Most of Haverfordwest Castle, as it is seen today, dated from the time of Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward I, or Edward Longshanks. Other famous people, including King Richard II and Oliver Cromwell have visited over the centuries. A substantial portion of the castle still survives today, although the civil wars in the 1640s took a toll. Copies of Oliver Cromwell’s letters ordering the destruction of the castle in 1648 are on display. The museum has a fine model of the castle, as it would have looked in 1394.
One of the most important roles of the castle was to act as a prison. Giraldus Cambrensis records prisons here as early as 1188. In 1779 a prison for the county of Pembrokeshire was built within the remains of the castle. It was replaced in 1820 by a new prison building in the castle grounds, which now houses the Pembrokeshire Record Office. A number of artefacts, including a cell door, leg irons and the original lock from the castle gate are on display.
Scenes from the archaeological excavation at Haverfordwest Castle, to the rear of the Haverfordwest Town Museum in January 2008.
Letters written by Oliver Cromwell in July 1648 during the Second Civil War, in which he threatened to impose a garrison unless the townsfolk demolished the castle. The letters were lost for many years and were only rediscovered in 1986. Click on a letter to view a printed version.