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Rochester Castle

Castle and cathedral stand close together beside the River Medway. For once, it
is the castle, which dominates, the squat cathedral tower seeming insignificant
alongside the magnificent keep. This is the tallest of the Norman keeps, rising
115 feet to the top of its corner turrets.

Archbishop Corbeil's keep is intact save for the loss of its roof and floors. A
relatively small floor area accentuates the height; small that is when compared
with an immense cuboid such as Dover. The keep is five stages high, including
the double story, which contained the hall and solar. Originally, the only
entrance was at first floor level via a fore building.

The fore building is a tall and narrow projection, higher than most fore
buildings, though it does not rise the full height of the keep. It contains a
vaulted prison chamber beneath the entrance vestibule and an austere chapel,
which was reached from the body of the keep, above it. At this level, the cross
wall is pierced by a four-bay arcade.

In the middle of the cross wall, a well shaft rises the full height of the keep
so that water could be drawn at each level. Rochester is one of those ambitious
keeps with a mural gallery at the upper level around the hall and solar. The
windows here are unusually large for a Norman keep -- presumably at this height
they were considered to be out of reach of siege towers. The top floor above
the gallery level, also well lit, is a luxury matched among Norman keeps only
at Hedingham Castle, which may have been designed by the same architect.

Three of the corner turrets, rising well above parapet level, are square, but
the south corner turret is circular. This whole corner belongs to Henry III's
reconstruction after the siege of 1215.

Cooling Castle

Cooling Castle, a mile east of Cliffe, was built for Sir John de Cobham, a
license to crenellate being granted in 1381. Two years before, French raiders
had caused devastation on the Hoo peninsula, so Cooling was built at least
partly with coastal defense in mind.

Ironically, but not uncommonly where English coastal fortifications are
concerned, the castle saw no action against foreign invaders but became
embroiled in civil strife. In 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt sought the aid of Lord
Cobham in the rebellion that he was organizing to prevent Queen Mary marrying
Philip of Spain. When Lord Cobham refused, Wyatt marched upon Cooling Castle
and breached its walls by cannon fire in the space of a few hours. After the
episode, the castle was abandoned.

The castle is one of those later medieval castles which is split into two
enclosures comprising a residential inner quadrangle and a much bigger base
court, which housed the retainers' lodgings and ancillary buildings. Its
low-lying site would have appeared stronger when the moat was full of water.

The outer curtain and its rounded angle towers are now very ruinous, but the
outer gatehouse is well preserved. This is actually just a gateway flanked by
open-backed, half-round towers. It is curious that machicolated parapets crown
the towers but not the gateway.

The inner courtyard is reached through another gatehouse flanked by rounded
turrets. Keyhole gun ports appear here and elsewhere in the walls. To the right
of the gatehouse, the curtain is embellished with alternate panels of stone and
flint, creating a checkered effect. The corner tower here has vanished, but the
round towers at the other three corners, along with much of the intervening
curtain, still stand. These towers were machicolated as well. Within the
courtyard, the only domestic feature to survive is a vaulted undercroft, which
carried the solar.

Carisbrooke Castle

Carisbrooke Castle is an extensive fortress situated on a hill about a mile
southwest of Newport, virtually in the center of the Isle of Wight. As a
fortification, it has a very long history, because the Norman castle is raised
on the site of a Roman fort and is surrounded in turn by Elizabethan defenses
designed to withstand artillery.

The Elizabethan rampart surrounds the two baileys of the Norman castle in
concentric fashion. This low, artillery-proof earthwork is encased in stone.
There are arrowhead bastions at the corners and a fifth one on the west,
commanding the entrance. Beyond the simple gateway through the rampart, one is
confronted with the main gatehouse. It began as a thirteenth century gate tower
but in 1336, at the start of the Hundred Years War, Edward III extended it

Round turrets flank the handsome fašade and there is a row of machicolations
above the entrance. The long gate passage, with three portcullis grooves, leads
into a western bailey, which occupies the site of the Roman fort. Instead of
utilizing the Roman wall, the Normans raised a massive rampart over it and
piled up a lofty motte in one corner. Nevertheless, the Roman masonry still
peeks out from the bank in several places.

Before long, a polygonal shell keep was placed on the motte and a new wall was
built on top of the bailey rampart. The rampart is so powerful that the curtain
only needs to be of modest height.

During the Elizabethan modifications, artillery bastions were added at the
south corners of the curtains, but encased within both are square, open-backed
towers. Clearly, they are early examples of mural towers and they are too small
and too widely spaced to be effective as flankers. They support the written
evidence that the curtain was built by Baldwin de Redvers.

Deal Castle

Henry VIII built three forts -Deal, Walmer and Sandown-along a two-mile stretch
of shore to hamper any attacks. An earth rampart, with intermittent bastions,
linked them but that has since perished. The whole scheme was finished by the
fall of 1540.

Deal Castle, the central fort of the three, was the largest of all Henry VIII's
forts. Here the characteristic geometrical layout of the series attains its most
elaborate form. The result, whether by accident or design, is a sexfoil plan
reminiscent of a Tudor rose.

At the center is a squat, round tower with six semi-circular bastions
projecting from its circumference, and surrounding that is a massive curtain
arranged into six projecting lobes. There is thus a return to the concentricity
of Edwardian castles, a key feature being the graduated height of the parapets
to permit cannon fire from three levels simultaneously.

The stone-faced ditch is guarded by fifty-four gun ports set in the curtain,
each one in a small chamber reached from the gallery at basement level. The gun
ports are widely splayed embrasures typical of the Henrician era. One of the
outer lobes is higher than the rest and contains the entrance, formerly reached
by a drawbridge across the ditch.

Within the gate passage are all the traditional trappings of defense -
portcullis groove, studded oak gates and murder holes in the vault. To reach
the central tower, it is necessary to pass through the courtyard, in fact no
more than a curving corridor between the central tower and the curtain. It
would have been a death trap for attackers attempting to make their way to the
tower entrance while under fire from either side.

The central tower had store rooms, garrison's lodgings and the governor's
residence crammed into its three floors. Timber partitions radiate from a
central stone shaft, which contains a spiral stair.

Trematon Castle

Trematon Castle stands on an eminence rising steeply above the River Lynher,
two miles southwest of Saltash and the Tamar estuary. Robert, Count of Mortain
and Earl of Cornwall probably founded the castle. It is referred to as his in
the Domesday Book. At that time Trematon was a place of some importance whereas
now it is scarcely a village. The castle saw action in the Civil War and,
earlier, in the course of Kilter's Insurrection which broke out in Cornwall in
1594. The rebels laid siege to the castle and managed to lure out and capture
its defender, Sir Richard Grenville.

Trematon is a fine example of a motte and bailey castle. It is even more
notable for the excellent preservation of its late Norman masonry, almost
certainly the work of Henry de Dunstanville. An oval shell keep crowns the
motte and a plain curtain surrounds the bailey. Both keep and curtain retain
their crennelations, the latter having unusually narrow merlons. Until 1897 the
curtain stood complete, but in that year a long portion was removed to supply
materials for the house that stands in the bailey. Consequently, there is now a
long gap between the gatehouse and the southwest corner of the bailey.

At the foot of the motte is an original postern. He main entrance is through a
perfectly preserved gatehouse added by Reginald de Valletort around 1250. Its
square plan is decidedly old-fashioned at a time when round-towered gatehouses
predominated. Nevertheless, the gatehouse projects entirely outside the line of
the curtain, so that it acts as a powerful flanking tower, and the gate passage
was defended by two portcullises and a pair of gates between them. The ascent
through the gate passage is an obstacle in itself. Note the first arrow slits
of the castle, both the cross-slits on the keep parapet and the slits with
roundels in the gatehouse.

Ashby Castle

Ashby-de-ka-Zouche takes its name from the Zouche family whose line died out in
1399. In 1464, Ashby was one of the estates granted to William, Lord Hastings,
as a reward for his services to Edward IV. Hastings held the office of Lord
Chamberlain and, in 1474, he obtained a license to crenellate his houses at
Ashby and Kirby Muxloe.

During the Civil War, Henry Hastings strengthened the castle with earthen
redoubts and turned it into the chief center of Royalist resistance in the
county. The garrison endured over a year of siege before surrendering on
honorable terms in February, 1646. The Hastings Tower was slighted by order of
Parliament, but the rest of the castle remained habitable into the eighteenth
century. It is now all ruined.

Before Lord Hastings, there was only a manor house here, though it was a fine
one in keeping with the status of the Zouches. Hastings made the older
buildings the core of his mansion. They form a range centered upon a late
Norman hall, flanked by the solar and a buttery and pantry wing. In the
fourteenth century, the massive kitchen was added to the complex. Lord Hastings
modernized these buildings and extended the range with the addition of a fine
chapel in the prevailing Perpendicular style.

Following the license to crenellate, he built a curtain around the manor house
and raised the mighty square tower, which is named after him. The curtain
cannot have been a very formidable obstacle -- only a portion survives-but the
Hastings Tower is still impressive. It is one of the best examples of a late
medieval tower house, providing its owner with a dignified but secure
residence. It stands detached from the manorial buildings, facing them across
the courtyard. The tower is built in very fine ashlar masonry.

Tonbridge Castle

Guarding a crossing over the River Medway, the important castle of Tonbridge
was founded by Richard Fitz Gilbert. It existed by 1088, when Rufus stormed the
castle with the help of a native English army raised to quell the rebellion of
Bishop Odo of Bayeux. Despite his involvement in this revolt, Fitz Gilbert
retained possession.

The castle is an impressive example of a Norman motte and bailey -- a layout
curiously rare in Kent. On top of the great motte are the lower courses of a
round shell keep. The bailey curtain dates from thirteenth century, probably
from the time of the earlier Gilbert de Clare or his son, Richard. Owing to
later stone robbing, it is now very ruinous and none of the flanking towers
survive. The curtain is best preserved where it overlooks the river, four
latrine chutes showing that residential buildings once stood here.

The Red Earl's gate house, by contrast, is still an imposing structure. Newly
built in 1275, when Edward I visited the castle, the gatehouse is an
outstanding example of Edwardian military architecture. Massive U-fronted
towers, rising from square bases, flank the long entrance passage, which was
protected by two portcullises, two pairs of gates and three rows of murder
holes in the vault. Circular stair turrets clasp the rear corners.

The building is a classic example of a keep-gate house, which could be defended
independently if the rest of the castle fell. Hence the inner gates barred
access from the bailey and portcullises sealed off even the doors leading to
the curtain wall walks. A hall occupied the whole of the second floor of the
gatehouse. This awkward arrangement was necessary, since the chamber
immediately over the gate passage would be clogged with drawbridge and
portcullia winding gear. An eighteenth century house stands beside the

Raby castle

Raby Castle stands within a vast park to the north of Staindrop. Despite the
alterations inevitable in a castle that has become a stately home, Raby ranks
among the finest of later medieval fortified mansions. It reflects the
aspirations of the Neville family, who became the most powerful of the Bishop
of Durham's vassals. Ralph, Lord Neville, commanded the English forces at the
Battle of Neville's Cross and probably started building here. His son John
obtained a license to crenellate in 1378, but the castle was probably nearly
complete by then.

