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Grosmont Castle

Grosmont, Monmouthshire

Location Guide

Gosmont Castle is situated behind some houses in the village of Grosmont. It is site which is open all year round and although looked after and managed by CADW it is not one of their sites where they have staff or volunteers or shops or any facilities available. However in the village there is a pub and a local shop which will have these facilities when they are open.


Grosmont Castle would seem to have been founded after the time of William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford. The Earl was killed the following year and his son Roger de Breteuil, 2nd Earl of Hereford was stripped of his lands in 1075. The ownership of the land on which castle was built, is not exactly known but is believed to have either passed to the control of the de Ballun family of Abergavenny or the de Lacys of Weobley, Ludlow and Longtown. However it is known that the powerful Marcher Lord Pain Fitz John acquired Grosmont in the reign of King Henry I of England (1100-35) and converted it into the head of a lordship which stretched from White Castle in the west to Orcop castle in the east.

In 1134 rebellion broke out in Wales and in 1137 Pain Fitz John was killed in action fighting against the Welsh. In 1139 Brien FitzCount of Abergavenny took the castle from the King and in 1142 granted it by charter to Walter of Hereford. Walter was killed around 1160 fighting in the Holy Land. At this point King Henry II reclaimed the castle and placed royal soldiers within its walls. The castle, requiring little maintenance, remained a royal fortress for the next forty years. In 1201 it was granted to Hubert de Burgh, an officer in the royal service, by King John ‘for his maintenance' in the wars of the period.

Gosmont today is the substantial remains of the original 13th century castle still standing and it is one of 3 castles that were granted to Hubert de Burgh, in 1201. The other two castles were Skenfrith Castle, 5 miles south east and White Castle,   6 miles south. Hubert fortified them in 1204 when he became a prisoner of war in France, and it was not until 1219 that he regained them. 

Royal records from when Hubert was running the government of England, show that he was undertaking building work at Grosmont between 1224 and 1226. His buildings included the gatehouse, which has mostly disappeared in the last 100 years, and the three D-shaped towers in the castle's enceinte. It remained with Hubert until 1239. In 1267 King Henry III granted the castle to his second son who then undertook a major conversion. He demolished one of the D-shaped towers and built accommodation over it and raised the height and extended the south-west tower to make it into a five-storey tower or keep. The living quarters of this tower could only be approached via a wooden stairway to the north. To the east was a giant false doorway which only allowed access to the ground and first floors. As a part of this reconstruction he also built a great chimney which can still be seen on a visit today. The steps which go up to the castle wall walk, is the work of twentieth century restorers who are also responsible for the creation of much of the double doorway into the early hall.

Its most notable and controversial feature is the large first-floor hall which is believed to have been built 40 years earlier than some suggest. There are many reasons to believe that the hall was built early in the castle's history for the evidence points clearly to the castle having been fortified in stone from the first. Who actually first built the castle though, is more of a problem. It still stands two stories high and has many features of comfort within its walls.

It was rebuilt as a residence in the 14th century and strengthened 100 years later, but by the start of the 17th century it had fallen into ruins.                    

Access to Grosmont is along a solid path from the village road opposite the church and near the local shop, and then a short walk across a field. You then go through a small narrow gate across a wooden bridge which goes over the now empty moat. There are information panels by the entrance and in the internal ward giving a brief history of the ruin.

a gallery is available for this castle, which links back to this page.

Location: Grosmont Castle, Monmouthshire

Grid Reference: SO405244 Ceremonial County: Monmouthshire

Map Link: Multimap

Aerial photo: Multimap Aerial View

Getting there: From Hereford take the A465 towards Abergavenny at Ewyas Harold take the B4347 to Grosmont.

Access: From the village take the path opposite the church, then through a field, and narrow gate and over a wooden bridge into the main entrance area. Not suitable for wheelchair users.
Website: CADW
Other Useful Websites: Castles of Wales       Wiki        Castle Xplorer

Castle UK         ecastles

Address: Grosmont Village, Monmouthshire
Postcode: Telephone:
Opening Times: Open all year

Charges: FREE

Nearby Locations:
Other Location Pages:
Other Relevant Pages: Grosmont Castle Castles of Wales   
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By: Tracey Park Section: Castles Key:
Page Ref: grosmont Topic: Castles Last Updated: 03/2009


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