#95 Chepstow Castle
This is NOT an official Lego site
This project is in honor of Frances and Joseph Gies, my aunt and uncle, whose many books about medieval life and castles,
beginning with Life in a Medieval City in 1969, have been a continuing source of inspiration to me. Their Life in a Medieval
Castle, published by Crowell in 1974, tells the story of Chepstow Castle and can still be found 30 years later in many bookstores.
Castle is one of the most famous and formidible
fortresses in Wales. The castle is located on the River
Wye which divides England from south Wales, near the main
road from Gloucestershire into Gwent. Guarding the bridge
on the most southern coastal land route into Wales,
Chepstow's importance increased because the steep river
cliffs of the Wye left no other useable crossing until
one reached Monmouth about 15 miles up the river (see
Monnow Bridge page). The castle also guarded the
flourishing Norman town of Cheap-stow (= 'the market town')
at the mouth of the Wye.
construction of Chepstow began within months of the
battle of Hastings, when William fitz Osbern was made
Earl of Hereford and built Chepstow 1 (see stages below)
as his base for the conquest of the Welsh kingdom of
Gwent. The Great Keep in the center is the earliest
dateable secular building in Britain. Chepstow was
granted to the de Clare family about 1115, but no new
construction was done until the castle, part of the vast
inheritance of Isabella de Clare upon the death of her
father Strongbow, passed to William Marshall upon his
marriage to Isabella. William's addition of two towers to
the vulnerable east end of the castle was greatly
augmented by the further additions by 4 of his 5 sons
between 1219 and 1245. These improvements included the
lower ward with its gatehouse on the east end and the
upper ward on the west end with two separate battlemented
residential towers. The west end of the Great Tower was
heightened as well.
Marshall brothers all died childless by 1245 and the
families holdings were thus divided among the sisters.
The eldest, Maud, received Chepstow which she passed upon
her death to son Roger Bigod II, the Earl of Norfolk.
While the Earl's interests were elsewhere, his son Roger
Bigod III was very interested in his Marcher lordship
when he inherited Chepstow in 1270. The lower ward of the
castle received an enlarged curtain tower and a major
residential range, the west end was strengthened further
with the barbican gatehouse, and the Great Tower was
further embellished. Bigod's numerous building projects
left him in debt and Chepstow passed to the king upon his
death in 1306. Most major action was avoided at Chepstow
until the Civil War, when the castle's impregnable
location and medeival defenses quickly succumbed to
Osbern's castle about
William Marshall the
Elder's castle with new defenses,
Chepstow is enlarged by'
the younger Marshalls from 1219-1245.
Roger Bigod III completes
Chepstow as his noble residence from
1270 to 1300.
Plan of Chepstow Castle
the ruin with key
about 1240 (Chepstow 3)
the Great Tower'
about 1250 (Chepstow 3)
Construction began January 17, 2004. Castle finally completed April 25.
of layout - with Marten's
Tower outlines in the foreground.
along the River Wye
begin to take shape...
Marten's Tower at a
45º angle is one of several
difficult tasks to resolve in Lego.
continues on the
Outer Gatehouse and
February 22 the east
face is complete, protecting the
castle's most vulnerable part.
view from the river of
the almost finished Residential
Range & Marten's Tower.
13 the eastern Outer and
Wards are completed, and the Great
Tower rises on the west end...
shows the completed
Residential Range plus the
Great Tower and Gallery forming.
of the Lego Model
Built Winter-Spring 2004
The model contains 26,352 bricks, making it the third largest of my castles, after Chillon and Wartburg. It is of course
the longest! The castle itself was built with 16,785 light gray Lego bricks; the cliff with 3,150 dark gray bricks and
plates plus 116 BURPs and LURPs; and the landscaping with 1007 green slopes.
view approaching the
outer bailey from the northeast.
from the east with the
huge Marten's tower.
10 foot, 1 inch model from the
scene showing some of
the residential range in the
detail of the
gate between the lower
and middle baileys.
|And a view
of the residential
range, middle ward and great
tower from the WNW.
beneath the Hall
Block - used to supply the
castle from the river.
view of the Great Tower
and its gallery, plus the upper ward.
|A panorama of the entire castle from the south.||The castle from the WSW.|
barbican and upper bailey also
guard the massive Great Tower
gatehouse is the
west entrance to Chepstow.
barbican with the timber-
backed south-west tower.
barbican and upper bailey
are separated by yet another
The plan for Chepstow was drawn in 1990, but at that time I not only
lacked the Lego to build the castle, the old ping pong table on which
I built would not handle an 8'6" model. Not a problem with the new
table though! The model is expanded to 10 feet!
link to the 76KB Lego Plan - good for an overview but not
large enough for an actual builder. Therefore I've broken the plan into
4 overlapping sections, each large enough to be readable.
Other Chepstow Castle pages:
Return to the
Castles created by
Page created & maintained by Robert Carney