Planning a Visit to Shropshire? Then a visit to the market town of Ludlow & its Castle is a Real Must
Welcome to Ludlow Castle, one of the finest medieval ruins in England. Set in the glorious Shropshire countryside at the heart of the superb, bustling black & white market town of Ludlow.
Walk through the Castle grounds and see the ancient houses of kings, queens, princes, judges and the nobility – a glimpse into the lifestyle of medieval society
The Castle, firstly a Norman Fortress and extended over the centuries to become a fortified Royal Palace, has ensured Ludlow’s place in English history – originally built to hold back unconquered Welsh, passing through generations of the de Lacy and Mortimer families to Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York. It was one of the first stone castles to be built in England.
It became Crown property in 1461 and remained a royal castle for the next 350 years, during which time the Council of the Marches was formed with responsibility for the Government of Wales and the border counties.
By the 17th century the castle was luxuriously appointed, hosting cultural events such as the first performance of John Milton’s masque Comus. Ludlow Castle was held by the Royalists during the English Civil War of the 1640s, until it was besieged and taken by a Parliamentarian army in 1646. The contents of the castle were sold off and a garrison was retained
With the Restoration of 1660, the Council was re-established and the castle repaired, but Ludlow never recovered from the civil war years and when the Council was finally abolished in 1689 it fell into neglect. Henry Herbert, the Earl of Powis, leased the property from the Crown in 1772, extensively landscaping the ruins, and his brother-in-law, Edward Clive, bought the castle outright in 1811.
A mansion was constructed in the outer bailey but the remainder of the castle was left largely untouched, attracting an increasing number of visitors and becoming a popular location for artists.
After 1900, Ludlow Castle was cleared of vegetation and over the course of the century it was extensively repaired by the Powys Estate and government bodies. In the 21st century it is still owned by the Earl of Powys and operated as a tourist attraction.
Abandoned in 1689 the castle quickly fell into ruin, described as ‘the very perfection of decay’ by Daniel Defoe
Since 1811 the castle has been owned by the Earls of Powys, who have arrested further decline, and allowed this magnificent historical monument to be open to the public. Today the Castle is the home to Ludlow’s major festivals throughout the year and open for all to enjoy
Restoration and Maintenance of the Castle
Ludlow Castle is privately owned and maintained by the Earl of Powys. A significant proportion of the Entry fees are put towards a 5-year rolling programme of works currently estimated to cost approximately £750,000.
Other things to do
The Castle is surrounded by a wealth of independent shops and eateries, some hidden away in the medieval streets so make time to wander around whilst you are here. Walk round the outside of the Castle and down to the River Teme taking in the Bread walk.
Visit The Buttercross www.ludlow.org.uk/ludlow-museum.html Museum Fridays – Sundays, St. Laurences Church with Medieval stained glass windows and views of the Castle from the tower http://www.stlaurences.org.uk/, Ludlow Brewery http://www.theludlowbrewingcompany.co.uk/
Set within the beautiful AONB Shropshire Hills visit their website to find other activities whilst you are visiting http://www.shropshirehillsaonb.co.uk/
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