Goodrich Castle is an English castle originally in the Welsh Marches which is now known as Herefordshire. The castle's development from a fortified site into a home and administrative centre can be dated to around 1160 and 1270. It is likely that Goodrich Castle incorporated an earlier motte and bailey site which space problems due to their design being intended for military use thus keeping them small. Therefore they could not contain all of the facilities needed for the new civil role and this lead to expansion and three main areas of the site with their own specific uses:
- the keep
- the courtyard
- the barbican and gatehouse
Goodrich was built up over several phases. Firstly the Keep was built by the Fitz Baderons. It was their only Keep which suggests that they may have been a lower noble family. The rest of the castle's facilities were added at a later date when the castle had come under the control of the de Valence family. The de Valences were a more powerful family, and their additions to the castle show the increased need to show their power and wealth.
In the photo above, the south east and south west towers can be seen and the Keep is the centre tower which dates back to the mid-twelfth century (circa 1160-70), and is the earliest part of the castle.
The views from the Castle towards Ross and Kerne Bridge
Goodrich Castle was built up on the hill with good views out over the Wye and surrounding countryside making it a good defensive position.
The Gatehouse and Barbican
The barbican and drawbridge, since been replaced by a stone bridge, were added in the 14th century thus forcing any attackers to have to storm two bridges before getting to the gatehouse which meant the barbican would have been the main defence and meaning that the gatehouse needed to be less secure.
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The gatehouse was built around 1300 and is in the north east tower of the castle. It consists of a long vaulted corridor with a portcullis at each end. This corridor opens into a vaulted chamber which gave access to the lower areas of the north east tower. There is also a narrow corridor running inside the north curtain wall leading to a garderobe and a guard room. On the same level in the tower is a chapel. Above the corridor and chapel is the portcullis room. The chapel may well have served as the garrison when needed.
The Keep was small, around 25 foot square, with three rooms on top of each other. The original defensive entrance to the keep was up a flight of external wooden stairs to the first floor doorway. This allowed the stairs to be destroyed in the event of attack and was an adequate defence. Later when the defences were no longer needed, in around the 14th or 15th Century, this doorway was blocked up to form a window and the doorway was moved to the ground floor to allow easier access from the courtyard.
The courtyard area was built around 1300 and had to accommodate lower status accommodation (ie servants), and service facilities with wooden lean-tos on the west and east side with the castle's well was on the courtyard's northern side. As the keep was so small, the courtyard housed most of the facilities more usually associated with the higher status keeps such as the Great Hall, the Chapel and the south east and west towers with upper level living quarters and fireplaces.
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The main hall would have been used as a meeting room and for entertaining visitors.
To the right in the centre of the wall would have been a large fireplace and the kitchens where situated out of a doorway at the far end of the room on the left. The hall had other doorways off to private chambers, an entrance to the Solar, and a small chapel thus keeping the lord of the castle away from the general population.
The dungeon was a small room at the base of the keep. It is very dark and floods regularly, thus making it a particularly unpleasant place.
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These stables were a later addition and were outside of the main defensive wall.
The Solar, or sitting room, was accessed via the Great Hall, rather than through the central courtyard, and specifically for the use of the lord. Entry was at the first floor level with the room below the Solar being reached through it again keeping the lord and the general population apart.
Some extra photos
[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:58]