Raglan Castle, Gwent, Wales

The quintessential romantic ruin…

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Wales and the Welsh Marches are a castle-lovers paradise – it’s hardly possible to drive five miles without coming across the remains of another stone fortress. Some of the ruins are little more than overgrown hillocks, whilst others make it fairly easy to imagine what once stood on the site. But then there are the magnificent ruins – the ones where you want to spend at least a week carefully going over and around every aspect to really soak up its essence.

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Raglan is one of those. It stands impressive and proud, just off the A40 south of Monmouth and for me, it’s almost the perfect castle.

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In fact, I suspect that if I gave you a piece of paper and a pencil and asked you to draw your idea of a castle, you might very well come up with something that looked a lot like Raglan.

It was one of the last castles to be built in Wales during the Middle Ages, but even though it has extensive remains of grand Tudor-style accommodation, it is nevertheless a fortress, as its history of being besieged during the Civil War can testify.

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The castle was a statement of power and influence and welcomed several royal visitors in its heyday.

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There is so much remaining, that your castle-visiting senses quite quickly become overwhelmed. Just when you think you must have seen it all, you go through a doorway and find yourself in yet another courtyard, or at the bottom of another staircase – leading where?

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IMAG3304And then there are the towers – you simply have to climb up to the top.

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The views are achingly beautiful – well they are for me, this is the part of the country where my heart lives. I’d still be standing up there, watching the clouds roll across the sky given half a chance.

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Often when I visit a castle, I’ll contemplate the real people who once lived there or think about specific events that happened on the site, but for some reason, at Raglan I found myself going off on more of a romantic train of thought, creating fictional characters in a drama all my own (it must be my ย inner romantic fiction writer trying to get out).

But it’s that sort of place – it seems to draw you in and begins to tell you its own stories. I’m convinced those stones whisper…

Display board detail showing how the castle looked in the sixteenth century.

Display board detail showing how the castle looked in the sixteenth century.

For more information…

For visitor information go to the official Cadw site here.

If your preference is for facts and figures – the Wiki site here has lots of both.

Or if you have a thing for bookish ghosts – visit this site here go on!

 

 

-)o(-

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7 thoughts on “Raglan Castle, Gwent, Wales

  1. blosslyn says:

    I had forgotten what Raglan looked like, must have been over 35 years ago since I visited….so it has been lovely to have had an up to date guided tour ๐Ÿ™‚ great photos.

    • Anny says:

      It was even longer than that since my last visit, but it was superb – I just wish I lived around there, they’d have trouble getting rid of me.

  2. Perpetua says:

    Oh, that took me back to the time we took our two teenagers to visit Raglan Castle. They had a fantastic time exploring everything, even the bits barred to me by my lack of a head for heights. ๐Ÿ™‚ We have no such impressive ruins on Montgomeryshire, though Montgomery Castle is well worth a visit for its amazing position and wonderful views. And have you ever visited Stokesay Castle, which isn’t a castle at all but a wonderful fortified manor house. One of our favourite places:

    http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stokesay-castle/

    • Anny says:

      Yes, yes, yes – I love them! We’ve been to Stokesay many times – in fact I don’t think we’ve ever managed to drive past without going in – I grew up in Worcestershire, so Stokesay was within the ‘Sunday afternoon drive’ radius and I’ve enjoyed taking the girls there as they grow up too. A very special place indeed. As for Montgomery Castle – what a position – what views! I made the Other Half walk up the hill to the castle on about our second date – well you have to be sure don’t you – and yes, he was impressed too. That area is my absolute favourite and I am desperate to move there, but realistically it will have to wait until the girls finish at school – oh but how I yearn for those hills. x

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