3rd December 1329.
The castle combined domestic and military use, being the transitional stage between the fort, built for military use, and the later fortified, domesticated manor house and palace, of the later nobility.
Today in 1329 it was noted in the Patent Rolls, that Joan the late the wife of Richard Thalebot (Talbot), planned to leave Richard’s Castle to John de Wotton, chaplain, and William Balle of Underlithe, in fee simple.(1)
Thus the Talbots were still living in the castle, near Ludlow, in the early 14th century: two centuries later in 1540, the traveller John Leland, said it was ‘standing, but ruinous’.(2)
The Normans were in England well before the Conquest, as Edward the Confessor, a cousin of William of Normandy, on his return to England after Canute’s death, had invited Norman nobles to help him defend Herefordshire from the Welsh, and so to become marcher lordships.
Back in the 11th century Richard Fitz Scrob (Scrope) a Norman knight was granted lands by The Confessor, before the Conquest in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, as recorded in Domesday Book.
Richard’s Castle built in the area c 1051, constituted one of four built in pre-Conquest England. It was mentioned in Domesday as Aureton present day Orleton and was important in the days of the powerful Mortimers. It declined however as their Wigmore seat, was only seven miles away.
Wigmore had been built by William’s staunch supporter William Fitzobern who had been granted lands on the Welsh marches, where he built the castle.(3)
The castle was of the motte and bailey type, coming from a French word ‘mote’- the meaning gradually moved from the mound to the moat.
(1) Fee simple or ‘fee simple absolute’ in English law, is estate in lands, and is a form of freehold, the way land is owned in common law countries.
(2) From Tudor times it was owned by the Salwey Family for 370 years.
(3) Other castles in the area were those at Clun and Ludlow.
Ref: sparknotes.com/history.High Middle Ages. 1000-1200.
Ref: Pic Ref: Google Images.richards+castle.
Ref: Castles QI by Anne Miller and John Mitchinson Daily Telegraph, Saturday June 8th 2013.