Stokesay Castle was constructed at the end of the 13th century by Laurence of Ludlow, who at the time was one of the richest men in England. The castle has a turbulent history, however, including the death of its first owner, the financial ruin of another and experienced significant demolishment during the Civil War.
The wealthy widow and former Mayoress of London, Dame Elizabeth Craven (died 1624) bought the castle for £13,500 in 1620. The estates around Stokesay were now valuable, bringing in over £300 a year in income.
Elizabeth's son, William, spent little time at Stokesay and by the 1640s had leased it out to Charles Baldwyn, and his son Samuel. He rebuilt the gatehouse during 1640 and 1641, however, at a cost of around £533. In 1643 the English Civil War broke out between the supporters of King Charles I and Parliament. A Royalist supporter, William spent the war years at Elizabeth Stuart's court at the Hague, and gave large sums of money to the King's war effort. William installed a garrison in the castle, where the Baldwins were also strong Royalists, and, as the conflict progressed, the county of Shropshire became increasingly Royalist in sympathies.
We portrayed a variety of people living in the castle at the time, from soldiers, servants, to the owner's sister, so they could talk about the different aspects of life during the Wars.