Notes: Castle is relatively easy to find albeit accessed via some fairly rural roads. There is off road parking for a few cars.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
The remains of a stone medieval castle built by English overlords to control the Border Marches. At the time CastlesFortsBattles.co.uk visited the site there was an audio guide available via bluetooth onto (your own) mobile phone.
1. The Three Castles - Grosmont, Skenfrith and White Castle - were held by a single owner from 1138 until 1902 when they were sold off individually by the Beaufort estate. At present ownership is still split; White Castle and Grosmont are owned by the State whilst Skenfrith is owned by the National Trust.
Lacking any high-status accommodation White Castle was the most military focused of the Three Castles. More westerly than Grosmont or Skenfrith, its proximity to the Abergavenny flash point of twelfth century Wales meant that it frequently supported Norman efforts to subdue and suppress Welsh uprisings.
HISTORY OF WHITE CASTLE
Like Grosmont and Skenfrith, White Castle was initially raised in the years following the Battle of Hastings as William FitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford, sought to control and dominate the remote lands he had been granted by William I. Built first as a earthwork and timber castle, expenditure records on the Pipe Rolls suggest it was the first of the three castles to be rebuilt in stone; this would make sense given its most Westerly position in the Lordship.
In 1182 the Welsh rose up against the Normans. Nearby Abergavenny Castle was attacked and, with the exception of the Keep, burned to the ground. White Castle would inevitably have been prepared for defence at this time.
Unlike Skenfrith and Grosmont, White Castle lacked any high-status domestic buildings suggesting its role was purely military - records of large scale arrow storage and of requirements for prisoners support this theory. Upgraded again mid-thirteenth century the castle's military role came to an end as Edward I conquered Wales in the 1270s-80s.