Ludlow Castle was founded by Walter De Lacy in the wake of the Norman conquest in 1066, and had a crucial role in the social, economic and political life in this part of medieval Britain. Ludlow castle is one of the finest in the country – gazing up at it’s walls as the castle towers over you from it promontory overlooking the Teme one can imagine what it must have felt like to be a traveller (or army) arriving in Ludlow for the first time.
In the 14th century the castle fell into the hands of Roger Mortimer who was the 1st Earl of March and the pre-eminent power broker of the Welsh borders. His number was up after his involvement in a revolt of the Marcher Lords against Edward II, and he would soon find himself hanging at Tyburn for his troubles, although the castle remained in the Mortimer family.
Ludlow Castle was the headquarters of the Council of the Marches founded by Edward the IV in the 15th century to administer Wales and the border counties. His sons Edward and Richard were installed in the Castle to administer the council. After their uncle Richard III seized the throne they were taken to the Tower of London, where they promptly disappeared. These were the ‘Princes in the Tower‘.
Henry VII’s son Arthur lived here as Prince of Wales with his new wife Catherine of Aragon. When he fell ill and died in 1502 he was succeeded by his younger brother Henry who took Arthurs widow for his wife. The rest, as they say, is history…
Henry VIII’s daughter Mary Tudor also lived at Ludlow Castle for 19 months as she oversaw the Council of The Marches.
Inside Ludlow Castle is split into an inner and outer bailey. The inner bailey represents the extent of the Norman Castle, with the outer bailey dating to a later period. The real jewel of the castle is it’s 12t Century chapel of St Mary Magdalene, a circular romanesque design of which there are only a couple of similar examples in the United Kingdom. Built from sandstone it is based on the Shrine of the Holy Sepuchre in Jerusalem.