near Goodrich, Herefordshire, England
Set on top a wooded hillside overlooking the river Wye, Goodrich castle sits between Ross on Wye 4 miles away and Monmouth, and is one of the gateways between England and Wales
The ruined Norman medieval castle is built of red sandstone. The keep today is 60 feet in height; although originally it would have been taller and topped with battlements. The castles’ barbican or outer protective fortification is very well preserved with two bridges passing at right angles to one another.
The castle is open to the public daily between April and October from 10am and from November to March Wednesdays though to Sundays. There is also a café offering a range of snacks and drinks.
Visitors to the castle can explore alone, with the help of an audio guide or take part in a guided tour (advance booking of one month required). The tours are conducted by one of the castle’s keen enthusiasts who gives visitors a glimpse into how the site was developed, the history and information on the architecture and conservation work on the site.
At the time of the Doomsday survey the original manor was owned by Godric Marolestone and it was called ‘Godric’s Castle.
Between 1148 and1176 the square keep was added and under King John the castle and title Earl of Pembroke was granted to William Marshall a great builder who made additions to the inner ward. Marshal’s sons inherited the castle on his death, but the last of them died childless, so at the end on the 13th century William de Valence, half bother to Henry III, was granted the castle.
He was responsible for transforming the tower building by adding four huge walls around the keep with circular towers at three corners and at the fourth corner a gatehouse and a semi circular barbican. Following the death of his son Aymer in 1323 the castle passed by marriage to Richard, 2nd Baron Talbot the family were made Earls of Shrewsbury during the 15th century.
In 1616 the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury died without leaving a male heir and so the castle was granted to the Earl of Kent, Henry Gray, but it was left unoccupied.
The castle was used as a garrison during the civil war in 1643 and was subject to one of Herefordshire’s most desperate sieges where the castle was virtually ruined.
The castle was sold and passed through many hands until finally coming into the care of the commissioner of Works and is now managed by English Heritage who have returned the only surviving Civil War mortar ‘roaring Meg’ back to the castle.
Other Castles in the Area
Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire
Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire
Kilpeck Castle, Herefordshire
Longtown Castle, Herefordshire
Abergavenny Castle, Monmouthshire
Castell Troggy, Monmouthshire
Chepstow Castle, Monmouthshire
Grosmont Castle, Monmouthshire
Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire
Skenfrith Castle, Monmouthshire
Usk Castle, Monmouthshire
White Castle, Monmouthshire