Raglan Castle 2008

Remains of the siege.

Raglan Castle was the last castle to be begun in Wales, started in 1435. It was clearly not built to be fully defensive, and was more of an elaborate fortified mansion. The main castle has far too many points of entry, and surrounding fortifications that could be easily taken and used by an attacking force. In fact, in its time, it was best known for the gardens of the mansion. That said, it went through one of the longest sieges of the English civil war, finally losing after several months in 1646 when the persistence of the invading Parliamentarians clearly showed they were going to break through. The castle owners, who supported royalty, were forced to surrender to avoid major bloodshed. Most of the ruin was caused after this, as the Parliamentarians burned and broke much of the mansion. They also tunneled from the surrounding gardens, and undermined the Great Tower, causing a large part of it to fall.

The design is quite strange. The castle is surrounded by gardens, some raised. The main castle contains a mansion and accomodation with a thick outer wall. Then outside the main casle, but inside the raised gardens, is the Great Tower. The Great Tower is heavily fortified, surrounded by a narrow moat, and separated from the main castle by a drawbridge. However, the outside edge of the moat is accessible to just about anyone, without adequate protection because of the strange layout of the gardens. The moat was not wide enough to prevent tunneling, and the raised garden - a bowling lawn - was used as the place to start the tunnel.