The irregular layout suggests a piecemeal development around an older
residential core. On the east side of the courtyard is a hall range, with a
small tower -- the original pele -- attached to it. This was built up into a
pentagonal enclosure surrounded by residential ranges. Massive, oblong flanking
towers project at regular intervals. Clifford's Tower is the largest of them,
placed at the northwest apex. Next comes the Kitchen Tower at the northeast

The east front was peculiar because its towers project deeply from the back of
the hall range. There was thus a deep recess between Mount Raskelf, an adjunct
of the Kitchen Tower, and the Chapel Tower in the middle of the east front.
However, an eighteenth-century block has filled the recess. The same has
happened to the void between Chapel Tower and Bulmer's Tower. The latter once
stood curiously isolated from the rest of the castle and was therefore
presumably a tower house.

Two campaigns in particular affected the appearance of the castle. In 1782,
John Carr drove a carriageway through the Chapel Tower and heightened the lower
hall at the expense of the great hall and chapel above. The second was the
rebuilding of the south range and the extension of the great hall in the 1840s.

Chester Castle

Chester originated as the Roman legionary fortress of Deva. Stone defenses
first rose around AD 100 and for the next three centuries it housed the
Twentieth Legion. When the Roman occupation came to an end the site appears to
have been deterred, but the Danes took refuge one winter behind the old walls
and withstood a Saxon attempt to dislodge them. This prompted Ethelred, Earl of
Mercia, to establish a burgh here on the Wessex pattern in 907. It put up a rare
resistance to William the Conqueror but fell in 1070. The present city wall is
largely of the thirteenth century, a period when most English towns rebuilt
their defenses.

Underlying the medieval defenses are the remains of the legionary fortress.
This had the usual rectangular plan of Roman forts, with rounded corners and a
gate on each side. The city wall follows the Roman alignment on the north and
east. Near Newgate can be seen the foundation of the Roman angle tower where
the two walls parted company.

King Charles' Tower, at the north-east corner, is the best of the mural towers.
From here Charles I watched the Battle of Rowton Heath. However, an even more
impressive tower is the cylindrical Water Tower, added in 1322-26 at the end of
an embattled spur wall which projects from the north-west corner of the circuit.

Chester Castle occupies a knoll overlooking the river at the south end of the
walled city. Before the defenses were extended it stood outside their circuit.
William the Conqueror founded the castle after the city had fallen, but he soon
made Hugh d'Avranches Earl of Chester and granted the castle to him. The tower's
upper floor contains a vaulted chapel in Norman Traditional style, adorned with
the remains of newly-discovered frescoes. A length of inner curtain also

Penhurst Place

At the heart of this great mansion is one of England's finest medieval manor
houses. Sir John de Pulteney, four times Lord Mayor of London, built it after
he purchased the manor about 1338. His house conforms to the usual domestic
layout of the later Middle Ages, the hall being flanked on one side by service
rooms and on the other by the solar block.

Porches from both north and south lead into the screened passage of the hall.
This magnificent chamber is virtually untouched by time, and its chestnut roof
is one of the glories of medieval carpentry. Its main beams are supported on
carved figures, other authentic features being the tiled floor, the step up to
the dais and the central hearth. The louvre in the roof has been cunningly

The carved Tudor screen conceals three doors leading to the buttery, the
kitchen corridor and the pantry. The large solar, now equipped as a dining
room, lies over a vaulted undercroft of unusual grandeur.

At right angles to the solar is the so-called Buckingham Wing, added to augment
the accommodation by John, Duke of Bedford. He bought Penshurst in 1430, while
Regent of England, on behalf of his young nephew, Henry VI.

The Duke if Bedford enclosed the manor house within a great square of walls and
towers. There were towers at each corner and probably in the middle of each
side. The house stood well inside the enclosure so comfort did not have to be

Eighteenth century demolition has robbed Penshurst of its surrounding curtain,
deliberately restoring a domestic ambience. Only four of the oblong towers live
on. The western corner towers form part of the present mansion, linked to the
older core by long wings of Elizabethan origin. The other two are gate towers.

Leicester Castle

Leicester originated as the Roman Ratae, was occupied by the Danes as one of
their Five Boroughs, then fortified against them following English re-conquest
of the Danelaw. Hugh de Grantmesnil became Sheriff of Leicester after the
Norman Conquest and he probably founded the castle on the King's behalf.

Nothing is left of Leicester's Roman and medieval town wall. Furthermore, the
castle has only survived as a number of isolated fragments. It stood beside the
River Soar. Castle Yard marks the site of the inner bailey and the truncated
Norman motte can still be seen there. The defenses of the bailey have perished
but there are two interesting domestic survivals.

The seventeenth century fašade of the Court House conceals a remarkable Norman
hall. It was originally divided into aisles by two lines of wooden posts, but
only on carved capital remains in place and the building has suffered from
later partitioning.

The adjacent church of St. Mary de Castro originated as an unusually sumptuous
castle chapel, founded as a collegiate establishment about 1107, by the first
Robert de Beaumont. Portions of elaborate Norman work have survived a heavy
Victorian restoration. The church stood within its own precinct, entered
through the surviving timber-framed gatehouse.

Henry, the blind Earl of Lancaster, enlarged the castle in the 1330s. He added
a large outer court known as the Newarke, enclosing a religious complex
comparable to the lower ward of the Windsor Castle. The center of this complex
was a second and larger collegiate church. This no longer survives but Trinity
Hospital is still in use as an almshouse, preserving its chapel and infirmary
arcades. Two gatehouses nearby are the only remnants of the defenses, both the
legacy of a rebuilding program under the Lancastrian kings. Turret Gate, a
simple ruin, led from the Newarke into the inner bailey.

Wigmore Castle

According to the Domesday Book, this was one of the strongholds founded by
William Fitz Osbern, Earl of Hereford. Soon after the castle was granted to
Ralph de Mortimer. Henry II captured the castle from Hugh de Mortimer in 1155,
and it was here that Prince Edward obtained refuge following his escape from
Hereford Castle in 1265.

The most notorious of the line was Roger Mortimer, first Earl of March, who
played a leading part in the deposition and murder of Edward II. In concert
with his lover, Queen Isabella, Mortimer ruled England for three years until
being overthrown by the young Edward III. He died on the gallows at Tyburn and
Wigmore was given to the Earl of Salisbury, but the Mortimers regained their
lands and title by marriage. They served with distinction during the Hundred
Years War, but in 1425, the Mortimer line died out and the castle more or less
died with them.

The castle is in a very precarious condition nowadays, its walls overgrown or
buried in debris, and threatening to crumble further unless essential work is
carried out. If the remains were to be excavated and consolidated, Wigmore
would be a castle of considerable interest, but at present there is just an
atmosphere of desolation. It is a powerfully sited, motte and bailey stronghold
with a lot of masonry still standing. The oval shell keep on the large motte
incorporates Norman portions, but all the other stonework belongs to a
reconstruction of about 1300, probably undertaken by the infamous Roger
Mortimer. There are three towers on the line of the bailey curtain, two oblong
and one half round. The largest tower contained a suite of chambers and is
divided by a cross wall. Note the arch of the gatehouse, half buried in an
accumulation of earth.

Berkhamsted Castle

Robert, Count of Mortain and Earl of Cornwall probably founded Berkhansted
Castle. It was certainly held by him at the time of the Domesday survey. As
William I's half-brother, Robert did well for himself out of the Norman
Conquest, but his son made the mistake of supporting Robert of Normandy against
Henry I. As a result, the Crown confiscated the castle. During the twelfth
century it was leased to certain individuals, including Thomas Becket.

The castle is a classic example of a motte and bailey stronghold, even if roads
and railway have gnawed at its edges. The motte is tall and conical, and a
double ditch surrounds the bailey with a rampart in between. Until the 1950s,
the inner ditch remained full of water.

In front of the outer ditch, on the north and east sides, following the
circumference of the motte, rises a strong rampart. It is probably a concentric
defense provided by Richard of Cornwall, though it has been suggested that the
earth bastions that project from it could have been raised as platforms for
treuchets during the Dauphin Louis' siege.

The shell keep, which crowned the motte, has vanished but there are remains of
the walls that descended to join the bailey curtain. Considerable lengths of
this flint curtain survive, especially on the east side. At least some of the
masonry dates from the time when Thomas Becket occupied the castle, though the
money came from Henry II's executor.

Three semi-circular towers flanked the curtain, and if they date from Becket's
tenure they are remarkably early. Little more than foundations are left of the
towers now. The stump of a large oblong structure on the west curtain is
probably the tower built by Richard of Cornwall in 1254. Foundations show that
the north end of the bailey was walled off to form a separate enclosure, in
effect a barbican in front of the motte.

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle, midway between Wareham and Swanage, is one of the most dramatic
of English ruins. It stands on an isolated hill which forms part of the Purbeck
range, towering over the picturesque village of the same name. The late Saxon
kings had a palace here and it was outside the gates that Edward the Martyr was
murdered in a family coup that put Ethelred the Unready on the throne.

The site allowed for two baileys of unequal size flanking a steep-sided summit,
which forms a natural motte. The ring work known as The Rings, a quarter mile to
the southwest is probably the siege fort of Matilda. Edward II was held captive
here for a while between his abdication and murder. After that, the castle was
seldom visited by its royal owners and fell into decay.

The marvel of Corfe Castle is the way in which the masonry has held together
despite the most determined attempts to blow it up. Walls and towers have bowed
outwards, even slid down the hillside, but a great deal stands nevertheless. The
approach from the village is through a wide outer gate with rounded flanking
towers. This is Edward I's only contribution to the castle.

It leads into the large outer bailey, its curtain flanked by seven half-round
bastions which are closely spaced on the southwest where the terrain is most
vulnerable. The bailey ascends to another round-towered gatehouse, still an
impressive structure despite having split into two halves during the slighting.
A stairway from the gatehouse leads upward in the thickness of a wing-wall to
the keep on the summit. Otherwise, the route to the top involves passing
through the West Bailey, which was walled by King John. Its wall converge to a
western point, guarded by the octagonal Butavant Tower, which has been
destroyed to its foundation.

Saltwood Castle

Saltwood Castle is part ruined and part restored and sits upon a hill above the
old Clinque Port of Huthe. Henry de Essex, Constable of England and Lord Warden
of the Cinque Ports, is credited with the construction of the castle, at least
in its stone form, at some point during the Anarchy.

The inner bailey occupies an oval ring work surrounded by a curtain wall of
Norman masonry. Archbishop Courtenay added the two square towers, which project
from the south curtain, but three odd Norman towers also remain. They project
internally like the interval towers of Roman forts, which seem to confirm a
date around the mid twelfth century when there was room for experimentation in
such matters.

