• Lucy

Clun Castle (Shropshire, England)

Updated: Jan 15, 2019

I was lucky enough to spend a whole day in Clun, hence the differing light levels in the photos in this post. It looked absolutely beautiful as the sun was dropping.

Located on a bend in the River Clun (Shropshire), Clun Castle has it's origins in the 11th Century as a Marcher castle. Situated on the welsh border, a motte and bailey was constructed soon after the Norman Conquest of 1066 likely by Picot de Say (also known as Robert de Say/Robert Fitz-Picot), who had been granted the estates of Clun and Stokesay .

In 1155 the castle passed into the hands of William Fitzallen after his marriage to Isabella de Say and the Fitzalan family owned the castle for the next 400 years. In a volatile location on the Welsh border the castle suffered numerous attacks. In 1196 it was captured by Prince of Wales Rhy and burned down. Then in 1215 John Fitzalan joined in a rebellion against King John, who attacked the castle in retaliation. The castle also suffered a siege by Llewellyn of Wales in 1233.

In 1292 Richard Fitzalan became Earl of Arundel, and it is likely that the massive tower that still stands today was built under his orders as a reflection of his newfound wealth and status. In the 14th Century the family moved to Arundel Castle in Sussex and Clun Castle became a country retreat and hunting lodge. Clun remained prosperous and an administrative centre of the family's Shropshire estates.

In the early 15th century, however, followers of Owain Glyn Dwr, self-proclaimed prince of Wales, devastated the area around Clun, helping to bring an end to its prosperity. By 1539, the writer Leland reported that the castle was ruinous. Clun Castle was then further slighted in the Civil War of 1646, leaving it ruined and derelict until renovation work in the 1890s.

The most substantial remains are the four story rectangular keep to the north of the motte, unusual in that it is noticeably off-centre. The ground-floor was used for storage whilst the upper 3 floors were used for residential purposes. There are also remnants of other stonework, and in long-light the earthworks around the motte are still very distinct.

Clun Castle is now managed by English Heritage and open to the public for access at all times.

Photos were taken in April 2017

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