Castle bank is all that remains of an imposing castle, which served to defend the town, & formed an important link in the chain of Norman defence along the Welsh border. There is a spectacular view of the town from the top.
It may not look that important today, but Oswestry Castle has a long and important history. The first reference to the castle was in 1086, when castelle Lurve (or castle L’oeuvre) is recorded in the Domesday Book as being built by Rainald, Sheriff of Shropshire in the Hundred of Meresberie.
The castle changed hands a number of times including Alan fitz Flaad, William FitzAlan and Madog ap Maredudd the Prince of Powys. A period of conflict between the Welsh and the English followed and the castle was sacked numerous times. In 1165, King Henry adopted it as a base for his unsuccessful campaign against Owain Gwynedd. In 1211 King John moved against Llywelyn the Great and the castle came under attack. By 1270 the castle’s walls had been extended to surround the town. The location of the bailey is recorded in the street names Bailey Street and Bailey Head. The castle was the scene of a parliament held by Richard II in 1398. The town was destroyed twice in the 14th century, after which a stone town wall was built although this did not prevent the town being burnt down again in the early 15th century.
It was garrisoned by Royalist troops during the Civil War, and captured by the forces of Oliver Cromwell in 1644, and it was largely demolished by the Roundheads by 1650. The wall has now been built over, the town gates having been pulled down in the 18th century. The Beatrice Gate pillars can now be seen at the entrance to the castle mound.
The motte is about 30 feet high. The ruins possibly date to the 13th century and are a Grade II Listed Building. The internal layout of the keep is not known, but an inventory compiled in 1398 notes three chambers, hall, chapel dedicated to St Nicholas, kitchen, larder and buttery.
It was not until the 19th century that moves were made to restore and conserve this important historical site, and in 1890 the site was landscaped and converted into a public park. The site is accessed by a set of steep steps.
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