The eastern tower was later adapted to form the inner part of Archbishop
Courtenay's handsome gatehouse. The entrance from the bailey is now blocked.
This gatehouse, probably designed by the celebrated master mason Henry Yevele,
his tall, cylindrical towers at the outer corners and a row of machicolations
between them. It is big enough for a keep-gatehouse and it remains the
inhabited part of Saltwood Castle, supplemented by more recent wings on either

Within the bailey there are, unusually, two halls. The ruined hall backing onto
the curtain dates from the early fourteenth century as its window tracery
reveals. The other is said to have been Archbishop Courtenay's audience
chamber. It is largely a modern reconstruction, though the vaulted undercroft
is original.

Courtenay is also credited with the walling of the triangular outer bailey,
though the so-called Roman Tower incorporates older masonry. The outer curtain
is at the present very ruinous, but it preserves two round flanking towers and
a lower part of a gate tower. The approach to the latter is commanded by one of
the towers of the inner curtain.

Lyndford Castles

Now a small village on the edge of Dartmoor, Lyndford was a burgh in late Saxon
times. Its situation, on a promontory overlooking the River Lyd, has steep falls
on all sides except one. A rampart defends the level approach

The first castle of Lyndford was the ring work at the west corner of the
promontory, now known as the Norman Fort. It did not stay in use for long and
the present Lyndford Castle stands nearby, the parish church occupying the
space between them.

At first sight the castle seems to be a motte and bailey earthwork with a
square keep on top of the mound. This is an illusion, however, because the keep
was built first and earth was piled around its lower part as if to emulate a
motte. It is also questionable as to whether we can regard this building as a
keep in the normal sense of the word. In 1195 a strong house for prisoners was
erected and the 'keep' has been identified with it.

There is further complication in that only the ground floor is original, the
upper stories being added after a gap in building operations. There is
absolutely no refinement in the stonework, resulting in a grim tower, which
seems to add weight to the prison theory. By the time the building resumed, a
square keep was rather antiquated in any case. Internally, there is nothing to
suggest that this tower was not a normal keep, though later alterations have
been numerous. Even the cross-wall is a rebuilding.

Notwithstanding the circumstances in which it was built, the castle
subsequently did serve mainly as a courthouse and prison. This was inevitable
because Lyndford was the administrative center of the Forest of Dartmoor and
the local tin mines. These provided important revenue for the Crown.

Dover Castle

Dover Castle rises high above the town and harbor, crowning a hill, which ends
at the White Cliffs. This site was first fortified in the Iron Age and the
medieval castle fills the area defined by the ancient hill fort -- thirty-five
acres. The castle, therefore, is of extraordinary size and exceptional strength.

The keep is one of the greatest of square Norman keeps. It is a mighty cube,
nearly a hundred feet long in each direction, with square corner turrets and
the most elaborate of fore buildings. This fore building is an L-shaped
structure appended to the main body of the keep with three projecting turrets
of its own. The fore building was originally roofless, so the assailants would
be exposed to projectiles hurled from the parapet. Where the accent changes
direction is an ornate little Romanesque chapel occupying one of the fore
building turrets.

The staircase leads to a grand entrance portal at second-floor level -- one
floor higher than usual and another parallel with Newcastle. No doubt, this
arrangement provided an extra degree of security, but it also means the fore
building took the form of a grand staircase, communicating directly with the
principal apartments, as this floor contained the royal hall and solar.

As in other major Norman keeps, this level actually forms a double story with a
mural gallery running most of the way around the upper stage. A number of
private chambers are contrived within the great thickness of the walls off the
hall and solar. One of them contains a well, the shaft of which sinks 350 feet
into the underlying chalk. A passage leads to another chapel, even more
delicate than the one immediately below it, and showing signs of the transition
to Gothic architecture. The floor beneath is similar in layout, including the
mural chambers.

Restormel Castle

Restormal Castle occupies a knoll above the River Fowey, a mile north of
Lostwithiel. Its plan is quite a curiosity. A perfectly circular bailey with a
set of internal buildings arranged concentrically against the curtain. The
domestic buildings are all ruined but the curtain is virtually intact. The
sense of compactness is heightened by the absence of an outer bailey, because
although one existed every trace has disappeared.

There is no historical reference to the castle until 1264, when Simon de
Montfort seized it, but Restormel is clearly older than that. From outside the
embattled curtain appears to crown a motte, and the structure is often
described as a large shell keep, but the "motte" is really a ringwork.
Furthermore the inner bank was removed when the curtain was built, so the
rampart now looks as if it has been heaped against the outside.

In 1270 the castle passed to the earls of Cornwall and enjoyed a brief
ascendancy. Earl Edmund chose Lostwithiel as his administrative center and
Restormel became his residence. It is to this era that we owe the interesting
apartments which back onto the curtain, resulting in a bewildering group of
curved chambers. An inventory of 1337 identifys these apartments as the
kitchen, hall, solar, ante-chapel and two large guest chambers. Apart from the
kitchen, the main apartments all stood at first-floor level over cellars.

The chapel, reached from the ante-chapel, occupied a contemporary square tower
which projects boldly from the line of the curtain. A square mural tower in the
Edwardian age is typical of Cornish conservation. At the death of Edmund in 1299
the earldom reverted to the Crownm and with the creation of the duchy the castle
was seldom visited. The only military episode was a siege in 1644, when it fell
briefly into Royalist hands.

Lumley Castle

Lumley Castle, in spite of later remodeling is one of the finest examples of a
fully developed quadrangular castle with ranges of buildings on all sides.
Bolton Castle is the best-known Northern example and Lumley resembles it quite
closely. It has the same oblong corner towers, each one a tower house in its
own right, and the same attention to defense within the courtyard as well as
outside. But whereas Bolton is largely a ruin, Lumley has come down to us
intact and is merely disfigured by some eighteenth-century alterations.

The castle stands a mile east of Chester-le-Street on high ground, which
suddenly drops to the stream known as Lumley Beck. Ralph, Lord Lumley, obtained
permission to crenellate his house here in 1389, the bishop's permit being
reinforced by a royal license three years later. Diagnol buttresses clasp the
angles of the towers -- a feature rarely found in military architecture, though
common enough in other buildings of the period -- and a dainty machicolated
turret caps each buttress.

The original entrance to the castle is in the middle of the east front,
overlooking the stream and with its back to the present approach. It is not a
gatehouse exactly, rather a gate passage in the middle of the range. A broad
machicolation overhangs the outer arch and the wall above is adorned with a
display of six heraldic shields and helms. The shields depict prominent local
families such as the Nevilles and Percys in addition to the Lumleys themselves,
but pride of place is given to the arms of Richard II. Beneath one of the square
turrets flanking the gateway is a tiny prison cell reached only by a trapdoor.
In typical Northern fashion the ground floors of the towers and connecting
ranges are divided into a series of barrel-vaulted store rooms.

Caister Castle

Caister Castle stands three miles north of Great Yarmouth, not at
Caister-on-the-Sea, but a little inland at West Caister. This brick stronghold
is a monument to Sir John Fastolf. Fastolf was a distinguished veteran of the
Hundred Years War, a knight of relatively humble origin who played an important
part in the Lancastrian conquest of northern France.

Falstolf built this castle in 1432-46 when he was enjoying a prosperous
retirement. On his death in 1459, Caister passed to the Paston family, whose
letters give a first-hand portrayal of life in fifteenth century Norfolk.
Unfortunately for the Pastons, the Duke of Norfolk also laid claim to the
castle and, when legal means had failed, he set about making good his claim by
force. In 1469, he brought a considerable force to lay siege to the castle,
which creditably held out for several weeks against the duke's cannon before
the inevitable surrender.

Veterans of the French wars built most fifteenth century castles and a number
were in fashionable brick. They tended to be showplaces, combining lavish
accommodations with a show of strength. Some had a secondary role in coastal
defense and Caistor did repulse French raiders shortly after its completion.

Caister was one of the finest of its kind but rather too much was pulled down
in the eighteenth century. The castle stands in a wide moat still full of
water. It is one of those with an inner quadrangle and a subsidiary base court
for retainers. This is less obvious now because the arm of the moat between the
two courtyards has been filled in.

There is also part of a third courtyard behind, arrested only by a circular
corner tower incorporated in a later house. The base court, of inferior brick,
is now fragmentary and the main quadrangle had suffered so much destruction
that only its north and west walls still stand.

Barnard Castle

The town takes its name from the castle built by Bernard de Balliot and
extended by his son of the same name. Between them they erected a powerful
stone castle in the second half of the twelfth century, strongly situated on a
rock above the River Tees.

Today the castle is an extensive but very ruinous pile. It possesses an
exceptional four baileys, all walled in stone during the period of the two
Bernards. From the town of Norman arch -- once part of a gatehouse -- leads into
the northern outer bailey, known as the Town Ward. Much of its curtain still
stands as well as the vaulted undercroft of the Brackenbury Tower. The southern
outer bailey doubles the size of the castle but its defenses are now fragmentary.

West of the Town Ward are the ditch and curtain of the inner bailey, with two
flanking towers added by the Beauchamps. To reach the inner bailey it is
necessary to pass through a middle ward, then turn sharp right over a deep
ditch hewn out of solid rock. This succession of defenses is quite advanced for
the twelfth century. Once inside the inner bailey the dominant is the Balliol
Tower or keep which projects from the curtain. This cylindrical tower of ashlar
is actually an early addition to the castle, though it could still be the second
Bernard's work as he survived until 1199.

As keeps go, it is a bit of a fraud, because it was not isolated from the rest
of the castle. It was entered directly from the vanished solar at first floor
level, and the triangular spur projecting from the keep is not a defensive
feature but merely a wedge between the two. All the same, the keep is the only
part of the castle to survive more or less complete and an unusual domed vault
covers its ground floor.

Walmar Castle

Walmar Castle is the most southerly of the three Henrian coastal forts which
protected the Downs, that sheltered strait lying between the coast and the
Goodwin Sands. It stands a mile from Deal Castle, to which it was originally
connected by earthworks, and was built at the same time. Though resembling Deal
in principle, it is simpler in design. It consists of a squat cylindrical tower
closely surrounded by a lower curtain, the latter projecting outwards in four
semi-circular lobes to form a quatrefoil plan. It was a plan shared by Sandown
Castle, the northern member of the group and now almost totally destroyed.

Walmer Castle stands in its entirety but, in contrast to Deal and most of the
other Henrician forts, it austerity has been mellowed by conversion into a
stately home. In 1708, the militarily redundant castle became the official
residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, a medieval office which has
survived to the present day as an honorable sinecure.

