Traveling Through History

Issue 3


Our great weather continued and despite some early rain on Saturday morning, it was a nice day for the annual Trooping the Colour, overseen by King Charles. More on that later in this issue.

Thank you so much for the terrific support I’ve received after the first 2 issues. I am so glad that you all enjoy reading my work. I love writing it for you each week. And on that note, I do all the writing myself (which is why sometimes there are errors! Lol), no ChatGPT used in this little publication.

In this issue I have an unusual castle for you. Not one that would get the headlines but fascinating all the same. I hope that you enjoy Goodrich Castle and learn something about this medieval place that remained intact for many centuries.

Until next week
Enjoy Traveling Through History with me.

Savvy Travel Historian

June Theme – Castles

Goodrich Castle


Goodrich is a Norman medieval castle that Wordsworth called “the noblest ruin in Herefordshire” and has been described as one of the best examples of English military architecture.

Located on the River Wye, it was a stronghold between England and Wales lying between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. It’s 32km west of Gloucester and is one of English Heritage’s maintained properties.


There has been human activity on the site surrounding the castle for possibly 2,000 years. A hill fort, dated from the Iron age is located nearby and the first recoded mention of a ‘hill’, is in the Domesday Book of 1086, which show the area belonged to Godric Mappeson. It is believed that from him its name is derived. By 1101-2 a ‘Godric’s Castle’ is recorded to be on this site.

At various times, the estate and the subsequent Earl of Pembroke title, bestowed upon its owners, passed back and forth to the Crown, mainly due to all male heirs dying childless. Eventually through marriage, William de Valence and then his family owned the castle and set about building much of the ruins we see today (see construction below).

The Countess of Pembroke, Joan, lived at the castle for many years, even after her husband had died. We have a great deal of information on how she operated her household (which ranged from 122-196 people) from three surviving manuscripts in the National Archives, outlining her expenses for three lengthy stays at Goodrich.

The Earls of Shrewsbury inherited the castle (again through marriage) and, while campaigns such as the Wars of the Roses in the 15thC and serving overseas kept them away from Goodrich, it was during their tenure that it was further modernised.

In 1619 ownership passed to the Earls of Kent (later Dukes).

The Civil War

In 1643 the Royalist Army set up camp at Goodrich after suffering a defeat at Gloucester against the Parliamentarians. By September of 1644 Henry Lingen, the Royalist commander, set up a permanent camp at Goodrich and stayed there until the ‘Siege of 1646’.

The local Parliamentarian commander Colonial John Birch lay siege on the castle in June and July of 1646 and on July 31st (after the castle was ruined in the way we see it today) the Royalists surrendered. The castle was declared inhabitable and it’s battlements removed.

In 1755, Admiral Thomas Griffin purchased it and the castle remained under his guardianship until passed on to the HM Office of Works in 1920.

The 18th & 19th centuries saw a revival of places such as Goodrich as antiquarians and aesthetics drew people to the Wye Valley. People began visiting the castle on foot and by boat.

Restoration to shore up crumbling sections of the castle began in 1925 and in 1984 English Heritage took over the management of the site.


While a wood and earth castle was likely to have been placed on the site after the Norman conquest, the light grey sandstone Keep in the centre, dates back to the mid-12thC.

By the mid 13thC, construction was well underway, with records shows timbers for various forests being sent for ‘Godric’s Castle’.

The barbican is almost identical to that of the Tower of London, so this can date what remains here to between 1270s and 1290s.

The Gatehouse is entered via the pathway from the barbican, which represented a strong defence of the castle.

The inner courtyard allowed access to the Great Hall, the Keep and accommodation wings.

The East Wall, containing the East Tower, has the remains of three latrine chambers.

Visiting the Castle

Peak visiting times are during the English summer where the castle is open daily from 10am – 5pm.

From early November – February, they run a reduced timetable where it is open on the weekends and school half and term holidays only. Hours are 10am – 4pm.

Last admission is 1 hour before close.

There is a tearoom available that serves light refreshments and you can bring your dog if you want too!

Further information can be found here:

Relevant Travel Information:

Visiting the Castle:

Facilities Available:

Full history of the castle can be found here:

Museum Corner

Victoria and Albert Museum (The V&A)

This piece is known as the ‘Hereford Screen’ and was installed in Hereford Cathedral after being displayed in the International Exhibition in London in 1862. It was a key piece amongst the exhibits.

