Hereford City Heritage

The Mayor’s Chain


‘Roaring Meg’ - once seen at Castle Green, then at Churchill Gardens - from where it has been ‘loaned’ to Goodrich Castle by the Herefordshire Council.

This historic canon was used by Parliamentary forces to batter the walls of Goodrich Castle in 1646, towards the end of the Civil War. Colonel Birch, then Governor of Hereford, had it specially cast - in the Forest of Dean - and it was capable of throwing a 2-hundredweight shell. His secretary, Roe, spoke of it with admiration ‘by reason of a great mortorpiece you made there (the biggest in England) the enimy was terrified, much of the inner part of the castle ffalen downe, and the roofs spoyled.’

After the Royalists, under Sir Harry Lingen, had surrendered Goodrich Castle, Birch arranged for Roaring Meg to be brought to the city.For many years it stood upside down as a corner-post at the corner of Gwynne Street and Bridge Street - outside the inn to which it gave its name. ?It was moved to Castle Green in 1839. Much later it was moved to Churchill Gardens Museum on Aylestone Hill. In 2004 it was loaned to Goodrich Castle by Herefordshire Council. The loss of Roaring Meg from outside the inn led to the inn’s name being changed and by 1861 it had become known as the St Catherine Wheel - one of several inns of that name. Shortly afterwards the inn closed.

(extracted from ‘The Pubs of Hereford City’ by  Ron Shoesmith. published by Logaston)