|Grosmont, Monmouthshire, Wales|
Grosmont Castle, seen from the north-west
|Materials||Old Red Sandstone|
|Events|| Norman invasion of Wales |
Grosmont Castle is a ruined castle in the village of Grosmont, Monmouthshire, Wales. The fortification was established by the Normans in the wake of the invasion of England in 1066, to protect the route from Wales to Hereford. Possibly commissioned by William fitz Osbern, the Earl of Hereford, it was originally an earthwork design with timber defences. In 1135, a major Welsh revolt took place, and in response King Stephen brought together Grosmont Castle and its sister fortifications of Skenfrith and White Castle to form a lordship known as the "Three Castles", which continued to play a role in defending the region from Welsh attack for several centuries.
King John gave the castle to a powerful royal official, Hubert de Burgh, in 1201. During the course of the next few decades it passed back and forth between several owners, including Hubert, the rival de Braose family, and the Crown. Hubert rebuilt the castle in stone, beginning with a new hall and then, on regaining the property in 1219, adding a curtain wall, gatehouse and mural towers. In 1233, a royal army camped outside the castle was attacked by rebel forces under the command of Richard Marshall. Edmund, the Earl of Lancaster, gained possession of the castle in 1267, and it remained in the hands of the earldom and later duchy of Lancaster until 1825.
Edward I's conquest of Wales in 1282 removed much of Grosmont Castle's military utility, although it was besieged in 1405 during the Glyndŵr Rising. By the 16th century it had fallen into disuse and ruin. The castle was placed into the care of the state in 1922, and is now managed by the Cadw Welsh heritage agency.
Grosmont Castle was built following the Norman conquest of England in 1066.Shortly after the invasion, the Normans pushed up into the Welsh Marches, and William the Conqueror made William fitz Osbern the Earl of Hereford. The new Earl then added to his estate by capturing the towns of Monmouth and Chepstow. The Normans used castles extensively to subdue the Welsh, establish new settlements and exert their claims of lordship over the territories.
Grosmont was one of three fortifications built in the Monnow valley around this time to protect the route from Wales to Hereford, possibly by the earl himself.The first castle on the site was built from earth and timber, with a keep and a motte protected by a palisade and a ditch. The Normans established a borough alongside the castle, which later became the village of Grosmont.
The earl's landholdings in the region were slowly broken up after William fitz Osbern's son, Roger de Breteuil, rebelled against the Crown in 1075.By the early 12th century, Grosmont was owned by the Anglo-Norman nobleman Pain fitzJohn. In 1135, a major Welsh revolt took place, and in response King Stephen restructured the landholdings along this section of the Marches, bringing Grosmont Castle and its sister fortifications of Skenfrith and White Castle back under the control of the Crown to form a lordship known as the "Three Castles".
Conflict with the Welsh continued, and following a period of détente under Henry II in the 1160s, the de Braose and de Mortimer Marcher families attacked their Welsh rivals during the 1170s, leading to a Welsh assault on nearby Abergavenny Castle in 1182.In response, the Crown readied Grosmont to face a potential Welsh attack. Over the next three years, £15 was spent on the castle under the supervision of Ralph of Grosmont, a royal official, probably for works on the timber fortifications.
In 1201, King John gave the "Three Castles" title to Hubert de Burgh.Hubert was a minor landowner who had become King John's household chamberlain while still a prince, and went on to become an increasingly powerful royal official once King John inherited the throne. Hubert began to upgrade his new castles, starting with Grosmont, where he rebuilt the hall block in stone. Hubert was captured fighting the French in 1205 and, while he was imprisoned, King John took back the castles and gave them to William de Braose, one of Hubert's rivals. King John subsequently fell out with William and dispossessed him of his lands in 1207, but de Braose's son, also called William, took the opportunity of the chaos during the First Barons' War to retake the castles.
