captured her consort the Hart. In the frigate two men were killed, the first blood shed in Little England. Admiral (Captain) Richard Swanley in the Leopard, with the Prosperous, the Providence, the Crescent, and a merchantman known as the Leopard then came into the Haven. Captain Swanley determined to bombard Tenby. They opened fire on the castle but with little effect.

“Eight ships presently rode before the town and made at least one hundred shots against the inhabitants, but one of the Milford cannon shot one of the best ships through and through, and so set the rest apacking - Whereby the good people of Tenby received no prejudice. The design was to have besieged Tenby by land with forces from Pembroke town, but the beacons being fired, the good honest old way in times of rebellion many in Carmarthenshire and  Pembrokeshire arose heartily to join with the noble Earl, whereby as the letter says, Tenby was settled with thunder and lightning in despite of all the Pembrokeshire rebels.

This ill-fated ship may have been lying off the Sker Rock; as a large gun was  dredged up at this place and is now in the Tenby Museum.

Lord Carbery, Sir John Stepney, Mr Roger Lort of Stackpole, and Archdeacon Rudd of St Florence, all prominant Royalists then erected a fort near Pill Priory, strengthened the defences at Carew and Manorbier and Mr Lort put his “Strong” house at Stackpole into a state of defence.

September 26.

Lord Carbery went to Haverfordwest were he was welcomed by the gentry and the trained bands, the mayor and aldermen pledged never to receive a hostile garrison in the town. They also gave a large sum of money for the King. Thus the whole of Pembrokeshire except for Pembroke supported the King.


In January Roche castle was fortified by the Royalists. Ships were brought round from Bristol with ordnance and stores to fortify the Haven, a work that was undertaken by one Captain Richard Steele of Oxford (a great talker, who pretended to be an engineer).

The Bristol fleet captured the little ship which “Captain" Poyer had fitted out at his own expense with eight guns, in order that she might run to the Downs and beg aid from the Parliamentary fleet.

(From a pamphlet printed in London 25th July 1644).

“The Earl of Carbery having voted that after the harbour was fortified he would plunder the town of Pembroke and the houses of the gentlemen who had adhered to that party, and that their persons should be put to death by cruel tortures. The Mayor of Pembroke they said should be put in a barrel of nails and brought to Prick’s pill and from the top of a hill should be rolled down into the sea. This report so terrified the gentlemen that they fled from  their houses and hid themselves in obscure places in disguise, and sent their wives and children to Tenby where his Lordship the Earl of Carbery then lay, humbly to supplicate his Lordship to be pleased to grant them protection that their houses might not be plundered, nor their persons abused by the rude soldiery among whom there was a  reverend and aged gentlewoman, the wife of Mr. Griffith White, who had in her house (Henllan) eight sons and eight daughters, who were virgins, and four small grandchildren, in all twenty in number, with divers servants both male and female. This gentlewoman pressing his Lordship to commiserate her sad state in case her house should be plundered desired his protection, assuring his Lordship that whensoever he would be pleased to give her husband leave to wait on him she did not doubt but that her husband would give his Lordship ample satisfaction in all his lawful demands. His Lordship replied he would find a time to speak with her husband but as for protection would grant her none. The gentlewoman with tears in her eyes desired his Lordship to look to her children who in point of honour he stood engaged to protect, as also the chastity of matrons and virgins the which without his Lordship's protection she said must be undoubtedly violated and her family perish to which his Lordship answered with divers reproaches and some jests, that it were better her children and family should perish than that the King should want means to perfect his design. To which she said the King could not want if his Majesty would be graciously pleased to be content with what God and the laws of the land had provided. At which his Lordship flung out of the room, leaving the gentlewoman with tears in her eyes, and so she departed to her house full of grief and pensive thoughts.”

Rowland Laugharne who was in command at Pembroke sallied out with certain troopers and a few foot towards Carew. His men were dispersed (probably foraging) when the captain in command at Carew attempted to surprise Laugharne and seven troops who were with him but these latter routed their opponents, took twenty  prisoners, among whom was a Lieutenant Jones, who afterwards joined the Parliamentarians.

This action was said to have been fought "between two garrisons of the enemy not much more distant from earshot." One of these must have been Carew Castle, the other the Fortified Rectory.

March 1644.

Parliamentary Ships entered the Haven, Admiral Captain Swanley in the Leopard and Vice-Admiral Captain Smith in the Swallow sailed into the Haven. Laugharne and Poyer at once boarded the Swallow and explained the state of matters.

The Royal ships from Bristol, Globe and Providence, ran under the guns of Pill fort for safety.

 Laugharne borrowed a hundred and fifty sailors from the Parliamentary ships and with these and his own Pembroke troopers took Stackpole with its little garrison of sixty men. The owner hiding (perhaps in the cave known as Lort's Hole). Laugharne then moved on to Trefloyne, which was held for the King by Mr Thomas Bowen. Lord Carbery made sortie from Tenby to relieve him, but was driven back in confusion and lost part of his force in crossing the Marsh. Trefloyne was taken. Then it was decided to attack Pill Fort and Haverfordwest.

