Monday, June 19, 2006

Not quite Camelot but...

Okay, I know I have been tardy with posting to my blog recently but life has been getting in the way of late. Lots happening in Bobkats world! Anyway, with the weather being so nice lately I have been out and about. Now I have always liked castles and recently visited Goodrich Castle which stands on a wooded hill commanding the passage of the River Wye into the valley of Symonds Yat . The castle was begun in the late 11th century, by the English thegn Godric who gave it his name, and successive generations added to it over the centuries.

The well preserved square keep which still forms the core of the castle was added, probably in the time of Richard 'Strongbow' de Clare, Earl of Pembroke and Lord of Goodrich 1148-76 and you can still climb to the top and enjoy a spectacular view of the Wye Valley. In fact, English Heritage have done a great job of making as much of the castle accessible to the public to explore as possible, which I applaud.

Back to the history bit... Under King John, Goodrich was granted with the earldom of Pembroke to William Marshal, a great castle-builder who may have initiated work on the inner ward. Each of the Marshal's four sons inherited the fortress in turn, the last dying childless at Goodrich in 1245.

Thereafter the fortress and earldom passed to Henry III's half-brother, William de Valence, who rebuilt its defences and living quarters. Goodrich still has one of the most complete sets of medieval domestic buildings surviving in any English castle (apparently). During the Civil War, Goodrich was held successively by both sides. Sir Henry Lingen's Royalists eventually surrendered in 1646 under threats of undermining and a deadly Parliamentarian mortar.

So there's a bit of history for you. I had a great time visiting it and was impressed by the way it was maintained and presented. I have also visited many castles in Wales. Good ones to visit are Raglan and Pembroke. Raglan is managed by Cadw and in my oppinion they do not do such a good job as English Heritage or the privately owned Pembroke management. The information at Cadw castles is more sparse and the castles themselves tend to be less accessible and I like to explore. I also want to know a bit about the castles history and not just what the buildings were used for! Pembroke on the other hand is a wonderful castle to visit, well kept with plenty to explore and good information - you can even have a tour guide if you like. It is extremely well maintained and impressive to view. I have a few more castles to visit, but cannot seem to find Castle Aaghhh or Castle Anthrax on any maps! Funny that :o)

1 comment:

craziequeen said...

Fantastic pictures, bobkat!

I really must start going to castles again - while they're still here! :-)