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LONGTOWN CASTLE, HR2 0LE

GETTING THERE

Postcode: HR2 0LE

Lat/Long:  51.9568N 2.9895W

Notes:  Situated in the small village of Longtown. Limited signage but village is easy to find. Some on-road parking in vicinity of castle.  

WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?

An impressive circular keep, not dissimilar to that seen at nearby Skenfrith Castle, but set on a motte. Some elements of the surrounding curtain wall and gatehouse also survive..   

VISIT OFFICIAL SITE (Opens in new window)

Castle is owned and managed by English Heritage.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

1.  Longtown Castle, like many administrative centres, had a gallows- the last person to be hanged there was a William Jones who had been convicted of poisoned his wife.  



England > Midlands LONGTOWN CASTLE

Possibly constructed on the site of an earlier Roman Fort, Longtown Castle was one of a series of fortifications built by the Warlords of the Border Marches to control the troublesome Welsh border and act as a base for Norman operations into Wales.  By 1452 the castle seems to have been abandoned perhaps as a result of the Black Death.

HISTORY OF LONGTOWN CASTLE


The first fortification at Longtown may have been an Iron Age Hillfort and it is equally probably that a Roman Fort was established here. However the first known castle is the Norman timber motte-and-bailey built in the late eleventh century; at this time it was known as Ewias Lacey Castle after the owners of the same name. The motte was accompanied by two baileys, both to the south of the castle, which were divided by an earthwork. The castle’s dangerous location, set deep within the Border Marches where the Norman warlords vied for control of Wales, meant the castle was rebuilt in stone around 1189; earlier than most.  


Edward I's successful conquest of Wales made the castle superfluous but it was re-fortified under Henry IV during Owain Glyn Dwr rebellion of 1400-10. By 1450 however the castle had fallen out of use and the town also was in terminal decline possibly as a result of the Black Death. The last historical mention of Longtown Castle as a working entity was made in 1452.


The castle was probably ruinous by the time of the War of Three Kingdoms and played no known part in the conflict. However in 1865 cannon balls dating from the Civil War period were found in vicinity of the Keep so it is possible an unrecorded action took place here.

  

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The impressive view from Longtown castle.