“Whereupon the little army, consisting of about 250 foot, half seamen, and half  soldiers with 60 horsemen and a demi-culverin (fired a ball about 9 pounds) with a sacre (had a bore of 3 ½ ins  shot weight about 5 lbs) and 5 small field pieces, made a resolute adventure over the water, animated and encouraged by the presence of a good hearty old gentleman, Mr John Laugharne, Colonel Laugharne's father, who had long before left his country habitation, and with his whole family, a few servants excepted, betaken himself to the town of Pembroke. His interest and fair noble carriage had always engaged unto him the affections of many in that part of the county we were set upon called Roose. It was God's will our landing was not interrupted, and our horse immediately dispersing abroad to bring in men, cattle, and other necessaries to draw our carriages found the country willing and ready which so expedited the work that the demi-culverin and sacre were early in the evening planted in a hedge that within a short distance overlooked the fort, and presently played effectually upon it. Hereupon 20 musketeers were placed in Stainton, a steeple seated on a hill that oversees most of that country, and thereabouts the horse presently ranged to hinder correspondence between Pill and Haverfordwest, and took some straggling soldiers and some messengers and put them in the church. We saw no body of the enemy till a little before night. Sir Francis Lloyd with about 60 horse and some foot descended a hill from Johnson, but they being, as we conceived, afraid of our artillery never touched the ascent of Stainton, where our horse were drawn, but retreated to Haverford.” (Simon Thelwall's Letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, April 1, 1644).

On the following day Pill Fort capitulated. There were taken at that place, Mr. John Barlow, Master of the Ordnance; five captains, certain inferior officers, thirteen great guns, six field carriages, 300 common soldiers, the two Bristol ships, wherein were twelve pieces of ordnance and six barrels of powder. The loss of the fort created a panic at Haverfordwest; a herd of cattle frightened by the cannonading at Pill stampeded, and these being seen by the Haverford garrison were mistaken in the gloaming for Roundhead troopers, both commanders and commanded incontinently fled.

Sir Henry Vaughan, Major-General of the army; Sir John Stepney, Knt., and Baronet, Governor of Haverfordwest; Sir Francis Lloyd, Knt., Commander-in-Chief of the Horse; Lieutenant-Colonel Butler, High Sheriff of the County; James Martin, Captain of Horse; Captain John Edwardes, Commissioner of Array; Captain Hull of Bristol, and one hundred sailors disgracefully bolted. Laugharne and his men occupied Haverford on the day after the capture of Pill, and in two days "Roche Castle, a very considerable stronghold had it water, was summoned and delivered."

The Roundhead force then marched to Pembroke, and obtained another gun proceeded to Tenby. To which place Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Butler the High Sheriff of the County had retreated with eighty men from Haverfordwest. Vice-Admiral William Smith in the Swallow, Captain Gettensby in the Prosperous, and the Crescent frigate, preceding the land force had opened fire on the town. When the latter arrived they:

“Placed their demi-cannon on a hill within musket shot, (Greenhill) a demi-culverin within half a musket shot, the small field pieces being set to scour the guard wings and hedges lined by the enemy; our foot men having also drawn down, and armed hedges and a good strong house within pistol shot, and there continue in this posture, hot pelting between the small shot from Thursday two of the clock, till Saturday evening, and battered many houses in the town, but had not all this while impaired the town wall, except only the most necessary part there the great gate our only place of entrance. This gate Governor Commissary Gwynne (who in his actions show of a soldier), had strengthened with dung and rubbish”.

The gate was stormed and taken. Commissary Gwynne was mortally wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Butler the High Sheriff Colonel David Gwynne, Captains Lewis and Mitholl, non-commissioned officers and 300 men with their arms were taken.

Very soon after the capture of Tenby, Carew Castle surrendered to Poyer, on condition that the officers were to march out with their swords and common soldiers with their muskets, and bags and baggage.

Captain Richard Swanley was sweeping the seas between Milford Haven and Ireland. He captured a troopship under the command of a Royalist, Colonel Willoughby, with about one hundred and fifty men on board bound for Bristol, and actually compelled seventy men and two women to walk the plank.

July, 1644.

Colonel Gerard, a favourite of Prince Rupert and an accomplished commander, was sent o South Wales.

Gerard retook Haverfordwest then  Picton Castle, which the Parliamentarians had made a very strong stronghold, about twelve o'clock at night he fell on and stormed it, and mastered it in l hour with the loss of nine common soldiers hurt and taken, but not one officer, only Colonel Butler gentleman received a shot whereof he is now past danger. In the castle were found three barrels, 150 arms, Baronet Phillipps' son and two of his daughters. A good round sum of ready money and 12 trunks of plate besides 500 pounds more of money. The castle itself is very strong and in good repair General Gerard placed a sufficient garrison and next day marched to Carew Castle near Pembroke, which was also taken, the remnant of the rebels being now driven to their last state, at Pembroke and Tenby.

Gerard retook Roche Castle early in July, 1644, capturing at that place 500 oxen and sheep. He was then recalled to headquarters at Bristol.

1645 July 28.

According to Rowland Laugharne:

The enemy's (Royalists) main body being at Haverfordwest, we drew forth out of garrisons of Pembroke and Tenby with 550 foot and 200 horse and dragoons (being the most that could be spared with security out of the towns), and two small guns and marched that day to Caneston, within five miles of Haverfordwest; there met 7 of the enemies scouts, killed one, took the other six. That day Captain Batten arrived at Milford; and by Divine ordination above our hopes, landed 150 seamen to increase our force. We kept the field until the 1st of August no enemy appearing. Then Major-General Stradling and Major-General Egerton drew forth out of Haverford with 450 horse, 1100 foot and four field guns into Colby Moor, three miles from Haverford and there put themselves in array for fight. A small party of our horse guarded on both sides with 150 musketeers charged their whole body, began the encounter about six of the clock in the afternoon, and continued very fierce and doubtful many an hour, but in the conclusion the enemies horse were totally routed, the residue of our horse fell on some part to do execution upon the foot, the other to pursue the horse speeding upon Haverford. We killed of the enemies 150, took about 700 prisoners, four guns, five barrels of powder, near 800 arms, all their carriages and provisions and chased them home to their garrisons. The night then approaching we might not beset the town to keep in their horse, but drew back to the field, so that in the night the enemy deserted the town and fled leaving a garrison in the Castle. Saturday we entered the town and besieged the Castle, began our battery on Monday, but spent much ammunition to little purpose. Tuesday giving over we find the outer gate, and scaled the walls, gained the castle, took prisoners 120 common soldiers and near 20 commanders and officers one piece of ordnance, 150 arms, some pillage to the soldiers besides the provision. Yesterday being the 8th of August we had a day of publique humiliation and thanks giving in Pembroke and Haverford and the League; this day we drew our force of horse and foot before Carew Castle and are drawing up our ordnance to plant them before the Castle relying upon the Lord of Heaven for a blessing in all their actions; we bless God, we lost but two men and about sixty wounded, none mortally.

