Tenby – city defensive walls


   The construction of the stone walls in Tenby began in the first half of the thirteenth century on the initiative of earls of Pembroke, the Marshal family. They replaced the earlier timber – earth fortifications of the twelfth century. The construction was completed in the days of William de Valence, the first Earl of Pembroke, after the town was plundered in 1260 by the Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. In the mid-15th century Jasper Tudor, prince of Bedford, ordered their thorough repair and modernization. It have been raised and expanded to allow defenders to move faster. The rebuilding of the fortifications was carried out again in 1588, which is confirmed by the commemorative plaque. These works were certainly made because of the threat of the Spanish armada. Demolition of fortifications, and in particular town gates, began at the end of the 18th century to improve the growing urban traffic.


   The circumference of the defensive walls was erected on a plan similar to a rectangle, with an extension in the north-east direction towards the castle. The wall was erected from stone rubble and topped with a battlement on the parapet supported by corbels. In the fifteenth century it was raised by 1.5 meters and widened, thanks to which it certainly had a sidewalk for defenders in the crown. The circumference of the walls was reinforced by about 26 towers: four-sided, cylindrical and horseshoe in plan. Originally, four gates led to the city: Great Gate, also known as Carmarthen, South Gate, Western Gate known today as the Five Arches Gate and the Quay Gate. The Western Gate had an advanced barbican from around 1320. The outer zone of defense was a moat, wider in the fifteenth century to 9.1 meters wide.

Current state

   The fortifications in Tenby are one of the best-preserved medieval town walls in Great Britain. It survived a long fragment of defensive walls on the south-west section of the circuit (South Parady Street) along with six towers and a gate’s barbican.

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Kenyon J., The medieval castles of Wales, Cardiff 2010.
Website wikipedia.org, Tenby town walls.
Website virtualtenby.co.uk, Tenby town walls.