castle raglan

Raglan Castle: A Walk Through Wales’ Medieval Past

If you’re a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or simply someone who loves to explore the past, Raglan Castle should be on top of your must-visit list. Nestled in the heart of Wales, this magnificent castle boasts a rich history dating back to the 15th century.

From its stunning architecture to enchanting tales surrounding its walls, Raglan Castle offers an immersive experience into Wales’ medieval past.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the historical significance of Raglan Castle in Welsh history
  • Admire the unique architectural features that make Raglan Castle a marvel of medieval design
  • Uncover the captivating tales and legends surrounding Raglan Castle
  • Explore the interior and exterior of the castle, from its grand facade to its beautiful gardens
  • Learn about the defensive role of the castle’s keep and its panoramic views

Exploring the History of Raglan Castle

Located in Monmouthshire, Raglan Castle is a medieval fortress that served as the family seat of the Herberts, one of the most prominent families in Welsh history. Built in the 15th century, it was considered one of the grandest castles of its time, boasting impressive defensive features and architectural beauty.

The castle played a significant role in the 17th century during the English Civil War, when it was held by the Royalists and besieged by the Parliamentarians. Its eventual surrender marked the end of the First Civil War.

Throughout its history, Raglan Castle has been associated with notable Welsh figures such as William Herbert, who oversaw much of its construction, and Henry Somerset, who was made the Duke of Beaufort in recognition for his loyalty to the crown during the English Civil War.

Today, Raglan Castle stands as a testament to Welsh history and architecture, attracting visitors from around the world who come to admire its imposing presence and rich history.

The Architectural Marvels of Castle Raglan

One of the most impressive aspects of Castle Raglan is its unique architectural features. Built in the 15th century, the castle is a prime example of the late medieval architectural style. The castle’s design incorporates both French and English elements, resulting in a distinctive and fascinating structure.

One of the most striking architectural features of the castle is its hexagonal great tower. The tower stands at an impressive 98 feet tall and serves as the castle’s main keep. It features a spiral staircase leading to the top, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Castle Raglan also features a number of other towers, each with their own unique features. The southeast tower, for example, boasts a projecting turret that serves as a lookout point. The southwest tower, meanwhile, features a more traditional square shape.

The castle’s inner courtyard is another architectural wonder. The courtyard is surrounded by the castle’s living quarters, which feature large windows, carved stone doorways, and vaulted ceilings. Visitors can still see evidence of the castle’s defensive features, such as arrow slits and murder holes.

The Architectural Marvels of Castle Raglan in Numbers

Feature Measurement
Great Tower Height 98 feet
Main Entrance 28 feet tall
Castle Walls 12 feet thick

The castle’s main entrance is another impressive feature. The entrance consists of a large wooden door set within a stone archway that stands 28 feet tall. Visitors passing through the entrance would have been struck by the grandeur of the castle.

Overall, Castle Raglan is a remarkable example of medieval castle architecture. Its unique blend of French and English styles, impressive towers, and defensive features make it a truly impressive sight to behold.

The Enchanting Legends of Castle Raglan

As with any historical site, Raglan Castle has its fair share of fascinating legends and tales. These stories add a touch of magic to the castle’s already enchanting atmosphere.

One of the most popular legends associated with Raglan Castle involves a secret tunnel that runs from the castle to nearby St. Cadoc’s Church. According to the tale, the tunnel was used by a young couple who fell in love despite their families’ feuding. The tunnel allowed them to secretly meet and exchange love letters until they were discovered and tragically separated. It is said that the ghost of the young woman still haunts the castle, waiting for her beloved to return.

“The ghost of the young woman still haunts the castle, waiting for her beloved to return.”

Another captivating tale revolves around a hidden chamber within the castle’s walls. Legend has it that this chamber is home to a magical cauldron that can fill itself with food and drink. The cauldron is said to have belonged to the castle’s former owner, the powerful Welsh Lord Rhys ap Thomas, who was known for his hospitality and generosity.

Visitors to Raglan Castle can also learn about the legend of the Raglan Rooster. According to the story, the castle’s owner, the Marquess of Worcester, promised to spare a rooster’s life if it crowed at midnight. The rooster miraculously managed to crow at the stroke of twelve, and the Marquess kept his promise and set the bird free. Today, a stone carving of the rooster can be seen on the castle’s entrance gate.

These are just a few of the many enchanting tales that make Raglan Castle such a magical and captivating place. Visitors are encouraged to take a guided tour to learn more about the castle’s fascinating history and legends.

The Impressive Facade of Raglan Castle

The exterior of Raglan Castle is a sight to behold, with its towering walls and magnificent turrets. Its unique design is a testament to the castle architecture of the time and is sure to impress visitors.

The castle’s facades feature an array of decorative carvings and sculptures, adding to its grandeur. From the intricate designs of the windows to the imposing entrance gate, every detail is a marvel of medieval engineering.