The transformation to a mansion is all the more remarkable given that the low,
curved, immensely thick walls cannot have lent themselves easily to such a
purpose. Fine gardens now surround the castle and encroach upon its deep,
stone-faced ditch, while many of the gun embrasures have been converted into

When first built, Walmer exhibited the usual Henrician defensive arrangements.
Cannon would have been mounted on the parapets of the central tower and outer
curtain, a third tier of fire being provided at the level of the ditch by gun
ports in the curtain. These gun ports are linked, as at Deal, by a continuous
fighting gallery in the thickness of the wall. The central tower provided the
main accommodation for governor and garrison. The lobe containing the entrance
was heightened in the 1860s to provide further accommodation.

Goodrich Castle

Goodrich Castle is the most splendid in the county of Herefordshire and one of
the best examples of English military architecture. It is still impressive
despite its ruinous state. The castle is perched on a rocky spur above the
River Wye, four miles southwest of Ross-on-Wye.

Godric's Castle -- no doubt named after Godric Mappestone, who held the land
nearby -- is first recorded in 1101. Nothing is left of Godric's stronghold but
within the bailey, very close to the later curtain, rises a well-preserved
though relatively small Norman keep. Henry II took over the castle and the keep
is generally attributed to him, but the royal accounts record very little
expenditure here.

The keep is a tall, square tower with pilaster buttresses and Norman windows.
The original first floor entrance was later converted into a window, a new
doorway being inserted immediately below.

Strangely enough, the existing curtain and corner towers are not the first on
the site. King John granted Goodrich to the mighty William Marshal, Earl of
Pembroke, and a stone enclosure followed. Some of his masonry is embedded in
the present east curtain and the foundations of a round tower underlie the
present southwest tower.

A later Earl of Pembroke, William de Valence, tore this structure down and
erected his own. His building here is contemporary and comparable with the
Edwardian castles of Wales. Such a castle is a rarity in England. It is square
in plan, the more vulnerable south and east sides being protected by a wide,
rock-cut ditch. A thick curtain surrounds the bailey, with massive round towers
at three corners and a gatehouse occupying the fourth. Each tower rises from a
solid square base, which sinks back into the cylinder in pyramid fashion.
Forming spurs. The spurs projecting from the southeast tower are particularly

Sudeley Castle

Sudeley Castle stands in beautiful gardens to the south east of Winchcombe. A
castle here was besieged during the Anarchy but the present structure is an
amalgam of a late medieval castle and an Elizabethan mansion. Ralph Boteler,
commander of the English fleet in Henry VI's reign, built it reputedly with the
ransom of a captured French admiral. In 1458, Boteler received a pardon for
crenellating Sudeley without a license, but he did not find favor with the ne
Yorkist regime. He was compelled to sell the castle to Edward IV, who granted
it to his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucestoer, later Richard III.

Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's widow, lived here as the wife of Thomas Seymour.
She is buried in Boteler's chapel, which stands just outside the castle. In the
1570s, Lord Chandos rebuilt the outer courtyard as an up to date mansion, and
the inner courtyard was slighted following the surrender of the castle to the
Roundheads in 1644.

The castle's two quadrangles were not quite in alignment with each other. Ralph
Boreler's outer quadrangle was probably a "base court' with lodgings for
retainers, but the existing ranges around it date from the Elizabethan
reconstruction. Only the gate passage is original.

His inner courtyard has fared better, though not much better because of
slighting. The western corner towers, both square, survive along with the much
restored curtain between them. The slender Portmare Tower is named after the
French admiral. Dungeon Tower is considerably larger, its name suggesting that
it served as a donjon or tower house.

The only other remnant is part of the east wall, which clearly belonged to a
very fine building, often assumed to be the hall but more probably a suite of
state apartments. Because this work is superior to the rest, it is believed to
date from Richard of Gloucester's tenure.

Pendennis Castle

Pendennis Castle crowns a headland a mile east of Falmouth. The name suggests a
Dark Age hillfort but any remains are buried beneath the later rampart. What now
stands is an Elizabethan artillery fortress surrounding one of Henry VIII's
coastal forts. Erected in 1540-45, when the Reformation had made England a
target for invasion, the castle protected the entrance to Carrick Roades, the
large inlet pf the sea which could have offered a sheltered landing place to
the fleet of the Catholic powers. St. Mawes Castle was placed on the opposite
shore and the guns of the two forts commanded the mile-long sheet of water
between them.

Pendennis is unusual among the Henrician coastal forts in having such an
elevated position. On the rocks below is a semi-circular blockhouse which would
have been of value in repelling ships invisible from the castle. As originally
conceived Pendennis was one of the smaller coastal forts, just a squat round
tower with gun ports at all three levels. The walls were thick enough to
withstand the artillery of that time and the merlons of the parapet are rounded
off to deflect any well-sized cannon balls.

The porticullis remains in position and the slots for drawbridge chains can
still be seen. Over the entrance is a handsome panel bearing the royal arms.
The low chemise wall with gun emplacements surrounding the tower must also have
been an afterthought, as it blocks the gun ports on the ground floor of the
tower. Henry's castles were purely defensive units, but the quality of masonry
here is high and there was clearly a lot of pride in the workmanship.

A Classical entrance commemorates the completion of the defenses in 1611. The
enlarged castle was garrisoned as part of the coastal defense system until the
Second World War.

Sherborne Old Castle

It is so called to distinguish it from the 'new' castle, a great mansion first
built by Sir Walter Raleigh but much enlarged since. Roger de Caen, Bishop of
Salisbury, the most magnificent prelate of his age erected the old castle. He
lost his influence and possessions for supporting the Empress Matilda against
King Stephen, and despite the protests of subsequent bishops, the castle stayed
in royal hands for the next two centuries.

In 1592, it was leased to Sir Walter Raleigh, who started to modernize the
castle before opting to erect its successor nearby. The abandoned castle was
reoccupied on behalf of the King during the Civil War. It was stormed by Sir
Thomas Fairfax after a two-week siege and slighted to prevent any further
military use.

Like some other Episcopal palace-fortresses of the Norman period, Sherborne
consists of a residential quadrangle surrounded by a defensive outer bailey.
The outer bailey covers a large octagonal area, or rather a rectangular area
with canted corners, bounded by a deep ditch and curtain. There were five
square flanking towers, all but one surviving to some extent. Mural towers were
an advanced feature for Bishop Roger's time but there are not enough of them to
flank the long curtain comprehensively.

The best preserved is the gate tower at the west-south-west angle, which seems
to have been the original main entrance into the castle. A square keep occupies
one corner of the inner quadrangle, though not much above the vaulted ground
floor still stands. There are remains of three sides of the quadrangle,
especially the north range which contained an ornate chapel over a vaulted
undercroft, but the hall opposite was probably pulled down by Sir Walter
Raleigh to achieve the fashionable E-plan. To the west are foundations of a
second quadrangle added after the castle returned to the bishop of Salisbury.

Cockermouth Castle

Cockermouth Castle crowns a promontory between the rivers Derwent and Cocker.
The notorious William de Fortibus acquired the manor in 1215 and built a castle
here, possibly on an older site, but Henry III ordered its destruction upon his
downfall six years later. It seems to have survived this episode but most of
the present complex is the work of Gilbert, last of the Umfraville barons, and
Henry Percy, who acquired Cockermouth on Gilbert's death in 1381.

As Earl of Northumberland, the latter played a major part in the Border
struggles of the period. And the Black Douglas sacked the unfinished castle.
Henry is better known for his revolts against Henry IV, familiar from
Shakespeare. The castle remained in Percy hands but drifted into decay. In
spite of enduring a Royalist siege during the uprising of 1648, the castle was
slighted by Parliament as a potentially dangerous stronghold. Around 1800,
Percy Wyndham, Earl of Egremont, built a mansion inside the outer bailey.

The castle has a triangular plan very similar to Carlisle, its apex overlooking
the junction of the rivers. There is no keep. Gilbert de Umfraville largely
rebuilt the inner bailey though the curtain incorporates portions of William de
Fortibus' work. The well-preserved outer curtain is entirely Henry Percy's. Its
east front is flanked to the left by the square Flag Tower, now gabled, and to
the right by a mighty gatehouse. This massive, oblong structure has the
sidewalls of a barbican in front.

A row of shields over the gateway bears the arms of Henry Percy and his allies.
He vaulted gate passage was defended by a portcullis and three sets of doors.
Within the outer bailey is the Wyndham mansion, built against the curtain. The
inner bailey is much Ruined and has been distorted to some extent.

Kirby Muxloe Castle

Kirby Muxloe Castle, four miles west of Leicester, is the companion of Ashby
Castle, being the work of William, Lord Hastings. Although a license to
crenellate was granted in 1474, construction did not commence until October
1480, by which time Ashby was nearing completion. The building accounts, which
survive in full, give a total expenditure of 1088 pounds on the incomplete

An older manor house occupied the site and some of its foundations are visible
in the courtyard. Unlike Ashby, where Lord Hastings utilized existing
buildings, Kirby Muxloe was completely rebuilt on quadrangular lines. It is
oblong rather than square in plan. Kirby also differs from Ashby in the choice
of brick as the main building material, stone being used only for doorways and

The low revetment wall, which defines the courtyard, rising out of a
water-filled moat, marks the position of the intended curtain and its square
angle towers. Only two portions, the gatehouse and the west corner tower now
stand, though more must have been built.

The gatehouse is a ruin and is known to have been left incomplete. It is a
sturdy, oblong structure with semi-octagonal flanking towers and stair turrets
at the rear. The angle tower has fared better because it is still intact,
including the battlements, though now a shell.

Kirby Muxlor was one of the last castles built with some serious regard for
defense. A drawbridge, a portcullis and two pairs of gates defended its gate
passage, and gun ports pierce both the gatehouse and the surviving tower. These
gun ports, however, are the primitive type, which are pierced by gun ports.
These gun ports, however, are the primitive type that had been in use for over
a century -- small roundels permitting only a limited range of fire.

Southampton Castle

One of the chief ports of medieval England, Southampton preserves a wealth of
medieval domestic architecture. Its flourishing Dark Age predecessor was
abandoned in favor of the present site in the tenth century, and excavations
have shown that this new town had earth and timber defenses from the beginning,
no doubt as a defense against the Danes.

Over a mile in length, the walled circuit enclosed a roughly rectangular area.
It had numerous bastions, mostly semi-circular, and larger towers ar the
angles. Today, only the wall survives, along with parts of the north wall and a
length near the southeast corner of the circuit. A tour of the wall may
conveniently begin at the Bargate, the northern entrance to the old town and a
very imposing one. The machicolated front is an early fifteenth century

Behind it are twin half-round towers a century or so older, while the gate
passage retains a Norman archway from an older structure. In contrast with the
fortress-like outer face, the side facing the town has large windows lighting
the story above the gate. This spacious chamber served as the guildhall in
medieval times and later civic uses saved the gatehouse from demolition in
later centuries. It was a major obstruction to traffic until the construction
of a bypass in the 1930s, which relieved the problem but resulted in the
destruction of the stretches of town wall on either side.

