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Ludlow Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Luderaue; Ludelau

In the civil parish of Ludlow.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO50867459
Latitude 52.36716° Longitude -2.72299°

Ludlow Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Palace.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Ludlow Castle, situated on its rocky promontory over the river Teme, is one of the great Welsh border castles, and its extensive remains span the entire medieval period. It was begun about 1085 by Roger de Lacy, but the round Norman chapel, one of the earliest chapels in the county, was built in the 1130s by a rival claimant, Sir Joyce de Dinan, who temporarily ousted the Lacy's from their home. The outer defences, including the outer bailey and gatehouse, were constructed about 1180, the round towers added a century later, and most of the other buildings within the enclosure - the great hall, great chamber and service rooms - were built in C14 and embellished in the Tudor period. After the Lacy line died out in 1240 the castle was held by Roger Mortimer and five generations of his descendants, becoming royal property in 1461 when one of the line was crowned as Edward IV. (PastScape)

Ludlow Castle was built as a major fortress in the defensive frontier with Wales, and was used as a base for assembling military campaigns in the 12th and 13th centuries (Faraday 1991, 17). The inner gate of the castle was aligned to the south and it is probable that a rural settlement (called Dinham) lay south of the castle, where an early chapel and a market green have been identified (Renn 1987, 58). The shape of plots in this area may be evidence for a rural settlement (Conzen 1988, 264). It is also possible that there was a small rural settlement at Galdeford in what was later the eastern suburb of the town (Faraday 1991, 1).
The castle at Ludlow was built in the late 11th and originally consisted of a ringwork, which was extended with an outer bailey in the late 12th century. The study of the castle through architectural survey and excavation has been ongoing since the early 20th century, and a number of areas have been investigated at differing levels of detail. The entire structure has been surveyed in outline (Hope 1909a), and five distinct medieval structures have been studied in more detail, some with limited excavation in order to reveal structural features: the "Great Tower", the late 13th century "Solar Block", the "old pantry", the early 12th century chapel of St Mary Magdelene and the 14th century chapel of St Peter. A number of areas have been excavated within the inner and outer baileys, but medieval evidence is limited. The structure of the castle forms a substantial ruin, and the entire monument survives as an impressive feature in the modern townscape. The component is defined to include the ditch of the outer bailey (now a public garden) and the scarping of the natural slope on east and north. (Dalwood 2005)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) passim
      Shoesmith, R. and Johnson, A. (eds), 2006 rev edn, Ludlow Castle: Its History and Buildings (Almeley: Logaston Press)
      Duckers, Peter and Anne, 2006, Castles of Shropshire (Stroud: Tempus) p. 101-8
      Moran, Madge, 2003, Vernacular Buildings of Shropshire (Logaston Press) p. 4, 135-7, 173, 175-6
      Salter, Mike, 2001 (2edn), The Castles and Moated Mansions of Shropshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 52-8
      Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 559
      Shoesmith, R. and Johnson, A. (eds), 2000, Ludlow Castle: Its History and Buildings (Almeley: Logaston Smith)
      Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 212-4 (plan)
      Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 58, 133, 337
      Faraday, M.A., 1991, Ludlow 1085-1660: a social, economic and political history (Chichester: Phillimore)
      Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 152-54
      Jackson, M.J.,1988, Castles of Shropshire (Shrewsbury: Shropshire Libraries) p. 33-5
      Furtado, Peter et al (eds), 1988, Ordnance Survey guide to castles in Britain (London) p. 129
      Renn, D.F., 1987, ''Chastel de Dynan': the first phases of Ludlow' in Kenyon, J.R. and R Avent (eds), Castles in Wales and the Marches: essays in honour of D J Cathcart King (Cardiff: University of Wales Press) p. 55–73
      Lloyd, D.J. and Klein, P., 1984, Ludlow, A Historic Town in Words and Pictures (Phillimore) p. 12, 52-3, 60, 70
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 426
      Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 257-8
      Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1975, The history of the King's Works Vol. 3: 1485-1660 (part 1) (London) p. 277-83
      Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 232-3
      Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 732 (slight)
      Pevsner, N., 1958, Buildings of England: Shropshire (London, Penguin) p. 181-3
      Toy, Sidney, 1953, The Castles of Great Britain (Heinemann) p. 76-8, 143, 145, 203
      Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 134-141
      Thompson, A. Hamilton, 1912, Military Architecture in England during the Middle Ages (OUP) p. 94-6 online copy
      Evans, Herbert A., 1912, Castles of England and Wales (London) p. 204-22
      Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
      Wall (after Downham), 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Shropshire Vol. 1 p. 397
      Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 137-43 online copy
      Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 273-90 online copy
      Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 2 (London) p. 547-52 online copy
      Stackhouse-Acton, Frances, 1868, The Castles and Old Mansions of Shropshire (Shrewsbury) p. 10-11 online copy
      Eyton, R.W., 1857, Antiquities of Shropshire (London: John Russell Smith) Vol. 5 p. 233- (tenurial history) online copy
