Grosmont Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Grosmont Castle

Lucy Davidson

06 May 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Grosmont Castle

Grosmont Castle is a ruined castle in the village of Grosmont, Monmouthshire, Wales.

The word Grosmont derives from the French – gros mont – meaning ‘big hill.’

The castle was built by the Normans in the wake of the invasion of England in 1066, and from 1135, was paired with the sister fortifications of Skenfrith and White Castle to form a lordship known as the Three Castles.

History of Grosmont Castle

Following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the Normans used an extensive network of castles to subdue the Welsh, establish new settlements, and exert their claims of lordship over the territories.

Grosmont Castle was one of three fortifications built in the Monnow valley around this time to protect the route from Wales to Hereford. It was likely built by William FitzOsbern, the Earl of Hereford, during his invasion of south Wales in 1070.

The first castle on the site was built from earth and timber, with a keep and motte protected by a palisade and a ditch. At this time, the Normans established a borough alongside the castle which later became the village of Grosmont.

The earl’s lands were slowly broken up after William FitzOsbern’s son, Roger de Breteuil, rebelled against the crown in 1075.

In 1135, a major Welsh revolt took place, which prompted King Stephen to buy Grosmont, Skenfrith, and White Castle, thereby creating a lordship known as the ‘Three Castles’, which would defend the region from Welsh attack for several centuries.

In 1201, King John gifted the castle to royal official Hubert de Burgh. Over the next few centuries, it passed back and forth between the de Burgh and rival de Braose families.

Upon regaining the property in 1219, de Burgh added a curtain wall, gatehouse, and mural towers. In 1267, the Earl of Lancaster gained possession of the castle, and it remained in the earldom and later the duchy of Lancaster until 1825.

By the 16th century, the castle was no longer in use and had fallen into ruin. It was placed into state care in 1922, and is now managed by the Cadw Welsh heritage agency.

Grosmont Castle Today

Today, the remains of the drawbridge pit, gatehouse, west tower, great hall, and chimney are visible amongst other ruins. The site is not restricted and is free to enter, and is a popular picnic site for locals and visitors alike. There are steps up onto the wall for impressive views of the surrounding countryside.

Getting to Grosmont Castle

From Hereford, Grosmont Castle is a 30 minute drive via the A465 road. Parking near the site is difficult, but you might have more luck down in the village. The castle is a 5-10 minute walk from the centre of the pretty and historic village, via the B4347 road.

 

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