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The Civil War had now come to an end and, with the king securely in its hands, Parliament began to disband many of is regiments. Attempts were made to persuade John Poyer to hand over Pembroke Castle to representatives of the government, but he refused to do so. For some time he had been at loggerheads with members of the local gentry, who brought charges of misappropriation of public money against him, as well as accusing him of dictatorial behaviour and drunkenness.


Laugharne too was unhappy about the proposed disbandment of his troop and though he assured Parliament of his loyalty, he was accused of complicity in a royalist plot to seize Gloucester and was detained at Windsor. At the end of December 1647, Parliament sent Colonel Fleming to Pembroke with an order to Poyer that he should relinquish control of the castle. Weeks of negotiation followed, until it became apparent that force might have to be used to dislodge the stubborn Poyer, who was now actively provisioning the castle.


His foraging expeditions came to an end when Fleming, reinforced by 200 soldiers from Gloucester, seized the town and blockaded the castle. Still Poyer refused to surrender, repeating demands for repayment of the money he had spent in defending the town during the first Civil War.


In all probability he was stalling for time, as he had been in communication with the royalists for some months and was hoping for re-enforcements. In March 1648, without warning, he opened fire on Fleming’s headquarters, killing and wounding some 16 men. A few days later, emboldened by news of troops marching to his relief, he attacked the Parliamentary force, driving them from Pembroke.


Poyer’s actions can be said to have started the Second Civil War. Discontented royalists had flocked to Pembroke until the garrison was said to number about 2,000 men. Laugharne had managed to slip away from detention in Windsor and appeared in south Wales to join Rice Powell in leading the rebel troops against a force of experienced Parliamentary soldiers under Colonel Horton. During a decisive action at St Fagan’s on 8th May, Laugharne’s men were defeated; he fled back to Pembroke whilst Powell took refuge in Tenby. By the time St Fagan’s was fought, Oliver Cromwell had left Windsor at the head of a regiment of crack troops.


He arrived at Tenby, already besieged by Horton, on 23nd May, but soon hurried on to Pembroke. Within a few days, the town and castle were under attack. The heavy siege guns which were to have been used against the town walls had been lost in a shipwreck in the Severn, on their way from Gloucester and it was to be some weeks before they were recovered and repaired and brought before Pembroke. However, a number of guns described as ‘two drakes, two culverins and two demi-culverins’ were obtained from the warship Lyon, and some of these were placed at Monkton, opening up a steady fire on the town and castle opposite.


Cromwell’s troops were encamped to the south of the town, at Underdown on the slopes of St Daniel’s Hill. Other satellite camps were set up at Monkton and on Golden Hill, with a possible third camp between Lamphey and Pembroke to control the approaches from the east. The besieging army was quickly swelled by Horton’s men, following the surrender of Tenby on 31st May and probably numbered some 6,000 troops. The siege quickly became an affair of attack and counter attack. On 4th June a storming party of


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