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GOODRICH CASTLE

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The remains of Goodrich Castle overlooking a crossing point on the River Wye. The quadrangular castle encloses an earlier tower keep and has an outer ward on its north and west sides. It has a substantial dry moat on the south and east sides, and the drawbridge and gatehouse are defended by an outwork (barbican).

In the Domesday Book of 1086 land is recorded as belonging to Godric Mappeson, although the first documentary evidence of 'Godric's castle' dates to 1101-2. It may have been sited on an earlier Iron Age hillfort or promontory fort, and the earthworks around the castle may date to this period. The original castle was probably a simple enclosure with timber palisade and tower, although no remains survive. The stone keep became the focal point for reorganised defences during or shortly after the war between Stephen and Matilda, 1138-53, and ownership transferred to Gilbert fitz Gilbert de Clare. The keep is likely to have been built around this time; however, nothing of the rest of the castle from this period survives today. In 1204 King John gave Goodrich to William Marshall, who was probably responsible for the construction of the first stone wall and towers around the keep. The castle came into the ownership of William de Valence and substantial rebuilding took place before his death in 1296; the majority of the present structure dates to this period. The old keep subsequently became a prison, and three additional ranges were built. Goodrich was the principal residence of the Talbot family in the 14th century, and the curtain walls of the barbican and outer ward also date to this period. During the Civil War the Roundheads laid siege and mined under the castle, which eventually led to its surrender. It was then partly demolished and the main timbers and lead roofs removed. The castle was placed in guardianship in the 1920s and has since undergone restoration. It is now in the care of English Heritage.

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