Goodrich, Herefordshire

Goodrich, Herefordshire

Goodrich is a village, [ [ Goodrich:: OS grid SO5718 :: Geograph British Isles - photograph every grid square! ] ] in south Herefordshire which is very close to Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean situated near the River Wye at gbmapping|SO574193 and is famous for its old red sandstone Norman and medieval castle.Not strictly in the Forest of Dean but close enough to count (especially with tourists, and historically, invaders!) Goodrich is a small village that grew up next to Goodrich Castle, a fine 'Marcher Castle' which stands on a high spur of land commanding strategic position above a ford, an important ancient crossing point of the Wye. The castle was begun c1101 and from 1326 onwards was the family seat of the Earls of Shrewsbury, although by the 16th century it had passed into the hands of the Earls of Kent and was no longer inhabited on a permanent basis.

In 1642, at the start of the civil war, Goodrich was seized by the Earl of Stamford for Parliament, but the surrounding countryside was against him and he withdrew. A Royalist force under Colonel So Henry Lingen occupied the castle and held it for four years, but after Hereford fell to Parliament in 1644, the garrison of Goodrich became rather isolated and in May 1646 Colonel John Birch, the Parliamentary commander of Hereford was given orders to advance on the castle and secure it. The castle walls however were unaffected by the Parliamentary cannon so Birch ordered that the castle's water supply be cut off and a siege mortar made to help in the attack. This weapon, which was capable of firing a 200lb /90kg explosive shell, was cast locally (ether at nearby Whitchuch or Lydbrook) and earned the nickname 'Roaring Meg' (it still survives today in the grounds of the Churchill Gardens Museum at Hereford). In mid June the weapon arrived and after being moved into a position, its first few rounds soon breached the South wall. By this time, conditions inside were desperate and when news reached the castle that the king had been captured, the defenders finally surrendered. After the Civil War, the castle was left uninhabitable and it remained in ruins unitil 1920, when the last private owner placed it into the care of the Commissioners of the Works (now English Heritage), who carried out a preservation programme

Goodrich Castle

Goodrich Castle was known at one time as "Castellum Godrici" after Godric Mappestone, the builder of the first castle on the site. Over time the name changed to Goodrich and the castle changed hands many times through the centuries, passing from family to family. In 1646, near the end of the English civil war, the castle was besieged and captured, using a cannon cast in the Forest of Dean called Roaring Meg, from Sir Henry Lingen by Parliamentarians led by Colonel Birch. The castle is now in the care of English Heritage.

Goodrich Castle featured in an advertising poster produced by Train Operating Company 'one' in 2005. Unfortunately, the text read 'Escape to Hertfordshire', and the company does not provide trains to Herefordshire.

Goodrich church [ [ Goodrich Village:: OS grid SO5719 :: Geograph British Isles - photograph every grid square! ] ] contains the tomb of the Countess of Salisbury, (an altar tomb on the left side of the altar, plain with no inscription or effigy), who was charged by Henry Bolingbroke with bringing up his son, later to become King Henry V, after the death of Mary de Bohun his first wife. The young boy was brought up at nearby Courtfield at Welsh Bicknor.

The Village Today

Goodrich is close to the A40 trunk road which forms part of the main route between South Wales and the West Midlands but is in a sheltered rural location [] .

Goodrich has retained its village shop and post office together with a village hall and two public houses.

The village also has a tennis club with three all-weather courts and a very active village cricket club.

Cultural and historic links

Goodrich was also the location of Goodrich Court, built between 1828 and 1831 by Sir Samuel Meyrick. Although demolished in the 1950s, Goodrich Court Stables and its walled garden still exists; Sculptor Jon Edgar lived and worked here [ [ Visit to Goodrich Court Stables by US Professor of Art Darrell Baird 'Re-visiting the Picturesque'] ] between 2004 and 2007.

Goodrich's prominent position overlooking the Wye meant that both Castle and Court were stopping points on the first Wye Tour of Sir William Gilpin (clergyman) in 1770. The trip from Ross-on-Wye to Monmouth was instrumental in the development of The Picturesque and Picturesque Tourism.

The history of Goodrich Court is documented in Rosalind Lowe's book [ Sir Samuel Meyrick and Goodrich Court; Rosalind Lowe, (2005) Logaston Press ISBN 1873827881] . The author lives in the area in a house once owned by Sir Samuel Meyrick. His collection of armoury forms the core of the original Wallace Collection.


External links

* [ Goodrich Castle on English Heritage website]
* [ The Destruction of Goodrich Castle, Historic HerefordshireOnline]
* [ Geograph : photographs of Goodrich and surrounding area]
* [ Village Shop] - Jolly's Of Goodrich
* [ Sir Samuel Meyrick and Goodrich Court]
* [ Repicturing the Picturesque; following Sir William Gilpin's 1770 tour]

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