Hey everyone welcome back to our south wales walking tour series. After the visit to Skenfrith Castle as seen on our previous video we explored another one of the three castles of Gwent, join us as we venture around Grosmont Castle.
Built to guard and dominate the main route between Hereford and Wales, Grosmont was built in the second half of the 11th century by the earl of Hereford, William Fitz Osbern.
As with Skenfrith, King John gave the three castles to Hubert De Burgh, who was a growing royal official, and someone who had experience of fighting in France, as well as someone who was familiar with military architecture. The first castle they built was wooden but it was soon replaced by a stronger building in stone.
What makes Grosmont so striking and romantic, is its red sandstone that gives the walls that beautiful contrast of a reddish colour mixed in with moss and ivy and surrounding parts of the curtain wall. You can get some amazing photos of just the entrance here but you also get a sense of how grand this castle was meant to be from its impressive gatehouse, the high curtain walls and the three stone towers that dominate your first impression.
At Grosmont de Burgh demolished the timber defences and rebuilt the castle in stone. His first creation was a rectangular hall block, finished in 1204. The hall block had storage areas on the ground floor, linked by stairs to a great hall and lord’s chamber on the first floor. The upper floor is long gone, and the hall block stands roofless, but just looking around you can get a sense of how it would have looked.
In 1232 the new owner and his son Hubert de burgh the 2nd modernised the castle for more 14th century standards. Luxury apartments were added aswell as an elegant gothic chimney. This chimney is arguably one of the most talked about features of Grosmont. It was also once connected to a room that is believed to have been the private chamber of Eleanor of Provence, wife of Henry III.
Grosmont castle had then fallen in disrepair and disuse in the 16th century, placed into the care of the state up until 1952 and is now well looked after by CADU and free to venture, sitting inside a very quiet country village and out of the way of the hustle and bustle, the romantic ruin just sits quietly and is one of the more moving places to visit. What we love about coming to castle ruins like Grosmont is finding out small bits of information and making the picture whole from that story. This ruin is surprisingly still quite intact and with its jagged edges and crumbled windows you can gaze through and get different perspectives of the castle and see how the rooms would have formed back then.
You can climb a set of stairs to the top of the curtain wall of the south west tower where A short series of steps takes you through the grand entrance door of the tower and up to first floor level, connecting with a 40 foot-long walkway on top the westernmost castle wall.. You can gaze out and see the two storey hall block from an aerial perspective, and you can understand just how high the curtain walls are, It’s amazing to do at a castle considering how much has fallen into decay. Grosmont is relatively small in size, but once inside you feel as if the castle has more to it and there are useful information boards around the site with artist’s impressions showing you how the castle was built which helps you visualise this castle more. the site is not often visited, in part due to the rather remote location, away from major roads, but we think it makes it more special.
Visiting Grosmont is a must do if you are exploring South Wales, and the Monmouthshire area, even better still you should visit the three castles as they have their similarities but also they equally all have their own identity. They really are the ruined hidden gems of wales, steeped in history but barely known about.
As usual, we appreciate you taking the time to come watch the video, we couldn’t be more happy exploring castles and ruins like these and hope you think the same too, please support us by giving us a like on the video, subscribing if you haven’t already or head over to our instagram to follow us on our journey where we head to next. To finish of the three castles, in our next video we will show and venture around White Castle! We look forward to bringing you along with us, Till next time.