Ludlow Castle
Ludlow Castle is a large, partly ruined, non-inhabited castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

 which dominates the town of Ludlow
Ludlow is a market town in Shropshire, England close to the Welsh border and in the Welsh Marches. It lies within a bend of the River Teme, on its eastern bank, forming an area of and centred on a small hill. Atop this hill is the site of Ludlow Castle and the market place...

 in Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

, England. It stands on a high point overlooking the River Teme
River Teme
The River Teme rises in Mid Wales, south of Newtown in Powys, and flows through Knighton where it crosses the border into England down to Ludlow in Shropshire, then to the north of Tenbury Wells on the Shropshire/Worcestershire border there, on its way to join the River Severn south of Worcester...

. The castle is owned by The Trustees of the Powis Castle Estate on behalf of the family of the Earl of Powis
Earl of Powis
Earl of Powis is a title that has been created three times. The first creation came in the Peerage of England in 1674 in favour of William Herbert, 3rd Baron Powis. In 1687 he was further honoured when he was made Marquess of Powis...

, and is open to the public.


Construction of Ludlow Castle began in the late 11th century as the Welsh border stronghold of one of the Marcher Lords
Marcher Lords
A Marcher Lord was a strong and trusted noble appointed by the King of England to guard the border between England and Wales.A Marcher Lord is the English equivalent of a margrave...

, Roger de Lacy
Roger de Lacy
Roger de Lacy, was an Anglo-Norman nobleman, a Marcher Lord on the Welsh border.- Lineage :He was son of Walter de Lacy , a retainer of William fitzOsbern. Roger was a castle builder, particularly at Ludlow Castle....

. It is first referred to by chroniclers in 1138 but was at this time a more basic castle type. It was held by the de Lacy
De Lacy
de Lacy is the surname of an old Norman noble family originating from Lassy . The first records are about Hugh de Lacy . Descendent of Hugh de Lacy left Normandy and travelled to England along with William the Conqueror. Walter and Ilbert de Lacy fought in the battle of Hastings...

s into the 13th century and with their focus on their holdings in Ireland, their enemies took it during the civil wars of the reign of King Stephen
Stephen of England
Stephen , often referred to as Stephen of Blois , was a grandson of William the Conqueror. He was King of England from 1135 to his death, and also the Count of Boulogne by right of his wife. Stephen's reign was marked by the Anarchy, a civil war with his cousin and rival, the Empress Matilda...

. The king himself besieged the castle and rescued his ally Prince Henry of Scotland. In 1224 King Henry III of England, with the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

, Stephen Langton
Stephen Langton
Stephen Langton was Archbishop of Canterbury between 1207 and his death in 1228 and was a central figure in the dispute between King John of England and Pope Innocent III, which ultimately led to the issuing of Magna Carta in 1215...

 as mediator, met with Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, the Welsh
Welsh people
The Welsh people are an ethnic group and nation associated with Wales and the Welsh language.John Davies argues that the origin of the "Welsh nation" can be traced to the late 4th and early 5th centuries, following the Roman departure from Britain, although Brythonic Celtic languages seem to have...

 prince and leader, at Ludlow to sign a treaty. Early in the 14th century the castle was enlarged into a magnificent palace
A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word itself is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome. In many parts of Europe, the...

 for Roger Mortimer, then the most powerful man in England.

In 1402 Edmund Mortimer
Edmund Mortimer
-Members of the Marcher family of Mortimer:*Edmund Mortimer, 2nd Baron Wigmore*Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March, and his second son*Edmund Mortimer, son of the 3rd Earl*Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March...

, himself born at Ludlow Castle, set out from the castle with a large army to seek battle with the forces of Owain Glyndwr
Owain Glyndwr
Owain Glyndŵr , or Owain Glyn Dŵr, anglicised by William Shakespeare as Owen Glendower , was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales...

. Mortimer met them in the valley of the River Lugg
River Lugg
The River Lugg , rises near Llangynllo, Powys. It flows through the border town of Presteigne, Wales then through Herefordshire, England, including the town of Leominster, south of which it is met by a tributary, the River Arrow, then to a confluence with the River Wye, which it joins at Mordiford,...

 at the Battle of Bryn Glas
Battle of Bryn Glas
The Battle of Bryn Glas, was fought on 22 June 1402, near the towns of Knighton and Presteigne in Powys...

, where he was defeated and captured. He eventually allied himself to the Welsh rebel's cause to the extent of marrying one of Glyndwr's daughters, with whom he had four children before starvation and death at the siege of Harlech Castle
Harlech Castle
Harlech Castle, located in Harlech, Gwynedd, Wales, is a concentric castle, constructed atop a cliff close to the Irish Sea. Architecturally, it is particularly notable for its massive gatehouse....

 in 1409.

Plantagenet, Tudor and Elizabethan background

Later, in the 15th century under the ownership of Richard, Duke of York
Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York
Richard Plantagenêt, 3rd Duke of York, 6th Earl of March, 4th Earl of Cambridge, and 7th Earl of Ulster, conventionally called Richard of York was a leading English magnate, great-grandson of King Edward III...

