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.
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.