Tretower Court & Castle, Wales

Tretower Castle

Description and Era: – The first castle on the site was a timber Motte and Bailey constructed at the end of the 11th century (Approx 1081 when the Normans came to Wales). The original stone building was built in around 1150 and subsequently modified, the tower being added inside existing stone walls at a later date as extra fortification.

– The Court (manor house building) was started by John Picard in around 1300 but the existing house was built in approximately 1450 by Roger Vaughan.

History:
– The castle was held by a Norman Knight, the first baron Picard in 1103. Six generations of the Picard family lived in the castle.
– The Picard family line died out in the mid 14th century and became the Herberts by marriage.
– It was then taken over by Richard Marshall of Pembroke c1230 and rebuilt c1245. The castle was returned to English hands after the Welsh rebellion was quashed.
– The castle was seized again during a Welsh uprising in 1322 but was back in English hands in 1403 when it was listed as a defensible fortification for Henry IV. A year later the owner, Sir James Berkeley, successfully withstood an attack by Owain Glyndwr. Not long afterwards the castle passed to Sir Roger Vaughan.
– Roger Vaughan was known as the wealthiest ‘commoner’ in Wales. He was the ½ brother of William Herbert who built Raglan Castle. During the War of the Roses Roger Vaughan changed sides but managed to end up on the Yorkist side, for his help in the war he was Knighted.
-It was William Herbert who gave Tretower to Roger Vaughan.
– In the 1450s, Sir Roger Vaughan began to build a handsome stone manor house, a fine example (rare in Wales) of a substantial late medieval country residence. An earlier manor house had been built in the 14th Century but the Vaughan’s rebuilt it as a sign of their wealth and standing.
– Roger Vaughan’s son, Sir Thomas, who held the manor in the last quarter of the 15th Century, continued developments at Tretower.
– By the early 15th century, the castle had probably been partially abondoned in favour of the new house.
– The house was added to and developed over a period of many years, the north range being essentially 14th Century, the west 15th Century and the gethouse and wall walks on the south and east added later in the 15th Century. All were modified at later dates and the courtyard was modified by Charles Vaughan in the early 17th Century.
– Tretower Court replaced the castle as the lord’s residence and became one of the best examples of a fortified manor house in Wales. The Court remained the residence of the Vaughan family until 1783.
– The famous writer and poet Henry Vaughan was the nephew of the owner of Tretower and often visited the manor.
– The building passed out of the hands of the Vaughan family and became a farm.
Ghost ratings and Spooky experience:
– The vast majority of the sightings in here are of a Lady dressed in white, the staff would really like to find out who she is. Main Bed Chamber
– A woman has regularly been seen pacing in here and walking out of here on to the gallery.
– A woman has also been seen sitting by the windowsill – all the other sightings of the woman around the house have described her as anxious, when she is seen by the window, people have mentioned that she seems very calm and peaceful – is this a different woman?
– People feel very uneasy in this area.
– One ex member of staff refused to come up here at all, even if accompanied by someone else.

Bedroom 2 – Opposite Main Bed Chamber
– The ghost of a woman has also been seen in here. She is described as wearing white with green eyes. She is said to be anxious but not aggressive.
– A visitor once came back several times as she was worried about the woman in white.
– A rigger from a film crew who were filming here recently saw her and refused to return to the area alone.
– Current staff speak of feeling very uneasy in the area around the bed chambers, gallery and the stairs leading up there, they feel that there is something there.

Gallery/Battlements
– A woman in white is seen pacing up and down here and anxiously looking out over the battlements as if looking for someone to return.
Courtroom
– There is a bricked up door to the outside where it’s thought that the public were brought in when the building acted as a ‘Lord of the Manor’ court. It’s also thought that it acted a Judge’s Chambers. In later years the building also acted as a farriers.
– A little boy has been seen sitting by the door of the courtroom.
– Oppressive feelings are felt in here.

First Broadcast : 13th September 2005

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