Wigmore Castle: Mereston Castle: Merestun

Model of Wigmore Castle. Photo taken at Ludlow Museum, Castle Street, Ludlow, Shropshire, England.
Model_of_Wigmore_Castle,_Ludlow_Museum_-_DSCF2073.JPG, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17641823



  • Wigmore, Herefordshire
  • Scheduled Monument


Medieval motte castle with the motte measuring 20 m by 50 m at its top and standing 20 m high. Lateral ditches were built across the spur which acted as moats. Had two or three baileys.

Originally constructed of timber.

There was marshland to the north which supplied the castle with game and fish.

William Fitz Osbern upset William I and he was replaced as Castilian by Ralph Mortimer.


921                              Site held by Edward the Elder.

1066                            Before: Known as Mereston Castle.

1071                            Rebuilt and defended by William Fitz Osbern, who called it Mereston.

1075                            The son of William Fitz Osbern rebelled against William I.

1086                            Domesday: Held by Ralph de Mortimer, recorded as being built by William I.

1115                            Ralph Mortimer was succeeded by his son, Hugh. Henry I confiscated the lands.

1135                            The Mortimer family were given their lands back when Stephen was crowned King.

1135                            After: Hugh de Mortimer rebuilt the castle including the motte, bailey and kitchen.

1155                            Besieged by Henry II when Hugh de Mortimer sided with Stephen of Boulogne. Siege works were set up to the east and west of the castle.

1181                            Hugh de Mortimer’s son, Hugh, rebuilt some of the castle in stone.

1191                            c: Hugh de Mortimer was forced into exile and Richard I’s chancellor held the lands.

1215                            Before: Roger (1) was given his lands back.

1215                            Roger (1) died and Hugh inherited the castle.

1223                            Hugh was given £12 by Henry III to improve the castle.

1227                            Hugh died and his brother, Roger (2), inherited the castle.

1246                            Hugh’s grandson, Ralph, finished the castle in stone, including the curtain wall.

1282                            Roger (2) died and Edmund inherited the castle.

13 C                            Lead working took place at the south west part of the inner bailey.

1301                            Roger Mortimer (3) married Joan de Grenville, the de Lacy heiress.

1304                            Edmund died and another Roger (3) inherited.

1316                            Roger had to return the castle and secure his position on the Welsh Marches.

1318-1321                   Roger was Royal Justicar.

1321                            Roger was imprisoned in the Tower of London as he did not want to join the other Marcher Lords in opposing the King.

1322                            Weapons at the castle were recorded and they included cross bows, springholds, helmets, suits of armour and chain mail.

1327-1340                   c: Roger de Mortimer acted as Regent while the future Edward III was still a minor. He rebuilt the castle.

1330                            Edward III became king and he executed Roger Mortimer (3) for his part in the death of his father, Edward II. He allowed Roger’s grandson, Roger (4), to keep the castle.

1343                            Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March, held the castle.

1351                            Roger Mortimer (4) died and his son, Edmund, 3rd Earl of March, inherited the castle.

1354                            Roger Mortimer (5) married the heiress to the Earl of Salisbury.

1380                            Edmund died.

1381                            Roger Mortimer (5), Earl of March, inherited the castle.

1390                            After: Anne Mortimer spent most of her childhood at the castle.

1398                            The body of Roger, 4th Earl of March, (5) was bought back to the castle following his death at the Battle of Kells , Ireland.

1413-1422                   During: The lands passed to the Crown when Edmund Mortimer died without issue.

1424                            The lands went to Edmunds nephew, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York.

1455                            Wars of the Roses: Richard raised troops at the castle. He returned to the castle after he was defeated.

1461                            Became a Royal castle.

1461-1483                   No longer regarded as an important castle.

16 C                            Managed by the Council of the March.

1558-1601                   Between: Elizabeth I granted the castle to Captain Gebby Meyrick and Henry Lindley esq.

1601                            Elizabeth I sold the castle to Thomas Harley of Brampton Bryan.

1601                            After: Inherited by Sir Roger Harley, a Parliamentarian. His wife, Lady Brilliana, dismantled part of the defences so it could not be used as a fortress.

1643                            Lady Brilliana died.

1643                            Demolished by Parliament.


Entrance to Wigmore Castle The castle is mainly 14th century, although parts of the walls are Norman and the north east tower is 13th century. English Heritage have recently spent one million pounds on preservation and archaeological work at the castle in order to stabilise it.


1644                            In ruins.

1996                            Watching Brief by City of Hereford Archaeology Unit.

1996                            Excavated by Marches Archaeology.

1998                            Excavated by Marches Archaeology.

1998                            Architectural survey by Lancaster University Archaeological Unit.

20 C                             Mr. John Gaunt owned the castle and handed part of it over to English Heritage. Siege works, set up to the east and west of the castle in 1155 can still be seen.

2001-2002                   Surveyed.


Wigmore Castle



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