Dates :31 March – 31 October 2012
Timings : Daily 10.00am – 5.00pm
Last admission 30 minutes before closing
Adult – £2.80
Family – £8.00*
Senior citizens/students/children below 16 – £2.40
Disabled with companion – Am ddim/Free
Prices valid until 31 March 2013
Most beautiful out of all the three castles that are grouped together, White Castle in Monmouthshire was formerly called Llantilio Castle but it got the present name because of the white wash on the walls. The Three Castles -Grosmont, Skenfrith and White – were part of a territory that was under the reign of Hubert de Burgh. White Castle, among the three, is the oldest and was the main castle used as a military post against the Welsh forces.
Construction of the White Castle
The evidences suggest that the castle was constructed probably by William Osbern after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Later his heritage was passed onto his son but the Crown forfeited the land because his son rebelled against King William. As a part of the King’s strategy, the territory was divided for military reasons – united they stood, divided they fell. Defying the king would have been impossible if the three castles had three different owners. From 1075 to 1137, it was the first time in their history that they were owned by different rulers. King Stephen reunited them in 1137.
A royal officer in the late 12th century was instructed to build a curtain wall surrounding the inner wall when he used to supervise work for the King. Hubert got the castles later; lost them when he was incarcerated but the castles were returned to him again. He added 4 towers, round in shape, to the ward inside and 2 D-shaped ones after he got them back. It is also believed that he demolished the Norman tower. After a long struggle, battles and change of owners, the castles were all but abandoned in 1538 and ultimately separated in 1902, sold to three individuals. State got the ownership of the White Castle in 1922 and presently it is preserved by Cadw.
Architecture of the White Castle
White Castle originally just had an inner ward surrounded by moat filled with water and an outer bailey in the south which had a crescent shape and was called hornwork and an area to the north where soldiers would camp around the bank without fearing any surprise attack. The entire structure was made of wood but a stone curtain was constructed around the inner ward and after Hubert de Burgh got the ownership, it was altered massively. During this time, the hornwork in the south no longer served as the entrance; gatehouses with twin towers were constructed on the inner ward’s northern end. Inside the inner ward, there were brewhouse, chapel, kitchen and great hall along with the residences.
The evidences suggest that the outer ward enclosed buildings, one of which was a tall one that is thought be a barn.
Visiting the White Castle
During the time when Fuhrer Rudolf Hess was held at Abergavenny from 1942-1945, he frequently visited the White Castle and it is known that he even painted it. Though White Castle is partially ruined, it has been preserved well by Cadw; there have been very few losses due to time. 1 mile north to the Liantilio Crossney village, the castle is open throughout the year except for summers when the access is limited. Admission timings are from 10 am to 5 pm and the last entry could be made 30 minutes the closing time any day of the week. The cost of admission isn’t very expensive – £2.80 for an adult; children under 16, senior citizens and students at £2.40 and a family with 2 adults and kids below 16 need to pay just £8.00. Disabled have no admittance fee. These prices are valid till March 2013; enquire more details from the administration. Although open from 10am-6pm during the winter season, there is no staff inside and nothing is charged.
While you’re at it, you should probably know a few rules before you’re in Monmouthshire looking at it – smoking is not allowed inside the premise and all the kids below 16 are permitted only with an adult and the parking is free.