Carew and Picton Castles respectively belonging to Sir George Carew the Royalist and Sir Richard Philipps the Roundhead, were still garrisoned by the King's men. According to the newspapers Manorbier (probably a mere shell) was also held by the Cavaliers.

 Carew seem to have capitulated; Picton stood a three week siege.

 Laugharne and his troops followed up their success and drove the Cavaliers out of the county of Carmarthen. This was accomplished in October, 1645.

In February, 1646, the Pembroke shire troops relieved Cardiff, and the April following captured Aberystwith Castle; and in January, 1647, put down a serious insurrection in Glamorganshire.

Rowland Laugharne had been rewarded for his valuable services by Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, who on the 4th of March, 1645, settled on him and his heirs the Slebech estates of John Barlow who had made himself peculiarly hateful to the Parliamentarians by his loyal service to the King under the Marquis of Worcester and Lord Glamorgan.

A part of the Parliamentary side under Cromwell, determined to get quit of Lord Essex, who led the Presbyterians. On April zzzt, 1645, the Earl of Essex resigned his commission so all came under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax.

His resignation was accepted, but a portion of the army by no means approved. "There have been great mutinies and discontents among his (the Earl's) soldiers, in so much as they have refused to march with Sir William Waller." Among the discontents was Sir John Meyrick, who had already suffered for his loyalty to the Earl, for in 1643, he was superseded from his post of Sergeant-Major General of the Army to make way for Skippon and was nominated General of Ordnance. Sir John sent in his resignation at the same time the Earl gave way to Fairfax, and we may be certain these matters were discussed in Pembrokeshire and had not a little to do with subsequent events that came about in that county.

On the 14th of September, 1646, Lord Essex died in Essex House, it is said, of fever brought on by over exertion in a stag hunt at Windsor. A public funeral in Westminster Abbey was decreed for him, both Houses of Parliament attending. Sir John Meyrick carried his gorget. Lord Essex was buried in St. John Baptist's Chapel. He had taken for his second wife Elizabeth daughter of Sir William Paulet of Edington. This marriage, like the former, had ended in disaster and separation. The only child died in infancy. Sir Walter Devereux, Bart., of Castle Bromwich, succeeded as fifth Viscount Hereford, and Lady Hertford to Lamphey Court and the Pembrokeshire estate, which was shortly afterwards purchased by the Owens of Orielton, in whose possession it remained until the year 1821, when the manor passed by purchase into the hands of Charles Mathias, Esq., of Llangwarren, who built the modern house.

"Master Gunter" seems to have been the last resident at Lamphey Court. During his occupation it was most likely rendered uninhabitable, for numerous cannon balls found in the vicinity prove the old house suffered a bombardment.


The Second Civil War.


The Royalist party had been suppressed throughout West Wales, and a victorious triumvirate composed of Laugharne, Poyer and Powell ruled Little England in the name of Parliament.  The Presbyterian faction, to which Pembrokeshire men mostly belonged, gradually became more and more bitterly opposed to the Independents, who were represented by Cromwell and the army. In February 1647, the Scotch Presbyterians sold King Charles to the English Parliament for £400,000, and the Presbyterian majority in the latter body, considering that as the Royal person was now safe in the keeping of Parliament, there was no further necessity for a standing army, and that the majority should be disbanded, thus saving England from a military despotism. But the army declined to disband and while the matter was under discussion Cornet Joyce stole the King away from Holmby House and brought him as a captive to head-quarters at Saffron Waldron.

The army remained un-disbanded.

Taking advantage of these dissensions certain Royalists now in Glamorganshire declared for the King and Sir Thomas Fairfax. They stated that they would be very glad to hear how Rowland Laugharne looked upon their proceedings. Laugharne forwarded the letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons declaring: "I shall (God willing) never desert my first principles for the Parliament of England," and then marched on Cardiff. The insurrection melted at his approach.

It would seem from Laugharne's protestations that his good faith was doubted by the Parliamentarian party as early as June, 1647. It is difficult to discover what grievance could have rankled in his mind if it was not the Presbyterian feud. He was Major-General of the District, had been rewarded with the valuable estate of Slebech and was held in high esteem by the whole Parliamentarian party.

According to Claredon:

The Pembrokeshire leaders communicated their discontents to each other, and all thought themselves ill requited by the Parliament for the service they had done and that other men (especially Colonel Mytton) were preferred before them and resolved to take the opportunity of the Scots coming in, to declare for the King upon the Presbyterian account.

Powell seems to have been a free lance who followed the fortunes of his leader without consideration, deeming it was a soldier's duty to obey.

In Poyer's case the causes of disaffection may be readily discerned. He commenced life as a merchant, and had prospered in some trade, which he threw over, and took up first politics, then war, as a means of livelihood. His business was sacrificed and his capital squandered. To redeem the latter he availed himself of opportunities afforded by his position as Parliamentarian Commissioner, and was openly accused of dishonesty by his neighbours.


