Sir John was born at Haroldston, Pembrokeshire in 1528, allegedly the illegitimate son of Henry VIII by Mary Berkeley, wife of Thomas Perrot.

Sir John remained a court favourite during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI, but spent much of Queen Mary’s reign abroad.

He was granted governorship of Carew Castle at the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and embarked on the great rebuilding of the north front of the Castle in the Elizabethan style.

Illegitimate son of Henry VIII?

He was made Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1584 and a member of the Privy Council.

However, he had many enemies and rumours of treason circulated. Haverfordwest merchants were angered by his allowing pirated contraband to land at his ports, and caused an investigation by the Privy Council to take place in 1591.

Sir John was taken to the Tower of London, tried and convicted of high treason.

But it is said that Elizabeth was reluctant to sign his death warrant and he died a natural death there in 1592.