Goodrich Castle is a Norman medieval castle which now lies in ruins. It is situated to the north of the village of Goodrich in Herefordshire, England, and controlled a key location between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. Goodrich Castle is one of the best preserved English medieval castles.
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Goodrich Castle thought to have been built by Godric of Mappestone, not long after the Norman invasion of England in the 11th century. The castle was brought to ruin during the English Civil war during the 17th century. At this time in 1646, the Goodrich Castle was occupied by the Royalists. The Parlementation forces, under Colonel Birch, found that the castle was too well fortified to attack directly, so they bought in artillery to siege the castle. During this siege, mortars destroyed the pipe carrying water into the castle, and the storage tanks in the courtyard. This left the defending garrison depending on the older castle well.
At the height of the siege, the Parliamentarian forces used a massive mortar cannon named "Roaring Meg" to destroy the North-West tower. Roaring Meg was able to fire gunpowder filled shells weighing 85–90 kilograms.
With limited supplies and the castle becoming more and more damaged, the Royalists finally surrendered. The castle was subsequently intentionally damaged by the Parliamentarian forces so that it could not be made defensible or habitable again. The castle was returned to it's owner before the occupation, however, the damage was too extensive to repair so it was left to ruin.
View more photos in my Goodrich Castle gallery.
The Great Keep at Goodrich Castle is also known as Macbeth Tower, after stories of an Irish chieftain imprisoned in the dungeons. The dungeons were housed in The Great Keep. Legend has it he died attempting to escape and his ghost has been said to haunt the tower. According to local folklore, a ghostly haze can sometimes be seen in the dungeons, for which there is no explanation.
Local folklore also tells a story from the siege during the English Civil War. It is said that Colonel Birch's niece, Alice Birch, fell in love with a handsome Royalist, Charles Clifford. According to these stories, the two attempted to escape before the final assault, however, they both died in a flash flood while trying to cross the River Wye. They now live on as ghosts on the site.
Last updated on: Saturday 17th June 2017
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