On January 3rd Sir Thomas Wroth proposed in the House of Commons:

That the King should be laid by, and the Kingdom settled without him; that some other government should be formed he cared not what, so that the ruling power be neither king or devil. This motion was carried by 140 against 92, and forthwith sent up to the Lords. The upper house after a protracted debate, and two adjournments adopted the motion on January 15th. Royalists and Presbyterians in England and Scotland were rebellious, and a portion of the fleet revolted. It was in Pembrokeshire that the disaffection came to a head.

The leaders of the Independent party seem to have been kept well informed of what was passing in West Wales, for an order was forthwith given that the army of South Wales under the command of Major-General Laugharne should be disbanded, a few soldiers being retained to garrison the fortresses of Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthen and Pembroke.

Laugharne not withstanding his protestations is said to have been imprisoned and Poyer was superseded in favour of Colonel Fleming.

This thoroughly roused Poyer who was threatened by some of his neighbours (probably Roger Lort of Stackpole and Griffith White of Henllan in Castlemartin) with a lawsuit for misappropriation of funds as a Commissioner. Poyer entrenched himself in Pembroke Castle which he garrisoned with a mixed force of Presbyterians and Royalists in number about 500.

Some time before March 13th Fleming occupied Pembroke town, where he awaited orders from Cromwell. When these arrived he held a council of war and sent a summons to deliver up Pembroke Castle within twelve hours, or Poyer and all with him to be proclaimed rebels.

Poyer was willing to agree subject to being paid 1000 pounds plus his arrears of pay and the arrears of pay of his men.

Colonel Fleming offered him 200 pounds and laid down conditions regarding disbanding the forces.

Colonel Poyer answered this appeal by opening fire on the town: several houses were battered down, and eleven soldiers wounded, some mortally.

Then Colonel Fleming, who appears to have been most anxious to avoid proceeding to extremities, thinking perhaps it was a dread of the lawsuit hanging over Poyer's head that rendered him desperate – “with the advice, and upon the desire of the gentlemen of the county . . . . . . offered he should have the security of the gentlemen of the county whom he hath much oppressed that they would relinquish all suits and actions at law against him”.

But all these offers from Colonel Fleming and the gentlemen of the county “could not prevail upon Poyer but he put out his flag of defiance and will not yield”.

News arrived in Pembroke that the detachment of Laugharne's men in Tenby were prepared to revolt from Parliament, but on the other hand the garrison of Carmarthen declared that neither they nor their comrades in Tenby had any sympathy with Poyer. From what followed, it would seem that this letter was intended to put Fleming off his guard, for two hundred of Laugharne's men with the cognisance of Poyer, made a forced march on Pembroke; when near at hand Poyer, who could see them from the castle before Fleming's men were aware of their approach, sent out instructions by a messenger. He then sallied forth and attacked Fleming in his quarters; the latter gallantly defended himself, and indeed seemed to be getting the best of the fight, but Laugharne's troopers coming up and taking him in the rear utterly routed the Parliament forces, killing and wounding many, capturing twenty or thirty prisoners and two great culverins, with all arms and ammunition. Laugharne's men must have entered by the east gate which no doubt was opened to them by confederates in the town. Poyer was now master of Pembroke and the surrounding district. He fortified and victualled the town in anticipation of a siege.

Captain Henry Addys, one of those of Carmarthen  who had signed the false declaration, joined him with one hundred men,  and he proceeded to raise foot and horse, pressing the country people, collecting arms of all sorts and provisions. He imprisoned Messrs. Sampson Lort of East Moor, Thomas Bowen of Trefloyne and  David Poyer; his brother, they paid ransoms but subsequently joined the rebels.

'Hearing that two companies of foot sent from Bristol to join Fleming had landed near Pwllcrochan, Poyer sallied out with a hundred men in pursuit. The Parliamentarians had however fortified the Church, and from thence it was  impossible to  dislodge them, so Poyer agreed they should retire to their ships on condition they left the Haven and did not return.

Poyer then proceeded to Henllan House, where were Mr. Griffith White the staunch old Parliament man, the owner of the house; Mr. Roger Lort of Stackpole; the Royalist Adjutant-General Fleming; Mr. John Lort of Prickeston; and several other gentlemen and commissioners; these also escaped by water. It is said that while flying from Poyer, Mr. White dropped a number of gold pieces which have from time to time been picked up near the ruins of Henllan. Matters had now become very serious. Poyer had between 1200 and 1300 men under arms, and the country was rising in his favour. Sir Henry Stradling Major-General John Stradling, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Stradling, Lieutenant-Colonel John Butler, Colonel Morgan (Governor of Gloucester), Colonel Richard Donnel (late Governor of Swansea), all joined the rebels. The Earl of Carbery however would have nothing to do with them. On the 9th of April Poyer held a great review on Colby Moor. He then marched to Carmarthen where he was joined by Powell. The Parliamentarian leaders had by this time recognised the extreme gravity of the situation. The fire that self-seeking Mayor Poyer had lit in West Wales kindled every disaffected spirit in the realm. Colonel Horton was directed to march westward with all speed, and a detachment of Colonel Reade's force at Bristol, under Colonel Overton, was ordered to proceed to Pembrokeshire. In April Horton overpowered the disaffected garrison at Brecon and shortly afterwards disbanded certain local troops at Swansea. Meanwhile Poyer and Powell had pushed on to Lampeter with a body of English, Scotch, Irish and Welsh. Recruits for the King's army were hurrying forward from all parts; not only the country gentlemen and their followers, " but divers porters, butchers, and such rascally fellows come hither (to Carmarthen) from London." Besides this Welsh army the Scotch were causing great anxiety to the Parliamentarians, for it was an open secret that they might rise any day. The Royalist cause was looking up.

