Location: SY7 9AH
History: Stokesay Castle is a remarkable survival, a fortified manor house which has hardly altered since the late 13th century. The house was built by Lawrence Ludlow, a leading wool merchant of his day, who created a comfortable residence combining an aesthetically pleasing design with some defensive capabilities.
In doing so, he took advantage of the newly established peace on the Welsh border following Edward I’s defeat of the Welsh prince Llywelyn the Last. This enabled him to build a large hall, comfortable solar, or private apartment, with windows on the outside world, without fear of attack.
Review: Okay I loved this place when me and Luke went.
We’d actually planned to go to Ludlow Castle (which I have been to before years ago, but Luke hasn’t). Anyway, we drove all the way up to Ludlow and the parking was awful.
The parking machine wasn’t working and there were signs saying please find one that does work. Anyway, none of the machines worked, but yet somehow all the cars parked had parking tickets?
I don’t know, but it was a long drive and it was super disappointing that we didn’t see Ludlow Castle (we are definitely going back at some point in the future).
But since we didn’t want to make it a wasted journey, we looked online and realised that there were a couple of castles that we could visit.
There was Acton Burnell, which is just a shell of a castle and although super interesting, it’s not one that we could have spent a few hours at.
But then we saw that Stokesay Castle was on the way home, and this looked perfect.
There is a lot to see at this place.
Obviously Stokesay Castle is famous for the yellow Gatehouse, but that’s not all there is to enjoy.
This is probably one of the best preserved 13th-century fortified manor houses in England. It offers visitors a glimpse into a distant age, when strength and elegance were combined.
If you look closely at the Gatehouse, you might be able to spot Adam and Eve, an angel, and the Stokesay Dragon – that was quite fun to try and find.
Anyway, we decided to take the audio tour when we walked round this place. I do think you should do this if you are planning on visiting, as there are no descriptive boards around the place.
I also brought the book as well (I always buy a book about the castle whenever I go someplace new).
Anyway, this place is absolutely huge!
I was so surprised by how much there was to see.
The first thing that we looked at properly was the Great Hall.
This remains unchanged for more than 700 years. The fine timber roof and staircase, with treads cut from whole tree trunks, all show the same carpenters’ mark from 1291.
I mean how incredible is that? You are literally able to step back in time.
There are a few rooms that you can explore when you go up the stairs, and that’s pretty interesting.
These are rooms in the North Tower
The North Tower stands to one side of the Great Hall. The original medieval tiled floor and remains of a wall painting inside provide a glimpse into Stokesay’s past life as a home.
I don’t have a photo of those things though, but I guess you’ll just have to visit and see how amazing it is (when it’s safe of course).
When we had finished looking around this side, there was plenty more to see.
Now this next section, is the Solar (or private apartment block). Me and Luke loved this bit. Just take a look a the picture below and see why:
Just look at that fireplace!
There is so much detail on it, and I just think it’s absolutely incredible.
This is a beautifully ornate overmantel carved with fruit, flowers and figures. Once brightly coloured it still has traces of the original red, green and gold paint.
This photo is a reconstruction of what it looked like. I just think it’s stunning, don’t you?
One day I’ll be able to afford a fireplace like that, I guess I’ve just got to make sure I have a house big enough haha!
The two-storey solar has one of the few post-medieval alterations to the castle, having been refashioned in the 17th century into a fine panelled chamber.
There are lots of steps – especially in the solar and South Tower, which has a lower room, a first floor room, second floor room and even steps up to the roof.
When you get to the top you’ll see some spectacular views.
As you can see from the photo there is also a church that you go look at as well.
I don’t know though if it was just because we were being stupid, but we really struggled to open the door. We first thought it was locked, but then a woman opened it on the other side.
She thought we were trying to break in!
Anyway, that was nice to look around, small and simple, but still intriguing. Just a shame about the door though haha!
I really loved this place.
I mean there are so many little details and it’s absolutely stunning. The fact that this has been around for nearly 700 years is just incredible.
Clearly someone had some incredible talent when it came to wood work.
If you want you can also walk around the yellow Manor House if you want and you might as well if you are visiting.
There is so much to explore, so much history to learn. Oh this place is incredible.
In a weird way, I’m kind of glad that parking was awful at Ludlow, otherwise me and Luke wouldn’t have found this place.
Absolutely incredible – I hope you’ve all enjoyed!