About Ludlow Castle
Ludlow Castle, the finest of medieval ruined castles, set in glorious Shropshire countryside. Initially a Norman stronghold it then turned royal castle, the imposing ruins of which can be seen today.
Ludlow Castle history
The castle’s origins can be traced back to the 11th century and to Walter de Lacy, a Norman nobleman who is said to have been given the land by a prominent supporter of William the Conqueror. The exact date on which Ludlow Castle was founded is unclear, but the earliest parts still standing today were the work of de Lacy’s sons, Roger and Hugh.
In the mid-12th century three powerful Marcher lords claimed the castle; Walter de Lacy, Hugh de Mortimer, and Joce de Dinan. Joce rode out to ambush and capture Mortimer, but in his absence, de Lacy marched in and occupied the castle. Dinan in turn laid siege to Ludlow but could not dislodge the de Lacy garrison.
Roger Mortimer inherited Ludlow in 1316, and many of the domestic buildings within the inner bailey were erected during his ownership. Mortimer was executed in 1330 by Edward III but the Mortimer family retained their estates. The male line died out in 1425 and Ludlow was granted to Richard, Duke of York. During the Wars of the Roses, the duke’s soldiers suffered a heavy defeat at Ludford Bridge, just outside the town, and Ludlow was sacked.
In the 15th century, Ludlow Castle became property of the Crown – re-established by Edward IV as a body to counsel and act on behalf of his son, the infant Edward, Prince of Wales. King Edward had recently been restored to the monarchy during the Wars of the Roses, and he and his allies controlled most of the marcher lordships within and adjoining Wales. He established his son at Ludlow Castle, and appointed his allies from the Woodville and Stanley families as leading figures in the Council.
The castle was abandoned in 1689 and fell into decay. Having been acquired by the Earls of Powis in 1811 and still under their ownership, Ludlow Castle is now open to the public.
Ludlow Castle today
The Castle’s long history is reflected in its varied architecture; Norman, Medieval and Tudor, many of the buildings still stand. From the huge Outer Bailey a bridge across the moat leads to the Inner Bailey with the Keep, the Great Chamber, the other side of the moat is the Ice House – once used to store explosives.
Milton’s famous 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 Ludlow Festival. The Castle hosts other events through-out the year.
Getting to Ludlow Castle
If travelling by car, from the junction of the A5/A49 (S) Shrewsbury, take the A49 south to Ludlow. From here, simply follow signs for Ludlow Town centre. On Corve street turn right down knig street and follow the road to the castle.
If travelling via public transport, the site is approximately a 10-minute walk away from Ludlow train station.