About the beginning of May Horton entered Carmarthenshire. The Pembroke men had broken down the bridges, and were now camped near the Towy river. Captains Cozens and Addys of Laugharne's horse, were despatched to fortify Newcastle in Emlyn; there was some slight skirmishing between the two armies, but without serious result. At length Poyer entrenched himself on a hilltop near Llandilo Fawr and so strong was his position that Horton feared to attack. Colonel Fleming was ordered to make for a pass in Poyer's rear, where he was met by Major Roach in command of a troop of Powell's. The latter retired and was pursued by Colonel Fleming, who fell into an ambush prepared for him in the town of Llandilo Fawr, where his force was cut in two. The Colonel with one hundred troopers fled to the church which Poyer's men stormed and there either by accident or intent Fleming shot himself. So terribly were the Parliamentarians affected by Fleming's tragic end that Horton fell back on Neath to await reinforcements under Colonel Okey, from whence he retired to Brecon, the people showing hostility on the whole line of march. The House of Commons fully realised the gravity of the situation. On the 1st of May, Fairfax informed Mr. Speaker that Cromwell and a sufficient force had been despatched into Wales.

Poyer had marched through Carmarthen and proceeded towards Cardiff, with a view to raise Glamorganshire and Monmouth. Colonel Horton having obtained reinforcements and ammunition, retraced his steps with all speed that bad roads, unseasonable weather, and lack of accommodation for man and beast allowed. On the 4th of May he camped at St. Fagans on the little river Ely. Poyer's men were at St. Nicholas.

Laugharne probably joined Poyer on his march at the end of April:

“It is reported that Major-General Laugharne is come unto Poyer; whether it were he or not we cannot tell but the Welsh shot off all their guns lately to welcome some person of quality.”

He certainly was with them when they reached St. Nicholas. On the evening of Sunday Laugharne and Poyer advanced towards St. Nicholas about 8000 strong, and on Monday, May 8th, about seven in the morning attacked Horton's force. After a stubborn fight the Pembrokeshire men were driven back from hedge to hedge until they arrived at bridge where were their reserves; at length Horton's horse crossed the stream and flanked the Welshmen, who then gave way and fled panic-stricken. Horton's horse pursued them for eight or ten miles. Major-General Rowland Laugharne was wounded, and his brother Thomas was among the slain, who were so numerous that the river Ely ran red from St. Fagans down to Penarth.”

Three thousand prisoners were taken, with 2000 firearms, with pikes, Welsh bills, 50 colours, 360 horse, and all the ammunition, bag and baggage. Among the prisoners were Major Addys, the same who joined Poyer in Pembroke; Thomas Bowen of Trefloyne; James Lewis of Kilkyffeth; Lieutenant-Colonel Wogan of Wiston (?); Captain William Button, and Mr. Devereux Grafton of Carew. On Horton's side were Thomas Wogan, M.P. for Cardigan Boroughs, sent hither by the House of Commons, and subsequently distinguished as one of the regicides; and Captain Jones, captured by Laugharne at Carew, who on that occasion turned coat. This man again changed sides, for deserting Poyer with a troop of sixty horse he joined Horton. The defeated army of Royalists and Presbyterians fled to the westward, Laugharne and Poyer making good their retreat to Pembroke, while Powell with a hundred troopers took refuge in Tenby. To these shortly afterwards came in many fugitives, who straightaway set to work preparing for a desperate resistance.

Colonel Horton proceeded to take vengeance. Eleven of the principal prisoners were brought on board the Admiral Crowther man-of-war then lying at Cardiff, and tried by court martial: Major-General Stradling, Major Phillips, Captain Thomas Matthews, Captain Button (Laugharne's brother-in-law), Mr. Miles Matthews, Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkin Popkins, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Morgan, Colonel Arthur Harries, Captain Edward Walker, Captain Rich Cradock, and Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis Thomas. Of these three were shot and one hanged.  This excessive severity was perhaps necessary, for the insurrection was spreading. The number of prisoners, said to have been 3000, was so great that an application was made to the Parliament by Prince Charles Lodovict to have permission to transport some of the prisoners to Italy. This was granted with the proviso that they should be volunteers and confined to the common people of Wales. Any from outside Wales were to be transported to the West Indies.

Colonel Horton did not waste time; he followed up his victory and must have reached Tenby close behind the fugitives under Powell. The victory at St. Fagans was won on Monday, May 8th. On the Sunday Colonel Horton's men attempted to storm the town of Tenby but were repulsed. The Parliamentarians subsequently attacked again and took a certain work with thirty prisoners and some slain. Disconcerted by this further misfortune; the besieged humbly desired permission to march out upon conditions.

But our honourable Colonel Horton would give no ear to them. The seige continued.

On Wednesday, May 31, 1648, the garrison of Tenby under Colonel Powell desired that. Colonel Horton would take them into protection and mercy. The conditions of surrender were as follows:

1. That the besieged delivered up all the ordnance, arms and ammunition of the Castle, to Lieutenant-General Cromwell for the use of the Parliament.

2. That the common soldiers be permitted (those who will) to be transported into Italy.

3. That those soldiers who desire to go home may be permitted, taking an oath never to engage against the Parliament hereafter.