Once released from captivity, Hubert regained his grip on power, becoming the royal justiciar and being made the Earl of Kent, before finally recovering the Three Castles in 1219 during the reign of Henry III.He resumed his work at Grosmont, rebuilding the timber walls in stone and adding three mural towers and a gatehouse to its defences. The result was secure, high-status accommodation. Hubert fell from power in 1232 and was stripped of the castles, which were placed under the command of Walerund Teutonicus, a royal servant. King Henry led an army into Wales in 1233 against the rebellious Richard Marshall, the Earl of Pembroke, and his Welsh allies, and camped outside Grosmont Castle that November. Richard carried out a night attack on their encampment and, while not taking the castle itself, forced the rest of the King's army to flee in confusion.
Hubert was reconciled with the King in 1234 and the castles were returned to him, only for him to fall out with King Henry III again in 1239: Grosmont was taken back and put under the command of Walerund.Walerund completed some of Hubert's work, including building a new chapel. In 1254, Grosmont Castle and her sister fortifications were granted to King Henry's eldest son and later king, Edward. The Welsh threat persisted, and in 1262 the castle was readied in response to Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's attack on Abergavenny in 1262; commanded by its constable Gilbert Talbot, Grosmont was ordered to be garrisoned "by every man, and at whatever cost". The threat passed without incident.
Edmund, the Earl of Lancaster and the capitaneus of the royal forces in Wales, was given the Three Castles in 1267 and for many centuries they were held by the earldom, and later duchy, of Lancaster.King Edward I's conquest of Wales in 1282 removed much of Grosmont's military utility, but, under either Henry of Lancaster or his son Henry of Grosmont, the interior of the castle was modernised in the first half of the 14th century to create a suite of high quality apartments. A deer park was maintained around the castle. The historian Jeremy Knight describes the castle at this time as forming "a small but very comfortable residence".
The castle's final military role was during the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr at the start of the 15th century.There was a battle between the Welsh and Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick near Grosmont in 1404, leading to an English victory. The castle was besieged the next year by Owain's son, Gruffudd, but the castle was relieved by an English force sent by Prince Henry. By 1538, Grosmont Castle had fallen into disuse and then into ruin; a 1563 survey notes that its bridge had collapsed and that, although the outer walls were intact, the interior was in decay and its building materials inside had either been removed or were rotten. A 1613 description noted that it was "ruynous and decayed".
In 1825, the Three Castles estates were sold off to Henry Somerset, the 6th Duke of Beaufort.In 1902, Henry Somerset, the 9th Duke, sold Grosmont Castle to Sir Joseph Bradney, a soldier and local historian. Evidence was given to the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire in 1909, stating that Grosmont was exceptionally well looked after. The castle was placed into the care of the state in 1922 by Frances Lucas-Scudamore, and conservation work was carried out, including clearing the basement of the north block of debris. In the 21st century, Grosmont Castle is managed by the Welsh heritage organisation Cadw and is protected under UK law as a grade I listed building.
Grosmont Castle overlooks the village of the same name, and in its current form dates mostly from the work carried out by Hubert de Burgh with later 14th-century additions. It originally comprised an inner and an outer ward, but the latter has been encroached upon by local gardens.The outer ward would have held a rectangular storehouse or stable. The inner ward forms a stone castle with a gatehouse, two circular mural towers, a hall and a north accommodation block, the whole being protected by a ditch. Originally other timber buildings would have been raised against the outer stone wall as accommodation for the castle's servants, but only limited traces of these survive.
The gatehouse was originally a two-storey, rectangular tower with 14th-century additions, including a buttressed drawbridge pit, but only limited parts of it now survive.The south-west tower was converted into a three-storey suite of rooms in the 14th century; its basement was filled in. The three-storey west tower was also altered during the 14th century, and the basement filled in. The north block is primarily a 14th-century addition to the castle, built over the remains of one of the circular towers and the old postern gate. It comprises three distinct buildings, the largest being a three-storey residential tower. The block has a distinctive octagonal chimney with a carved top.
The hall block is a pilaster-buttressed, two-storey building, 96 by 32 feet (29.3 by 9.8 m) across, with the floors originally linked by a spiral staircase. The first floor of the block contained the hall and a solar room separated by a wooden divide; the hall had a fireplace in the middle of its exterior wall, with two large windows on either side. The ground floor had two service rooms lit by narrow loop windows. An external wooden staircase would have led up directly into the main hall from the inner ward. The block would have closely resembled de Burgh's hall at Christchurch Castle.