, the Castle was a major base in the Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York...

 and was taken by the Lancastrians in 1459 but back in York hands in 1461. Ludlow afterwards became a royal palace. In 1472 Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

 sent his son the Prince of Wales
Edward V of England
Edward V was King of England from 9 April 1483 until his deposition two months later. His reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who succeeded him as Richard III...

 and his brother
Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York
Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York, 1st Duke of Norfolk, 1st Earl of Norfolk, Earl Marshal was the sixth child and second son of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville. He was born in Shrewsbury....

 (later the ‘Princes in the Tower
Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower is a term which refers to Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville alive at the time of their father's death...

’ of Shakespeare fame), to live at the castle, which was also the seat of Government for Wales and the Border Counties
Council of the Marches
The Council of Wales and the Marches was a regional administrative body within the Kingdom of England between the 15th and 17th centuries, similar to the Council of the North...


In 1501 Prince Arthur
Arthur, Prince of Wales
Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales was the first son of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and therefore, heir to the throne of England. As he predeceased his father, Arthur never became king...

, (son of Henry VII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

 and brother to Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

) with his bride Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

, lived here for a short time before his early death of an infection from which his wife recovered, and was buried in Worcester Cathedral
Worcester Cathedral
Worcester Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Worcester, England; situated on a bank overlooking the River Severn. It is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Worcester. Its official name is The Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Mary the Virgin of Worcester...

. Mary Tudor
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

, daughter of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII, heir to the throne of England as the couple's only issue, spent three winters at Ludlow between 1525 and 1528, along with her entourage of servants, advisors, and guardians.

Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 appointed Sir Henry Sidney as President of the Council of the Marches to Ludlow Castle. Sir Henry extended the castle by building family apartments between the Great Hall and Mortimer's Tower and used the former royal apartments as a guest wing. The ruins of the Sidney apartments directly face the round Norman chapel. Sir Henry Sidney's daughters included poet Mary Sidney
Mary Sidney
Mary Herbert , Countess of Pembroke , was one of the first English women to achieve a major reputation for her literary works, poetry, poetic translations and literary patronage.-Family:...

. They were tutored at Ludlow Castle in classics, Calvinism, Hebrew, music, archery, hunting and needlework while their elder brother, poet Philip Sidney
Philip Sidney
Sir Philip Sidney was an English poet, courtier and soldier, and is remembered as one of the most prominent figures of the Elizabethan Age...

 boarded with George Leigh MP in Shrewsbury while attending Shrewsbury School
Shrewsbury School
Shrewsbury School is a co-educational independent school for pupils aged 13 to 18, founded by Royal Charter in 1552. The present campus to which the school moved in 1882 is located on the banks of the River Severn in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England...

. Their sister Ambrosia Sidney died at Ludlow Castle and the family subsequently erected her tomb and memorial in St Laurence Church, Ludlow
St Laurence Church, Ludlow
St Laurence's Church, Ludlow is a parish church in the Church of England in Ludlow.-Background:The parish church was established as a Norman place of worship in association with the founding of Ludlow in the 11th century AD. This parish church in Shropshire, England contains an extensive set of...

. Following Ambrosia's death, Queen Elizabeth 1 wrote to Sir Henry and his wife, Mary Dudley
Mary Dudley, Lady Sidney
Mary Sidney , Lady Sidney was an English lady-in-waiting at the court of Elizabeth I, and the mother of the courtier and poet Sir Philip Sidney...

 summoning Mary Sidney their last remaining daughter to Court to escape the infected 'air' in Ludlow Castle. In 1577, her uncle Robert Dudley
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, KG was an English nobleman and the favourite and close friend of Elizabeth I from her first year on the throne until his death...

, 1st Earl of Leicester, arranged Mary's marriage to William Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
William Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
William Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke was the son of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Anne Devereux. His maternal grandparents were Walter Devereux, Lord Chancellor of Ireland and Elizabeth Merbury....

. The 2nd Earl of Pembroke succeeded Sir Henry Sidney nine years later as President of the Council of the Marches, in 1586.

The Civil War and subsequent decline

In the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

 between 1642 to 1648 Ludlow was a Royalist stronghold and was besieged by Parliamentarian forces but negotiated a surrender, avoiding damage and slighting
A slighting is the deliberate destruction, partial or complete, of a fortification without opposition. During the English Civil War this was to render it unusable as a fort.-Middle Ages:...

. In 1669 the seat of administration for the Marches and Wales and the Council of the Marches
Council of the Marches
The Council of Wales and the Marches was a regional administrative body within the Kingdom of England between the 15th and 17th centuries, similar to the Council of the North...

 was centralised in London during the reign of William and Mary
William and Mary
The phrase William and Mary usually refers to the coregency over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, of King William III & II and Queen Mary II...

