We managed to stop on route for our walking tour series to a lovely medieval town, nestled along the back roads of Herefordshire and near the border of Monmouthshire in wales, we visit a small and not often known motte and bailey keep called Longtown Castle.
Slightly camouflaged behind a line of trees, the motte suddenly springs into view, looming above your head and you are greeted by a set of stairs that lead up to the entrance of the round keep. From below this must have been quite threatening to anyone contemplating an assault in the Middle Ages. The castles were the property of Norman lords who built strongholds in an effort to maintain control over the unruly welsh. And one of these built was Longtown. It was constructed in the 1180s by the Norman lord Walter De Lacy.
An additional east bailey was added later and a stone keep was built atop the motte in the 12th century. The entire complex was surrounded by a curtain wall sometime in the 13th century
Aside from the original gatehouse that we wandered through to get here, you are met with the round keep that is a stone built circular tower that was thought to have replaced an earlier wooden one. It provided Living accommodation in times of peace and a last line of defence in times of war. Although its ruinous, what can be seen when looking up is that it had two storeys above a basement. The basement at the bottom of the structure was used for storage and the tower was constructed of rubble with cut ashlar stone around the door and windows. Inside the keep are the remains of a spiral staircase near the entrance and a fireplace at first floor level. The second floor would have served as the private apartments of the lord. Other things to look out for are a well inside the keep and two projecting garderobes. The walls of the keep are up to five feet thick at the base.
By 1452 the castle seems to have been abandoned and left to decay but now that English Heritage took over the site it is quietly maintained for us to visit. The Best thing about visiting Longtown is the ability to be able to come here night or day and at whatever time with superb views into Wales from the top of the motte. I think there is more than enough of the keep ruin to give a good idea of what it must have looked like in the 13th century and it makes for a good stroll if only to see the views and on a good day you’ll be able to see some of the black mountains that surround the countryside.
We hope you’ve enjoyed exploring another medieval castle ruin with us and enjoy walking around too. We’d really appreciate if you could hit that like button if you’ve enjoyed it, or consider subscribing to the channel if you haven’t already. Till next time.