The quintessential romantic ruin…
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.
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.
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.
The castle was a statement of power and influence and welcomed several royal visitors in its heyday.
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?
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.
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 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…
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!