Castles and Palaces
Every Castle

Goodrich castle

Goodrich castle is a castle in ruins built around 1086.

Goodrich Castle History

Goodrich Castle probably started as a simple wooden palisade and watch tower. The earliest reference to the castle was in a document dated in 1101 and in a note from a 12th century copy of the Domesday Book which links the castle with Godric Mappeston. The castle is named after Godric.

The stone keep was probably built during the war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda from 1138 to 1153. In 1204, King John gave the castle to William Marshal as a wedding gift to the heiress of the Earldom of Pembroke. This is when stone walls and towers replaced wood around the old keep as William Marshal was also doing at Chepstow Castle in Wales.

In 1245, the castle passed to William de Valence, the half brother of King Henry III. Supply listings for lumber from the royal forests in 1280 and 1282 and the presence of royal clerks and workmen nearby suggest that major rebuilding work was done at the castle during the reign of Edward I. The gatehouse and barbican are in the style of an Edward I castle.

William's son died in 1324 and the castle passed to his niece Elizabeth Comyn, who lost the rights to Hugh Despencer, but were recovered again by her husband Richard Talbot. The Talbots were made wealthy by ransoms secured during The Hundred Year's War and were created the Earls of Shrewsbury in 1442.

In 1616 when the castle was sold to Henry Grey, Earl of Kent, it was no longer in use.

Although no longer in use, Goodrich Castle was occupied again in 1643 during the English Civil War, first by a garrison of 100 Parliamentarian troops and again in 1645 by Royalists who withdrew to the castle. In 1646 the castle was besieged by Colonel Birch and surrendered after a massive explosion under the ramparts near the River Wye which were tunneled under and weakened by the Colonel's Parliamentarian forces.

The Goodrich Castle was then partly demolished and the main timbers and lead roofs were taken away to prevent any further use as a defensive stronghold. The castle was neglected after that until 1925 when the Commissioners of Works commenced repairs to conserve and display the castle. That work continues to this day under the care of English Heritage.

Goodrich Castle highlights

After a brief walk from the car park, Goodrich Castle shows itself at the end of the wooded patch. The castle rests on a sandstone foundation and has a dry moat. As you walk around the ramparts along the outside of the moat you will come to the remains of the barbican which is separated from the main body of the castle and on the outside of the moat. There is a stone bench carved into the remains of the barbican wall. This is where visitors would sit and wait for the Lord of the castle to receive them into the castle itself. Today there is an English Heritage gift shop located in the barbican. If you visit Goodrich Castle, be sure to get an audio tour phone at the gift shop before you go into the castle.

Following the ramp from the barbican over the bridge where the drawbridge once stood, you come to the castle gatehouse. The gatehouse has slots where the portcullis was once raised through and murder holes. Off to the right in the gatehouse is a passage that leads to a small latrine within the wall and a guard chamber.

After going through the gatehouse you end up in the inner ward. To the left is the castle's chapel. The decorated windows in the chapel are from the 15th century though the glass in the windows is much later. Above the chapel is the chapel tower rooms which also goes over the gatehouse and it is from there that things are dropped through the murder-holes.

Leaving the chapel and chapel tower and back out into the inner ward there is a huge gray stone Norman keep at the far end of the castle. The keep is the oldest part of the castle still remaining and dates back to 12th century. You can walk to the top of the keep and see the panoramic view of the whole castle.

Goodrich Castle also has a great hall, kitchen, solar where the Lords chamber's where located, and a dungeon. The East wall has a wall walk that takes you along the wall at the parapet level, where you can get an up close view of the cross shaped arrow loops. Goodrich has three massive drum-towers. Those three towers and the gatehouse make the four corners of the castle. The towers are round but have square bases adding strength to their girth.

Goodrich castle - Vistor info

Goodrich is a great castle to visit. The audio tour is excellent. There is a lot of castle to explore for such a compact castle. And it is off the beaten track a bit which means it has some visitors but does not get over crowded with tourists on a given day.

Goodrich castle is open to the public.

Open: Daily
10am to 6pm 01 April - 31 October
10am to 4pm 01 November - 31 March

Closed: 24-26th December

Gift shop and audio tours are available at Goodrich castle

Goodrich Castle Map&Location

Goodrich Castle is located in Herefordshire, England. the castle address is Castle Lane, Goodrich, County of Herefordshire HR9 6,

You can reach it from the A40 North of Monmouth and from minor roads near Welsh Bicknor. Get help with directions using the map provided bellow:

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Goodrich Castle Photos

Photos by Stuart Bryant - Click on the photos to enlarge

Goodrich Castle
Goodrich Castle window