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Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"


Goodrich Castle is a now ruinous Norman medieval castle north of the village of Goodrich in Herefordshire, which, controlled the key location between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye.

Goodrich Castle was probably built by Godric of Mappestone after the Norman invasion of England, initially as an earth and wooden fortification. In the middle of the 12th century the original castle was replaced with a stone keep, and was then expanded significantly during the late 13th century into a concentric structure combining luxurious living quarters with extensive defences. The success of Goodrich's design influenced many other constructions across England over the following years. It became the seat of the powerful Talbot family before falling out of favour as a residence in late Tudor times.

Held first by Parliamentary and then Royalist forces in the English Civil War of the 1640s, Goodrich was finally successfully besieged by Colonel John Birch in 1646 with the help of the huge "Roaring Meg" mortar, resulting in the subsequent slighting of the castle and its descent into ruin.

At the heart of the castle is an early Norman square keep of light grey sandstone, with Norman windows and pilaster buttresses.

Around the keep is an essentially square structure guarded by three large towers, all built during the 1280s from somewhat darker sandstone. These towers have large "spurs", resulting from the interface of a solid, square-based pyramid with the circular towers rising up against the walls. This feature is characteristic of castles in the Welsh Marches, including St Briavel's and Tonbridge Castle, and was intended to prevent the undermining of the towers by attackers.

The bailey was designed to include a number of spacious domestic buildings. These include a great hall, a solarium, kitchen, buttery and pantry, with a luxuriously large number of gardrobes and fireplaces. The design of the buildings ensured that the servants and nobility were able to live separately from one another in the confined space of the castle, revolutionary at the time.

Beyond the main bailey walls lies the stable block, now ruined but with a visible cobble floor. The stables and the north and west sides of the castle were protected by another, smaller curtain wall, but this is now largely ruined. Accounts suggest that the original stables could hold around 60 horses, although by the 17th century they had been expanded to accommodate more.

It was praised by William Wordsworth as the "noblest ruin in Herefordshire" and is considered by historian Adrian Pettifer to be the "most splendid in the county, and one of the best examples of English military architecture".

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