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Monmouth Castle

Monmouth Category Historic Sites
Monmouth Castle image

Monmouth Castle was built by William FitzOsbern in the years immediately following the Norman Conquest to guard a key crossing over the Rivers Monnow and Wye. It complimented his castle at Chepstow at the southern end of the River Wye. Originally an earthwork and timber fort, it was rebuilt in stone from around 1150.

The castle remained in private ownership until the thirteenth century when it passed through Henry III to his son, Edward Crouchback Earl of Lancaster. This started a long association with the Lancastrian dynasty with the castle ultimately coming into the hands of Henry Bolingbroke. Henry had been tasked with exploiting the lordship of Monmouth for all it was worth and thus was at the castle in either 1386 or 1387 when his son, the future Henry V, was born. In 1399 his father deposed Richard II and imprisoned him in Pontefract Castle where he died under suspicious circumstances; Henry of Monmouth then became Henry Prince of Wales.

In the Civil War Monmouth Castle changed hands three times ultimately falling to Parliamentary forces for good in 1646. This spelled the end for the castle as, like so many others, Parliament ordered its destruction and by the following year the heart of the fortification, the Great Tower, had been pulled down. It remained an abandoned ruin until 1673 when Henry Somerset Duke of Beaufort (from 1682) in his role of Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire built Great Castle House utilising stone from the castle's Great Tower.

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