Ludlow Castle, Shropshire
Castle Sq, Ludlow
Ludlow has one of the finest medieval castles in Britain. Built by the de Lacy's on a finely judged defensive position on top of a cliff, guarded by both the rivers Teme and Corve, overlooking the Welsh border.
Built in stone from the first in the late eleventh century, the castle remained a major stronghold and administrative centre until abandoned almost six hundred years later in the 1680's.
This castle is one of the most important castles in our history and is one of the largest.
Access to the castle is via one of limited parking in the town centre which is directly outside the caste gates. The town itself has immense history in its own rights and is worthy of a stroll round the historic buildings.
Once inside the castle there is plenty to see and explore and if you are able to climb the high towers, the views from the top are well worth the effort, to be able to look down at the castle and look out across the beautiful surrounding countryside.
~ History ~
1066 - Walter de Lacy, a trusted soldier to William the Conqueror's lieutenant William fitzOsbern, arrives in England with the invading Norman army. FitzOsbern is rewarded for his loyal service with the Earldom of Hereford.
1069 - Following three years of fierce resistance William fitzOsbern is finally able to claim his lands and sets about keeping his new acquisition with the building of new castles through the granting of lands to his trusted men. As second in command to William, Walter de Lacy is granted a key strategic position on the Welsh border.
1085 - William's son and heir Roger de Lacy sets about a ten year building program to erect a stone fortress at Ludlow.
1095 - Following de Lacy's successes in Ireland it is not long before friction with the Crown turns into open rebellion. William II sends Roger de Lacy into exile and grants the castle to Roger's bitter enemy Sir Joyce de Dinan.
1138 - Ludlow castle is captured on behalf of Matilda. King Stephen besieges the castle in an attempt to regain it. During the siege the King bravely saves Prince Henry of Scotland from being injured by a grappling hook thrown from the castle.
1213 - The castle is taken into Royal hands by King John until his death three years later. Roger de Lacy returns and recovers his castle and lands. On the death of de Lacy twenty-one years later, the castle is granted to the Grenvilles.
1255 - Henry III signs a peace treaty with Llywelyn the Great at Ludlow Castle.
1316 - Through marriage to a Grenville heiress the powerful Lord Roger Mortimer takes sole ownership of Ludlow castle.
1326 - After disposing of Edward II, Mortimer and his lover Queen Isabella, govern England until Mortimer's execution by the teenage Edward III four years later.
1424 - Ludlow passes through marriage to Richard, Earl of Cambridge, who becomes Duke of York two years later.
1459 - Henry VI advances on Ludlow with a large Lancastrian army to face the Yorkist army being mustered by Richard. At a critical moment Sir Andrew Wallop, Marshal of the Yorkist army, deserts to the Lancastrians. The weakened Yorkist army flee leaving Ludlow to be "robbed to the bare walls". Within a year Richard is killed in the battle of Wakefield.
1461 - Richard's son takes up his fathers mantle and the Yorkist cause and wins critical battles at Mortimer's Cross and Barnet to take up the throne as Edward IV.
1472 - Edward IV sets up the Council of the Welsh Marches with Bishop Alcock as first president and Ludlow as its base. Edward's infant sons are sent to Ludlow Castle to act as figureheads under the guardianship of the Queen's brother Lord Rivers.
1483 - On the death of Edward IV the two young princes are sent to the Tower of London, where they mysteriously disappear as their uncle takes the throne as Richard III.
1485 - Richard is killed at the Battle of Bosworth, aged just 28. His distant cousin proclaims himself Henry VII. Following Edward IV's example, he send his eldest son Arthur to live at Ludlow.
1502 - Arthur dies not long after his unconsummated marriage to Catherine of Aragaon, later first wife of his younger brother Henry VIII.
1559 - Queen Elizabeth I appoints Sir Henry Sidney as Lord President of the Council of the Marches, a post he retains until his death at the castle twenty-seven years later.
1646 - Ludlow is the last Shropshire castle to hold out for King Charles I.
1651 - Although the castle survives parliamentary slighting or damage from the civil war, its defences are deliberately dismantled.
1689 - The administrative and prison duties of Ludlow castle are removed by William III. The castle is left to decay.