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Castles in Shropshire (Defence in the Medieval Period)
Shropshire is an important county for castles because it is on the Welsh Border. The Normans were unable to conquer the fearsome Welsh and so to protect their conquered territory they created a ‘buffer zone’ populated with castles. The idea of the buffer zone was to quash any attacks by the Welsh and to be able to quickly subdue rebellions. In order to create this buffer zone William gave estates to loyal supporters of his so that they would build castles to protect his kingdom. He could also use the castles close to the border as bases for further forays into Wales in an attempt to conquer it.
The Normans quickly built large numbers of castles in the county and Shropshire quickly became one of the most heavily fortified areas of England. Immediately after the Conquest work began on castles at Shrewsbury, Holdgate and Oswestry and soon after at Ludlow, Bishop’s Castle and Clun.
At Shrewsbury 51 houses were destroyed and a further 50 laid to waste by the construction of the castle by Roger de Montgomery. It is thought that Roger de Montgomery alone built more than seventy motte and bailey castles in Shropshire and it is estimated that there are over 150 castles in the county, varying from simple motte and bailey to large and impressive stone structures.