William de Braose,, 4th Lord of Bramber, court favourite of King John of England, at the peak of his power, was also Lord of Gower, Abergavenny, Brecknock, Builth, Radnor, Kington, Limerick, Glamorgan, Skenfrith, Briouze in Normandy, Grosmont, and White Castle.
White Castle, also known historically as Llantilio Castle, is a ruined castle near the village of Llantilio Crossenny in Monmouthshire, Wales. The fortification was established by the Normans in the wake of the invasion of England in 1066, to protect the route from Wales to Hereford. Possibly commissioned by William fitz Osbern, the Earl of Hereford, it comprised three large earthworks with timber defences. In 1135, a major Welsh revolt took place and in response King Stephen brought together White Castle and its sister fortifications of Grosmont and Skenfrith to form a lordship known as the "Three Castles", which continued to play a role in defending the region from Welsh attack for several centuries.
Caerphilly Castle is a medieval fortification in Caerphilly in South Wales. The castle was constructed by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century as part of his campaign to maintain control of Glamorgan, and saw extensive fighting between Gilbert, his descendants, and the native Welsh rulers. Surrounded by extensive artificial lakes – considered by historian Allen Brown to be "the most elaborate water defences in all Britain" – it occupies around 30 acres (12 ha) and is the second largest castle in the United Kingdom. It is famous for having introduced concentric castle defences to Britain and for its large gatehouses. Gilbert began work on the castle in 1268 following his occupation of the north of Glamorgan, with the majority of the construction occurring over the next three years at a considerable cost. The project was opposed by Gilbert's Welsh rival Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, leading to the site being burnt in 1270 and taken over by royal officials in 1271. Despite these interruptions, Gilbert successfully completed the castle and took control of the region. The core of Caerphilly Castle, including the castle's luxurious accommodation, was built on what became a central island, surrounding by several artificial lakes, a design Gilbert probably derived from that at Kenilworth. The dams for these lakes were further fortified, and an island to the west provided additional protection. The concentric rings of walls inspired Edward I's castles in North Wales, and proved what historian Norman Pounds has termed "a turning point in the history of the castle in Britain".
Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, Leicester, and Derby was a member of the House of Plantagenet. He was the second surviving son of King Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence. In his childhood he had a claim on the Kingdom of Sicily; however, he never ruled there. He was granted all the lands of Simon de Montfort in 1265, and from 1267 he was titled Earl of Leicester. In that year he also began to rule Lancashire, but he did not take the title Earl of Lancaster until 1276. Between 1276 and 1284 he governed the counties of Champagne and Brie with his second wife, Blanche of Artois, in the name of her daughter Joan, and he was described in the English patent rolls as earl of Lancaster and Champagne. His nickname, "Crouchback", refers to his participation in the Ninth Crusade.
Chepstow Castle at Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain. Located above cliffs on the River Wye, construction began in 1067 under the instruction of the Norman Lord William FitzOsbern. Originally known as Striguil, it was the southernmost of a chain of castles built in the Welsh Marches, and with its attached lordship took the name of the adjoining market town in about the 14th century.
Skenfrith Castle is a ruined castle in the village of Skenfrith in Monmouthshire, Wales. The fortification was established by the Normans in the wake of the invasion of England in 1066, to protect the route from Wales to Hereford. Possibly commissioned by William fitz Osbern, the Earl of Hereford, the castle comprised earthworks with timber defences. In 1135, a major Welsh revolt took place and in response King Stephen brought together Skenfrith Castle and its sister fortifications of Grosmont and White Castle to form a lordship known as the "Three Castles", which continued to play a role in defending the region from Welsh attack for several centuries.
Denbigh Castle and town walls were a set of fortifications built to control the lordship of Denbigh after the conquest of Wales by King Edward I in 1282. The King granted the lands to Henry de Lacy, the Earl of Lincoln, who began to build a new walled town, colonised by immigrants from England, protected by a substantial castle and surrounded by deer parks for hunting. The work had not been completed by 1294, when the Welsh temporarily seized the castle during the Madog ap Llywelyn revolt. The defences continued to be improved, although the castle was not completely finished by the time of Henry's death in 1311.
