Wednesday, 5 March 2008

A walk round Raglan Castle

This is one of my favourite pictures from those I have taken in the past year:

I thought it was time for another Castle walk. To be honest, this would make two or even three walks - especially as I took so many photos when I stopped off there last year, on my way to stay with my friend Jude and enjoy a weekend away, visiting Ludlow Food Festival - also held in the grounds of a castle, this time - unsurprisingly - Ludlow! My photos tend to be angles which appealed to me, but have the benefit of being enlargeable if you click on them. Enjoy the link to the virtual walk at the bottom of the page for some more majestic views.

I used to have a penpal in Wales whose father was the custodian of this castle, and she and her sister have many happy memories of living nearby. But that was many, many years ago. Now it's more "official" and it is now in the hands of CADW.

Anyway, I will tell you a little bit about it and then on to the photos. William ap Thomas, the "blue knight of Gwent", fought alongside Henry V at Agincourt in 1415 and was knighted by Henry VI in 1426. He bought the castle in 1432 and along with his son, William Herbert, who became the Earl of Pembroke made improvements, including the Tudor styling we see today. During the Wars of the Roses, Herbert sided with the Yorkists, his political support for Edward IV earning him his title and paid handsomely, thus enabling him to turn Raglan into a "palace-fortress". He met his end in 1469, after Lancastrian supporters captured him at the Battle of Edgecote and put him to death. King Henry VII grew up here. Walking past the damson trees at one side of the castle, I like to think these trees might be descendents of ones which the young Henry might have scrumped!

As you can see from the remains, it was quite a "busy" place architecturally, and existed on many different levels.

Many modifications and modernizations over the generations.

The Herberts held Raglan until 1492, when the Somersets (Earls of Worcester) took possession. They also carried out considerable improvements so the castle fell in line with current fashions in dining and relaxation and in doing so, established wonderful gardens that included a number of walled terraces, a fountain, a lake, along with the wonderful Elizabethan flower beds and herb gardens.

This incredible carved fireplace was fortunately preserved at Badminton House in Gloucestershire, but is believed to have been taken from Raglan.

Alas, the English Civil War was to see the demise of Raglan, as it served many other castles (my own favourite, Corfe Castle in Dorset, amongst them). In 1642 the fifth Earl of Worcester sided with the Royalists, loaning considerable sums of money to Charles I. Unsurprisingly, this made Raglan a target for the Roundheads, and the castle was beseieged by them in June 1646, finally surrendering in August of that year. The abandonment and subsequent decay of the castle was finally halted and the building conserved by CADW and its predecessors, who took the castle into safe keeping in 1938.

This link will give you a Virtual Tour of the castle.


Greentwinsmummy said...

ah another Corfe fan! I adore that place & spent many an afternoon there with my nan & grandad years ago.I never thought I would find anywhere as nice until I found Sherborne Castle! the old one(theres a newer one)its like Corfe! but on FLAT! ground,you know the Corfe one is on a verrrry steep slope!
x x x

MammyT said...

Nice post, Jennie. Who is CADW?

Kelli said...

I just love castle pictures, the ones you shared are beautiful! I really love the first one with the lovely blue sky! I wish I could join you on a walk.

Bovey Belle said...

Nancy - Cadw means "to keep" - here's a link for you:

Kelli - it was late afternoon when I got to Radnor - about 4.30 I think - a warm, sunny day and the atmosphere in the castle was magical, truly magical.

GTM - I have so many, many happy memories of Corfe - it is such a beautiful village. We once "stormed" the very steep side to the castle, pretending we were the French bods who had come to attack it via the pub! I couldn't do that now!!! Sherborne I have only seen in driving by - I hope to remedy that this year.

Greentwinsmummy said...

we can go when we meet up in April if you like BB its only few miles from Sarahs/mine.The smalls adore it there,theres a vaulted under croft bit that you can go in & oout iof,its mentioned in Thomas Hardys Far From the Madding Crowd,they shelter the cattle there in a storm :o)