St. Briavel's Castle, Gloucestershire

Of the surprisingly few medieval Castles on the Gloucestershire/Wales border, only St. Briavel's is of much note.  It seems a ridiculously large Castle for its tiny village, but this was always a dangerous area and a Castle was a sensible precaution.

The first Castle, of which most of the curtain wall remains, was built by Miles FitzWalter during the Anarchy in a strong point overlooking the River Wye.  He also built a great keep, but only the foundation and a few bits of rubble remain of this.  After the Anarchy, Henry II took possession. King John was especially fond of St. Briavel's and used it frequently whilst hunting in the nearby Royal Forest of Dean.

The most dominant feature of the Castle today is Edward I's very solid looking gatehouse (pictured above) which was constructed early in his reign before he reached in Wales and whose design predicts that of Castles like Harlech and Caernarvon.

Most of its life has been uneventful, which is probably how it has survived in such good condition. The Castle is owned by English Heritage and is open during the summer months.  It also operates as a Youth Hostel throughout the year.

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