4. That all the officers surrender themselves prisoners, their lives and estates to be at the mercy of the Parliament.

These latter were: Colonel Rice Powell, Colonel Edward Kemeys, Colonel Richard Donnell, Sergeant-Major Vaughan, Captain Beale, Captain Addys, Captain Powell, Mr. Thomas Basset and thirty others. One hundred soldiers agreed to go abroad. Twenty  pieces of ordnance, three hundred arms, four barrels of powder that had been partly used, forty horses only five colours and the standard of Tenby Castle; all their ammunition, provisions, bag and baggage were captured. Though the town of Tenby probably did not suffer so severely during Horton's siege in May, 1648, as when Laugharne operated against it in April 1644, yet perhaps we should ascribe certain wanton mischief which some evil persons perpetrated in the Church of St. Mary's to the Independents commanded by Horton. The west window of the north aisle was once filled with fine stained glass, but it has been utterly destroyed, perhaps at this time; the only relics of its former grandeur being a few fragments round the edges. And on William Risam's monument referred to above there is a mark which tradition has always attributed to a musket ball aimed at the benefactor’s effigy by one of "Cromwell's soldiers."

To return to General Laugharne and Colonel Poyer: After the disastrous fight at St. Fagans they retreated to Pembroke and prepared for the mighty adversary who was slowly advancing to try conclusions. Oliver Cromwell appeared before Pembroke about the 24th of May. Tradition relates that he formed his camp on the hill to the south of the town, near Underdown. (Pistol and musket balls have been found on the site)The General himself, who was suffering from an attack of gout, took up his quarters with Mr. Walter Cuney at Welston, a house which stood to the north-east (in Carew Parish) of Lamphey, and was pulled down early in 1800’s. Fenton states that in his time there was:

“A quilted counterpane white lined with crimson that covered Cromwell's bed, still in the possession of a lady, a descendant of that house (Cuney), stained with ink spilled as he was writing one of his dispatches during his confinement (from gout)”.

Cromwell expected that by the time he reached Pembroke a battery of siege guns from Wallingford would have awaited his orders in Milford Haven, but through an accident at Berkeley the vessel in which they were shipped seems to have foundered, and as westerly gales prevailed, when the guns had been recovered it was impossible to deliver them in Pembroke until the beginning of July. The besiegers would have been checkmated had it not happened that the Lion, a Parliamentarian warship, came into Milford Haven. Cromwell

forthwith despatched the notorious Hugh Peters, who had accompanied the expedition , to see what guns could be spared from the Lion; two culverins (18 pounders), two demi-culverins, and two drakes were obtained from this source. The first operation essayed by the besiegers was an attempt to storm the town one day about the 4th of June, but the scaling ladders were too short. A few men were lost; Major Grigg's lieutenant and ensign among them, Captain Flower of Dean's regiment was injured and Captain Burgess wounded and very sick; but Cromwell consoled himself in his confidence that the enemy had lost many more. On the 9th of June Cromwell wrote to the committee at Carmarthen:

Desiring we may have your furtherance and assistance in procuring some necessaries to be  cast in the iron furnaces in your county of Carmarthen, which will the better enable us to reduce the town and castle of Pembroke. The principal things are: shells for our mortar piece, the depth of them we desire may be 14inches. That which I desire at your hands is to cause the service to be performed, and that with all possible expedition; that so if it be the will of God, the service being done, these poor wasted counties may be freed from the burden of the Army. In the next place we desire some D cannon shot and some culverin shot may with all possibility be cast for us and hasted to us also”

On the 13th Cromwell had planted two little guns with which he calculated he should take away their mills in twenty-four hours. The mills were probably those at the bottom of the Dark Lane, and the guns must have been placed on the other side of the water. The loss of these mills would prove very important to the besieged, who began to suffer greatly from famine; indeed the hungry garrison were already mutinous, saying: "Shall we be ruined for two or three men's pleasure; better it were to throw them over the wall," This occurred on Sunday. On Saturday night Poyer had told the mutineers if relief did not arrive on Monday they might hang him. No doubt Colonel Poyer remembered how closely he had been pressed by the Royalists in 1644, and how triumphantly he had been relieved by Swanley's fleet; he was in hourly expectation that Prince Charles and Lord Jermyn would send the squadron to his aid. On one occasion, the besieged garrison believed that the Royalist fleet had actually arrived, for guns were heard down the Haven. It turned out however, to be the Parliamentarian fleet firing a salute on account of good news from Kent, Pembroke was not victualled for a siege. This had not entered into Poyer's calculations. There were probably in Pembroke Castle only surplus stores such as had remained unconsumed when Fleming was forced to raise the siege. These, originally intended for the castle garrison, proved quite insufficient now Poyer had to feed the town as well. At the very beginning of the siege we find fodder was so scarce that horses and cows were fed on thatch stripped from the cottages. On the 14th of June the mutinous garrison was put on reduced rations: half-a-pound of beef and half a pound of bread per day to each man. The civilians in the town doubtless were very hardly pressed. Tradition avers the town and castle relied on two wells for their supply of water: one called Norgan's, in Monkton; the other in the Woogan under Pembroke Castle. Earthenware pipes three-and-a-half inches in diameter had been laid in cement from Norgan's well, nearly a mile distant, passing over the bridge, up the face of the cliff under an archway in the Monkton tower of the castle. According to tradition this pipe was pointed out to the besiegers by a man named Edmunds, and cut through where it passed over the bridge. Edmunds' cottage was still pointed out in Monkton village in the 1890’s, and his descendants bore the nickname of "Cromwell" in remembrance of the treason of their ancestor, until they became extinct a hunded years ago. Tradition says also that Edmund was killed by the Cromwellian soldiers and buried in the hole dug to cut the pipe. Part of the pipe is in Tenby Museum and another part used to be in the wall of the old school in Monkton.  Concerning the Woogan well, Cromwell writes: "We can take away his water in two days by beating down a staircase, which goes into a cellar where he hath a well”.

 Mr. Cobb has pointed out that the staircase leading to the Woogan was not beaten down, and there can be little doubt that the besieged had an uninterrupted access to this well. On the night of the 13th Cromwell got two small guns to bear on the Pembroke flour mills and set on fire certain houses in the town.

