Loudlow Castle_3

Page 3.

Administrative Center

When Edward IV, son of the Duke of York, became king in 1461, Ludlow Castle became Crown property. It remained a royal castle for the next 350 years except during the Civil War and Commonwealth.

In 1473 the King sent his son Edward to be brought up in Ludlow, away from the plagues and intrigues of London.

The nobles and gentlemen who accompanied him formed a Prince's Council, under the presidency of Bishop Alcock, the Prince's tutor. This Council gradually assumed responsibility for the government of Wales and the border counties. Until the 1530s, however, its control was limited.

The authority of this Council of the Marches increased after 1534, when Bishop Rowland Lee was appointed Lord President. He enforced the law so vigorously that'all the thieves in Wales quacked for fears'. The reorganisation of Wales into shires in 1536 was part of this process.

For more than a century Ludlow was virtually the capital of Wales and its courts were busy with criminal, ecclesiastical and civil cases. This resulted in many new buildings at the castle, especially in the 1550s and in 1581. The castle was now primarily a centre for administration, though it also had many of the features of an Elizabethan stately home. The Council was dissolved in 1641 but was revived with limited power from 1660 until its abolition in 1689.

During the Civil War of 1642 - 46, Ludlow castle was a Royalist stronghold. In 1646 the town and castle were besieged by a strong parliamentary force, under Colonel John Birch. Though there was fighting on the outskirts of the town and part of the suburbs were burnt, the castle itself was surrendered after negotiation. The kind of demolition carried out elsewhere was therefore avoided.

The Norman Chapel 1911 The dorway into the keep 1903

The Norman Chapel 1911.
This round building is a stunning survival. It is all that remains of the round chapel of St Mary Magdalene. Round chapels such as this are extremely rare, they were usually associated with the Knights Templar (as was the case here), a movement that began in England in 1128.

The Doorway To The Keep 1903.
A castles keep was its strongest part, yet even here our ancestors still felt that decorative detail was important. Thank goodness there have been people who think that way.
The Keep and the Judge's quarters 1960 Dinham 1960

The Keep and the Judge's Quarters 1960.
In the late 1700s the government wanted to demolish what little was then left of the old castle. The architect who costed the project deliberately undervalued the potential worth of the material on site and overvalued the expense of carrying out the work of demolition, and so, fortunately, managed to save it.

Dinham 1960.
Dinham is the name given to that area of Ludlow immediately to the south of the castle. It is thought by some that this would have been the site of the earliest Norman settlement on the hilltop. The open flower-bedded area abote the castle wall probably cover an early ditch or moat.

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