Skenfrith Castle was established by the Normans in the wake of the invasion of England in 1066, to protect the route from Wales to Hereford. Possibly commissioned by William fitz Osbern, the Earl of Hereford, the castle comprised earthworks with timber defences. In 1135, a major Welsh revolt took place and in response King Stephen brought together Skenfrith Castle and its sister fortifications of Grosmont and White Castle to form a lordship known as the 'Three Castles', which continued to play a role in defending the region from Welsh attack for several centuries.

At the end of the 12th century, Skenfrith was rebuilt in stone. In 1201, King John gave the castle to a powerful royal official, Hubert de Burgh. During the course of the next few decades, it passed back and forth between several owners, including Hubert, the rival de Braose family, and the Crown. Hubert levelled the old castle and built a new rectangular fortification with round towers and a circular keep. In 1267 it was granted to Edmund, the Earl of Lancaster, and remained in the hands of the earldom, and later duchy, of Lancaster until 1825.

Edward I's conquest of Wales in 1282 removed much of Skenfrith Castle's military utility, and by the 16th century it had fallen into disuse and ruin. The castle was placed into the care of the state by the National Trust in 1936, and is now managed by the Cadw heritage agency.



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Founded: 11th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Katherine George (8 months ago)
It’s alright. Out of the “three castles” if you need to drop one I’d drop this one. It’s nice but not as nice as the other two. It was busy when we arrived and seemed to be a meeting place making it even busier. On the plus side, it’s free, there’s free parking (although limited) and pretty, so worth popping into if you’re passing.
Kieran O'Toole (8 months ago)
Stunning castle, with limited free parking. Its free to have a look around and there is lots of space for picnics etc. Its sat right on the river so a very Idyllic spot indeed.
Ryan Jones (9 months ago)
Decent site to visit, get there early for parking as spaces are limited. The site itself is quite small and you can wonder around for atleast an hour, good for a short walk and a picnic. For swimming, you can take a dip in the nearby river, but if you are expecting to take a long distance, or lengthy swim, that's not really possible. All in all, good for a mornings walk and picnic, with a dip if you wanted.
Peter Jones (9 months ago)
Nice ruin next to the river with nice picnic places in the grounds. Not a huge amount to see here, less than the other two in the 'Three Castle Trail' but worth a visit. The village hall just through the graveyard does tea & cakes which is handy.
Kimneil J (HomelessHappy&ontheroad) (10 months ago)
A lovely castle that is free to visit and sits beside a shallow river. Lovely on a sunny day. Parking is limited though so get there early if the weather is hot.
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