Beyond the Bargate, the wall leads west to the circular Arundel Tower, then
soutward to the old quay. Shortly a kink in the circuit denotes the junction
with the older castle wall. Southampton Castle was a royal stronghold first
mentioned in the 1189s. Richard I and John rebuilt it in stone. The west
curtain survives as the town wall, with a postern leading into a cellar from
the castle's domestic buildings.

Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall stands on a bluff overlooking the River Wye, two miles southeast of
Bakewell. The situation and the embattled outline give an impression of strength
from a distance, but as a castle Haddon is something of a mystery. Its complex
building history suggests a manor house, which developed defenses but has been
effectively de-fortified since.

The story goes back to Richard de Vernon, who obtained a peculiar license in
1195. It allowed him to enclose his house within a wall, but the wall was not
to exceed twelve feet in height and was not to be crenellated. Some of the wall
and part of the chapel survive from that time.

What stands today is a rectangular enclosure of the fourteenth century with
ranges of buildings on each side. The outer wall is certainly thick enough to
qualify as a curtain except on the north side, where the range is a late
medieval rebuilding. On the west the curtain remains defensive with a square
bastion projecting from the middle. The terrain is strongest here but the
insertion of Elizabethan bay windows elsewhere has transformed the appearance
of the mansion. The only other towers are the tall gate towers at each end. An
unaccountable weakness is the chapel that projects from the southwest corner of
the enclosure.

The hall lies across the middle of the enclosure, dividing it into two
courtyards. This arrangement allowed the hall to be lit by large windows on
either side without weakening the curtain. A fine porch leads from the lower
courtyard into the old screens passage. The original wooden screen still
exists, though the hall roof is a modern reconstruction. To the north are the
kitchen and a row of domestic offices. To the south is a first-floor solar, the
former parlor beneath it preserving a painted ceiling from about 1500.

Beeston Castle

Ranulf de Blundeville, the most powerful of the palatine earls of Chester,
began Beeston Castle in 1225. Prompted by the King's growing growing mistrust,
he built several strong castles to protect his territories. It is possible that
Beeston was intended as an impressive new seat of administration away from the
mercantile bustle of Chester. As an experienced soldier and crusader Ranulf
clearly appreciated castles built in the new idiom -- with round flanking towers
and no keep -- and the great rock of Beeston provided a wonderful situation for

An Iron Age fort occupied this site, two miles south of Tarporley, but Beeston
is a product of the time when castle building was approaching its zenith. It
occupies a huge sandstone hill rising dramatically out of the Cheshire plain.
The castle does not have a keep as such but its compact inner bailey occupies
the highest corner of the rock, so the Norman motte and bailey concept had not
been entirely forsaken.

The outer bailey follows the contours of the hill and is large enough to gave
accommodated a vast retinue. A nineteenth century gatehouse forms the entrance
to the site, and some ascent is necessary before the real outer gatehouse is
reached. More than half of the outer curtain has disappeared but the long
section on the east side of the hill has seven towers, spaced closely together
to provide effective flanking fire. These towers are the semi-circular,
open-backed variety often found on town walls of this period.

A long ascent through the outer bailey takes us to the summit. A rock-cut ditch
of exceptional width and depth, now spanned by a modern bridge, cuts off the
inner bailey. A squat gatehouse, perhaps the earliest in England to be equipped
with round-fronted flanking towers, guards the entrance. The site commands
magnificent views.

Hever Castle

Hever Castle, beside the River Eden, two miles east of Edenbridge, is set
within a wet moat between beautiful gardens and what appears to be a Tudor
village. Gardens, "village" and the splendid interior of the castle are all the
creation of a rich American, William Waldorf Astor. He purchased the castle in
1903 and immediately set about its transformation, which thus went on at the
same time as Lord Conway was restoring Allington Castle. To his credit,
Viscount Astor did not interfere with the exterior, which remains largely

There is some doubt as to the original builder. William de Hever obtained a
license to crenellate in 1340 and Sir John de Cobham obtained another in 1384.
The latter date is favored, though Sir John may just have added the gatehouse.
The castle is a simple, square enclosure its embattled curtain enlivened by
Tudor windows, chimneys and gables.

Square turrets project at each end of the entrance front and between them is a
handsome, oblong gatehouse. This dominates the rest and is no doubt an echo of
the old keep-gatehouse theme. The gateway, surmounted by carved tracery and a
row of machicolations, is placed off-center so that there is a large room on
one side of the gate passage but just a tiny chamber on the other.

Two original wooden portcullises, one still in working order, hang in the gate
passage; the drawbridge is a restoration. Timber-framed ranges occupy three
sides of the tiny courtyard, early Tudor in origin but heavily restored by
Viscount Astor. They recall the castle's famous association with the Bullen

It was here that Henry VIII came to court Anne Bullen, who changed her name to
Boleyn. Her life as queen was cut short by the executioner's sword and her
dynasty-making fater, Sir Thomas, died soon after.

Tintagel Castle

The legend of King Arthur has made Tintagel a hallowed place. Geoffrey of
Monmouth, writing about the time when the castle was in fact founded, chose it
as the setting for Arthur's conception. That is his only link with Tintagel,
but it has lasted in the popular imagination. The beauty of the site is no
doubt the reason why. This rocky, sea-battered headland is an unusual setting
for a medieval castle but a very likely one in which to find an ancient hill
fort. It comes as a surprise to discover that no evidence has been found of any
fortification before the Norman period. Instead. The headland first became the
retreat of Dark Age monks who were drawn to such inaccessible spots. The
foundations of several groups of monastic buildings are scattered across the
summit of the headland and its eastern slope.

The Tintagel headland is nearly an island, but is connected to the mainland by
a narrow neck of rock. The castle occupies the junction of the two and has a
bailey on either side of the isthmus. Originally a bridge connected the narrow
chasm between them, but over the centuries the causeway has eroded and the
castle is now divided into two distinct halves, connected by precipitous
stairways. Today the castle is very ruinous. Simple curtains protect both
baileys, at least on those sides where the natural defense is merely a steep
fall as opposed to a sheer drop.

There is no keep. The shattered gate tower leading into the outer bailey is
preceded by a narrow passage. This is overlooked by an elongated walled
enclosure on an outcrop of rock so that attackers could have been showered with
arrows from above. In the inner bailey on the headland are the ruins of a
fourteenth-century hall within the footings of a Norman predecessor.

Barnwell Castle

On the Duke of Gloucester's estate at Barnwell can be seen three successive
manorial centers in close proximity. First there are the earthworks of a Norman
motte And bailey, now hidden in a clump of trees. Then comes the massive stone
ruin of Barnwell Vastle, built by Berengar le Moine about 1265-66. It seems
that Berengar took advantage of Henry III's preoccupation with his barons to
build a strong adulterine castle. Berengar later sold his new castle to Ramsey
Abbey. It is said he was compelled to do so by Edward I as a punishment for
building it without a license. Barnwell remained with the abbey until the
Dissolution, when Sir Edward Montague purchased it. He erected the present
house, Barnwell Manor, nearby.

The castle is an interesting example of thirteenth century military
architecture with some delightfully experimental touches. On a smaller scale,
it anticipates the great castles that Edward I would build in Wales in the
following decades, and though it pre-dates Edward's coronation by several
years, it is a rare English example of a pure Edwardian castle.

An unusually thick curtain, well preserved except for the loss of its parapet
and a single breach on the west, surrounds an oblong courtyard. Circular towers
project boldly at three angles, the fourth being occupied by a gatehouse. The
two northern towers are quite eccentric as they both have a smaller round tower
projecting from them, resulting in a figure-of-eight plan. The prime function of
these subsidiary towers was domestic rather than military. They contained
latrines serving the apartments in the main body of the towers.

The southwest tower has no projections, but its upper floors are square
internally for greater domestic convenience. The latrine for this tower was
accommodated in a more conventional manner within the thickness of the curtain.

Castle Rising

The village, four miles northeast of King's Kynnm takes its name from the
Norman castle which dominates it. William d'Albini, Earl of Sussex, started
building here about 1139. One of the foremost barons of his time, he was loyal
to King Stephen but consolidated his own power during the Anarchy.

Castle Rising's earthworks are prodigious, comprising an oval ring work and a
smaller bailey in front. Such is the height of the ring work bank that is
almost conceals the splendid keep within. This keep is the sole building of any
substance left, though there was once a well-appointed group of residential
buildings alongside. The only other masonry remains are the truncated gate
tower and the ruin of an early Norman church. Set in a gap in the ring work
bank, the gate tower is contemporary, with the keep, but the surviving fragment
of wall is later medieval. The church originally served the village. William
d'Albini buried it in his rampart and built the beautiful church that still
stands nearby in recompense.

The keep stands virtually intact, though long deprived of its roof and floors,
except in the fore building tower. It is a rectangular structure that is
considerably longer than it is high-in other words, a hall keep, and the best
example of this rare type.

The ground floor was just an undercroft for storage, the principal
accommodation lying on the floor above. Owing to its importance, the first
floor rises through two stages, giving the illusion of three stories in all.
The keep is divided longitudinally by a cross wall, thus separating the hall
from the solar on the first floor. Stone vaults support a kitchen and pantry at
one end of the hall, and another vault supports a chapel beyond the solar. A
gallery runs along one wall at hall level.

Hertford Castle

Hertford was one of the burgs founded by King Edward the Elder during the
English re-conquest of the Danelaw. It was no doubt soon after 1066 that
William the Conqueror raised the castle beside the River Lea. In general form,
Hertford Castle resembles Berkhamsted -- a motte and bailey once surrounded by a
double moat, with much of its flint curtain still standing. The earthworks of
the castle do not compare favorable, since the motte is surprisingly small and
the moats have long been filled in. Royal expenditure is recorded in 1171-74,
and the curtain probably dates at least partially from that time. The octagonal
tower at the south angle of the enclosure is a later medieval addition.

Like Berkhamsted, the castle endured its only recorded siege in 1216, falling
to the rebels during the Dauphin Louis' campaign to win the English throne. A
frequent royal residence up to Henry III's reign, the castle declined in favor
thereafter. Edward III granted it to his mother, the indomitable Queen
Isabella, and those trophies of Edward's military successes-David II of
Scotland and John II of France-both saw spells of imprisonment here. An equally
reluctant royal visitor was England's own Richard II, who was deposed in the
castle before moving on to his death at Pontefract.

The castle enjoyed a revival under Henry IV. He built the brick gatehouse in
1461-65. The gatehouse is an oblong structure with shallow angle turrets, the
plain surface of the walls being enriched just below parapet level by blank
arcades echoing machicolations. This feature is enough to show that the
gatehouse was more for show than for defense. However, the original
arrangements have been obscured by later adaptation. Occupation of the
gatehouse continued long after the rest of the castle had been abandoned, and
in1790 it was enlarged.

