This time round we are bring you a new batch of walking tours on our South Wales trip – where we discovered history throughout the beautiful welsh valleys and visited some of the most interesting and exciting places and we cant wait to share them with you.
Built for comfort and elegance rather than defence, Raglan castle is a fortress palace transformed into grand castle in the south of wales in the county of Monmouthshire. Construction began in the 1430a by Sir William Thomas, who was more famously known as the blue knight of Gwent – William was a welsh nobleman who fought at the battle of Agincourt with King Henry the V and who was responsible for building the great tower at raglan . After Williams death in 1445 the castle was passed onto his son William Herbert, the earl of Pembroke and it was Herbert’s influence of the castles Tudor styling.
With both of the Williams fighting at France it was inevitable that they would be influenced by the buildings and castles there and brought that back to Raglan, with its double drawbridge arrangement and the elaborately decorated polygonal keep and of course one of the most striking features of raglan is on the approach of the gatehouse where you can see the almost venincian archway surrounding the great tower and beautifully neighbouring with a moat. This part of it for us was one of highlights here at Raglan, its unique and fairy-tale like.
More than six decades later in 1589, during the time of William Somerset, who was third earl of Worcester, the castle had entered its late major phase of building and contrition. Some of the additions included a new hammer beam roof to the long gallery and hall , on the second floor that overlooked the fountain court.
Unfortunately, during the English civil war in 1646, Raglan was besieged by parliamentarian forces, where the castle had been surrounded and mortar batteries were dug into place, the result of the siege meant that the castle was heavily damaged, hundreds of the precious paintings and antiques were engulfed in flames and today left as a romantic ruin. Its maintained by CADW who have done a beautiful job with their extensive conservation works and for a fee which is well worth the price you can wander Raglan at your own leisure.
Even though the castle is in ruins you can still see how grand and magnificent raglan once was. Its interesting because when walking around the structures and buildings and particularly around the large courtyard you will see different styles of doors and windows all around as they look like they have been built at different times or you can wander up the grand staircase that will led you up to panoramic views of what was once lakes and terraces, with elaborate gardens and landscaping all around the sides of the castle – this is now beautiful fields of greens.
The great tower and moat stand alone outside the castle, so beautiful and unusual to see, but the great tower was known as that for a reason, it represents the strongest and more secure part of Raglan. It contained everything that was needed for a medieval fortification a self contained assembly of living quarters, kitchen and hospitality quarters all wrapped around a protective apron wall and moat which would have held defence. The sheer height of the tower was around five stories high which gave raglan a touch of prestige and a defensive advantage – the tower could be seen across the welsh countryside.
If you are able to its worth looking closely at all the different brickwork, raglan was built with a mixture of light sandstone and old red stone that was a red, purplish colour that was used in Tudor work. You can also see carvings of gargoyles on the gatehouse tops, or walking up and down the long gallery where you can gaze out to the beautiful countryside through the windows, aswell as being able to see the number of fireplaces and the scale of some of the rooms, its super impressive.
One of the major defining features at Raglan has to be the large Oriel window which looks upon the cobbled courtyard. Its said that the windows were majestic pieces of the finest stained glass and were beautiful which also allowed light to flood into the newly built hall. This is particularly striking as you walk around the courtyard, it must have looked so stunning and grand back in the day,
There is so much to discover at Raglan, you have many different stairs, hidden cellars, buildings and rooms to venture into it’s a castle lovers dream. There are a number of informative boards dotted around the buildings that are interesting to read and imagine aswell as some interactive pieces dotted about to give you a virtual idea of life back in the ages.
We really hope you’ve enjoyed our history and information around the stunning Raglan castle, please let us know if you’ve been there and what you enjoyed? If you’ve liked this blog please hit that like button and why not consider subscribing to our YouTube channel where you can watch a full walking tour of Raglan and experience it through our eyes.