Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle is a large, [cite web |url=|title= SO4974 : Lane from Priors Halton to Ludlow|accessdate=2008-07-10 |last= Rickard|first= Trevor|date= 2007-04-02|work= |publisher= Geograph British Isles] now partly ruined, non-inhabited castle which dominates the town of Ludlow in Shropshire, England. It stands on a high point overlooking the River Teme. [cite web |url=|title= SO5074 : Ludlow Castle and River Teme|accessdate=2008-07-10 |last= Rickard|first= Trevor|date= 2007-03-09|work= |publisher= Geograph British Isles] The castle is owned by The Trustees of the Powis Castle Estate on behalf of the family of the Earl of Powis, and is open to the public.



Construction of Ludlow Castle began in the late 11th Century as the border stronghold of one of the Marcher Lords, Roger de Lacy. It is first referred to by chroniclers in 1138 but was at this time a more basic castle type. It was held by the de Lacy's into the 13th century and with their focus on their holdings in Ireland their enemies took it during the civil wars of the reign of King Stephen when the King himself besieged the castle and rescued his ally Prince Henry of Scotland. In 1224 King Henry III of England met with Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, the Welsh prince and leader, at Ludlow to sign a treaty with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton as mediator. Early in the 14th Century it was enlarged into a magnificent palace for Roger Mortimer, then the most powerful man in England.

In 1402 Edmund Mortimer, himself born at Ludlow Castle, set out from the castle with a large army to seek battle with the forces of Owain Glyndwr - he met them in the valley of the River Lugg at the Battle of Bryn Glas where he was defeated, captured and eventually allied himself to the Welsh rebel's cause, to the extent of marrying one of Glyndwr's daughters with whom he had four children, before starvation and death at the siege of Harlech Castle in 1409.

Royal connections

Later, in the 15th century under the ownership of Richard, Duke of York, the Castle was a major base in the Wars of the Roses and was taken by the Lancastrians in 1459 but back in York hands in 1461. Ludlow afterwards became a royal palace. In 1472 Edward IV sent his son the Prince of Wales and his brother (later the ‘Princes in the Tower’ of Shakespeare fame), to live at the castle, which was also the seat of Government for Wales and the Border Counties. Ludlow was now in effect the capital of Wales.

In 1501 Prince Arthur, (son of Henry VII and brother to Henry VIII) with his bride Catherine of Aragon, lived here for a short time before his early death. Mary Tudor, daughter of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII, and then heir to the throne of England as the couple's only issue, spent three winters at Ludlow between 1525 and 1528 along with her entourage of servants, advisors, and guardians.

The Civil War and subsequent decline

In the English Civil War between 1642 to 1648 Ludlow was a Royalist stronghold and was besieged by Parliamentarian forces but negotiated a surrender, avoiding damage and slighting. In 1669 the seat of administration for the Marches and Wales and the Council of the Marches was centralised in London during the reign of William and Mary. The legal and administrative community moved with it. In 1689 the Royal Welch Fusiliers were founded at the Castle by Lord Herbert of Chirbury but soon after it was abandoned and gradually fell into decay. In 1811 the ruins were purchased from the crown by the 2nd Earl of Powis, in the ownership of whose family it remains.

Description of the castle

The castle forms a large rectangular enceinte, with the town and principal entry on the east side, and the west side overlooking the river. The northwest corner is enclosed by another enciente wall forming the inner ward and the heart of the castle. Entry is gained by a bridge to the right of the rectangular keep. The inner ward contains the residential buildings that formed the castles principal accommodation. These buildings feature large windows that overlook the courtyard. In addition, the inner ward features the remains of an unusual chapel that had a circular chancel reminiscent of Temple Church in London.

The castle’s long history is reflected in its varied architecture; comprising Norman, Medieval and Tudor styles.

Open Air Theatre and Event Venue

Milton’s masque "Comus" was first performed in the Great Hall in 1634 and the tradition of a performance is continued each June and July when a play is performed in the open air within the Inner Bailey, as part of the successful Ludlow Festival [] . The Castle hosts other events through-out the year. Over 50,000 people pass through the gates each year [] .

Food Festival

The Ludlow and the Marches Food and Drink Festival takes place in the Castle precincts each September.


Further reading

*cite book|last= Matarasso|first= Francois|authorlink= |title= The English Castle|publisher= Cassell|year= 1995|location= London|pages= |isbn= 9780304347537|oclc= 34917530

External links

* [ Ludlow Castle official information site]
* [ Ludlow Castle on]

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