Monmouthshire 5 - Raglan with its castle / a link to Henry Tudor and the sign is up


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July 12th 2019
Published: July 12th 2019
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We love castles. Some more than others. We have seen many over the years. Sometimes together. Sometimes separately. We have seen castles from the 20th century like Castle Drogo designed by Lutyens , the great Norman castles at Dover and the Tower of London. The castles of Wales from the early welsh ones to the ones built by Edward I to suppress the Welsh. Some we love . Others we hate. We love the castles of Ferrara and Mantova and those from the Aosta Valley . We today have already visited one near to Abergavenny and now we and Gabby are sitting on a massive car park around the very pretty castle at Raglan. The lovely weather has brought folks out and we are not alone. Throughout our morning more and more arrive. Some set up tables and chairs and eat outside . We do what we do best - brew up the coffee , get out the croissants and gorge ourselves over a leisurely breakfast .

We hear that the sign board has gone up on our house. I wonder if that will generate any interest.

Raglan is another castle owned by CADW so yet again another free entry for us. What can we say about this lovely castle? First thoughts - it looks very photogenic. We stand and admire it . It is a pretty castle if that is a word you can associate with castles. It is not foreboding and looks inviting. We spy the ice cream and make a mental note to pick two up for lunch. We are welcomed as normal and issued with the small leaflet that gives a small amount of information about the castle. We are told to look for the large oriel window in the late medieval castle which once shed light on the diners who ate in the great hall. Dating from the 15th and 17th century we would see the kitchens which were designed for banquets with great serving hatches and drains. They told us that Tudor kitchens came no better than this one. The castle was owned by the Herberts and the Somersets who created what was a luxurious but yet fortified castle complete with a large hexagonal keep known as the Great Tower or the Yellow Tower of Gwent. Sir William Herbert enjoyed a tipple or two and kept a purpose built cellar which was well stocked with good wines. The castle was surrounded by terraces, water gardens , a moat and parkland.

We were told to look for the Long Gallery , great fireplaces that made Raglan a castle of high status. When we went in we certainly agreed . Everything smelled of money . We could have climbed up the Great Tower but due to Glenns knee causing a problem it was too many steps up and back down again. We read that during the English Civil War the castle was held on behalf of the king but was taken by Parliamentary forces in 1646. In the aftermath, the castle was slighted as were many after the War. So much remained though to make it a worthwhile place and romantic ruin to visit.

We entered the castle via the great gateway and what an impressive entrance it made. To say it was handsome was perhaps an understatement with angular towers and Tudor styling. We had seen nothing like this in the whole of the United Kingdom. Built of sandstone it was both pale in colour and reddish making it very pleasing on the eye. The castle had been the boyhood home of our hero Henry Tudor who throughout his childhood had lived with his Uncle Jasper. We crossed the moat to get in and walked over the drawbridge. All we kept saying was Wow - what an impressive place.

In the corners were the turrets with doors leading down to the moat. Luckily there was enough room inside for all us visitors to stand and stare and take our photographs. There were so many gates to wander through . The South Gate led us to the apartments and the porch and grand Staircase. Scattered around the castle grounds were a number of very interesting displays set up as talking points. One was displays was of books which suggested that this was the Library which had been destroyed by Cromwell.

Our last stop off were the keys . A musical set of keys which were there for the children to play. Of course we had to try them. A female voice behind us spoke to us . She was smiling at us. She told us that we were growing old disgracefully playing like children on the musical keys and she went off smiling like a Cheshire Cat.

This was one of those castles that burn themselves into your memory and have you wanting to stay forever taking it all in. We completed the visit with our dinner in the motorhome followed by the ice cream we had promised ourselves . This time Raspberry sorbet replaced the strawberry I enjoyed last time. Glenn replaced Vanilla with a Toffee crunch . Both were delicious although I think I preferred the Strawberry if I am honest.

Our last night was going to be spent on Monmouth Caravan Park . We had picked it because it was within an hour of Raglan castle and within walking distance of the town.

How about a thought to leave you with? Jiddu Krishnamurti born in 1895 and who died in 1986 was an Indian philosopher , speaker and philosopher. One of his thoughts was this one "Die to everything of yesterday so that your mind is always fresh, always young , innocent , full of vigour and passion". I cannot fault that .

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12th July 2019

RaglanCastle
mmmm...one place we would really love to visit - even more so now!!
12th July 2019

Raglan
It was lovely honestly one of the prettiest we have been in . You should go. We get our monies worth out of CADW. I spend all my working day trying to persuade people to go back into work , to retrain or upskill . Sell the benefits of volunteering all the time. Once a work coach always a work coach . Glenn is 72 and I am 67 so he wants me to retire so we can spend more time in the van. My head says it makes sense but my heart says something different. I dont feel 67 and working does keep my mind active . He has never enjoyed his retirement . He finished when he was 64 as his job was heavy. He was a kitchen fitter. I will finish if we go back home although a few months ago I was offered a transfer to Wrexham so that job might still be available . We have just booked the ferry for the end of September this morning . Making the holiday feel real. Got about 18 days off at Xmas so am dropping hints about France for Xmas :) x
12th July 2019

waspi
my mum still volunteers at her local school (as she has done for 45 years) and she is 85years!!! I need a job really but have told Im unemployable!!! This is because I havent worked for 12 years!! But then if I get a job, I am taking a young persons job?..........However!! We have just booked a cruise from Palma to Malaga in November........We will go to Spain in Oct prob (avoid all the brexit nonsense!!) sp should fit in travels quite well!
13th July 2019

too old
Ah you need a work coach like me . 35 years of working with customers on sickness benefit and lone parents . I could sell ice to the eskimoes. I would never tell anyone they were unemployable - think of all those transferrable skills . You are definately not doing the young out of work - most of the young we see dont want work . They want a life on the dole . Looking forward to hearing about the cruise. Not been on one since I was at school - educational one in 1966. It was fun apart from the Bay of Biscay in October !!!! You will have a fabulous time x
17th July 2019
What a beautiful castle Raglan is

Raglan Castle
Your castle pics warm my soul Jennifer. Another to add to TB's "Palaces & Castles" thread in the Photography Forum. Check 'em out. Makes me wonder what I'm missing out by not visiting Europe at all yet. We are off in six weeks on another trip of a lifetime...where there will be palaces & castles...but yet again Europe is not on our radar...so European castles will have to wait.
18th July 2019
What a beautiful castle Raglan is

you have to visit
Wales has the more castles than anywhere else in Europe apparently . You could spend weeks going round them all. Where are you off to next ?

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