. The legal and administrative community moved with it. In 1689 the Royal Welch Fusiliers
Royal Welch Fusiliers
The Royal Welch Fusiliers was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Prince of Wales' Division. It was founded in 1689 to oppose James II and the imminent war with France...

 were founded at the Castle by Lord Herbert of Chirbury
Chirbury is a village in Shropshire, England, situated close to the Wales-England border. It is about 3 miles east of Montgomery and 7 miles south of Welshpool, at the junction of the A490 and B4386 roads...

 but soon after it was abandoned and gradually fell into decay. In 1811 the ruins were purchased from the crown by the 2nd Earl of Powis
Earl of Powis
Earl of Powis is a title that has been created three times. The first creation came in the Peerage of England in 1674 in favour of William Herbert, 3rd Baron Powis. In 1687 he was further honoured when he was made Marquess of Powis...

, in the ownership of whose family it remains.

Description of the castle

The castle forms a large rectangular enceinte
Enceinte , is a French term used technically in fortification for the inner ring of fortifications surrounding a town or a concentric castle....

, with the town and principal entry on the east side, and the west side overlooking the river. The northwest corner is enclosed by another enceinte wall forming the inner ward and the heart of the castle. Entry is gained by a bridge to the right of the rectangular keep
A keep is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but usually consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the...

. The inner ward contains the residential buildings that formed the castle's principal accommodation. These buildings feature large windows that overlook the courtyard. In addition, the inner ward features the remains of an unusual chapel that had a circular chancel reminiscent of Temple Church
Temple Church
The Temple Church is a late-12th-century church in London located between Fleet Street and the River Thames, built for and by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters. In modern times, two Inns of Court both use the church. It is famous for its effigy tombs and for being a round church...

 in London.

The castle’s long history is reflected in its varied architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

; comprising Norman
Norman architecture
About|Romanesque architecture, primarily English|other buildings in Normandy|Architecture of Normandy.File:Durham Cathedral. Nave by James Valentine c.1890.jpg|thumb|200px|The nave of Durham Cathedral demonstrates the characteristic round arched style, though use of shallow pointed arches above the...

, Medieval
Medieval architecture
Medieval architecture is a term used to represent various forms of architecture common in Medieval Europe.-Characteristics:-Religious architecture:...

 and Tudor
Tudor style architecture
The Tudor architectural style is the final development of medieval architecture during the Tudor period and even beyond, for conservative college patrons...



John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

’s masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

Comus (John Milton)
Comus is a masque in honour of chastity, written by John Milton. It was first presented on Michaelmas, 1634, before John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater at Ludlow Castle in celebration of the Earl's new post as Lord President of Wales.Known colloquially as Comus, the mask's actual full title is A...

was first performed in the Great Hall
Great Hall
Great Hall may refer to* Great hall, the main room of a royal palace, nobleman's castle or large manor house* Great Hall of the People, Tiananmen Square, Beijing* Great Hall of the University of Sydney, Australia* Cooper_Union#The_Great_Hall, New York...

 in 1634 and the tradition of a performance is continued each June and July when a Shakespearean play
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

 is performed in the open air within the Inner Bailey, as part of the successful Ludlow Festival The Castle hosts other events throughout the year, such as the Ludlow and the Marches Food and Drink Festival which takes place in the Castle precincts each September.

Over 50,000 visitors pass through the gates each year

In fiction

Ludlow is mentioned in the Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory is an English novelist.-Early life and academic career:Philippa Gregory was born in Kenya. When she was two years old, her family moved to England. She was a "rebel" at school, but managed to attend the University of Sussex...

 novels The Other Boleyn Girl
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Other Boleyn Girl is a historical fiction novel written by British author Philippa Gregory, loosely based on the life of 16th-century aristocrat Mary Boleyn. Reviews were mixed; some said it was a brilliantly claustrophobic look at palace life in Tudor England, while others have consistently...

and The White Queen, and is a partial setting in The Constant Princess
The Constant Princess
The Constant Princess is a historical novel by Philippa Gregory, published in 2005. The novel depicts a fictionalized version of the life of Catherine of Aragon.-Plot summary:Childhood:The book starts at Alhambra Palace, when Catalina is five years old...

. It is also mentioned in Anne Boleyn and Me, a children's novel in the My Story collection, by Alison Prince.

Ludlow Castle is also the main setting for Elizabeth Chadwick
Elizabeth Chadwick
Elizabeth Chadwick is an author of historical fictions. She is a member of Regia Anglorum, a Medieval reenactment organisation.-Biography:Elizabeth Chadwick was born in Bury, Lancashire. She moved with her family to Scotland when she was four years old and spent her childhood in the village of...

's novel Shadows and Strongholds, which chronicles the possession of the castle in the hands of Joscelin de Dinan, husband of Sybilla de Dinan, sister of Gilbert de Lacy. De Lacy later recaptures the Castle and is granted the lands in perpetuity by King Henry II of England, with de Dinan granted the royal manor of Lambourn
Lambourn is a large village and civil parish in the northwestern part of the ceremonial county of Berkshire in England. Its metropolitan district has a population of 4,017, and is most noted for its associations with British National Hunt racehorse training....

in compensation for the loss.


File:Ludlow Castle Oct1812.jpg|Portrait by anonymous artist, October 1812

External links

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