History and Stories
Goodrich Castle from the north-west, with the tower that bore the brunt of the Civil War siege in the foreground

Life under Siege at Goodrich Castle

In the 1920s, workers clearing rubble from the courtyard at Goodrich Castle discovered the castle’s well, which had been filled in and buried. The well head had taken a direct hit during the Civil War siege, probably from a shell fired by Roaring Meg.

When the workmen emptied the well to its base, 166 feet down, they found not only fragments of the shell but also many objects relating to the domestic activities that took place in the yard and its service buildings in the mid-17th century.

At the bottom of the well was the bucket with its windlass and chain – all water in the castle would have been drawn by hand and carried to where it was needed. Above these were tools and household equipment mixed in with cannonballs. All were very well-preserved because of the waterlogged conditions in the well. They were covered by a great depth of rubble from the bomb-damaged buildings.

The moat and stables area produced large numbers of cannonballs and other weaponry, as well as horse equipment.

You can explore some of the highlights from the Goodrich Castle collection in the gallery below.


Find out more

  • The Siege of Goodrich Castle

    In 1646 Goodrich Castle was the scene of one of the most hard-fought sieges of the English Civil War, which Parliament finally won with the aid of a huge mortar, known as Roaring Meg. 


    Discover how the Civil Wars unfolded at English Heritage’s properties – from sieges to the Isle of Wight castle where Charles I was imprisoned.

  • The Civil Wars Explained

    Learn about what caused the Civil Wars, how they unfolded, and what their legacy was in this comprehensive guide. 

  • History of Goodrich Castle

    Read a full history of Goodrich Castle, one of the best-preserved medieval castles in England, which was besieged and captured by Parliamentarians during the Civil War of the 17th century.

  • Life in a medieval household

    Goodrich Castle was a thriving medieval household, where sometimes hundreds of people were living at any one time. Find out about some of the household members and their life at the castle.

  • Collections Highlights

    English Heritage cares for more than 700,000 objects. Browse collections highlights from English Heritage sites across the country.