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Goodrich Castle, Goodrich

SMR Number
: 349
Grid Reference
: SO 577 199

Goodrich Castle and moat stands on the south bank of the River Wye, on the north side of the parish. The walls are of local sandstone rubble and ashlar. The earliest surviving work is the square keep on the south side of the enclosure, dated c.1160-70. The castle is mentioned in the Pipe Roll of 1186. A square enclosing wall with towers at its angles was built round the keep early in the 13th century, and of this work the east curtain, the sedile in the chapel, and the foundations of the south-west tower survive. The castle was extensively rebuilt c.1300, and to this date belong the existing angle-towers, the chapel, gatehouse and curtains, the internal domestic buildings and the bridge. The addition of the outer ward with the barbican followed soon after in the 14th century. Various minor alterations, including a building west of the gatehouse, were made in the 15th century. From early in the 14th century the castle belonged to the Talbots. During the Civil War the castle was held first for Parliament, and then for the King. It was beseiged and taken in 1646. The defences were afterwards "slighted" by order of Parliament, and the castle has remained in ruins ever since. It is the most extensive ruin of its class in Herefordshire, and is an important example of military architecture. (1)
An electricity trench was excavated beyond the south, east and north sides of castle in 1987-88. This revealed a cemetery (apparently Christian) on the eastern side (HER 5715). (6)
Description, 1860 sketches and history. (8)
Ditches outside the stone castle (10475) indicate possible earlier defences, the scheduled area needs to be extended. (9)
Reference to a print of Goodrich Castle, supplied by Mr Pickering, showing cropmarks of a possible early earthwork. Interpretations include that it might be an Iron Age hillfort, levelled prior to the construction of Goodrich Castle, or a promontory fort. (10)
Detailed article by Flavell Edmunds on Primulae and its variations, including literary references. A wild polyanthus found at Goodrich Castle is possibly descended from specimens of gardens of medieval sites. (16)
An account of expenses through damages incurred between 1642 and 1646, while Henry Lingen was at Goodrich. (18)
Reference to writings of John Aubrey in Monumenta Britannica with comments on the architecture of Goodrich Castle. (19)
Reconstructions of the Solar Arch pier capital and replacement voussoirs were used in remedial works on the rapidly decaying stonework. (20)
Excavation and survey work carried out in the dungeon revealed a few stones at the entrance, suggesting that a stone floor may have been in place at one point. The northwest interior wall contained a small recess and a sealed passage leading to the Keep. (21)
Oblique aerial photographs taken 5th July 2007. (22-24)
Staff of English Heritage's Painting Conservation Studio carried out a condition audit of surviving wall paintings in the chapel at Goodrich Castle in 1996-97. Fragments of original plaster and limewash remain on the east wall, south side, as well as within the window recesses (two on the south, one on the north). The two recesses of the south wall and that of the north wall contain traces of painted decoration. These scant remains give only an indication of the type of decoration originally employed in the chapel. There are traces of a type of red-line masonry pattern within the soffits of the recesses, and what may have been a foliate border within the western recess on the south wall. The paintings may be 13th or 14th century. (25)
English Heritage contracted Ron Shoesmith in 2008 to watch the removal of the kiosk and concrete base in the Barbican, and to examine and record any features of archaeological interest that were exposted as a result of this removal works. No archaeological signficant sediments were observed. (27)
A very serious movement occurred in the south west tower at midday on Thursday 19th March 1925. The existing fractures suddenly widened and mortar and crush core began to fall out whilst part of the tower moved outward towards the moat. The whole of this section of wall, weighing over 300 tons, was in eminent [sic] danger of collapse. The Foreman, Mr Roberts, and the whole of the staff worked throughout the night of Thursday 19th March and steel wire ropes were fixed by Friday. Additional foremen were called upon from Tintern Abbey, Grosmont Castle and White Castle. They continued to work through the weekends of 21st-22nd and 28th-29th in shoring up and stabilising the tower. (28)
CHAU were commissioned by English Heritage to undertake four small trench excavations for the purpose of the bases of Graphic Panels around the castle. No archaeological significant depoists were observed. (29)
English Heritage wrote about the acquisition of Goodrich Castle in a report explaoring the development of the National Monuments Record (30)

Monument Type(s)

  1. CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  2. WALL PAINTING (13th Century to 14th Century - 1201 AD to 1400 AD)

