Caldicot Castle (Wales)

Monmouthshire     See list of castles in Galles

Perhaps one of the best kept secrets Wales', the Caldicot castle sits on an ancient site. Restored to much of its exceptional original condition, it is a nice place to spend the day. The castle contains all the elements of a typical medieval fortress, and has been lovingly maintained by the current owners, who have opened to the public. One of the best ways to enjoy this wonderful property is to make use of the self-guided tour cassette that allows you to explore the castle at your own pace. But as you travel around Caldicot Castle, you will find yourself transported back to the Middle Ages, and tracing the development of the castle-building in the south-east Wales.

Caldicot Castle was built on a site that had been long recognized for its strategic value. In fact, the Romans actively made use of the area in the early centuries AD, when Caldicot was on track to Caerwent Via Julia, the Roman town of Venta Silurum (visible remains) just to the north. the positioning of Caldicot near the Bristol Channel has allowed the observation of naval traffic bustle and facilitated transport of supplies to the site. Its position profit was recognized by the Normans as early as 1086, and have built a motte with two baileys and a deep moat surrounding to control this part of south Wales.

Now, one of the most impressive structures in Caldicot, the motte still Unexpectedly Green was crowned by a round stone keep was probably built around 1221 after Humphrey de Bohun, the "Good Earl" Hereford, inherited the lordship of Caldicot. The de Bohuns maintained control of the castle as a hereditary police until 1373, when it became the property of the Crown. With its thick walls nine feet made of local gritstone, the four-storey tower was a formidable structure that would stand virtually every assault. It is noteworthy that the floor below was incorporated into motte, and the main entry point into the great tower was joined by a number of climbing the mound hill passages. Inside, the architectural details was elaborated and sumptuous accommodation, indicating that this tower was routinely used as a residence. spiral stairs allowed access between floors, fireplaces and hooded windows with seating, and a semi-circular tower latrine all providing comfort for the inhabitants. The otherwise solid tower contained a dungeon in the basement vault, a bad enough room accessible only by a small trap door in the ceiling. the large keep external faces smooth stone finely cut, and reinforced at the base with a splayed base. The top of the tower, was once crowned with battlements, and scaffolding holes remain where beams supported the treasure, a wooden fighting platform. Slits penetrate walls, improving the defenses of the keep, and the well is located in one of the slots. Today our climb to the top of the keep rewarding us with wonderful views of the countryside, and bird's eye views of the castle layout.

The next phase of construction at the Caldicot Castle took place immediately after the great tower was completed and finalized the basic design that continues to dominate the stronghold. Intersects the motte hill of earth were continuing robust facades, interconnected by round corner towers and that includes the inner courtyard. The towers to the southeast and southwest corners were powerful, though a bit shorter and smaller than the tower, and were also protected with battlements and timber hoarding. The east tower contained an elaborate fireplace and a two-section window, and probably served as a secondary residence. In 1400, were added in continuous narrow turrets latrines adjacent facades.
Halfway between the large keep and the south-west tower, first porter of the castle was built in the mid 13th century. This Postern Gate West was a simple gateway that has pierced the wall of another round tower and again is almost all its height. This postern would allow rapid and secret movements in and away from the castle proper. The guard soon had two floors, and, like the other towers once had hoarding, a plinth splayed at its base, a fireplace, and a latrine; an open door to the wall-walk along the ramparts. Like many gatehouses, this Caldicot was defended with a portcullis, a heavy door, and loopholes. Its location near the tower recalls the development at the castle of Pembroke in West Wales.

During the next century, we have made significant changes to the Caldicot Castle. In 1340, The Great Hall was built along the inner wall adjacent to the southeast tower. Probably a wooden building, all that remains are a few decorative windows. In 1373, the last male de Bohun died and the castle passed to the two daughters, Eleanor and Mary. Mary de Bohun married the granddaughter of Edward III, the future Henry IV, and Eleanor Thomas de mer Woodstock, son of King Edward III and the Duke of Gloucester, in whose hands real Caldicot past. Woodstock in the late 1380 began a large and expensive construction program. On the north side, Thomas built the tower on three floors Woodstock and Postern Gate, carving his name and his wife ( "Alianore") in the masonry. The crenellated tower rather simple contained a small window, a toilet and bathroom - very rare in medieval towers - and gave access to the adjacent wall-walk.

Unfortunately for Thomas Woodstock, his enjoyment of Caldicot Castle was to be short. In 1397 he was smothered in Calais, and the castle was inherited by the daughter of Thomas, Anne. However, the Duke of Gloucester greatest success in Caldicot Castle was the big gatehouse, awesome now restored to its former glory on the southern face of the fortress. Defenses were processed, and included access through a drawbridge, two shutters, two heavy gates and three openings. Upstairs was a large apartment range, flanked by two twin towers latrines, which implies that the residential focal point of the castle was moved from the tower to the main guardhouse, the development trend of the Middle Ages. The two towers are rectangular and decorated with ornate windows and unusual carved heads, each one different - it could also represent the head of Edward II!

Images of the castle

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Useful infos

Latitude: 51.592851
Longitude: -2.742473
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Map of Caldicot Castle