Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire, Wales

Raglan Castle is a stunning late medieval castle located in Monmouthshire in South-East Wales. The manor of Raglan was owned by the Bluet family from the late 12th century and they built a large house somewhere on the site during this period. The castle passed into the hands of Sir William ap Thomas through marriage to Elizabeth Bluet. William then married another heiress Gwladus ap Thomas and purchased the manor at Raglan where he had already been living. William began the process of building the basic shape of the castle, however much of what remains today was rebuilt later by his son William. William Jr dropped the Welsh version of his name instead calling himself William Herbert, and was a high ranking official during the War of the Roses and the Hundred Years War. William made much of his wealth through the Gascon wine trade and used this money to remodel Raglan during the 1460s. Herbert was described by Welsh poets as the ‘national deliverer’ as many people believed he would help Wales achieve independence.

William was executed in 1469 as a Yorkist supporter after the Battle of Edgecote Moor. In 1492 the castle was bequeathed to Elizabeth Somerset, William’s daughter who had married Sir Charles Somerset, passing the castle into a new family line. The Somersets were a powerful family under both Henry VII and Henry VIII and became Earls of Worcester. The castle stayed in the Somerset family right up to the breakout of the English Civil War in 1642. Henry Somerset and his son Lord Herbert supported the crown and during this time heavily fortified the castle. Lord Herbert fearful of the advancing Parliamentary forces fled to Ireland, and indeed was right to, as the Parliamentary forces laid siege to and eventually took Raglan Castle. The Castle suffered a lot of damage and continued to deteriorate and during the 18th and 19th century though the Somerset’s were still in ownership of the site.

Raglan is a fantastic ruin, grandiose and set in beautiful surroundings.

GPS: 51.77015, -2.84991

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