Associated Files

Sources and Further Reading

  1. <5> SHE10741 - Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1963. Herefordshire. The Buildings of England.
  2. <9> SHE11151 - Aerial Photograph: Pickering, J. 07/1990. 380.
  3. <4> SHE11637 - Bibliographic reference: Renn, D. 1968. Norman Castles in Britain. Norman Castles in Britain.
  4. <8> SHE11721 - Bibliographic reference: Robinson, Rev C J. 1867. The Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords.
  5. <6> SHE12301 - Unpublished Report: Shoesmith, R. 06/1988. Goodrich Castle Electricity Trench. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 30.
  6. <7> SHE1337 - Photograph: Assorted postcards. Department of the Environment.
  7. <29> SHE14811 - Unpublished Report: Williams, R. 1995. Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire. A Report On The Excavation Of Small Trenches For The Base Of Graphics Panels.. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 276.
  8. <17> SHE15195 - Unpublished Report: Shoesmith, R. 1989. Goodrich Castle - a synopsis of proposed volume.. City of Hereford Archaeology Committee. 68. Rep No. 68.
  9. <11> SHE15196 - Unpublished Report: Morriss, R. 1991. Goodrich Castle. A report on the lost timbers of the great hall, north and east ranges.. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 100. Rep No. 100.
  10. <12> SHE15197 - Unpublished Report: Morriss, R. 12/1990. Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire. The Great Hall.. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 94. Rep No. 94.
  11. <13> SHE15294 - Unpublished Report: Shoesmith, R. 02/1988. Goodrich Castle, Hereford. Display Panels.. City of Hereford Archaeology Committee. 26. Rep No. 26.
  12. <14> SHE15295 - Unpublished Report: Morriss, R K, R Williams and D Beeley. 02/1990. Goodrich Castle Survey: The Keep: First Interim Report.. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 73. Rep No. 73.
  13. <10> SHE15439 - Serial: Anon. 1993. Herefordshire Archaeological News No. 60. Woolhope Club Archaeological Research Section. 60. Pages 49.
  14. <15> SHE16019 - Bibliographic reference: Renn, Derek. 1993. Goodrich Castle. English Heritage Guide.
  15. <16> SHE16033 - Article in serial: Edmunds, Flavell. 1867. On the Variations of the Primulae. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. 18. Pages 18.
  16. <19> SHE16045 - Article in serial: Buchanan-Brown, John. 1999. The Natural History of Herefordshire. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. XLIX 1999 Part III. 379-403. XLIX 1999 Part III. Pages 391.
  17. <18> SHE16167 - Bibliographic reference: Anon. 1646. List of Expenses. unpublished document held in Hereford Record Office.
  18. <26> SHE16906 - Unpublished Report: Shoesmith, R. 07/1989. Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire. A feasibility study and research design for a major publication. City of Hereford Archaeology Committee. 54. City of Hereford Archaeology Committee. 54.
  19. <27> SHE17553 - Unpublished Report: Shoesmith, R. 04/2008. Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire. The Barbican: Removal of the Shop and Ticket Kiosk. English Heritage.
  20. <20> SHE17851 - Unpublished Report: Doyle, D. 10/2008. Goodrich Castle Solar Arch Pier Capital and Remedial Work.. Archaeological Investigations Ltd. 805.
  21. <21> SHE17852 - Unpublished Report: Doyle, D. 11/2008. The Dungeon, Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire. Excavation and building recording.. Archaeological Investigations Ltd. 807.
  22. <24> SHE18613 - Aerial Photograph: Rimmington, N. 05/07/2007. HAAS-07-01-025. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2007. Oblique. Digital.
  23. <23> SHE18614 - Aerial Photograph: Rimmington, N. 05/07/2007. HAAS-07-01-026. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2007. Oblique. Digital.
  24. <22> SHE18615 - Aerial Photograph: Rimmington, N. 05/07/2007. HAAS-07-01-027. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2007. Oblique. Digital.
  25. <25> SHE18733 - Unpublished Report: Davies,J and Manning, T. 1997. Wall Painting Condition Audit, Goodrich Castle. Herefordshire. English Heritage Ancient Monuments Laboratory. AML 22/97.
  26. <3> SHE2135 - Booklet: 1958. Goodrich Castle. Department of the Environment.
  27. <28> SHE23671 - Bibliographic reference: Fry, Sebastian. 2014. A History of the National Heritage Collection. Volume Four: 1913-1931. The Ancient Monuments Branch Under Peers and Baines. English Heritage Research Report Series No. 48-2014. 48-49. English Heritage. Pages 48-49.
  28. <30> SHE23785 - Unpublished Report: Fry, Sebastian. 2014. A history of the National Heritage Collection. Volume 4: 1913-1931. English Heritage. 48/2014.
  29. <2> SHE3416 - Scheduling record: English Heritage. 09/1987. Schedule. Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (English Heritage).
  30. <1> SHE350 - Bibliographic reference: Royal Commission on Historical Monuments. 1931. Inventory of Monuments, Herefordshire South-West, Vol I. Herefordshire South-West, Vol 1. I. Pages 74-78.

Associated events

Protected status

  1. Listed Building (I) 153802: GOODRICH CASTLE
  2. Scheduled Monument 27547: GOODRICH CASTLE

Associated Historic Landscape Character Records

  1. HHE621 - Small Compass Enclosure of the Landscape - Estate Division