The castle’s impressive southern facade is particularly noteworthy, featuring a stunning array of large windows and arches, as well as three large towers that dominate the skyline. These towers served not only as defensive structures but also as luxurious accommodations for the castle’s occupants.

The Southern Facade

Tower Description
The Great Tower The largest of the three towers, used for accommodations and as a defensive structure. It also housed the castle’s well.
The Yellow Tower The most elaborate of the three towers, with a grand entrance and a suite of luxurious rooms for important guests.
The Red Tower The smallest of the three towers, but no less impressive. It was used for accommodations and as a lookout point.

The southern facade also features a spacious courtyard, where visitors can appreciate the grandeur of the castle’s architecture up close. Its vast open space was once used for various activities, including jousting tournaments and other medieval games.

As visitors explore the castle’s exterior, they are transported back in time to an era of knights and chivalry, where castle architecture played a crucial role in both war and peace.

Exploring the Inner Courtyard of Raglan Castle

As we step into the inner courtyard of Raglan Castle, we are transported back in time to the medieval era. The courtyard is enclosed by a range of buildings that served various purposes, from kitchens to barracks.

One of the most striking features of the courtyard is the fountain in the center. This fountain was a source of water for the inhabitants of the castle and also served as a decorative element. Its intricate details and unique architecture make it a marvel of castle architecture.

As we walk around the courtyard, we can see the various architectural details that make Raglan Castle a stunning example of castle architecture. The stone walls are adorned with intricate carvings and the archways are grand and imposing, reminding us of the castle’s defensive role. Each building within the courtyard has its unique architectural features, adding to the charm and character of the castle.

The Great Tower

The most prominent feature of the inner courtyard is the Great Tower, also known as the keep. This tower was the last line of defense in the event of an attack and was used to store weapons and supplies. It was also the residence of the lord and his family.

The Great Tower is a towering beauty, rising high above the other buildings in the courtyard. Its walls are incredibly thick, and its narrow windows and crenelated parapet give it an imposing appearance. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

The inner courtyard of Raglan Castle is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and well-preserved examples of castle architecture. Its unique features and stunning beauty make it a must-see attraction for anyone interested in Welsh history or castle architecture.

The Great Hall and Living Quarters of Raglan Castle

Step inside the Great Hall of Raglan Castle, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time. The Great Hall was the heart of the castle, where the lord and his family would dine and entertain guests. The hall was also used for important ceremonies and meetings.

The Great Hall of Raglan Castle is notable for its high ceiling and grand fireplace. The windows are narrow, serving as a reminder of the castle’s defensive role, while tapestries on the walls add warmth and color to the space. The castle’s living quarters were located on the upper floors, providing a stunning view of the surrounding countryside.

The living quarters were divided into smaller rooms, each with its own fireplace. The rooms were designed to be cozy and functional, with furniture and personal belongings adding to the homely atmosphere.

The architecture of Raglan Castle’s Great Hall and living quarters is a testament to its fortification and status as a noble residence. The limestone walls and stone floors make the space cool and damp, providing a stark contrast to the warm and vibrant atmosphere created by the castle’s inhabitants.

The Towering Beauty of Raglan Castle’s Keep

The keep of Raglan Castle stands as a testament to its impressive status, towering above the surrounding landscape. It was designed to be both a defensive structure and a symbol of power, built to withstand prolonged sieges and keep enemies at bay. The keep’s architecture is a prime example of the castle’s unique style, blending traditional medieval features with modern innovations.

The tower is square in shape and built from Red Sandstone, quarried from the surrounding area. The keep’s walls are nine feet thick at the base and taper slightly towards the top, making it difficult for attackers to breach. Inside, visitors can see the intricate details of the keep’s design, including the vaulted ceilings and the ornamental fireplace in the Great Chamber.

The keep features a spiral staircase that leads to the top, offering a vantage point of the castle and the surrounding area. From this towering height, visitors can see the extensive defenses implemented by the castle’s builders, including the moat and drawbridge.

As a symbol of power and might, the keep was also designed to make a lasting impression on visitors. The exterior boasts an impressive façade, with a large bay window and decorative corbels adorning the upper reaches of the walls. The roof features a parapet walk and battlements, adding to the imposing nature of the structure.

Overall, Raglan Castle’s keep is a masterful example of medieval castle architecture. It is a towering tribute to the skill and dedication of its builders, and a testament to the enduring power of the Welsh people who defended it for centuries.

The Gardens and Surroundings of Raglan Castle

As impressive as the castle itself is, the gardens and surrounding landscapes of Raglan Castle are equally enchanting. The castle’s gardens, located on the eastern side, boast charming herbaceous borders, orchards, and a striking fountain.

Feature Description
The Moat The castle is encircled by a deep moat, a stunning sight that adds to the castle’s defensive allure.
The Courtyard Step inside the castle and wander into the breathtaking inner courtyard, lined with shrubs and flowers.
The Woods Take a stroll through the surrounding woodlands where you can witness the beauty of the forest and its wildlife.

