Goodrich stands majestically on a wooded hill commanding the passage of the River Wye into the picturesque valley of Symonds Yat. The castle was begun in the late 11th century, by the English landowner Godric who gave it his name.
A generation later the splendidly preserved square keep which still forms its core was added, probably in the time of Richard 'Strongbow' de Clare, Earl of Pembroke and Lord of Goodrich 1148-76.
Under King Richard the Lionheart, Goodrich was granted along with the earldom of Pembroke to the famous William Marshal, a great castle builder who may have initiated work on the inner ward. Each of the Marshal's four sons inherited the fortress in turn, the last dying childless at Goodrich in 1245.
Thereafter the fortress and earldom passed to Henry III's half-brother, William de Valance, who rebuilt its defences and living quarters in the most up-to-date style.
Goodrich still boasts one of the most complete sets of medieval domestic buildings surviving in any English castle. William's widow Countess Joan frequently stayed here with an entourage of up to 200, entertaining her relations and friends in the most lavish style.
During the Civil War, Goodrich was held successively by both sides, Sir Henry Lingen's Royalists eventually surrendered in 1646 under threats of undermining and a deadly Parliamentarian mortar. The famous 'Roaring Meg', the only surviving Civil War mortar, has returned to the castle after 350 years. The visitor centre features an exhibition exploring life at the castle from its late 11th century origins until its dramatic fall in 1646, including Civil War artefacts.
Read more about the life of children in medieval castles in this exclusive preview from our Members' magazine.
- 'Roaring Meg', the mortar that ruined the castle
- The Civil War cannonballs found at Goodrich in the 1920s and displayed on site for the first time
- Our free audio tour which tells the story of the famous Civil War siege
- The wonderful views from the battlements and learn about the murder holes built into the castle walls
Before You Arrive