You've probably noticed, but I have a passion for old buildings and especially castles. We're pretty blessed with them in Wales, having more than any other country in Europe. There's even the ruins of a castle in my village (Castle Meredith). Some are just mounds of earth, but others are real gems.
Usk castle is privately owned and costs £2 to walk around. I've seen the turret when I've been in the town but never been up close. So having a couple of hours spare, I enjoyed the half hour drive and got this aerial blip photo.
The Norman Castle and town are thought to have been founded by 1120 on the site of a Roman fort. Probably built in the 12th century by the de Clare family, the castle was fortified by William Marshal between 1212 and 1213 by the removal of the wooden palisade which was replaced by a stone wall as well as other fortifications to the site. When Gilbert V de Clare was killed at Bannockburn in 1314, Usk passed to Elizabeth de Burgh, and then to the Mortimers (circa 1380)
When nearby Grosmont Castle was sacked in 1405 by Owain Glyndwr, the English garrison took shelter in Usk Castle. Usk was itself beseiged, but the defenders, led by Lord Grey of Codnor, routed the attackers and captured over 300 of the Welsh. In a brutal act of reprisal the prisoners were massacred just outside the castle walls.
The castle later became part of the Duchy of Lancaster and allowed to decay, apart from the outer gatehouse which was incorporated into a house built in the 1680's to accommodate Thomas Herbert, steward of the lordship under the then owner Duke of Beaufort.