The village of Clifford is in West Herefordshire on the B4350, two and a half miles north east of Hay-on-Wye.
The remains of the castle are to the west of the village by the river Wye.
SO 241457

Article by Paul Remfry
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Photo: Paul Remfry

Clifford castle was obtained by the Mortimer family during the troubled reign of King Edward II (1307-1327). The castle was last garrisoned in 1403 and has probably been a ruin from the fifteenth century onwards.

Clifford castle now consists of the great motte constructed by William FitzOsbern back in the late 1060's. This was later sub-divided and the eastern part was crowned by an ovoid shell keep with five D-shaped towers in its circuit. Its north wall appears to overlie part of William Fitz Osbern’s original hall. To the east of the motte is the castle bailey. Most of the walls of this structure have disappeared, but centrally are the remains of a twin-towered gatehouse. To the west of the castle is a broken earthwork dam which would have flooded the valley to the south of the castle. With the River Wye to the north the fortress would have been surrounded by water on all sides except for the east. As such it would have been a very difficult fortress to take by storm. Half a mile to the south are the remains of the castle borough with the church of Clifford.

Photo: Paul Remfry