tokesay Castle is one of the finest surviving fortified manor houses in England, and situated at Stokesay in Shropshire. It was largely built in its present form in the late 13th century by Laurence of Ludlow, on the earlier castle (some of which still survives) founded by its original owners the de Lacy family, from whom it passed to their de Verdun heirs, who retained feudal overlordship of Stokesay until at least 1317. Laurence ‘of’ Ludlow was one of the leading wool merchants in England, who intended it to form a secure private house and generate income as a commercial estate. Laurence’s descendants continued to own the castle until the 16th century, when it passed through various private owners. By the time of the outbreak of the First English Civil War in 1642, Stokesay was owned by William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven (1608–1697), a supporter of King Charles I. After the Royalist war effort collapsed in 1645, Parliamentary forces besieged the castle in June and quickly forced its garrison to surrender. Parliament ordered the property to be slighted, but only minor damage was done to the walls, allowing Stokesay to continue to be used as a house by the Baldwyn family until the end of the 17th century.
December 12, 2023
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