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 thegn 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 John, 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 Valence, 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.
Winner of Sandford Award 2008.
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