The Castle and Quays – North, South and Monkton Bridge Quays

Ancient origins

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

South Quay enhancement between 1818 and about 1822

Monkton Quay

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 GarlandstoneArcacia and The Mary Jane Lewis. The latter was eventually wrecked on rocks at Angle ten miles away.

North Quay

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.

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