Raglan Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Raglan Castle

Raglan, Wales, United Kingdom

Raglan Castle is the dramatic ruin of a 15th century castle destroyed in the English Civil War.

Antara Bate

04 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle is the dramatic ruin of a 15th century castle built by Welsh nobleman Sir William ap Thomas and completed by his son. The castle met its end during the English Civil War.

Raglan Castle history

Raglan castle is an impressive late medieval building and although now ruined, it remains a striking presence in the landscape of south-east Wales.

Much of what remains at Raglan dates from the 15th century, the period of the Wars of the Roses and the rise of the Tudor dynasty. The Great Tower is the most impressive of the buildings from this period, dominating the two courtyards of the castle.

Sir William ap Thomas was a veteran of the French wars and started work on the structure around 1435 including overseeing the construction of the Great Tower.

After Sir William’s death in 1461, his son William Herbert became Baron Herbert of Raglan and embarked on an ambitious building programme to reflect his new status. He developed suites of accommodation around the Fountain Court, built the Pitched Stone Court, and constructed the gatehouse to both impress and intimidate visitors to the castle.

Sir William Herbert was a key figure in the politics of the late 15th century. During the War of the Roses he supported Edward IV. The reward for his loyalty was considerable, providing him with the title Earl of Pembroke, and sufficient resources to convert Raglan into a palace like fortress.

In 1469, Sir William Herbert was captured by Lancastrian supporters at the Battle of Edgecote and put to death. At this time the work was unfinished.

Raglan underwent its final transformation when the castle passed to the Somersets, earls of Worcester. William Somerset, the third Earl of Worcester, remodelled the hall range, built a long gallery and extended the Pitched Stone Court. He also created a garden with long walled terraces and a lake.

The castle was besieged for ten weeks in 1646 by parliamentarian troops and ultimately destroyed. In the years that followed Raglan was abandoned and left to decay.

Raglan Castle today

Today the decay has been halted and the building conserved through the work of Cadw and its predecessors, who have taken care of the castle since 1938.

The beauty of Raglan Castle can be seen for miles around the countryside. The Great Tower serves as the predominant feature of the castle. It is surrounded by a moat, which is crossable by a bridge from the main castle

Getting to Raglan Castle

To get to Raglan Castle by car go via the A40 and Raglan is signposted. The nearest train station is Newport. The site is also accessible by bus and regional bike routes.

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