Gwent - Wales
This castle was originally a motte and bailey type built c.1069 along with two others, Grosmont and White castles, forming a triangle of defences in order to protect the communication routes between Hereford and England. These were probably built by William fitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford,
William the Conqueror’s close advisor.
After his death in 1071, the castle was forfeited to the Crown because fitzOsbern’s son, Roger de Breteuil, was in dispute with the Conqueror. After a trial by his peers, he was imprisoned.
In about 1182 the engineer/architect Ralph de Grosmont was sent by King Henry II to survey and to carry out work on the castle. A horse was brought to him for his use and he received a personal reward of £2 and eventually became keeper of the works, on which £64 2s 8 pence was spent.
Circa 1201 Hubert de Burgh was granted Lordship of Skenfrith and the two other castles. While in France, Hubert had gained a good deal of knowledge on the latest military architecture and proceeded to overhaul and rebuild the castle. As to whether Ralph de Grosmont was still keeper of the works at this time,
it is impossible to tell.
In 1254 King Henry III granted Skenfrith castle and the two others to his son, the future King Edward I, and by 1267 the castle had been granted to Edward’s younger brother, Edmond, Earl of Lancaster.
Although the castle saw brief action during the Welsh rebellion of 1404 to 1405, it never again played any part in military affairs and by 1538 the castle was abandoned and left in a ruinous state.
The castle is now in the care of Cadw and is open to the public.
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