Stokesay Castle is one of the finest examples of a fortified medieval Manor House in England. From the moment I saw pictures of this beautiful castle I knew I had to visit it, and in reality it was even more awesome than I expected. One of the aspects of Stokesay I particularly enjoy is that the main core of the building has scarcely been altered since construction finished in the 1290s.
Stokesay was built by Laurence of Ludlow who bought the site in 1281. Laurence was a wealthy wool-merchant and wished to establish himself among the local gentry. He put significant time and resources into the house, using the same team of carpenters from 1281 until 1291 when the house was almost completed. In 1294 Laurence drowned in the sea off the south of England and his son William completed the final work on Stokesay.
The castle passed into the hands of the Vernon family by marriage at the end of the 15th century. It was sold in the early 1600s to Dame Elizabeth Craven. Her son William was a Royalist during the English Civil War. In 1643 Shropshire was largely Royalist but by 1645 the Royalist garrison at Stokesay was defeated.
The castle stayed in the ownership of the Craven family but was somewhat neglected and needed heavy restoration work by the 1830s, which was carried out by William Craven, the Earl of Craven. The Castle passed into the hands of English Heritage in 1992.
The castle consists of 6 main sections. The gatehouse was a late addition, built in the 17th century and featuring elaborate wooden carvings on its interior and exterior. The South Tower is an unequal pentagon in shape, two large buttresses support the walls of the tower. The Great Hall is a sight to behold, 17 metres long and 10 metres wide, the arched ceiling and slate floor are original features. The Great Hall leads to the North Tower, the second floor of which has half timbered walls that jettison out above the stone walls beneath them. The Solar Block which connects the hall to the South Tower probably acted as the living quarter for Laurence of Ludlow when he moved into the castle, the wooden carvings that surround the fireplace date from 1640. The Castle and gatehouse are surrounded by a tall wall and dry moat.
GPS: 52.43029, -2.83158