Stokesay Castle, Shropshire
Nr Craven Arms,
The de Lacy family held the manor of Stoke at the time of the Domesday Book (1086). The timber-framed gatehouse is of two storeys and an attic, standing on the foundations of an earlier stone gatehouse. Ornate but of no military value. The South Tower is an irregularly shaped polygonal building containing a cellar and two upper storeys of bedrooms for the use of the family and their guests. This structure is a sort of tower house, militarily independent of the rest of the house, although its walls are only about 4 feet thick and it was more of a status symbol than a fortress.
Stokesay Castle is a very unique treat to any castle exploring. The buildings themselves are absolutely gorgeous on the outside as they are on the inside, with a magnificent hall, wood panelled rooms and ancient beams, floors and windows, with a tower that can still be climbed to the battlements to provide fabulous views. The stunning tudor style gatehouse to the courtyard provides the perfect entrance to a very special experience for any castle explorer.
Access is from the nearby car park through the churchyard.
~ History ~
1100's - The de Lacy family grant Stokesay to Theodoric de Say.
1200's - The north tower is built in stone.
1250's - Stokesay passes by exchange to John Verdun and later to the de Grays.
1281 - The manor is purchased by a rich wool merchant Lawrence de Ludlow. The hall and solar are built soon after.
1291 - King Edward I grants de Ludlow a license to improve the defences with the building of the south tower and curtain wall which encloses the courtyard.
1296 - Lawrence de Ludlow dies.
1500's - Through marriage Stokesay passes to the Vernons.
1570 - The manor is sold to the Mainwarings.
1616 - Stokesay is acquired by Sir Thomas Baker and Sir Richard Francis, only to be sold to Dame Elizabeth Craven. Her son, William, Lord Craven, refurbishes Stokesay as a possible residence for Elizabeth, daughter of King James I.
1640 - The ornate timber framed gatehouse is built.
1645 - The Civil War sees Stokesay garrisoned as an outpost of Royalist Ludlow but is surrendered to a Parliamentary force at the second summons without enduring a siege, being untenable against cannon. Despite this it is still considered necessary to pull down the curtain wall to courtyard level. The manor is then leased to the Baldwins.
1700's - Decaying Stokesay is occupied only be tenant farmers.