Clun Castle - Sarah Woodbury

Clun Castle

Clun Castle is an 11th century Norman Castle built in Shropshire in the borderlands between England and Wales, known as the March. It was begun by Robert de Say shortly after the Norman conquest of England. The Norman castle replaced a Saxon fortress that had been built by Eadric the Wild, and became an important defensive point in the initial conquest of this region’s Saxons by the Normans.

The remains today consist primarily of the shell of what was once an 80 foot keep, dating to the 13th century and located on the north side of the motte. Unusually, this keep is somewhat off center, possibly to allow the foundations greater reach and avoid placing excessive pressure on the motte itself. Each floor had its own large fireplace and five windows. Other remains include a single wall of what may have been an earlier small square keep from the 11th or 12th century; a fragment of a bridge, linking the main motte with the south-west mound and the town; a bit of the gatehouse, and the foundations of a great round tower. The earthworks of two bailey walls can be seen on the east side of the castle, inside of which would have been the castle’s domestic buildings such as the kitchen, stables, barracks, and craft halls.

As the Norman stronghold developed in response to continuing conflict with the Welsh in the 12th century, the lords of Clun laid out a walled town adjacent to the original Saxon village. According to English Heritage, “The redevelopment of Clun helped to stabilize the newly conquered area of the Welsh Marches, which was prone to uprisings and revolts”. 

In the 13th century these uprisings were led not only by two princes of Wales, Llywelyn ap Iorwerth and later his grandson Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, but also, during the reign of King John, by the Lord of Clun himself.

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