Goodrich CastleGoodrich Castle

The Haunted Ruin of an Historic Castle.

The history of Goodrich castle can be traced back almost a thousand years to it's early establishment by Godric Marplestone hence it's original name of 'Godric's Castle'. The ruins that remain are those of a castle that was built in the late 1130's in the reign of King Stephen by Gilbert de Clare and later the outer stone walls and turrets were added by Walter Marshal the 5th Earl of Pembroke between 1220AD and 1245AD.

Walter Marshall died in 1245AD childless and the castle passed to the Crown and so to Henry III's half brother William de Valence who continued to add to the castle's defences.

Following the death of William's son Aymer the castle was held briefly by Hugh le Despencer until he was executed and the castle returned to a de Valence heir Richard Talbot who moved to Goodrich Castle from Eccleswall Castle near Weston-under-Penyard. The Talbots were a wealthy family and remained in Goodrich Castle until their elevation to the Earldom of Shrewsbury in 1442AD.

The outbreak of Civil War in 1642AD saw the castle under the control of the Earl of Stamford for Parliament however he soon withdrew and Goodrich was then occupied by Sir Henry Lingen for the King until 1646AD when the castle came under siege by Colonel John Birch of the Parliamentary forces who finally breached the castle walls with the help of 'Roaring Meg' a mortar capable of firing a 200lb projectile (Roaring Meg can now be seen in the Churchill Gardens Museum in Hereford).

The castle is said to be haunted by Alice Birch (Colonel Birch's niece) and her lover Charles Clifford who were drowned while trying to flee across the swollen River Wye during the siege, it's claimed that on a stormy night their ghostly figures can be seen riding a phantom horse and again trying to make that fateful crossing. Today Goodrich Castle is looked after by English Heritage, is open to the public throughout the year and is well worth a visit.