The significance of Pembroke Castle:
A contemporary assessment of heritage values
Word Count: 3996
The historical importance of Pembroke Castle, an imposing Medieval fortress overlooking the town and waterways of Pembroke on the South-westerly peninsular of Wales, speaks for itself. Historic records attest to the considerable role it played in shaping the politics of Medieval Britain – its association with the rise of Norman power, its impressive and interminable resistance against Welsh uprisings, and its notoriety as the birthplace of the Tudor dynasty being the most eminent claims. The task I have set myself, however, is to identify how and why this monument is valued by contemporary society; what makes it unique and, using this to further my understanding of the place, assess its significance as a heritage resource.
In the following sections I will look at the circumstances that led to the creation of Pembroke Castle, its structural progression and manipulation, as well as its relationship with the surrounding landscape and its role in the establishment and development of a town and borough. I will analyse the evidential value of the place and its ability to inform, as well as looking at historically illustrative values at the site and the values resulting from its association with important historical figures and events. Furthermore, I will discuss the place and the values attributed to it from an aesthetic perspective, and how this perspective will have resonated in a very different way with onlookers in recent history. Lastly, I will be considering the communal value of Pembroke Castle. These observations will be based on my research as considered within the framework and guidelines of the English Heritage 'Conservation Principles' document (English Heritage, 2008).
One of the earliest descriptions of the castle at Pembroke is that of Gerald of Wales. Gerald describes the advantageous landscape...