Snodhill Castle

Forgotten and neglected for over 350 years, SnodhillCastle is emerging as one of the oldest and most unusual Norman castles in Britain. Join us in its discovery and restoration. Be Part of the Discovery Join us as we explore, restore, investigate, and simply celebrate our castle.

Snodhill Castle is a ruined motte-and-bailey castle, about 1 mi south of the village of Dorstone, west Herefordshire, England. It is now recognised as one of the major castles of the Welsh Marches, being built in the 11th century to secure the border between Norman England and the Welsh Princes.

Snodhill must be the biggest, oldest castle no-one’s heard of. Its size, scale and obvious elan point to a significance far greater than its scant written records do. This much, however, we think we know:

In 2021 we discovered Stone and Bronze age evidence that showed that the ‘Snodhill’ (possible meaning ‘Cleared hill’) was occupied for thousands of years before the Normans arrived. It is also possible that Snodhill is a very rare pre-Norman castle built around 1050 to guard the fertile Dore Valley and its prosperous Saxon villages at Wilmastone, Dorstone, Peterchurch and Mynydd-brith.

What we know for certain is that the castle was built around 1068 by Norman Superknight William Fitz Osbern, 1st Earl of Hereford, who was campaigning to assert Norman control along the Welsh Marches (he built all the early Norman castles from Chepstow to Wigmore).

Fitz Osbern granted the castle to his loyal knight Hugh l’Asne who held it until his death in 1101, when the castle passed to Robert de Chandos (who had married l’Asne’s daughter).

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