Portsmouth Town Defenses

Portsmouth's historic role as a naval base derives from its position guarding
the narrow entrance to Portsmouth Harbor. Richard I built the first dockyard
here. Its importance increased with the Hundred Years War and the town that
developed around it inevitably became a target for French attacks. Following a
royal survey in 1386, an earth rampart was raised around the landward sides of
the town. From 1560, the rampart continued along the sea front and strengthened
elsewhere by a series of arrowhead bastions.

Charles II's engineer, Bernard de Gomme, undertook more works. The defenses
were further elaborated over the next two centuries but Lord Palmerston's
astonishing ring of fortifications, built in the 1860's, rendered them
obsolete. The complex of ramparts, bastions and outworks facing inland was
demolished and only the seaward defenses remain.

The oldest of the visible defenses of Portsmouth is the Round Tower, on the
promontory known as The Point. Here the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor is just a
few hundred yards wide and a boom chain ran across from this tower to another on
the Gosport side. One of the earliest buildings devised for defense by
artillery, the Round Tower was built in 1415 -- a year which brought victory for
England but alarm in Portsmouth.

The present gun embrasures, widely splayed for greater range, were inserted in
Henry VIII's reign and the upper part of the tower was rebuilt during the
Napoleonic Wars. From the Round Tower a Victorian gun battery leads towards the
Square Tower, built in 1494, but refaced in 1827. It is here that the town's
perimeter defenses bagan.

Beyond another gun battery is the Saluting Battery, a stone platform for cannon
which projects out a little from the rest of the defense line. It is he only
unspoiled bit of Elizabethan work remaining.

Exeter Castle

Despite its checkered history, Exeter preserves many relics of its medieval
past. Even its city wall has managed to survive for the most part and the
bombing revealed stretches, which had been concealed behind houses for
centuries. It is nearly two miles long, but with frequent small gaps and little
parapet to walk along it is not a particularly rewarding circuit.

The Roman and medieval city occupied a near-rectangular area, today bounded by
Northernhay, Eastgate, Southernhay and West Street. Like most other
Romano-British cities, Exeter was first enclosed by a stonewall in the third
century. The Roman plinth and regularly coursed masonry can be seen in many
places -- it is unusual for so much Roman work to survive.

The castle of Exeter, often called Rougemont Castle from the red sandstone
knell on which it was built, occupies the northern corner of the city's
defenses. William I founded it straight after the capitulation. The square
bailey is protected by the city wall on two sides. Towards the town there is a
strong rampart topped by the ruins of a curtain. Towers mark the junctions
between the city wall and the curtain wall and there is a half-round bastion,
Athelstan's Tower, on the northeast wall.

Herringbone masonry is visible in places and the well-preserved gatehouse is
almost certainly a relic of the Conqueror's time. Two triangular-headed windows
above the blocked outer archway and another facing the bailey indicate its
antiquity. They suggest Anglo-Saxon work, the only plausible explanation being
that English masons were employed and continued to build in their traditional

The short barbican, with its tall arch, is contemporary with the rest of the
gatehouse and thus the oldest in England. Exeter is one of those early Norman
castles which put the emphasis upon a strong gatehouse instead of a keep.

Donnington Castle

Donnington Castle crowns a hill above the River Lambourne, a mile north of
Newbury, Sir Richard Abberbury, the queen's chamberlain, obtained a license
crenellate the place in 1386. In 1414 Thomas Chaucer, son of the poet,
purchased the castle and through him it passed to the De la Pole dukes of

Donnington is notable for its role in the Civil War. After the first Battle of
Newbury, Charles I entrusted the castle to Colonel (later Sir) John Boys. The
Roundheads laid siege in July 1644 but were unable to take it in spite of a
fierce artillery bombardment.

The King marched to the relief of the castle and the second Battle of Newbury
was fought around it in October. Defense continued in appalling conditions for
the next eighteen months. It was only when all hope of relief had finally
vanished (in April 1646) that the garrison accepted honorable terms for
surrender. They were permitted to march to Wallingford to join the Royalists
still holding out there.

It must be said that the old walls could not have sustained a pounding on their
own.. Donnington was a comparatively modest stronghold and certainly not
designed to withstand powerful artillery. In preparation for the siege, Sir
John Boys constructed a series of earthworks on the slopes around the castle.
These, with their projecting bastions, are rare survivals of Civil War

The castle followed a quadrangular layout except that the rear bowed outwards
in short, straight sections. There were round corner towers and two
intermediate square towers on the longer sides. Owing to the siege or
subsequent slighting only the footings of the curtain and its towers remain,
but the handsome gatehouse has come down to us virtually intact, lacking only
its roof and floors. The outer angles are clasped by boldly projecting,
cylindrical towers which rise considerably higher than the main gatehouse.

Upnor Castle

Upnor Castle belongs to the genre of Henrician cosastal forts but is an
Elizabethan addition to the chain. It was begun in 1599 to guard the approach
to the new dockyard at Chatham, lying two miles away near the estuary of the
River Medway. Sir Richard Lee interrupted his work on the fortifications at
Berwick-on-Tweed, to come and design this fort, but construction dragged on for
eight years. In 1599-1601,

Upnor was enlarged but it had to wait until 1667 to face enemy action. In that
year, the Dutch, under Admiral de Ruyter, sailed into the Medway and set fire
to much of the English fleet. The castle was unable to offer any effective
resistance and in the following year a new chain of defenses was begun, Upnor
being relegated to the role of storehouse and magazine. Military occupation of
one kind or another continued until the Second World War.

As originally conceived, the castle comprised an oblong blockhouse, set in the
middle of a curious screen wall terminating at each end in a stair turret. This
building provided accommodation for the garrison, defense being concentrated
upon the low, pointed bastion facing the Medway.

Pointed bastions were devised as a defense against artillery in Renaissance
Italy. Sir Richard Lee built several along his new ramparts at Berwick, but the
Upnor bastion does not have the characteristic "arrowhead" plan resulting from a
narrow collar. Its riverside setting made that unnecessary. However, since only
one side of the bastion faces upriver, there were insufficient gun emplacements
to fire effectively on an approaching fleet-this was the problem in 1667.

The late Elizabethan enlargement provided defenses on the landward side. A
walled courtyard was created in front of the blockhouse, with towers where the
new curtain joins the screen wall. The courtyard is entered through a gate
tower retaining the traditional obstacle of a drawbridge.

Bedford Castle

Owing to the defeat of Bedford Castle -- ruined as early as 1224 -- there are no
castles in Bedfordshire with any masonry remnants, if we leave out the late
medieval brick ruin of Someries. Nevertheless, the county does maintain some
excellent motte and bailey castles, such as Cainhoe and Yelden.

Bedford was one of the burghs carrying weapons against the Danes by King Edward
the Elder, Alfred the Great's son. It is probable that this county town was
saddled with a castle in next to no time subsequent to the Norman Conquest, but
there is no actual evidence of one until around 1130, when Payn de Beauchamp
held it. In 1138, when besieged by King Stephen, its strong keep and curtain
are mentioned, the implication being that they were already of stone.

For the duration of the Magna Carta war the castle was seized by Fawkes de
Breaute and became the base for that notorious baron's misdeeds against his
neighbors. In 1224 he overreached himself by abducting one of the King's
justiciars and holding him prisoner here. The young Henry III responded by
laying siege to the castle in person, bringing with him a tall siege tower,
powerful catapults and a contingent of miners to tunnel beneath the curtain.

Every obstacle was one after another battered down or undermined, and when the
keep fell the garrison had to admit defeat. A number of them were hanged but De
Breaute himself obtained a pardon. The King ordered the total destruction of the
castle, as a result of which the walls were demolished and ditches filled in.
Only the oval motte remains, near the bridge across the River Ouse, and even
this has been truncated. The site, however, is freely accessible to the public
and is a good stop on your castle tour.

Buckden Palace

Buckden Palace was a residence of the medieval bishops of Lincoln, allowing a
midway break on the journey from London to their cathedral city. This Episcopal
palace was entirely rebuilt in brick by Thomas Rotherham, who became bishop in
1472. After his transfer to York in 1480, it was completed by Bishop Russell.

The dominant feature is a tower modeled on the great brick tower at Tattershall
Castle. Buckden's tower house is oblong in plan with octagonal corner turrets
rising above parapet level. However, it is less ambitious in scale and lacks
the machicolated crown, which gives Tattershall such distinction.

The broad chimneybreast is a prominent and altogether domestic feature. Another
obvious weakness is the tower's proximity to the steeple of the parish church.
They are separated only by the width of the former moat. This is typical of the
castellated mansions of the later Middle Ages and shows that the builder was
more interested in status than defense, though such towers must have had some
value as refuge in the event of local danger.

The tower house could serve as a self-contained residence but the palace
buildings were far more extensive. The inner courtyard contained a lavish suite
of residential buildings and it is a pity they have all vanished. It is unusual
to find a courtyard of this era, which is not quadrangular, so the layout was
probably dictated by an older moated enclosure.

As well as the tower house, the inner courtyard preserves its diapered gate
tower, with a range of ancillary buildings attached and the length of wall
connecting the gatehouse to the tower house. This wall is pierced by
arrow-slits but is too thin for a genuine curtain -- the wall-walk is carried on
a row of arches. Much of the precinct wall survives, as well as an outer gate
giving access from the High Street.

Wallingford Castle

The historic town of Wallingford lies within an earth rampart first thrown up
in the reign of Alfred the Great or Edward the Elder, as a precaution against
Danish attack. Wallingford was once believed to be a Roman town because the
rampart encloses a rectangular area and the streets follow a grid pattern. The
rampart can still be followed on the three landward sides but there is no
evidence of any man-made defenses facing the river. In the Norman period the
rampart was heightened, but the town then fell into economic decline so the
timber stockades that lined the summit were never replaced in stone.

The northeast quarter of the town enclosure became the site of Wallingford
Castle. William the Conqueror crossed the Thames here in 1066, during his march
on London, and he may have founded the castle in passing. It certainly existed
by 1071. This important royal fortress fell into the Empress Matilda's hands
during the Anarchy and resisted King Stephen in three great sieges. The
platform of a siege fort from this time can be seen across the river.

The castle showed its strength again in the Civil War. It resisted the might of
Parliament until July 1646 -- virtually the end of the war -- and even then
surrendered honorably. Six years later it was destroyed as a potentially
dangerous stronghold. The earthworks comprising a large motte between two
baileys are still quite impressive but almost all the masonry has disappeared.

A number of English kings contributed to the defenses, notably Henry II and
John, resulting in an impressive castle with a shell keep on the motte and two
towered curtains. A section of the outer rampart has been turned into a public
garden and this carries an excavated length of wall and one round tower. Castle
House now occupies the inner bailey.

Carlisle Castle

Carlisle is the great fortress city at the west end of the Scottish Border.
Roman Luguvallium grew up in the shadow of Hadrian's Wall and some vestige of
the town remained when William II captured it in 1092. William repopulated
Carlisle with Anglo-Norman settlers and founded the great royal castle on a
bluff above the River Eden.

