Ludlow through the Ages

Over the next hundred years Ludlow was the centre of rivalry between the Dynans and the de Lacys (mentioned earlier in this publication), and we pick up the story during the reign of Richard I who, in 1198, gave Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, the responsibility of governing Ludlow Castle and its lands. But in the reign of John, Ludlow passed back to the de Lacy family, and in 1241 Walter de Lacy left his estates to his granddaughters, Margery and Maud. On Maud's death Ludlow passed to her son, Peter de Genevill.

In 1303, during the reign of Edward I, Roger de Mortimer (a very famous Shropshire name) married Joane, the widow of Peter de Genevill and became Lord of Ludlow Castle. Edward I was succeeded by Edward II who was a bit of a bad egg, and Roger de Mortimer sided with other discontented barons of the realm and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. But he managed to escape, and, in memory of his escape, built the chapel which still stands in Ludlow Castle.

In the reign of Edward III Roger de Mortimer was created Earl of March and Justice of Wales, but he was destined for a sticky end, and was executed when he was found in bed with the King's mother, and, as if that wasn't enough, he was also accused of the murder of Edward II. His crimes were listed in the celebrated poem "Mirrour of Magistrates".

"Five hainous crimes against him soon were had.
1. First that he causde the King to yeeld the Scott.
(To make a peace) townes that were from him got.
And therewithall the Charter called Ragmau.
2. That of the Scots he had privy gaine,
3. That through his meanes Sir Edward Carnarvon
In Barkley Castle most traiterously was slain.
4. That with his Prince's mother he had laine,
5. And finally with polling at his pleasure
Had rob'd the King and Commons of their treasure."

For his crimes he was executed at Tyburn, hanging (by the King's commandment) "two days and two nights, a public and gladsome spectacle."
Ludlow passed to a grandson of Roger Mortimer and continued in the possession of the Mortimers for some considerable time. "How great, how pious, how numerous these Mortimers were, and lastly how honourable the name went out, being wrapt up in the crown by an heir general," for the Mortimers were involved in the Wars of the Roses, as Edmund Mortimer was related to Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge, who was beheaded by Henry V. But before we get to the Wars of the Roses, we have to deal with another Welshman in the shape of Owen Glendower, during the reign of Henry IV. Owen Glendower objected to English landlords in Wales, in particular the Mortimers, and attacked Radnor Castle which belonged to Roger Mortimer, as well as many other 'English' strongholds. At Knighton, on the Shropshire- Welsh border, Glendower and his men fought an army commanded by Sir Edmund Mortimer. Mortimer lost eleven-hundred men and was himself taken prisoner.

During the Wars of the Roses, Ludlow was a stronghold for the House of York and was the place of rendezvous for supporters of the Duke of York. When Henry's army marched on Ludlow they demanded the surrender of the town. The civilians said yes, but the garrison said no, and fighting between the two broke out within the besieged town. Later, the Yorkists fled and the town and castle were sacked by the King's army. After the Duke of York was slain at the Battle of Wakefield, his son and heir, Edward (a descendant of the Mortimer family), took up the cause and visited Shrewsbury and Ludlow to quickly raise an army which defeated the King's army at Mortimer's Cross, to the south of Ludlow.

Ludlow became a favourite town of Edward after he was crowned, and in the first year of his reign he granted the first Charter of Incorporation.-, "In consideration of the praiseworthy and gratuitous services, which our well beloved and faithful subjects, the Burgesses of the town of Ludlow, have done in aid of recovering the right of the crown of England, withheld from us and our ancestors, and being therefore desirous for the bettering and relief of the town."
With Edward's help, Ludlow was rebuilt. It became a favourite Royal Residence and home to Edward IV's oldest son, Edward, and his younger son, Richard, Duke of York. It was from here, after the death of Edward IV, that the two young princes were taken to London.

After the Battle of Bosworth, Henry VII came to the throne, and by marrying the eldest daughter of Edward IV he united the houses of York and Lancaster. Henry VII, because of his Welsh connections, did much to progressively strip the Marcher Lords of their powers over the Welsh, and what he started was completed by Henry VIII.
In 1501, Prince Arthur, Henry VII's eldest son, married Catherine of Aragon and took up residence in Ludlow Castle with his bride. (He was fifteen, she was eighteen). With reference to that marriage, the writings of Hall give us a curious specimen of the manners and language of those times.

....."Because I will not be tedious I passe over wyse devises, the prudent speches, the costly woorkes, the conninge portratures practised and set foorth in VII goodly beutiful pageauntes erected and set up in diverse places of the citie. I leave also the goodly ballades, the swete armony, the musicall instrumentes, which sounded with heavenly noyes on every side of the strete. I omit farther, the costly apparel both of gold-smythes woorke and embraudery, the ryche jewelles, the massy cheynes, the sturynge horses, the beutiful barbes and the glitterynge trappers, bothe with belles and spangles of golde. I pretermit also the ryche apparelle of the pryncesse, the straunge fashion of the Spanyshe nacion, the beautie of the English ladyes, the goodly demeanure of the young damosels, the amorous countenance of the lusty bachelors, I passe over also the fyne engrayned clothes, the costly furres of the citezens, standynge on skaffoldes, rayled from Gracechurche to Paules. What should I speke of the oderiferous skarlettes, the fyne velvet, the pleasaunt furres, the massye chaynes, which the Mayre of London with the senate, sitting on horsebacke at the little conduyte in Chepe, ware on their bodyes, and about their neckes. I will not molest you with rehersyng the riche arras, the costly tapestry, the fyne clothes bothe of golde and silver, the curious velvettes, the beautiful sattens nor the pleasaunte sylkes, which did hang in every street where she passed, the wyne that ranne continually out of the conduytes, the graveling and rayling of the stretes nedeth not be remembered."

- Having spent so long listing the things he wasn't going to mention, what was left to mention?
But Arthur died the following year and lay in state in Ludlow Castle for three weeks before being buried at Worcester. (continued on next page)