Great Keep

Great Keep, Pembroke Castle

The building of the Great Keep was commenced in 1204 by William Marshal.  The Keep stands at 80 foot high, and was originally five stories high.  Unique in Great Britain for its size and domed stone roof, the ideas for the design were brought over from the continent.  Constructed as a stronghold if the castle were ever attacked, the original entrance would have been on the first floor, via wooden steps, that would have been destroyed after everyone was inside to close off the Keep from attackers.  The ground floor would have been used as a storeroom, with the three upper floors being used for living quarters, and the top floor for soldiers, who would have quick access onto the roof, from where they could attack the enemy below.

Today, the floors of the different storeys are no longer in place, so visitors can look up to the domed roof and see how high the building is.  The Keep is now used for weddings and abseiling, and is home to countless pigeons (so put your hoods up!).  For visitors not scared of heights, we recommend the climb to the top, for the best view in Pembroke.

The Great Keep, Pembroke Castle