1. Thomas, Duke of Gloucester was granted control of Caldicot by Edward III due to the minority of Alianore de Bohun. Thomas, seeking to secure the vast fortunes of the estate, married Alianore and engraved her name on Woodstock Tower. The modern equivalent of her name is Eleanor.
Circular Keep. Similar in style to that at Pembroke Castle, the circular Keep at Caldicot was built by Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford.
Access (Via B4245)
Access (Via Church Rd)
Notes: Castle is located within Calidcot Castle Country Park and is well sign-posted. Dedicated car park directly adjacent to castle.
On the banks of the River Severn, Caldicot Castle was built to control the road to Caerwent. The original earth and timber motte-and-bailey was upgraded into an impressive fortress by Humphrey de Bohun. Later it passed into the control of Thomas of Woodstock and then into the Duchy of Lancaster.
HISTORY OF CALDICOT CASTLE
With its proximity to the River Severn, a small settlement has existed at Caldicot for thousands of years and during the Iron Age the first known fortifications were established nearby in the form of promontory forts at Sudbrook and Llanmelin. The area increased with importance during the Roman era when the town of Caerwent was established. Caldicot’s strategic position was not lost on the Normans and an earth and timber motte-and-bailey was constructed no later than 1086 probably by Walter FitzRoger or his son, Roger. In 1221 it passed through marriage to Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and he built the castle visible today - possibly on a different site from the original timber fortification. He commissioned the round stone Keep and curtain wall including a number of strong towers in the South East and South West corners.
By the late fourteenth century the de Bohun family had risen to become powerful magnates and through ownership of the Earldoms of Essex, Hereford and Northampton had amassed great wealth. When Humphrey de Bohun died without male heir in 1373 his properties passed into the hands of his underage daughters, Alianore and Mary. As was the custom they became wards of the King, Edward III, who trusted their properties into the hands of his son Thomas (of Woodstock), later Duke of Gloucester. He sought to retain this vast wealth by marrying Alianore (in 1376) and conspired to send Mary into a nunnery. However his brother John (of Gaunt), Duke of Lancaster arranged the marriage of his son - Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) - to Mary securing a portion of the de Bohun estates for his family. Caldicot fell into the portion that passed through Alianore into the hands of Thomas.
When Edward III died in 1377, his grandson Richard II succeeded him. The early part of his reign was marred by the Peasants Revolt and prompted Thomas to spend time in his more remote properties including Caldicot. In 1381 he stayed at the castle and ordered a number of new improvements at this time including construction of the huge Gatehouse (which became the primary residence), Woodstock Tower and the Postern Gate. The troubles of Richard's early reign passed but relations between the King and his uncles became strained; on his command Thomas was murdered in Calais in September 1397. His properties passed through Humphrey de Bohun's second daughter, Mary, who was now married to Henry Bolingbroke. But when Henry's father died in February 1399, Richard sought to seize his vast properties prompting him to invaded, depose Richard and take the throne as Henry IV. Caldicot passed into Royal ownership thereafter become consumed by the vast Duchy of Lancaster.
During the fifteenth century Calidcot was held by Henry of Monmouth (later Henry V) and later his widow, Katherine of Valois. Thereafter it was leased to various owners but its fabric was neglected and it was allowed to become derelict. By the mid-nineteenth century the picturesque ruins were used for village events and in 1885 it was sold to Joseph Richard Cobb who 'restored' the castle into his family home. It remained with that family until purchased by the District Council in 1963.