Goodrich castle is a castle in ruins built around
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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:
View Larger Map