Carlisle Castle is an impressive reminder of centuries of strife. It sits grim
and squat at the north end of the old walled city, still a medieval stronghold
but much patched up after the many batterings it has endured. The layout is
roughly triangular, comprising two walled baileys but no motte. The curtain
walls are basically Norman. Two flanking towers survive on the west side but
the walls are otherwise quite plain. During the Civil War the Scot's tore down
the cathedral nave to repair the damage wrought during the siege.

The outer gatehouse facing the city, known as Ireby's Tower, dates from Henry
III's reign but is not a great example of military planning. It consists of two
square blocks curiosly out of alignment with each other, and a small projection
between them containing the entrance. Gloomy barracks now occupy the outer
bailey -- a reminder of the continuous military presence here down to modern

In front of the inner gatehouse is one of Henry VIII's additions -- a
semi-circular gun battery with a covered fighting gallery facing the ditch.
During the invasion scare of the 1540s, Henry thickened the inner curtain to
support artillery. The wide parapet is partly carried on arcades and there is a
ramp for wheeling up cannon. Within the inner bailey rises a great keep, which
is virtually a cube. The keep is freestanding though very close to the curtain.
As was originally conceived, each of its four stories contains a single large

Canterbury Castle

Considering the level of bombing sustained by the city in 1942, it is a miracle
that so much of medieval Canterbury survives. Among the many attractions are the
ruined castle keep and a large part of the city wall. Indeed, though incomplete,
the wall of Canterbury ranks among the foremost in England.

The shape of the defenses was determined in the third century AD. The Roman
wall enclosed an oval area nearly two miles in circumference, and the medieval
wall follows exactly the same line. However, very little Roman masonry survives
because the wall was rebuilt from the 1370s, when a French invasion seemed

More than half the circuit is preserved, extending from the site of the North
Gate at the southwest end of the old city. The only gaps in this sector are
those left by the demolition of the gatehouses. Eleven bastions survive,
notable for their early "keyhole" gun ports. The four northernmost are square
and date from about 1400, but the others are the traditional U-shaped type with
open backs.

Canterbury Castle was probably founded soon after the Norman Conquest and
certainly before the Domesday Book.. All that remains is the lower half of a
large, oblong keep. The stepped splays behind the narrow window openings
suggest an early date. The plinth and pilaster buttresses are typical Norman
features. The entrance was at first-floor level in the northwest wall and
excavations have uncovered a fore building.

The West gate is the only survivor of seven gatehouses in the wall. The
fortress-like outer fašade of the gatehouse, with machicolations overhanging
the entrance and sturdy drum towers pierced by gun ports, contrasts with a more
domestic townward front. Note the porticullis groove in the vaulted gate
passage. The West Gate has survived because it housed the county gaol after the
castle keep had become too derelict.

St. Mawes Castle

St. Mawes Castle guards the eastern entrance to the estuary known as Carrick
Roads. It is the companion of Pendennis and exactly contemporary. These two
Henrician coastal forts offer some interesting contrasts. In each a squat round
tower is the chief feature, but instead of having a square residential block
slapped on in front of it, the St. Mawes tower is elaborated by three attached
semi-circular bastions with parapets at a lower level. A distinctive stair
turret caps the tower.

St. Mawes is unlike Pendennis but like the majority of Henry VIII's forts in
being low lying and thus able to challenge enemy shipping at close quarters.
Both castles share Henry's other fortifications, the rounded merlons designed
to deflect cannon balls, the large embrasures for guns at several levels, and
the emplacements for drawbridge and portcullis, the latter showing that the
forts were intended to offer some resistance at close quarters if the enemy
ever landed. Above the entrance we encounter again a panel of the royal arms.
On the rocks in front of the castle is a semi-circular blockhouse matching the
one in Pendennis, perhaps erected as an emergency fortification before the real
work started.

In terms of size, the castles would appear to have been conceived as equals and
their early governors were bitter rivals. With the Elizabethan enlargement of
Pndennis, however, St. Mawes shrank into a subsidiary role. Its part in the
Civil War typifies this. In contrast with Pendennis Castle's heroic stance, the
royalist governor here wisely judged the castle to be indefensible from the land
and surrendered without a shot being fired. The insignificance of St. Mawes has
allowed it to survive in a very unspoiled condition. Not only has the stonework
suffered very little, but within there is a surprising amount of original

Portchester Castle

Portchester Castle originated as the "Saxon Shore" fort of Portus Adurni. It is
the best preserved of the chain of Roman forts erected along the southeast coast
in the late third century AD. The reason for their construction is still debated.
Defense against Germanic raiders is the for the most part the likely
explanation and they were without a doubt used for that purpose in the
following century.

The fort survives in such good condition for the reason that it was in
continued use after the Roman departure, first sheltering a Saxon burgh and
then becoming an outer bailey of the medieval castle. Henry I restored the
fort's crumbling walls, built the present gate towers, called Land Gate and
Water Gate, and created a rectangular inner bailey in the northwest corner of
the fort. It is defended by the Roman wall on two sides, and on the other two
by a stone curtain with a projecting gate tower.

Another square tower is positioned diagonally at the vulnerable southeast
corner. Portchester is thus an early example of a castle employing flanking
towers, perhaps inspired by the Roman bastions. The inner curtain is
overshadowed by the lofty square keep, which has displaced some of the Roman
wall at the northwest corner of the castle. It is the product of two phases, as
shown by the pilaster buttresses which disappear two-thirds of the way up;

Evidently, Henry I's keep comprised only two stories plus roof space. Its
heightening to four stories is ascribed to the Manduits, who held the castle
prior to Henry II's seizure. The keep is divided by a cross wall and entered
via a fore building, which is another addition of the second phase. Originally,
the entrance was at first floor level, the ground floor doorway being a later

Launceston Castle

The keep of Launceston Castle dominates the town and surrounding countryside.
Most Saxon burghs had castles forced upon them within a few years of the Norman
Conquest, and the castle of "Dunhevet" is recorded in the Domesday Book. At that
time it was held by William the Conqueror's half-brother Robert.

Initially the castle passed through a variety of hands, and the only Norman
masonry is the shell keep on the motte. In 1227 Henry III granted the Earldom
of Cornwall to his brother Richard, and he must have been responsible for most
of the existing masonry. Eventually, the castle fell into the common rut of
being used as a courthouse and gaol for the duchy, and the defenses decayed. By
the end of the Civil War, during which it changed hands several times, it was a
total ruin.

Earl Richard built a stone wall on top of the bailey rampart, but only the
lower courses survive. It was a curiously plain curtain for the thirteenth
century, without towers except for the drums flanking the southern gatehouse.
The latter are still quite impressive and the simple gate tower at the far end
of the bailey has also survived destruction. Otherwise it is the keep that
commands our attention.

The only approach is via the stretch of curtain ascending the side of the
motte, controlled at its foot by a ruinous tower. Launceston's unique "triple
crown" keep is the result of three phases -- a stone reverment around the upper
part of the motte, the late Norman shell keep on top and Richard of Cornwall's
cylindrical tower rising up within it. This arrangement appears to constitute
an early example of concentric planning, though it is clear from the joint
holes in the walls that the narrow space between the tower and the shell were
roofed over.

Wolvesey Castle

As the capital of the kings of Wessex, who brought the whole of England under
their sway in the tenth century, Winchester enjoyed the status of capital long
into the Norman period, though eventually the pull of London proved too strong.
It is therefore inevitable that William I should have founded a castle here soon
after the Norman Conquest.

The castle occupied a curiously elongated site on high ground at the western
edge of the walled city. It received stone buildings in the twelfth century but
much restoration was necessary following the city's capture by Dauphin Louis in
1216.The early history of the castle is confused because a royal palace with
another Norman keep stood near the cathedral. It existed until 1411. During
those troubled years, Henry partially fortified his own palace, which occupied
the southeast corner of the city, counter-balancing the royal castle on the

Wolvesey Palace, often called Wolvesy Castle, remained the chief seat of the
bishops throughout the Middle Ages. It was finally abandoned in 1684, by Bishop
Morley, who built the present Baroque palace alongside. The fine chapel is
incorporated, but the rest of the old palace is very much a ruin.

On the south, there is a definite curtain wall entered through a sequence of
gateways. Henry went on to build two square towers against the eastern hall
block, creating an illusion of strength on this side. It is an illusion, for
despite the circumstances of its origin, Wolvesey's defenses are really more
for show than anything else. The so-called keep is really just a symbolic
imitation of a keep as it housed a vast kitchen, and the smaller Wymond's Tower
served as a latrine block for the adjoining solar. The gatehouse on the north
side of the court was erected following Henry's return from exile in 1158.

Lincoln Castle

Castle and cathedral have faced each other across the hilltop since Norman
times. Lincoln Castle was raised over the southwest quarter of the citadel by
order of William the Conqueror in 1068. The site had previously been densely
occupied -- Domesday Book tells us that 166 houses were destroyed to make way
for the castle. Its stonewall is mentioned as early as 1115 and Henry I is
regarded as the likely builder.

The high curtain, still intact though frequently patched up in later centuries,
preserves portions of herringbone masonry confirming its early Norman date. It
stands on top of an earth rampart surrounding a large, roughly square bailey. A
rare feature is the presence of not one but two mottes, both on the southern
edge of the bailey. Why they should stand so close together is a mystery, since
they seem to threaten each other from a defensive point of view. The larger
motte is crowned by a polygonal shell keep known as the Lucy Tower, evidently a
later Norman addition and possibly erected by the Earl of Chester, who held
Lincoln for the Empress Matilda.

The smaller motte carries the so-called Observatory Tower, an early Norman
structure extended in the fourteenth century and capped by a Victorian turret.
Cobb Hall, a horseshoe-plan tower flanking the vulnerable northeast corner of
the walled circuit, is a defensive improvement made after an unsuccessful siege
by the Dauphin Louis' supporters in 1217.

There are two gatehouses. The West gate, now blocked, is a simple Norman gate
tower. The East Gate was re-fronted in the fourteenth century with a lofty gate
arch and round turrets corbelled out higher up. Foundations of a barbican can be
seen in front, but the courtyard extension of the gatehouse is another Victorian
embellishment. It incorporates an oriel window from a medieval house in the city.

Berkeley Castle

Berkeley Castle rises on a low hill in sight of the Severn estuary. The castle
is an appealing blend of Norman fortress and later medieval mansion, still
remarkably unspoilt despite its continuous occupation by an aristocratic
family, who might have been expected to rebuild or drastically modernize it in
more recent centuries.

The motte and bailey layout may go back to William Fitz Osbern, but the oldest
masonry here is the unusual keep. If it dates from Henry II's contract with
Robert Fitz Harding, about 1155, then the three semi-circular projecting
bastions are remarkably early, though the plinth and pilaster buttresses are
consistent with that date.

