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Lyonshall Castle (Herefordshire, England)

Lyonshall Castle is an 11th century earthwork enclosure with an outer bailey located north-east of Lyonshall church. The castle had a cylindrical tower erected on a low platform, most likely sometime in the 13th century, and a stone curtain wall surrounding the enclosure. It was (and still is) surrounded by a wet moat, and was in use until the 15th century.

The castle was probably established shortly after the Norman Conquest and belonged to in succession to the families of Lacy, Deveraux, and Vere.

From Ron Shoesmith’s ‘Castles and Moated Sites of Herefordshire’ (Logaston Press):

‘It was mentioned in 1209 as a castle and was ordered to be defended in April 1264. A contract of 1391 between Sir John Deveraux and John Brown, a mason of Hereford, describes a new stone hall to be built with walls 3 feet thick and buttresses where needed. The hall was to be 44 feet long and 26 feet wide with four doors and three large windows… Brown was also to enlarge and repair the gatehouse to include a portcullis and lodgings for the guard. In 1404 Walter, 5th Baron Fitzwalter, was ordered to fortify it against the Welsh insurgents of Owain Glyn Dwr… the castle probably fell into disuse shortly afterwards’.

Source: British History Online

In present day the castle is on private property and is not accessible to the public. I was lucky enough through family to get permission from the land manager to visit the site in June 2018, which is when these pictures were taken. I also met a very grumpy ram and two very friendly donkeys, so overall it was a pretty great day out for me!

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