The Castle and Quays - North, South and Monkton Bridge Quays
It is likely that boats and ships were using the area of the three old town quays for two thousand years or more. Romans used waterways as a matter of preference, as did the Viking invaders; and traders from the continent and Ireland would have all visited this fertile area of Pembrokeshire (old Deheubarth), where there would have been fine early settlements surrounding what is now Pembroke Castle.
The Monkton bridge side of the Castle was probably once the site of the main quay - sited as it was near to an early Celtic settlement at Monkton (later Monkton Priory). In the very faint photograph below you can just make out three sailing ships at anchor there. This very early photograph probably dates from the 1860s.
South Quay enhancement between 1818 and about 1822
The South Quay was rebuilt and modernised in 1818 and the success of its trade was reflected in the high number of public houses which soon operated in the near vicinity. In the late 1800s, should you be standing at the top of the Dark Lane, you would have seen The West End Vaults, The Mariners Arms, The Globe Inn and at the bottom – The Royal George, The Red, White and Blue (on the quay), and The Waterman’s Arms across the bridge.
One of the three masted ships moored at the Monkton Bridge Quay (above left) is The Kathleen and May - still fondly remembered by older residents today. The boat is a fine example of the five or six ships which traded regularly in a ‘triangle’ between Pembroke, Devon and Ireland - others included the Garlandstone, Arcacia and The Mary Jane Lewis. The latter was eventually wrecked on rocks at Angle ten miles away.
The great North Gate of the town was situated at the foot of the steep Dark Lane, or Darklin as it became known, and which joined the side of The Royal George. Of the twenty or so pubs once trading in the town The Royal George is one of the oldest, and still trading.
The above two images are used with the kind permission of francisfrith.com