Goodrich Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Goodrich Castle

Goodrich, England, United Kingdom

Goodrich Castle is a picturesque Norman ruin in Herefordshire that was the site of a bitter siege during the English Civil War.

Lily Johnson

04 May 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Goodrich Castle

Goodrich Castle in Herefordshire is one of the most picturesque medieval ruins in the UK. Standing at the peak of a scenic woodland hilltop, this Norman fortification has attracted tourists to view its ethereal remains since the 18th century.

Goodrich Castle history

The first recorded structure to be built on the Goodrich Castle site was constructed in the late 11th century by an Anglo-Saxon thegn who retained his lands after the Norman Conquest. However, it is believed that the site may have been used as a fortification long before this.

The original wooden structure was replaced by a stone fort in the mid-12th century and the living quarters and fortifications of Goodrich Castle were extended over the next 100 years.

Goodrich Castle is perhaps best known for the part it played during the English Civil War, when it became the focus of a bitter siege between Royalist and Parliamentarian forces. Occupied by a Royalist garrison at the start of the war, Goodrich Castle was used as a base for attacks on Parliamentarian positions in the local area.

As the war turned however, Parliamentarian forces targeted Goodrich and a siege began in 1646. After building trenches and utilising the famous ‘Roaring Meg’ mortar, the Parliamentarians began to wreak heavy damage upon Goodrich Castle and the defending garrison was forced to surrender.

After the war, although Goodrich Castle was not destroyed, it was intentionally damaged or ‘slighted’ to ensure it could no longer serve as a stronghold, and soon fell to ruin. By the late 18th century, Goodrich Castle was seen as an idyllic ruined spot and was therefore never fully restored.

Goodrich Castle today

Today Goodrich Castle is managed by English Heritage and is open to visitors. Its imposing ruins may be explored including the picturesque 13th century chapel and the infamous ‘Roaring Meg’ mortar, which was moved to the site by Herefordshire Council and may be found in the courtyard.

Views from the castle walls are a must-see, and be sure to look out for the eery murder-holes dotted along them – once used to keep out enemy troops!

The visitor’s centre also contains information about the history of Goodrich Castle and artefacts from the site, particularly from the 1646 siege. Audio tours are available, while various special events are also held at Goodrich throughout the year.

Getting to Goodrich Castle

Goodrich Castle is located in Herefordshire and is 5 miles south of Ross-on-Wye off the A40. Parking is available at the site, while the H&H Coaches service 34 and 411 stop at Castle Lane, a 5-minute walk away.

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