The present building originated as a castle in the 14th century and has been much altered since. The Croft estate was founded by a Norman knight, Bernard the Bearded around 1055. Under orders from Edward the Confessor, Bernard built the first Croft Mote and Bailey castle to protect the English borders from the troublesome Welsh. During the Wars of the Roses, Sir Richard Croft fought beside Edward Mortimer at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross, on Croft lands, in 1461 and became a trusted confindante when Mortimer became Edward IV. Richard's wife, Eleanor, was a governess to Edward IV's sons, who were put in the Tower of London by their uncle, Richard III, and never seen again. Their mysterious disappearence and public speculation gave them their title in history as the 'Princes in the Tower'. Sir James Croft carved his name into British history forever by being one of the main leaders of the infamous 1554 Wyatt rebellion against Mary I. He was pardoned and eventually became Elizabeth I’s Comptroller of the Royal Household in 1570.
Throughout the English Civil War, Rev. Herbert Croft was a staunch Royalist and was later rewarded for his loyalty by Charles II. Herbert was selected to be the Bishop of Hereford in 1660 and the Dean of the Royal Chapel in 1668. Herbert's eldest brother, Sir William Croft fought with the Royalist army, and after a fierce battle against the Parliamentarians at Stokesay Castle ensued, he was later killed as he was about to scale the park wall of Croft. Sir Richard Croft (6th Bt) was a leading obstetrician who was elected to care for Princess Charlotte during her labour in November 1817. Charlotte was the wife of Prince Leopold of Germany and daughter of the Prince Regent.
There is also an Iron Age fort, Croft Ambrey, in the parkland. The hill fort at Croft Ambrey is triangular in layout and comprises 32 acres on high ground, a prominent and defensible site. It was archaeologically excavated between 1960 and 1966. There are also three acres of gardens for you to explore. There is separate mobility parking 20 yards away. Wheelchair-accessible transfer. Drop-off point. Mobility toilet facilities at the tea-room. A Wheelchair available. Grounds partly accessible, loose gravel paths, slopes, some cobbles, there is an Accessible route. Induction loop and Sensory experiences. Assistance dogs are welcome. The castle is wheelchair accessible.
Location : Yarpole, near Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 9PW
Transport: Leominster (National Rail) then bus or taxi. Bus Routes : from Leominster, alight at Gorbett Bank, 2¼ miles.
Opening Times : Daily 11:00 to 17:00.
Tickets : Adults £9.45; Children £4.72
Tel: 01568 782120