Firstly I’d like to say a huge thank you to all those who have visited my site, in the last week the numbers coming here have exploded. Whereas before I was getting 20-30 views a day, now I am getting around 100, so thank you. However as my holiday is now at an end I will be returning to my usual format of a post every Tuesday and Saturday, rather than one every day (I do have a history course to complete).
Back to the subject of today’s post, I am currently in Ludlow, half way to my university home at Bangor. It’s an old English market town, dominated by its medieval castle. Despite coming to Ludlow for every year of my life, it was only a few months ago that I actually visited the castle for the very first time.
It was a warm sunny day and I’d just gotten my current camera, so I was desperate to try it out. The castle itself was one of the first stone castles to be built in England, having been constructed just after the Norman Conquest. It was built to guard a major crossing point at the River Teme and to protect the English border from those rowdy Welshmen. Throughout the early Middle Ages, Ludlow acted as the unofficial capital of the Welsh Marches, an almost lawless part of England, where lords acted as kings in their own right. Ludlow Castle itself was expanded, confiscated and besieged several times throughout this period.
In the 1500s’ Henry VII established the Council of the Marches at Ludlow Castle, the council was the official ruling body of Wales and Henry sent his eldest son Arthur to head the council. It was there Arthur and his wife Catherine of Aragon spent their honeymoon. It was also within the castle that young Arthur died of sweating sickness.
Whilst exploring the castle, I wondered what kind of country I’d be living in if Arthur had survived to inherit the throne as opposed to his brother Henry VIII, perhaps our most influential and diverse monarch. Would the UK still be very much the same or would it be a completely different country? Though I supposed such questions are ultimately fruitless, the past is in the past and nothing can change that so there’s no point wondering about how it could be any different.
During the Civil War, a Royalist garrison controlled the castle but was forced to surrender after being threaten by Parliamentary cannons. The castle was then stripped of its lavish furnishings and weapons and although the restored Charles II reintroduced the Council of the Marches, the castle never recovered from the war.
These day the castle is a ruin, though mostly intact, and is owned by the Earl of Powis. Despite is dilapidated state it is still described by English Heritage as ‘one of England’s finest castle sites‘.
If you are interested in learning more about Ludlow and its castle please check out Heyjude’s blog here, she’s a great blogger and writes a lot about Ludlow.
Thus concludes my tale, if you enjoyed this story feel free to write in the comments, or leave a like and thanks for reading.