History and Stories
Stokesay Castle, Shropshire

History and Stories: Stokesay Castle

Standing in a peaceful Shropshire valley near the Welsh border, Stokesay Castle has survived remarkably intact since a leading wool merchant, Laurence of Ludlow, built it in the late 13th century. His fine fortified manor house was both comfortable and impressive, designed as a statement of his wealth and power.

Today, barely touched by the passage of years, the castle offers a unique insight into life in medieval England. Delve into its history here.

The north tower at Stokesay Castle

Key facts about Stokesay Castle

  • Stokesay Castle is one of the finest fortified manor houses in England. Its military appearance is superficial – it couldn’t have withstood a serious siege.
  • Almost everything visible at Stokesay today was built in the 1280s and 1290s by Laurence of Ludlow, a local merchant who had made his fortune in the wool trade.
  • The only substantial later addition is the picturesque gatehouse, built in 1640–41.
  • Among Stokesay’s many treasures are its medieval staircase and tiled floor, and a richly carved 17th-century chamber.
  • In the 19th century the castle was sympathetically repaired and preserved thanks to the enlightened efforts of early conservationists. 

Stokesay Castle’s history

Explore Stokesay Castle

More resources

  • Significance of Stokesay Castle

    Discover the importance of Stokesay Castle, which lies not just in the buildings themselves but in their survival with so little alteration.

  • Research on Stokesay Castle

    Find out how research has informed our understanding of the castle, and what remains to be discovered.

  • Sources for Stokesay Castle

    Use this list of written and visual sources, published and unpublished, to learn more about Stokesay Castle and its history.

  • English medieval castles

    Once symbols of power and prestige, England’s medieval castles are now monuments to centuries of history. Discover the stories held within their walls.

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