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besiegers attempted to get into the town over the walls, possibly in the Gooses Lane area, but their ladders proved to be too short and they were driven back with the loss of twenty three killed and several wounded. A few days later Laugharne led a troop of horse out to raid the Camp of the Leaguer, as it was known, but was driven back. Nine of his men were killed and twenty captured.


Conditions in the town were grim. It was reported by deserters who dropped over the walls at night that the horses were being fed with thatch torn from the roofs. Daily rations were reduced to half a pound of beef a day and the same amount of bread. Poyer was said to be so desperate for help to come that he had told his men that they might hang him if it did not soon arrive.


On 13th June two guns placed on Golden Hill began a bombardment of the town. Several houses were set alight and the blaze spread quickly, so that buildings were still burning the next day. There was worse to come. Towards the middle of June, Colonels Horton and Okey led a storming party through a breach in the town walls in a surprise attack A running battle developed in Main Street, reaching almost to the castle gates before Rowland Laugharne managed to launch a counter attack and drive the intruders back. Over 130 men from both sides were killed.


A few days later, the heavy siege guns which had been shipwrecked in the Severn finally arrived and commenced a bombardment of the town. At least 30 people were killed as their houses were battered down. The end of the siege could not long be delayed. According to legend, the final surrender was brought about by the cutting of pipes that supplied water to the castle from springs near Maiden Wells, but this is highly unlikely.


Poyer and Laugharne must have realised that the expected royalist aid would never arrive and to avoid the inevitable bloodshed that would follow an assault on the town, they decided to obtain terms from Cromwell. The formal surrender of the town and castle was made on 11th July. Cromwell moved from his headquarters at Welston Court near Milton to oversee the final details, taking up residence at the York Tavern, which still stands as a domestic dwelling in Main Street. The articles of surrender ensured that the people of Pembroke should be free from plunder and should be allowed to leave the town if they wished it.


The ordinary soldiers were also allowed to leave and the sick and wounded amongst them were to be cared for. Their leaders were to be imprisoned or exiled. Laugharne, Poyer and Powell were taken to London, where they were tried before a military court and sentenced to death. In the event, only one was actually executed; John Poyer was shot at Covent Garden on 25th April 1649.


Before he left Pembroke, Cromwell is said to have watched the demolition by gunpowder of the Barbican Tower within the castle. Other parts of the ancient structure were also rendered unusable; the towers overlooking Westgate Hill were all blasted, so that the fortress could never again be used for military purposes. It is possible that sections of the town walls were also brought down at this time. Pembroke would bear the scars of its defiance for centuries to come.


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