On the 19th the besieged were sore pressed by famine, and Poyer tried to keep up the spirit of the soldiery (who now despaired of relief from Prince Charles) by assuring them that Major-General Langdale was marching to their assistance with an army of North Welshmen, and would be at Pembroke before the week went by.

Cromwell's guns had breached the wall, and about the 19th date another storming party was told off. These made an attempt to gain the town, but were repulsed, twenty-three being slain, Poyer's men only losing four. By this time General Laugharne had recovered of his wounds received at St. Fagans and determined on sallying forth, probably with the hope of obtaining food. He does not appear to have been very successful, and was driven back with a loss of nine killed and twenty prisoners. Oliver Cromwell candidly acknowledges:

“Here is as I have formerly acquainted your Excellency (Fairfax) a very desperate enemy, who being put out of all hope of mercy, are resolved to endure the uttermost, being very many gentlemen of quality, and men thoroughly resolved, they have made some notable sallies upon Lieutenant-Colonel Reade's quarter, to his loss. We are forced to keep divers posts or else they would have relief or their horse break away. Our foot about them are 2400; we always necessitated to have some in garrison. The country since we sat down before this place have made two or three insurrections, and are ready to do it every day, so that what with looking to them and disposing of our horse to that end, and to get us in provision, without which we should starve, the country being so miserably exhausted and so poor, and we no money to buy victuals, indeed whatever may be thought it is a mercy we have been able to keep our men together in the midst of such necessity, the sustenance of the foot for the most part being but bread and water.”

About the beginning of July a storming party managed to get into the town and drove the besieged up to the castle walls, killing about one hundred of them. But Laugharne with a troop of horse out-flanked the intruders, and getting on their rear cut them up, killing thirty and driving the rest over the breach. In this fight Colonel Horton again distinguished himself.

The siege battery had at last arrived, and the fire on the town became consequently distressing. Many desertions took place and a mutinous spirit again broke out, one hundred

and twenty of Poyer's men laying down their arms, vowing they would fight no more but the  Colonel quelled the unrest, he and Laugharne promising if relief did not come days they might hang their leaders. "The mortar pieces played hard against the town and battered down many houses, killing some thirty of the inhabitants, for though they could effect little or no damage on the castle, the cottages yielded to the small projectiles”. The besiegers feared Laugharne; Poyer and such troops as they could rely on would remove all provision to the castle, retire to the fortress and allow the townsmen to surrender.

Cromwell before the latter sent his ultimatum in  the following terms:


I have together with my Council of War renewed my propositions, I thought fit to acquaint you with these alterations, which if submitted unto I shall make good. I have considered your condition and my own duty, and (without threatening) must tell you that if (for the sake of some) this offer be refused and thereby misery and ruin befall the poor soldiers and people with you, I know where to charge the blood you spill. I expect your answer within these two hours. In case this offer be refused, send no more to me about this subject.

July 10 at 4 o'clock this afternoon, 1648.

I rest your servant,

The besieged took a night to think over Oliver's letter, and on the next day surrendered the town and castle on the following conditions:-

1.  That Major-General Laugharne, Colonel Poyer, Colonel Humphrey Mathews, Captain William Bowen and David Poyer do surrender themselves to the mercy of the Parliament.

2.  That Sir Charles Kemeys, Sir Henry Stradling, Lieutenant-Colonel Laugharne, Lieutenant-Colonel Brabason, Mr. Gamage, Major Butler, Major Francis Lewis, Major Mathews, Major Hamick, Captain Roach, Captain Jones, Captain Hugh Bowen, Captain Thomas Watts and Lieutenant Young do within six weeks next following depart the kingdom, and not to return within two years from the time of their departure.

3.  That all officers and gentlemen not before named shall have free liberty to go to their several habitations, and there live quietly submitting to the authority of Parliament.

4.. That all private soldiers shall have passes to go to their several houses without being stripped or having any violence done to them; all the sick and wounded were to be carefully provided for till able to go home.

5.  That the townsmen shall be free from plunder and violence, and enjoy their liberties as heretofore they have done, having freedom to remove themselves and families whither they shall think fit &c.

6.  That the town and castle of Pembroke, with all the arms, ammunition and ordnance, together with the victuals and provisions for the garrison be forthwith delivered unto Lieatenant-General Cromwell, or such as he shall appoint, for the use of the Parliament.

Signed by OLIVER CROMWELL.             DAVID POYER.*

In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, written immediately after the surrender, Oliver Cromwell explains the first clause in the articles of surrender:

“The persons excepted are such as have formerly served you in a very good cause; but being now apostatised I did rather make election of them than of those who had always been for the King; judging their iniquity double, because they have sinned against so much light, and against so many evidences of Divine Providence, going along with and prospering a just cause, in the management of which they themselves had a share.”

Thus ended Pembroke leaguer. The defenders had fought with dogged desperation, and had they not been deserted by the Royalist party it seems possible Cromwell himself might have been baffled by their tactics. We can fancy Poyer standing on the old donjon looking away to the westward with despairing eyes, keeping watch in vain for the Royalist squadron that never came. Arnulph de Montgomery's stronghold was impregnable in the 17th century, as it had proved in the 12th; famine alone opened its gates, for Cromwell's shot and shell glanced from

