Stokesay Castle is a fortified manor house built in the 1280s and 1290s by Laurence of Ludlow, a very wealthy wool merchant. Stokesay took its name from the Anglo-Saxon word stoches, meaning cattle farm, and the surname of the de Says family, who had held the land from the beginning of the 12th century onwards.
Architecturally, Stokesay Castle is "one of the best-preserved medieval fortified manor houses in England", according to historian Henry Summerson. The castle comprises a walled, moated enclosure, with an entrance way through a 17th-century timber and plaster gatehouse. Inside, the courtyard faces a stone hall and solar block, protected by two stone towers. The hall features a 13th-century wooden-beamed ceiling, and 17th-century carved figures ornament the gatehouse and the solar. The castle was never intended to be a serious military fortification, but its style was intended to echo the much larger castles being built by Edward I in North Wales. Originally designed as a prestigious, secure, comfortable home, the castle has changed very little since the 13th century, and is a rare, surviving example of a near complete set of medieval buildings.
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