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 Shropshire Stokesay Castle


It was Lawrence of Ludlow, one of the most renowned wool merchants of his era, who began building this fortified manor house soon after 1281. The completion of his work is perhaps indicated by the recorded 'licence to crenellate' for the three-storied south tower, which he obtained from Edward I at Hereford in 1291.This firm of wool merchants was founded in the 1260s by Lawrence's father, Nicholas of Ludlow, who ranked among the foremost citizens of London. His son became even more successful, buying several other manor houses and also much property in the town of Ludlow itself.

Stokesay Castle is the finest and best preserved 13th-century fortified manor house in England. It offers visitors a unique glimpse into a distant age, when strength and elegance were combined. The castle itself nestles in the peaceful countryside near the Welsh border, sited in a picturesque group with its timber-framed Jacobean gatehouse and the parish church.

Stokesay's magnificent Great Hall, with its gabled windows, almost untouched since medieval times, also retains its original staircase. There is, too, an open octagonal hearth and an innovative and fine cruck-built timber roof. The house's impressive solar chamber boasts a breathtaking Jacobean fireplace. The chief feature of this is an elaborately carved overmantel, which was originally painted in gold, pink, red, green and white. Across the courtyard stands the truly delightful Jacobean gatehouse, built in 1640. This is an elaborate example of the regional style of timber framing, with a highly decorated exterior and two brick chimney stacks, one of which is original.

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