the old limestone walls like hailstones; in the town his projectiles did much damage, but proved impotent when applied to the castle masonry. Very many cannon balls fired from Royalist and Parliamentarian guns have been collected in Pembroke, Tenby, Carew and Lamphey, and an interesting series of these projectiles will be found in the Tenby Local Museum. The weight of these shot is as follow: 32lb., 18lb., 9lb., 6lb., 3lb., and 2lb. They are all of solid cast iron. Laws said that “There are preserved in Pembroke and at Lamphey Court some curious stone shot the size of eighteen pounders, though of course weighing much less; these were no doubt makeshifts when the ammunition ran short”. The Pembroke specimens were found by Mr. Cobb within the castle walls; those at Lamphey were discovered on the top of the hill three-quarters of a mile from the Old Court, at a farm-house known as "Old Windsor," and are doubtless relics of one of the uprisings noted by Cromwell. In the Tenby Museum will be found also a very curious gun (Both the breech and muzzle are lost. It seems to have carried a 9lb. shot, and is built up of iron pieces, banded together by eight rings. At the breech it has been strengthened by a flap, which was welded on to the gun. It is on an oak carriage nine feet four inches in length. Such was the ordnance used and the castles certainly beat the guns; very few, if any, of these were taken except by storm or famine.

The castles having proved so formidable, Cromwell decided on their destruction. Roger Lort, John Lort and Thomas Barlow were formed into a committee for this purpose. Cromwell himself perhaps undertook the destruction of Pembroke, the roof of its vaulted Barbican tower has been split in by gunpowder, and this must have been accomplished subsequently to the surrender of the fortress.

It would be curious to know what work the committee of demolition performed. Not very much at Haverfordwest or Pembroke; nothing at Carew or Narberth; the former being inhabited in 1689, the latter in 1676; or Picton, which never lost its roof. Manorbier was already a ruin. Perhaps Lamphey suffered. Tenby Castle was the principal victim; though it is by no means improbable the smaller fortifications such as Newport, Roche and Benton were more or less destroyed under this commission, the inhabitants finding that the demolition of the unoffending castlets was cheaper than the raising of Pembroke and Haverfordwest.

It was probably on Sunday, July the 16th, that Oliver Cromwell invited the Rev. Peregrine Phillips, Vicar of Monkton, St. Mary's (Pembroke), and Cosheston, to preach before the officers under his command. Phillips must have been well known to most of them, for notwithstanding the inconveniences of the siege he preferred to reside in his parish of Monkton rather than in the comparatively peaceful Cosheston. Peregrine Phillips was the son of that Vicar of Amroth who declined to read the Book of Sports, and suffered accordingly; probably in consequence of the father's firmness the son found friends. Sir Hugh Owen had given him the preferment of Monkton; Roger Lort that of St. Mary's, Pembroke; and he obtained Cosheston through the interest of Sir John Meyrick. He had been chosen one of

 the committee to inquire into the conduct of ministers ; but all this availed him nothing during the siege, for the hungry Parliamentarian troopers searched his house so diligently that he was obliged to secrete his scanty stock of flour in the bolster of his bed. Yet Phillips stood to his post, and with him remained a certain plucky servant-maid who was in the habit of milking the parson's cow, caring nought for the storm of shot and shell which hurtled overhead. A gable end in the village of Monkton marked the site of Phillips' old vicarage.

By Monday, the 17th, Cromwell must have pretty well accomplished his work, the hostile troops were disbanded, the fortifications sentenced to destruction, and the prisoners despatched to their various destinations. He left Colonel Horton, the victor of St. Fagans and the captor of Tenby, in command of the district, with his (Horton's) regiment of horse, a troop of dragoons, and two companies out of Colonel Pride's and Colonel Deane's regiments". Laugharne, Poyer and Powell were sent up to the Tower, from whence they seem to have been removed to Windsor Castle. Their trial was postponed until the following spring, when Laugharne, Poyer and Powell were found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death. This seems to have been a somewhat unexpected conclusion. The exiled King (Charles II.) threatened reprisals, and Poyer, who was evidently astonished, on April 16, 1649, presented a humble petition to Parliament which declared that:

He was one of the first that appeared in armies in South Wales against the Common Enemy for the defence of his own and the people's best liberties; and being Mayor of the towne of Pembrock and captayn of the trayned band did freely and of his own accord fortifie the Castle of Pembrock, which was then his own habitation and kept the same against the King's forces, and did for the space of five years several other good services, but that being wrongly proclaimed Traitor, he did, for his owne securitie and for the securifie of those who were with him and for no other end, keepe the said Castle, which was surrendered to Lieut. General Cromwell, upon articles of mercy, which could not be mercy in taking away his life.

But it was felt that public security demanded a victim. Laughame, Poyer and Powell were bidden to cast lots for life. The actual drawing was done by a child, There were three lots. On two was written, " Life given of God," the third was a blank; this fell to Colonel Poyer, who was duly shot in the Piazza, Covent Garden, on April 21st 1649.

 David Poyer's daughter married one Nash, a Swansea glass manufacturer, and by him became mother of a son Richard, afterwards known as Beau Nash, "King" of Bath.

General Laugharne in due time returned to his home. Powell too escaped and founded a family. Lieutenant-Colonel Laugharne passed over to Ireland. In the spring of 1650 he again fell into Oliver's hands at the taking of Cahir, and "was shot to death."

The fate of Colonel Humphrey Matthews gave rise to some discussion. He was released on paying compensation, a decision Cromwell in no ways approved.

Sir Charles Kemeys of Cefn Mabley, besides his two years' exile, was fined. Colonel Thomas Stradling forfeited and fined. Miles Button escaped with a small fine.

War effected a great change in West Wales. The district was exhausted; the towns of Pembroke and Tenby were so utterly ruined that henceforth they ceased to have any political influence. The former remains a seventeenth century fossil, in much the same condition as on the morning John Poyer rode through its street to meet his doom in Covent garden, Tenby gradually became ruinous; but in course of time, thanks to tourism  now enjoys some prosperity as a  resort, but commercial and military Tenby has disappeared for ever.

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