Rhuddlan Castle is a castle located in Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, Wales. It was erected by Edward I in 1277, following the First Welsh War.
Abergavenny Castle is a ruined castle in the market town of Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales, established by the Norman lord Hamelin de Balun c. 1087. It was the site of a massacre of Welsh noblemen in 1175, and was attacked during the early 15th-century Glyndŵr Rising. William Camden, the 16th-century antiquary, said that the castle "has been oftner stain'd with the infamy of treachery, than any other castle in Wales."
Loughor Castle is a ruined, medieval fortification located in the town of Loughor, Wales. The castle was built around 1106 by the Anglo-Norman lord Henry de Beaumont, during the Norman invasion of Wales. The site overlooked the River Loughor and controlled a strategic road and ford running across the Gower Peninsula. The castle was designed as an oval ringwork, probably topped by wicker fence defences, and reused the remains of the former Roman fort of Leucarum.
Grosmont is a village and community near Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, Wales. The population taken at the 2011 census was 920. The wider community (parish) includes the villages of Llangattock Lingoed, Llangua and Llanvetherine.
Montgomery Castle is a stone masonry castle looking over the town of Montgomery in Powys, Mid Wales. It is one of many Norman castles on the border between Wales and England.
Llantilio Crossenny is a small village and much larger community in Monmouthshire, south east Wales, in the United Kingdom. It is situated between the two towns of Abergavenny and Monmouth on the B4233 road. The community includes Penrhos, and Llanvihangel-Ystern-Llewern.
Skenfrith is a small village in Monmouthshire, south-east Wales. It is located on the River Monnow, close to the border between Wales and England, about 6 miles (9.7 km) north-west of Monmouth. The road through the village (B4521) was once the A40, linking Ross-on-Wye and Abergavenny.
Monmouth Castle is a castle in the town of Monmouth, county town of Monmouthshire, south east Wales. It is a Grade I listed building and scheduled monument. Monmouth Castle is located close to the centre of Monmouth on a hill above the River Monnow, behind shops and the main square and streets. Once an important border castle, and birthplace of Henry V of England, it stood until the English Civil War when it was damaged and changed hands three times before being slighted to prevent it being fortified again. After partial collapse in 1647, the site was reused and built over by Great Castle House, which became the headquarters and regimental museum of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers.
Brian fitz Count was descended from the Breton ducal house, and became an Anglo-Norman noble, holding the lordships of Wallingford and Abergavenny. He was a loyal adherent of Henry I, King of England, and a staunch supporter of his daughter, the Empress Matilda, during the Anarchy (1135–1153).
The Church of St Bridget lies at the north end of the village of Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, Wales. It is an active parish church and a Grade I listed building. The church is dedicated to St Brigit, to whom 17 churches are dedicated across the country.
The Church of St Nicholas in the village of Grosmont, Monmouthshire, Wales, is a parish church dating from the 13th century. Its exceptional size reflects the importance and standing of the borough of Grosmont at the time of the church's construction and has led it to be called a "miniature cathedral". Largely unaltered from the time of its building, by the 19th century the church had seriously decayed and its tower was close to collapse. It was rescued from dereliction in a restoration undertaken by John Pollard Seddon and financed by John Etherington Welch Rolls.
Monmouthshire is a county and principal area of Wales. It borders Torfaen and Newport to the west; Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to the east; and Powys to the north. The largest town is Abergavenny, with other large towns comprising Chepstow, Monmouth, and Usk. The present county was formed under the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994, and comprises some sixty percent of the historic county. Between 1974 and 1996, the county was known by the ancient title of Gwent, recalling the medieval Welsh kingdom. The county is 850 km2 in extent, with a population of 93,600.
The Three Castles was a former medieval lordship, comprising the fortifications of Grosmont, Skenfrith and White Castle in Monmouthshire, Wales. The castles were established by the Normans in the wake of their conquest of England in 1066, to protect the route from Wales to Hereford. Possibly commissioned by William fitz Osbern, the Earl of Hereford, they initially comprised earthwork fortifications with timber defences. In 1135, a major Welsh revolt took place and in response King Stephen brought the castles together to form the lordship, which continued to play a role in defending the region for several centuries.
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