Snodhill Castle, Herefordshire
Peterchurch, South of Dorstone
Snodhill Castle was one of the largest early Norman Castles in Britain. It could so nearly have been the great lost castle of Herefordshire, little understood and forgotten, had it not been for the combined efforts of enthusiasts, volunteers and the funding of Historic England, the castle has been rescued.
Built on a spur 200 feet above the valley floor with fabulous views all around, this 10-acre site has plenty to explore, including an elaborate 12-sided tower keep, one of only a few motte and bailey castles to have two keeps.
Thanks to the wonderful efforts of everyone involved, in particular the Snodhill Castle Preservation Trust in recovering this lost treasure, access to the castle is really very easy with limited parking at the site.
~ History ~
1068 ~ William Fitz Osbern builds a new castle to help secure control over the Welsh Marches, along with his other castles at Chepstow, Wigmore and Clifford. He grants Snodhill to his faithful supporter Hugh L'asne.
1101 ~ The castle passes to the Chandos family who own it for the next 327 years.
1160 ~ The high keep is built on the foundations of an earlier smaller square keep as part of the castles improvements.
1200-30's ~ The castle is refortified with a stone keep and bailey walls.
1321 ~ The north tower-keep is built in response to a successful surprise night attack and capture.
1355 ~ Roger de Chandos dies and his castle of Snodhill is reported as partially ruinous.
1403 ~ Sir John Chandos is ordered by King Henry IV to fortify the castle against the Welsh rebel Owain Glyndwr.
1428 ~ Snodhill passes to Giles Bruges following Sir John's deathand then later to The Crown.
1436 ~ Richard de la Mere, sheriff of Herefordshire, holds the castle, but later it passes to the powerful Neville family, Earls of Warwick, but seldom used. Four years later it is reported as falling into ruin.
1568 ~ Queen Elizabeth's favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and now owner of the ruinous castle, sells it to the Vaughan family.
1645 ~ The Royalist Vaighan family make repairs to their castle and prepare for a siege by Parliamentary forces. Scottish forces bombard the castle causing further damage to the already partly ruinous walls.
1657 ~ The Vaughans sell the castle to William Prosser, a successfull coachbuilding businessman who dismantles the castle to use its stone for the building of Snodhill Court and farm.