Raglan Castle, South Wales


The castle was developed mainly by two men - William ap Thomas, who fought with King Henry V at the Battle of
Agincourt in 1415, and  his son, Sir William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, was the next owner of the castle.  Herbert was responsible for Raglan's distinctive Tudor-styling. The elaborately decorated polygonal keep, and the double-drawbridge show French influence, thought to be due to both men fighting in France. The castle is constructed out of two sorts of sandstone - a pale,  yellowish sandstone from  the Wye river and a   local  red, brown sandstone used in the Tudor work

This is not one of Edward I's massive castles built to subdue the Welsh, but more a symbol of social success..It was begun by Sir William ap Thomas around 1435, when he started building the Great Tower, which he surrounded by a  moat, the unusual hexagonal plan of the tower are thought to be French in character. The Great Tower, known as "The Yellow Tower of Gwent," is the most striking feature at Raglan. It was largely destroyed by Cromwellian engineers at the end of the English Civil War. The tower and moat are outside the main castle.

Following ap Thomas's death he was succeeded by his son William Herbert , a prominent Yorkist, who was created Earl of Pembroke.  Herbert turned Raglan into a palace palace. However Herbert was beheaded following his defeat at the battle of Edgecote in 1469.

The castle was also the boyhood home of Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII.

In 1492, Elizabeth Herbert married into the Somerset family, the Earls of Worcester, who completed the castle. Earl William  added, for example, the long gallery, without which no great Elizabethan house was complete.

The main apartments are inside the South Gate  The Grand Stair , similar structure at Carew Castle, leads up to the apartments.  The Hall and Long Gallery are particularly memorable rooms.

Raglan supported the king during the Civil War. It was defended by Henry, the new earl, and later Marquis of Worcester. The castle sustained one of the longest sieges of the Civil War, ten weeks. Eventually the heavy artillery under Sir Thomas Fairfax, forced the marquis to surrender.

The Raglan fell at the end of the Civil War, and Cromwell's engineers duly blasted the great walls. The Great Tower was so strong that only  two of its six sides were brought  down.

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