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"Raglan Castle - great home of William Herbert" Topic

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259 hits since 18 May 2023
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
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Warspite118 May 2023 10:14 a.m. PST

The 15th century was a period of transition with gunpowder weapons having a greater and greater impact on the design of castles. Raglan Castle in South Wales, ancestral home of the Herberts, was being rebuilt in the 1450s and 1460s to incorporate the latest thinking. An old Norman motte was turned into a tall hexagonal residential great tower with basement gunports covering both the old Norman entrance on one side and the new great gatehouse on the other.

YouTube link

The great gatehouse has doors which hinge both ways. This blocks the entrance for attackers as well as blocking attempts by a mutinous garrison inside the castle to leave! When I pointed this feature out to the CADW custodians even they admitted they had not spotted it.

The embrasures are some of the cleverest I have ever seen. In the great tower a crosslet loop allows crossbow or handgun to fire out with grooves in the walls either side to allow a crossbow to be swung from side to side. Below there is a round hole where a light artillery piece on a wooden sledge can blast round shot or bags of stones into the faces of attackers.

Having visited some 200 castles in the UK I would put this firmly in my personal Top Ten.



(PS I will be at Partizan, Newark, UK at the weekend so expect a show report).

Warspite118 May 2023 4:32 p.m. PST

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