The screen measures 10.4m high and 11m long and is covered with passion flowers (symbolising the suffering of Christ), as well as angels with instruments and a bearded Christ in the centre.

Despite its size, it only took 5 months to make.

Out & About

Our nephew was visiting from Australia last week, so we took him on a tour of Oxford. We climbed to the top of University Church of St Mary the Virgin; the place the University’s teachings began in 1096. The Church Tower offers the best views in Oxford.

This Week in History

With the summer months in Europe, activity increases and so too are the things that happened in history for this next week!

June 20

1789 - The Tennis Court Oath was taken at Versailles during the French Revolution

1837 – Victoria becomes Queen of England beginning a 61-year reign.

1944 – Nazis begin mass extermination of Jews at Auschwitz

June 21

1675 – Foundation stone for St Paul’s Cathedral in London is laid

1788 – US Constitution comes into effect after New Hampshire becomes the 9th State to ratify it.

1948 – Lord Mountbatten resigns as Governor of India (formerly the last Viceroy)

June 22

1633 – Galileo recants his ‘heretical’ position that the Earth orbiting the sun was at odds with the Bible and church teachings

1675 – Royal Greenwich Observatory established in England by Charles II

1911 – King George V Crowned at Westminster Abbey

1939 – The then Princess Elizabeth meets Philip Mountbatten for the first time.

1941 – Germany invades the Soviet Union during WWII

June 23

1868 – Qwerty keyboard patent was filed for the first typewriter

1949 – First 12 women graduate from Harvard Medical School

June 24

1441 – Eton College is founded by Henry VI

1509 – Coronation of Henry VIII

1901 - Picasso, aged 19, opens his first exhibition in Paris

1968 – Australia all out for 78 in the Ashes test at Lords
The test at Lords starts here in the UK next week

June 25

1580 – The Book of Concord, standards of the Lutheran Church are first published

1678 – Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia becomes the first women to receive a university doctoral degree (PhD)

1939 - US President Herbert Hoover, authorises the building of the Boulder Dam, later to be known as the 'Hoover Dam'.

June 26

1483 – Richard III becomes King after Edward V is declared illegitimate.

1894 – Karl Benz receives a US patent for a gasoline – driven car

1909 – Victoria and Albert Museum (The V&A) opens in London

Royal Week

Last weekend saw the annual ‘official’ celebration of the Sovereign’s birthday (known as Trooping the Colour) and the first time in more than 30 years that the Sovereign rode a horse in the Parade.

King Charles was accompanied by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh and The Princess Royal, also on horseback.

Traditionally, the procession leaves Buckingham Palace and travels down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, where the ‘trooping’ takes place, where colours are presented (and received) by the Sovereign.

They then travel back to the Palace and a fly pass celebrates the end of the proceedings, with all working royals on the balcony.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

Images from the BBC coverage of the event

Yesterday Was the Order of the Garter Ceremony at Windsor Castle. The Order of the Garter is the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain, established by King Edward III nearly 700 years ago.

It’s a busy week for the royals, with Tuesday the start of Royal Ascot Week.

We went to Ladies Day at Royal Ascot in 2018 and here is the terrific picture I took of Her Late Majesty the Queen arriving.

Historical Home for Sale

Want to buy a house with a bit of history and have a ‘spare’ £2.25m available??

Wings Place has a deep Tudor history, having passed to the Crown during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and it’s exquisite.

It is sometimes referred to as the ‘Anne of Cleves House’ as it is believed to have formed part of her settlement when her marriage to Henry VIII was annulled. But Henry originally gave it to Thomas Cromwell, his right-hand man after the fall of Cardinal Wolsey.

Take a look at the listing below. The house even comes with a Priest hole, used to hide Catholic Priests who held secret services during the Reformation!

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 Michelle is a speaker, author, content marketer, historian and mother of 3 boys.

After 25 years in business and as the ‘Content Marketing Queen’ for the past 12 years, she has helped countless small businesses understand and develop their content strategies and focus on a customer first approach.

Savvy Travel Historian is her passion project, and her weekly newsletter is available on Substack, Paragraph and Mirror. The latter two allows you to collect each Issue as an NFT.

Michelle is co-host of the Web3 By Three Podcast, a weekly show which talks about current stories in the Web3 space and how it applies to B2B marketing, sales and operations. The show is recorded live every Wednesday at 4pm EST/ 9pm UTC on LinkedIn, YouTube & Twitter Spaces.

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