      Anon, 1854, History and Descriptive Sketch of Ludlow Castle (Ludlow)
      Wright, T., 1852, History of Ludlow and its neighbourhood; forming a popular sketch of the history of the Welsh border (Ludlow: R. Jones) p. 440-54 online copy
      Clive, 1841, Documents connected with a History of Ludlow (London) (only on collateral matters) online copy
      Britton, John, 1814, The Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain (London) Vol. 4 p. 131-41 online copy
      Proctor and Jones, 1822, The History and Antiquities of the Town of Ludlow and its Ancient Castle (Longman and co.) online copy
      Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 250
      Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 5 p. 11-15 online copy
  • Periodical Articles
    • 2004-5, 'Ludlow Castle' Castle Studies Group Bulletin Vol. 18 p. 83-4 (news report)
      Speight, Sarah, 2004, ''Religion in the Bailey: Charters, Chapels and the Clergy' Château Gaillard Vol. 21 p. 271-80
      Halliwell, P., 2000, 'Ludlow Castle: outer bailey moat' Herefordshire Archaeological News Vol. 71 p. 29
      1991, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 35 p. 183-4 (report of wall collapse) online copy
      Cumow, P.E., 1981, 'Ludlow Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 12, 14
      Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
      Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112 p. 77-124
      1960, Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 23 p. 5-6
      Brown, R, Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
      Faulkner, P.A., 1958, 'Domestic Planning from the Twelfth to the Fourteenth Centuries' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 115 p. 150-83 online copy
      Radford, C.A.R., 1956, 'Ludlow Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 113 p. 197-8
      Brakspear, 1928, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 85 p. 235-7 online copy
      Weyman, 1916, 'Ludlow Castle and Church' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Club p. 126-36 (unimportant)
      1915, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 5 p. 119-23
      Hope, W.H.St John, 1909, 'The Castle of Ludlow' Archaeologia Vol. 61 p. 257-328
      Clark, G.T., 1883, 'Ludlow Castle' Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 6 p. 271-98 (reprint of 1877 Arch. Camb. article)
      Babington, C.C., 1882, 'On the circular chapel in Ludlow Castle' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 37 p. 126-8 online copy
      Sandford, G., 1878, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 1 p. 217-54
      Clark, G.T., 1877, 'Ludlow Castle' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 32 p. 165-92 (reprinted in MMA) online copy
  • Guidebooks
    • Anon, 1987, Ludlow Castle: a guide (Rhostryfan: Historic Tours (Wales))
      Hampton, C., 1977, Ludlow Castle: a guided tour (Leominster: Orphans Press)
  • Primary (Medieval documents or transcriptions of such documents - This section is far from complete and the secondary sources should be consulted for full references.)
    • Pipe Rolls 1177-93 (Frequent references) (see Pipe Roll Society for published references)
      Giraldus Cambrensis, c.1188, Journey Through Wales View online transcription
      Hog, T. (ed), 1845, F. Nicholai Triveti de ordine frat. praedicatorum Annales sex regum Angliae, qui a comitibus andegavensibus originem traxerunt (English Historical Society) p. 261 online copy
      Weaver, J.R.H. (ed), 1908, Chronicle of John of Worcester (Oxford: Clarendon Press) p. 54 online copy
      Duchesne, A. (ed), 1619, 'Chronica Normanniae (1139-1259)' in Historiae Normannorum scriptore antiqui (Paris) p. 977 online copy
      Arnold, T. (ed), 1879, Henrici Archidiaconi Huntendunesis Historia Anglorum (London: Rolls Series 74) p. 265 online copy
      Riley, H.T. (ed), 1865, Willelmi Rishanger ... cronica et annales (Rolls Series 28) p. 31 online copy
      Luard, H.R. (ed), 1890, Flores Historiarum, per Mathaeum Westmo santeriensem collecti (Rolls Series 95) Vol. 2 p. 498
      Stubbs, W. (ed), 1880, The Minor Works comprising the Gesta regum with its continuation, the Actus pontificum, and the Mappa mundi, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury (London: Longman Rolls series 73) Vol. 2 p. 436 online copy
      Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1216-25) Vol. 1 p. 435, 483 online copy
      Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Close Rolls Edward II (1318-1323) Vol. 3 p. 415 view online copy (requires subscription but searchable) alternative online copy
      Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1905, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry IV (1401-05) Vol. 2 p. 140 online copy
      Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 415-6
  • Antiquarian (Histories and accounts from late medieval and early modern writers)
    • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
      Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England (Sutton Publishing) p. 386, 393, 396
      Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1906, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 3 p. 50 online copy
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • Shapland, Michael, 2012, Buildings of Secular and Religious Lordship: Anglo-Saxon Tower-nave Churches (PhD Thesis University College London) esp. chapter 7
      Dalwood, H. and Bryant, V. (eds), 2005, The Central Marches Historic Towns Survey 1992-6 Download online copy
      Morris, R.K. and Shoesmith, R., 1990, _Watching brief and recording of the collapsed southeastern section of the curtain wall, Ludlow Castle (Hereford Archaeology Series report 79)
      Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, 1988, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 33774 (22/03/1988)
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This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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