Are all castles owned by great lords, built by kings? Not necessarily. Money is a prerequisite, certainly. Having good connections too.
Raglan castle, which is sited near the Wye valley in South Wales, was owned by William ap Thomas who fought with Henry V at Agincourt and was constructed in a later medieval style using two different sandstones. Thomas came from a lesser Welsh family who obtained money via marriage, then to aid his transformation, a name change to a Herbert, before remodelling the castle on a grander scale.
One later Herbert joined the Royalists cause during the English Civil War and the castle played host to Charles I twice – the king played bowls in the garden. The castle was besieged during the summer of 1646 and when the Parliamentarians dragged in the big guns, in particular Roaring Meg, a large cannon used in the destruction of Goodrich castle, Raglan surrendered. The moat was drained by locals searching for treasure, the library stolen away and the fishponds emptied of carp. General Fairfax ordered the castle slighted, knocking out a huge chunk of the hexagonal great tower. Subsequent owners chose not to renovate the castle and it drifted into further decline.
What I remember from my childhood visit is the great tower surrounded by moat. Splendid, decorative, and for a child, lots of hiding places. I ran ragged around the place.
How many castles were slighted following the civil war isn’t known. Only the ones by the coast were left intact, so to maintain a ring of protection from invaders. The destruction of many castles ultimately led to the end of the castle era. Nobles elected not to rebuild them, rather they preferred the comforts of a manor house or mansion. By the Georgian period, architecture had fundamentally changed the future of grand homes.
They brought out Roaring Meg
To wallop the place
She belched really hard
and blew the wall into shards
With no fish left
and nowhere to bowl
What was the point
of filling in the hole