IN 1648, when the civil war was coming to an end, the taking of Pembroke Castle from the Royalists was so important to the Parliamentarians in setting up their new regime, that Oliver Cromwell himself came to Pembrokeshire to take charge.

The siege, which lasted eight weeks, and all it entailed was told in an enthralling and enthusiastic talk by Terry John to the Pembroke Ladies Probus Club at its November meeting.

Terry, a member of the Sealed Knot, the association performing re-enactments of battles and sieges surrounding the English Civil War, recounted the skirmishes that occurred in Pembroke and the surrounding area in an interesting and informative manner.

He brought with him many items of clothing and artefacts to illustrate his talk, including chests with secret compartments, and bullets and fragments of clay pipes which had been found locally by farmers whilst ploughing.

One of the bullets had what has been identified as teeth marks on it, probably used by an injured soldier who would have been told to 'bite the bullet' when receiving unavoidable and unpleasant medical treatment.

Among the items of clothing, was a Dutch coat which was worn by officers. The shoes and boots on display were of a straight design, no difference between the right and the left shoe. Every day they would be worn on alternate feet to preserve the leather.

Rita Evans volunteered to dress up, ably assisted by Yvonne Hurton who ensured that Rita was tightly laced as members didn't want her to be regarded as a 'loose woman'!

Ann Dureau summed up the talk for all in her vote of thanks when she told Terry that it had been "a wonderful, fun morning, with us all enjoying and feeling a sense of the past. The detail that he had given providing us with a living picture of Pembroke under siege".

The next meeting will be on December 20.