Grosmont, one of the three castles of the Trilateral, was possibly founded by Earl William Fitz Osbern before his death in Febraury 1071.  It later became the caput of the lordship of Pain Fitz John (d.1137) who dominated South Wales under Henry I.  The early building - the hall block - is more administrative than defensive.  The site witnessed a decisive defeat of King Henry III by the Earl Marshall and Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (d.1240) in November 1233, the castle's main claim to historical fame.  Grosmont was modified into a palace after 1267 by Edmund Crouchback (d.1296), the younger brother of Edward I.  As such it is of exceptional interest.

The main, but hidden feature of the site is an early rectangular hall block of 1068-1130.  This consists of 2 storeys and is now but an empty shell of its former self, despite the many creature comforts found within the ruin.  The earthworks suggest that this and a D shaped bailey were made at the same time and surrounded by a deep rock cut ditch, from which the hall block was partially made.  Between 1224 and 1226, Earl Hubert Burgh of Kent, the heroic defender of Chinon and Dover castles, added a curtain wall, an unusual gatehouse, as well as 3 D shaped towers, one of which is still largely climbable.  When Earl Edmund Crouchback of Lancaster (d.1296) took over he converted the castle into a home, adding apartment blocks and a most beautiful chimney.  The octagonal tower on the expanded Norman Grosmont church may also have been built by him.

Why not join me at other Lost Welsh Castles next Spring?  Please see the information on tours at Scholarly Sojourns.


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