Sudbury Hall

Built: Between 1660 and 1680 Location: Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9HH History: The History of the Sudbury Estate. The manor of Sudbury is listed in Domesday book (1086).  Sudbury became the property of the Vernon family in the early 16th century through the marriage of the heiress, Ellen Montgomery, to Sir John Vernon (d. 1545) a younger son of Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon Hall in north…

Valle Crucis Abbey

Built: 1553-1560s Location: Llangollen LL20 8DD History: Valle Crucis was truly Welsh from the moment it was founded in 1201 by Prince Madog ap Gruffydd and the ‘white monks’ of the Cistercian order. Its Latin name (Valley of the Cross) refers to the nearby ninth-century Pillar of Eliseg, erected for the glory of a Welsh chieftain. Monks had…

Tamworth Castle – Castle Review

Built:  1080s Location: Holloway, Ladybank, Tamworth B79 7NA History: Tamworth Castle, a Grade I listed building, is a Norman castle, overlooking the confluence of the River Anker and the River Tame, in the town of Tamworth in Staffordshire, England. Before boundary changes in 1889, however, the castle site was originally on the edge of Warwickshire, while most…

Kenilworth Castle – Castle Review

Built:  1120s Location: Castle Green, Kenilworth CV8 1NG History: Kenilworth is one of England’s most magnificent castles. First built in the 1120s and a royal castle for most of its history, it was expanded by King John, John of Gaunt and Henry V. In 1563 Elizabeth I granted it to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who converted Kenilworth…

Conwy Castle – Castle Review

Built:  1283-1289 Location: Rose Hill St, Conwy LL32 8AY History: Built for Edward I, by Master James of St George, the castle is amongst the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain. In a word, exceptional. You can’t fault it, from the grandeur of its high towers and curtain walls to its excellent state of preservation. An estimated…

Raglan Castle – Castle Review

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…

Acton Burnell – Castle Review

Built:  Built between 1284 and 1293 Location: Acton Burnell Castle, Acton Burnell SY5 7PF History: The Burnell family of Acton Burnell held land in Shropshire from the 1180s, though it was a century later that Robert Burnell came to prominence. Entering royal service as a clerk to Henry III’s son Prince Edward, he rose to become Chancellor…

Ludlow Castle – Castle Review

Built: 1086 Location: Castle Sq, Ludlow SY8 1AY History: The castle was probably founded by Walter de Lacy after the Norman conquest and was one of the first stone castles to be built in England. During the civil war of the 12th century, the castle changed hands several times between the de Lacy’s and rival claimants and was further fortified with a Great Tower and a large outer…

Warkworth Castle – Castle Review

Built: 1150s Location: Castle Terrace, Warkworth NE65 0UJ History: Warkworth Castle and Hermitage form one of the most unusual pairs of medieval monuments in Britain. The castle was probably laid out in its present form in about 1200 and was the favoured residence of the powerful Percy family from the 14th to the 17th centuries. As the…

Caernarfon Castle

Built: Late 11th Century Location: Caernarfon, Gwynedd, North-West Wales History: While the castle was under construction, town walls were built around Caernarfon. The work cost between £20,000 and £25,000 from the start until the end of work in 1330. Despite Caernarfon Castle’s external appearance of being mostly complete, the interior buildings no longer survive and many of the building plans…

Carreg Cennen

Built: Around the 13th Century Location: Trapp, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, South Wales History: The site may well have been used by the Romans, as finds of Roman coins and even earlier skeletons have been made here. Lord Rhys (Rhys of Deheubarth) built a more permanent castle here in the late 12th century, though it was taken by Edward I of England…

Orford Castle

Built: Between 1165 and 1173 Location: Orford, Suffolk, England History: The castle came to a total of £1,413 to build. Once built, Orford remained an important royal castle for the next 150 years. Orford castle first introduced curtain walls with flanking towers – this was highly significant in encouraging the development of this type of fortification in the…