Built: Begun in 1435, but not completed until a lot later
Location: Raglan Castle, Castle Rd, Raglan NP15 2BT
History: The first part of Raglan built by Sir William was the Great Tower, a moated tower keep contained within the castle walls, and only reachable from within the castle itself. So impressive was this Great Tower that it became known as the ‘Yellow Tower of Gwent‘. After Sir William died in 1461 his son, William Herbert, became Baron Herbert of Raglan. Baron Herbert undertook a massive program of building at Raglan, in an effort to underline his new social status. He added luxurious domestic suites of rooms set around a fountain courtyard, built a huge gatehouse, and added the Pitched Stone Court.
Baron William’s fall was as quick as his rise, however, and he was executed in 1469, leaving his grand building projects unfinished. The castle then passed to the Somerset family, Earls of Worcester. It was the 3rd Earl, William Somerset, who finished the castle, extending the Pitched Stone Court, rebuilding the hall, and erecting a fashionable long gallery. Somerset also built a garden, with a water parterre, walled garden, and classical statues of Roman emperors dotted around the moat walk. Unfortunately, little of Somerset’s original gardens remain.
Review: The Great Tower, as mentioned in the history of Raglan castle, isn’t called great for nothing. The huge, towering structure is enough to make a single person struck with awe. What makes it even better, is the view at the top.
As with all castles (particularly, the ones with more than just the ground floor), the views are particularly breathtaking.
A piece of advice, though, even though it did not rain when I was visiting the castle, the grassy areas were a bit muddy, so don’t wear your best shoes basically (although why you would wear your best shoes when exploring castles, seems a bit silly to me).
There is a lot to see here, it’s not just a simple castle building. There are many rooms to visit, many stairs to climb. My dad and I were quite happy spending a couple of hours exploring.
And, what is also brilliant with this castle (something which I hugely appreciate when done correctly), is that there was plenty of signs around, containing interesting and factual details. It really helped to see this place, as it once would have been. Not that that is too hard, as this castle is very well kept (not perfect, but still pretty good for a ruin of a castle).
There is a cafe nearby, and there were plenty of children enjoying themselves when I visited. So this castle is definitely good for a family visit.
Very worthwhile, particularly if you’re as much as a castle fan, as I am.
Let’s also not forget that Merlin had some scenes filmed here as well, man I miss that series.
The feature picture was taken from https://gohumberto.com/raglan-castle-monmouth