Stokesay Castle

4 Reviews

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Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2017

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Described as the best-preserved medieval manor house in England, I cannot recommend a visit to Stokesay Castle more highly. Continue down the A49 from historic Shrewsbury to Craven Arms, in Shropshire, and the signage is clear. The castle is off to the right, just outside of the small town.

Stokesay was constructed at the end of the 13th century by Laurence of Ludlow, the leading wool merchant in the area and one of the wealthiest men in England at that time. The most striking aspect of the castle complex, which comprises a walled, moated enclosure, is the gatehouse. The ochre colour of this 17th century timber and plaster construction lifts it from its surrounds, and the wood carvings when you get up close are quite remarkable.

Entering through the gatehouse you look across at a stone hall and solar block, protected by twin towers. I was there during the school holidays and medieval games had been set up on the green to entertain the youngsters, and raise a smile or two from us olders. The south tower is an unusual pentagon shape, 3 storeys high and with magnificent views from the turrets. Of course, I should point out at this stage that disabled access, with care, is limited to the ground floor.

If you are able to climb steps, however slowly and carefully, the solar block is well worth exploring. The great hall itself has a 13th century wood-beamed ceiling and is a vast empty space. You can linger here and listen to stories of the castle and its sometimes tumultuous times on the audio set that is included in the admission price. Cavaliers and Roundheads had skirmishes in the area but the castle never sustained any real damage. The steps are off to one side in the level hall, and take you up to the solar, where the family would have spent much of its time. Wood paneled walls, and a mighty fireplace with intricate carvings are the showpieces. There’s a strong feeling of how life must have been lived in this home.

The garden is attractive and there’s a small area where you can take refreshments, in addition to the English Heritage shop. Should you want something more substantial, beside the visitor car park there is an attractive restaurant which could round off your visit nicely. Although I have mentioned disabled access, the English Heritage website will give you more details, and I still think that you could be rewarded by a visit. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to miss it.

“English Heritage”: You might also want to visit my blog “Cornered at Stokesay”:

Johanna Bradley

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