Raglan Castle is a majestic castle comprised of sandstone, belonging to the Tudor dynasty. Defense seems to be a secondary function of the castle. This is in sharp contrast to other castles built in Wales. Raglan Castle was designed keeping in mind wealth and influence.
The site that houses Raglan Castle was initially home to a manor. Later William ap Thomas acquired the site when he married in 1406. Thomas was a veteran who served in Agincourt in the year 1415. He received the patronage of Henry VI. He received knighthood in the year 1426. He wished to demonstrate his power and status. Hence, he ordered construction of Raglan Castle.
In 1435, construction work began on the Great Tower. It was also called the Yellow Tower of Gwent. Thomas died in the year 1445 and never saw completion of the tower. His son, William, continued the work on the building. He assumed the title Herbert.
Herbert continued in his father’s footsteps. Raglan Castle drew heavily from continental influences. This was common among French, war veterans. The castle was stylish, yet complex. The polygonal structures can be witnessed till today. Herbert was on the Yorkist side during the Wars of the Roses. King Edward IV pronounced him Lord Herbert of Raglan in the year 1461.
Raglan Castle reflected his growing fortunes. Many building structures were subsequently added. The battle of Edgecote saw the defeat of Herbert in the year 1469. Following his beheading, the castle passed through several families of the Tudor dynasty. This depended on the fortunes and factions of the ruling family.
Every inhabitant of the castle made significant changes to the structure till the Civil War. During the war, the castle was used to benefit the cause of the Royalists. Most castles in Wales, which supported the Royalist cause, were destroyed by Cromwell. Raglan Castle met with the same fate.
Long galleries are a characteristic feature of the Tudor architecture. The Tudor architecture is also known for its large windows, which are seen till today at Raglan Castle.
Raglan Castle fell into the Royalist hands in the 17th century. Parliamentary forces lay siege to it. The forces were led by Sir Thomas Fairfax. The castle was sturdy enough to endure bombardment. Ultimately, the castle did fall after holding out for numerous weeks.
During the era of attacks by Cromwell, the fashion of building mammoth castles as a symbol of nobility and social status was fading. It was more fashionable to construct country houses.