Goodrich is a small village in south Herefordshire, England which is very close to Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean situated near the River Wye and is famous for its old red sandstone Norman and medieval castle. The village grew up next to Goodrich Castle, which stands on a high spur of land commanding strategic position above a ford, an important ancient crossing point of the Wye. The castle was begun around 1101 and from 1326 onwards was the family seat of the Earls of Shrewsbury, although by the 16th century it had passed into the hands of the Earls of Kent and was no longer inhabited on a permanent basis.
13 Apr 2009 - Goodrich (Goodrich Castle), EnglandIn 1643 during the Civil War the Earl of Stamford garrisoned the castle for Parliament. In 1645 the castle became the scene of one of the most desperate sieges in Herefordshire. The siege continued into 1646. After being in the hands of Parliament, it was later occupied by a garrison led by the Royalist Sir Henry Lingen. It was attacked and besieged by Colonels John Birch and Kyrle. Eventually the Royalists surrendered. In 1647 the castle was slighted, which made it virtually uninhabitable and prohibited re-fortification.
Goodrich - Goodrich Castle I
Strong and imposing, the castle was equipped with the most up-to-date defensive features including drawbridges, arrow loops and two concentric curtain walls. Most of what is now visible was built in the late 13th century by William de Valence. Although not a very popular noble, Valence was the uncle of Kind Edward I (1272-1307) and thus had very powerful connections.
Goodrich - Goodrich Castle and bridge from the barbican
Gates are the obvious weak point in a town or castle's defences so barbicans were built outside them as an additional defence. The Goodrich barbican could only be entered by crossing a drawbridge and passing through a gate. The bridge across the moat that can be seen leads from the barbican. A barbican is a fortified gateway or tower defending a gate or bridge for defense.
Goodrich - Goodrich Castle II
In 1642, at the start of the civil war, Goodrich was seized by the Earl of Stamford for Parliament, but the surrounding countryside was against him and he withdrew. A Royalist force under Colonel So Henry Lingen occupied the castle and held it for four years, but after Hereford fell to Parliament in 1644, the garrison of Goodrich became isolated and in May 1646 Colonel John Birch, the Parliamentary commander of Hereford was given orders to advance on the castle and secure it.
Goodrich - Goodrich Castle and Roaring Meg
The castle walls however were unaffected by the Parliamentary cannon so Birch ordered that the castle's water supply be cut off and a siege mortar made to help in the attack.This weapon, which was capable of firing a 200lb /90kg explosive shell, was cast locally and earned the nickname 'Roaring Meg' and can be seen in the photo. In mid June the weapon arrived and after being moved into a position, its first few rounds soon breached the South wall.
Goodrich - Goodrich Castle courtyard and Roaring Meg
By the time the South wall was breached, conditions inside were desperate and when news reached the castle that the king had been captured, the defenders finally surrendered. After the Civil War, the castle was left uninhabitable and it remained in ruins unitil 1920, when the last private owner placed it into the care of the Commissioners of the Works (now English Heritage), who carried out a preservation programme.
Goodrich - The Goodrich Castle barbican
The D-shaped design of the barbican proclaimed the royal connections of the Valence family. William de Valence's nephew, King Edward I, had built and almost identical barbican at the Tower of London between 1275 and 1281. Edward is also believed to have sent his own workmen to Goodrich in 1296 to help build the castle. Copying such designs was an important way of communicating high status.
Goodrich - From barbican to main gate
The fixed bridge from the barbican to the gatehouse was once a wooden drawbridge. The gatehouse also presented a daunting sequence od defences. Above the drawbridge was a fighting platform. Inside the gatehouse were portcullises and gates and small side windows looked into the passage from which archers could shoot into.
Goodrich - The Goodrich Castle courtyard and keep
The castle's forbidding exterior was an expression of power but the interior, which the courtyard was centre, resembled a country residence and was a centre of local administration. The oldest building which can be seen on the left is the keep, built in the mid 12th century. All the other buildings were build by Valence.
Goodrich - Goodrich Castle overlooking the Ross-on-Wye
The castle stands on a high rocky spur overlooking the River Wye and commands a crossing of the river, known as Walesford or Walford, Ross-on-Wye. This separates England from Wales.