The breath-taking views of the Welsh countryside in the distance are also an added treat for visitors. You can even take a peaceful walk along the castle walls and experience the countryside’s scenic beauty.

With its unique blend of a fascinating history and mesmerizing natural beauty, Raglan Castle is undoubtedly a must-visit destination in Wales. The castle and its surroundings promise an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Raglan Castle’s Role in Welsh History

Raglan Castle played a crucial role in Welsh history, especially during the turbulent times of the 15th and 16th centuries. Often referred to as the last great castle built in Wales, Raglan Castle was the stronghold of the powerful Herbert family.

The Herberts were staunch supporters of the Tudor dynasty, and their support for the monarchs earned them many privileges and titles. William Herbert, the first Earl of Pembroke, led the Welsh forces against Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. He was subsequently rewarded by King Henry VII with estates and titles, including Raglan Castle.

The castle became a symbol of Herbert power in Wales and played a significant role in the turbulent events of the English Civil War. In September 1645, the castle was besieged by parliamentary forces, and after a long standoff, the castle surrendered. The castle’s fall marked the end of the Royalist cause in Wales, and it was subsequently ordered to be dismantled to prevent its use as a military stronghold in the future.

Raglan Castle’s significance in Welsh history extends beyond its role in the English Civil War. The castle was also a beacon of Welsh cultural identity during a time when Wales was struggling against English dominance. The castle’s construction, design, and decoration were infused with Welsh motifs and symbolism, and it became a symbol of Welsh national identity.

Today, Raglan Castle stands as a testament to Wales’ medieval past and cultural heritage. It remains a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can explore its many architectural marvels and immerse themselves in the tales and legends of its past inhabitants.


In conclusion, a visit to Raglan Castle is a must for anyone interested in Welsh history, castle architecture, or the captivating tales associated with the castle. The castle’s historical significance is undeniable, with its role in Welsh history being a testament to its enduring legacy.

Beyond its historical significance, Raglan Castle is a marvel of castle architecture. Its unique features such as the Great Tower and the ornate facade make it a true masterpiece of medieval design.

The tales and legends associated with Raglan Castle add an enchanting element to the visit. From the story of Sir William Herbert and his negotiations with the Welsh leader Owain Glyndwr, to the tragic tale of Lady Blanche Somerset, the castle’s past is full of captivating stories waiting to be discovered.

The inner courtyard of Raglan Castle continues to impress visitors with its medieval charm. The Great Hall and the living quarters of the castle’s inhabitants offer a glimpse into the daily life of the castle’s past residents. The towering keep allows visitors to ascend to its top for panoramic views and appreciate its defensive role.

The picturesque gardens and scenic surroundings of Raglan Castle provide a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Walking along the castle’s well-manicured gardens offers visitors an opportunity to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of this medieval masterpiece.

A Must-Visit for History Buffs

In summary, Raglan Castle is a historical gem that should not be missed. It offers visitors a chance to appreciate Welsh history, marvel at castle architecture, and immerse themselves in the tales and legends associated with the castle. A trip to Raglan Castle is a must for anyone seeking to experience the medieval splendor of Wales.


What is the historical significance of Raglan Castle?

Raglan Castle holds great historical significance as one of the last medieval castles built in Wales. It played a prominent role in Welsh history and the conflicts between the Welsh and English during the 15th and 16th centuries.

What makes Raglan Castle an architectural marvel?

Raglan Castle is renowned for its unique blend of medieval fortress and Tudor mansion architecture. Its grand facade, towering keep, and intricate details make it a true marvel of castle architecture.

Are there any legends associated with Raglan Castle?

Absolutely! Raglan Castle is steeped in enchanting tales and legends. From the ghostly apparitions of former inhabitants to hidden treasures, the castle is sure to captivate your imagination.

How impressive is the exterior of Raglan Castle?

The exterior of Raglan Castle is truly impressive. Its imposing facade, fortified walls, and commanding presence make it a sight to behold. Prepare to be awestruck by its grandeur.

What can I expect to see in the inner courtyard of Raglan Castle?

The inner courtyard of Raglan Castle offers a glimpse into its medieval charm. Explore the ruins of the Great Hall, walk along the cobbled pathways, and soak in the atmosphere of this historic space.

Can I visit the Great Hall and living quarters of Raglan Castle?

Yes, you can! Step inside the Great Hall and imagine the grand feasts that once took place there. Explore the living quarters to get a sense of the castle’s inhabitants and their daily lives.

How impressive is the keep of Raglan Castle?

The keep of Raglan Castle is a towering beauty that offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. Climb its spiral staircase and experience the castle’s defensive role firsthand.

Are there any gardens or scenic surroundings at Raglan Castle?

Absolutely! Raglan Castle is surrounded by picturesque gardens and scenic landscapes. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and appreciate the beauty of the castle’s setting.

What role did Raglan Castle play in Welsh history?

Raglan Castle played a significant role in Welsh history, particularly during the conflicts between the Welsh and English. It was a symbol of power and resistance and witnessed many pivotal events that shaped Wales.