PEMBROKE DOCK (formerly known as Pater, or Paterchurch), a naval dockyard and garrison town, is situated close to Hobb's Point, at the eastern extremity of Milford Haven. It forms the Pater Ward of Pembroke, from which it is distant 2 m. to the north-west. The place owes its origin to the decision of the government in 1814 to form a naval dep6t on Milford Haven. The dockyard, enclosed by high walls and covering 80 acres, is protected by a powerful fort the construction and repairing of ironclads are extensively carried on here. There is a submarine depot at Pennar Gut, and also accommodation for artillery and infantry. Ferry boats ply frequently between Pembroke Dock and Neyland on the opposite shore of the Haven.
Pembroke is probably an Anglo-Norman form of the Cymric Penfro, the territory lying between Milford Haven and the Bristol Channel, now known as the Hundred of Castlemartin. During the invasion of South Wales under William Rufus, Arnulf de Montgomeri, fifth son of Roger earl of Shrewsbury, seems to have erected a fortress of stone (c. 1090) on the site of the castle. The first castellan of this new stronghold was Giraldus de Windsor, husband of the Princess Nest of South Wales and grandfather of Giraldus Cambrensis. Throughout the 12th and 13th centuries the castle was strengthened and enlarged under successive earls palatine of Pembroke, who made this fortress their chief seat. As the capital of the palatinate and as the nearest port for Ireland, Pembroke was in Plantagenet times one of the most important fortified cities in the kingdom. The town, which had grown up under the shadow of the almost impregnable castle, was first incorporated by Henry I. in 1109 and again by Earl Richard de Clare in 1 1 54 (who also encircled the town with walls), and these privileges were confirmed and extended under succeeding earls palatine and kings of England. In 1835 the corporation was remodelled under the Municipal Corporations Act. Henry II. occasionally visited Pembroke, notably in 1172, and until the close of the Wars of the Roses, both town and castle played a prominent part in the history of Britain. With the passing of the Act of Union of Wales and England in 1536 however, the jura regalia of the county palatine of Pembroke were abolished, and the prosperity of the town began to decline. Although acknowledged as the county town of Pembrokeshire, Pembroke was superseded by Haverfordwest as the judicial and administrative centre of the shire on account of the more convenient position of the latter place. By the act of 1536 Pembroke was declared the leading borough in the Pembroke parliamentary district, yet the town continued to dwindle until the settlement of the government dockyard and works on Milford Haven. At the outbreak of the Civil Wars the town and castle were garrisoned for parliament by the mayor, John Poyer, a leading Presbyterian, who was later appointed governor, with Rowland Laugharne of St Brides for his lieutenant. But at the time of the Presbyterian defection in 1647, Poyer and his lieutenant-governors, Laugharne and Powell, declared for Charles and held the castle in the king's name. In June 1648 Cromwell himself proceeded to invest Pembroke Castle, which resisted with great obstinacy. But after the water-supply of the garrison had been cut off, the besieged were forced to capitulate, on the nth of July 1648, on the condition of surrendering up the three chief defenders of the castle. Poyer, Laugharne and Powell were accordingly brought to London, but finally only Poyer was executed. The magnificent ruin of Pembroke Castle is the nominal property of the Crown, but has been held on lease since the reign of James II. by the family of Pryse of Gogerddan in Cardiganshire.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)