Wigmore Castle - Sarah Woodbury

Wigmore Castle

Wigmore Castle is a medieval fortress located in the March in northwest Herefordshire. It was built initially after the Norman conquest of England by the first earl of Hereford, William FitzOsbern, who also built Chepstow Castle.

Fitz Osbern rebelled against William the Conqueror in 1075, however, in what has been called the ‘Revolt of the Earls’, prompted by William’s refusal to allow the marriage of Fitz Osbern’s daughter to the Earl of East Anglia. At their subsequent defeat, and FitzOsbern’s death, King William seized Wigmore and gave it to one of his faithful followers, Ranulph de Mortimer, and from then on it was the seat of the Mortimer earldom in the March.

The castle has gone through many reconstructions over the centuries, most of which took place in the 12th-14th centuries, before the decline of the Mortimers after the execution of Roger Mortimer in 1330. Dating to that time are a gatehouse, towers, and curtain wall. The castle was listed as derelict in 1425, though some attempt was made to refurbish it in the following centuries. By the 19th century, it was all but reclaimed by the woods, but since then English Heritage has attempted to make it more accessible to visitors.

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