Penhow – castle

History

The Penhow Castle was erected around 1129 by the Norman knight Sir Roger de St Maur. His family, later known as Seymours, eventually grew to the most prominent in Britain, and Jane Seymour became the third wife of king Henry VIII. In the 16th century, the estate went through a marriage to the Somerset family. Unlike most other castles in Monmouthshire, Penhow survived the English civil war of the 17th century without any damages, and in 1674 it was bought by Thomas Lewis of St Pierre. Probably then the castle was rebuilt into a residence. In 1861, it was bought by the Perry-Herrick family from Leicestershire, and in 1914 by Lord Rhondd. Currently, it is owned by Stephen Weeks, who restored the monument in 1973.

Architecture

The defensive walls and the buildings of Penhow Castle form an irregular polygon, about 28 meters long from north to south. Among them, the earliest building is a three-story tower on a rectangular plan from the 12th / 13th century. Probably the castle was originally surrounded by a single ringwork with a tower – a keep in the middle. The defensive circuit was at first initially timber and earth, only in the 13th / 14th century it was rebuilt into a stone one. Archaeological research revealed a moat carved into the rock, which separated the castle from the outer ward. In the fifteenth century, a two-storey building of a great hall was erected with a kitchen and pantries on the ground floor and a hall on the first floor. A spiral staircase in the annex was leading to it, hall had a centrally placed fireplace and was connected at the first floor level with a keep.

Current state

A small castle in Penhow was significantly expanded and rebuilt in the eighteenth century, but thanks to the work carried out in the twentieth century, its original features were emphasized and the original character of the building was restored to some extent. The property is currently privately owned and is not open to the public from the inside.

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bibliography:
Website castlewales.com, Penhow Castle.
Website coflein.gov.uk, Penhow Castle.
Website gatehouse-gazetteer.info, Penhow Castle.