The dramatic ruins of Goodrich Castle stand in open countryside overlooking the beautiful River Wye. The first castle, built in the 11th century, was added to by Richard ‘Strongbow’ de Clare in the 12th century and William de Valence in the late 13th century.
Goodrich Castle flourished until 1646 when it surrendered to Parliamentarians after a two-month siege and bombardment by mortar fire. Approach the castle via a narrow path skirting the deep ditch, cross a wooden bridge (once a drawbridge) and enter the barbican. Here would have been a gatehouse and guard chamber defending the stone causeway to the castle entrance.
Cross the causeway to the gatehouse, enter the courtyard and bear left into the chapel. To the right of the altar is a niche containing the priest’s seat and a sink for washing the holy vessels.
Leave the chapel and visit the remarkable garderobe tower, which was the latrine for the whole household. Each latrine chamber would have contained several seats which emptied into the ditch.
Next visit the keep of Goodrich Castle, which was built in the mid-12th century. Its purpose is not clear but its height would provide a good lookout point and its thick walls protection against attack. Move on to the great hall where huge feasts were served to household members and guests – all warmed by wine and the enormous fireplace in the western wall. Beyond the hall are the north range and north-west tower. The quality of architecture, fitments and facilities which remain suggest that this is where the lords and their ladies lived.
Don’t miss: Roaring Meg, the mortar that was used to bombard Goodrich Castle into submission in 1646.
Goodrich Castle, near Ross-on Wye, Herefordshire HR9 6HY