One of the bastions contains a well chamber and another formed the apse of a
chapel. The keep belongs to the shell keep type but its high wall actually
encases the motte instead of rising from the summit. A feature taken from the
tower keeps of the period, is the fore building. This is an afterthought,
enclosing a narrow staircase that ascends to the keep entrance.

A deep breach in the keep wall, facing the outer bailey, is the only damage
wrought by the Roundheads following a brief siege in 1645. The oblong Thorpe
Tower beside it dates from the fourteenth century. The keep is infamous for the
murder of Edward II by his jailers, Sir John Maltravers and Sir Thomas Gurney,
in 1327. According to tradition, the deed was done in the chamber above the
forebuilding. Edward had been sent to Berkely for safety following his
abdication, but dethroned monarchs seldom remain alive for long.

The keep stood between two baileys. Only a restored gatehouse survives from the
outer bailey but the inner is still intact. It is reached via a fourteenth
century gateway flanked on one side by the keep and on the other side by a
narrow, oblong tower.

Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle and its distinguished neighbor, the priory church, crown the
summit of a hill overlooking the River Lune. A Roman fort occupied the site.
Following the arrival of the Normans, Lancaster became part of the vast estate
granted to Roger de Poitou and the first castle is very likely to have been his

In 1265, the castle became the chief seat of the powerful lords who followed,
including Thomas, ring leader of the baronial opposition to Edward II; Henry,
the first palatine duke; and john of Gaunt, who married his way into the duchy.
After John of Gaunt's son seized the throne as Henry IV in 1399, and the
consequent union of the Duchy of Lancaster with the Crown, the castle fell into
decline as a residence but remained the administrative center of the Duchy. It
remains very much a working vastle, still serving as a courthouse and prison.

The existing castle is largely a reconstruction of 1788-1823 by Thomas
Harrison, designed to meet the growing requirements of the country gaol and the
courts. The phony curtain and towers enclose an area roughly corresponding with
the medieval bailey, except on the north side where the prison juts out in a
big arc. Furthermore, a series of assize buildings, notably the semi-circular
Shire Hall, projects on the west.

Fortunately, a few important pieces of the medieval castle have been preserved.
The finest of these is John of Gaunt's Gate, one of the most majestic of
medieval English gatehouses. It is a massive and rather austere-looking block
as befits the entrance to a prison.

There is a continuous machicolated parapet around the wall head and the
well-proportioned gateway preserves its original portcullis. Semi-octagonal
towers that carry inner turrets above parapet level flank it. The circular
Hadrian Tower forms part of the Shire Hall complex.

Norwich Castle

Norwich and York were the biggest towns of medieval England after London, and
Norwich was saddled with a royal castle within a year of the Norman Conquest.
The site, at the heart of the old city, is a natural hillock that was scraped
into a formidable motte -though a motte large enough to be regarded as an inner
bailey. A car park occupies the site of the outer bailey.

The strength of this earth and timber fortification is attested in 1075 during
the rebellion of some disaffected barons. On the failure of this revolt, the
Earl of Norfolk fled abroad, leaving his wife to hold the castle against
William I's supporters, which she commendably did for a siege lasting three

On top of the motte there now stands a large square keep, unique for the rows
of blank arcading that adorn the outer walls in between the pilaster
buttresses. If the masonry looks too fresh, it is because the exterior was
entirely refaced under Anthony Salvin in the 1830s, but it is clear from old
drawings that the new work is a FAITHFUL COPY OF THE Caen stone original.

No other Norman keep is so decorative, not even Falaise in Normandy, which
might be called Norwich's twin. Falaise was built by Henry I and it is likely
that Norwich was also. The probable date is 1119032, when there was a pause in
building the cathedral, thus releasing masons with the necessary skills. Some
authorities would put the keep later on architectural grounds, but there is no
recorded expenditure under Henry II.

The keep became derelict in the eighteenth century and the old cross wall has
been replaced by a Victorian arcade inserted when the keep was re-roofed to
form part of the Castle Museum. It is now difficult to visualize the original

Allington Castle

Allington Castle stands beside the River Medway about a mile north of
Maidstone. This beautiful, moated castle seems perfect, but the perfection has
been contrived in modern times.

Henry II destroyed a Norman castle after the revolt of 1173-74. The low mound
immediately southwest of the present castle represents the motte and some
herringbone masonry is visible in the curtain facing it. Other than that, Sir
Stephen de Penchester, Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque
Ports built the existing structure. He obtained license to crenellate in 1291
and the original survives.

His castle is characteristic of the Edwardian age but is not uncompromisingly
military like the contemporary castles of Wales. In design, it reflects the
quadrangular layout that was becoming popular, but the rear bows outwards in a
gentle curve and the distribution of towers is quite irregular.

Five D-shaped towers of different sizes project from the curtain, though one or
two others existed originally. Solomon's Tower, at the south corner, is the
largest and may be regarded as an early tower house. There is also a gatehouse
flanked by simple, half-round turrets; the machicolations above the gateway are

Some ruins of barbican survive on the far side of the moat. The range on the
southwest side of th courtyard, known as the Penchester Wing, may incorporate a
slightly older manor house. However, once the castle was built, the main
apartments stood opposite, centered on a hall that still exists but is largely
a reconstruction. Only its fifteenth century porch is authentic.

In 1492, Allington was granted to Sir Henry Wyatt in recognition of his loyalty
to Henry VII. He upgraded the castle by building the narrow range which divides
the courtyard into two unequal parts. Its upper floor forms a long gallery. The
picturesque, half-timbered house within the smaller enclosure also dates from
the Wyatt period.

Compton Castle

Compton Castle, three miles west of Torquay, has belonged to the Gilbert family
- with one long interruption -- since the early fourteenth century. The Gilberts
are famous for their role in the age of exploration, Sir Humphrey Gilbert
discovering Newfoundland in 1583. Occupation descended to impoverished tenant
farmers who could not afford any fashionable rebuilding, and for this reason
the castle is one of the few to survive more or less intact but remarkably

Disregarding its later defenses for a moment, Compton originated as a typical
West Country manor house. It is centered upon a fourteenth-century hall which,
having fallen into ruins, was rebuilt on its original lines in 1955. Otto
Gilbert added the west wing containing the solar and a pretty little chapel. It
appears that the tower attached to the solar is older than the others and began
as a tower house.

Otto's son John transformed the house into a more extensive complex. His
additions have been dated at about 1520 and if this is accurate then Compton
vies with Thornbury as the last true castle ever raised in England. At this
time, the coast suffered frequent attacks from French pirates and Compton, not
far inland, would have been a target.

A new wing containing the kitchen and its domestic offices was added to the
east of the hall. The outer face of this wing, with its projecting towers, is
clearly a curtain wall. It is likely that a quadrangle was intended, the hall
lying across the middle and dividing it into two. If we imagine the scheme
brought to completion there would have been square towers at the four corners
and others in the middle of the two longer sides. The older tower is one of
these. However, the west wing was never extended southwards to match the east

Tiverton Castle

According to tradition, Richard de Redvers, Earl of Devon, first raised a
castle here around 1106, but if so nothing remains of it. Hugh Courtenay built
the present stronghold soon after 1300, and the quadrangular plan is very
typical of that era but would be unlikely in a Norman castle.

We may compare Hugh's reconstruction of Okehampton Castle, where his work was
conditioned by the old motte and bailey layout. Tiverton's quadrangle was
surrounded by a curtain wall, which remains on three sides. There were towers
at the corners but only the two southern ones remain. The southeast tower is
circular and rather picturesque with its later conical roof; the larger
southwest tower is square and ruinous.

Windows piercing the curtain between them, some retaining their tracery, show
that important buildings stood here, the largest marking the site of the
chapel. These windows and the relatively slight projection of the angle towers
show that the castle, though a product of the Edwardian age, was not too
serious a fortress. The gatehouse in the middle of the east front exemplifies
this. Though undeniably strong, it eschews Edwardian defensive principles,
being a simple tower with one floor over the vaulted gate passage. The part,
which projects in front of the curtain, is a slightly later extension.

Hugh Courtenay became Earl of Devon and Tiverton was the favorite seat of
subsequent earls until their attainder in 1539. On the Courtenays'
reinstatement, the castle was not restored to them but passed instead to the
Giffards. They abandoned the old residential buildings on the south and west
and built an Elizabethan house in the northeast corner of the courtyard,
backing onto the old curtain. This house still exists in a much-modified form.
Afterwards, the west side of the castle was torn down but the rest was left
intact out of courtesy to the occupants.

St. Briavels Castle

St, Briavels Castle occupies an elevated site overlooking the Wye Valley and
the Welsh Border. Niles Fitz Walter, Earl of Gloucester, first built the castle
during the Anarchy, but Henry II took possession in 1160 and it remained a royal
stronghold thereafter. Kings, especially John, came here to hunt in the Forest
of Dean. It between times, it served as the administrative center of the
forest, which was important for iron forges, and the castle became a stone
house for the innumerable crossbow bolts made there.

A massive gate house dominates the castle, Built by Edward I in 1292, it must
have been a good example of the keep gate house theme and a worthy counterpart
to the gatehouses of Edward's Welsh castles. The effect is marred now by the
loss of the parapet, long since displaced by pitched roofs, and the destruction
of one side of the long gate passage.

Semi-circular flanking towers rise from square bases which retreat back into
the wall as short pyramidal spurs. This strengthening of the wall portcullises
closed the gate passage, and smaller portcullises even barred the doorways
leading into the porter's lodges. Beneath one of these lodges is a pit prison,
and later the entire gatehouse served as a prison for those who had fallen foul
of the harsh forest laws. Originally, however, the two upper floors of the gate
house contained a hall and other apartments for the constable.

The gatehouse forms one end of the present house, which originated as a suite
of royal apartments. Though much altered in the Jacobean period and later, the
house preserves a lot of masonry from King John's time, notably a reset
fireplace in the so-called Jury Room. An altered chapel projects into the
bailey, but the hall that stood opposite has vanished.

Dartmouth Castle

Dartmouth, on the beautiful estuary of the River Dart, was a flourishing port
from the twelfth century. When the Hundred Year War made legitimate trading
difficult, the inhabitants turned to piracy to boost their profits. Their
unfortunate targets were the ports across the Channel. In 1404, the Bretons
land in force and attempted to sack the town in revenge, but the inhabitants
drove them off with great loss to themselves. According to French sources a
second attempt was more successful. Dartmouth Castle is actually a mile
southeast of the town, at a point where the estuary narrows.

A fortification first rose here about 1388 in response to the threat of
invasion from France. It was built at the instigation of the mayor, John
Hawley, and is interesting as the earliest example of a fort built by a
municipal authority as opposed to the private castle of an individual. It was a
simple affair, consisting of a curtain with circular towns cutting off the
landward approach to the headland. A tall piece of curtain and one shattered
tower can be seen on the high ground overlooking the defenses. In view of the
primitive artillery of the day it is difficult to see how this fortification
could have interfered with any ships. It was also overlooked by much higher
ground. Perhaps for these reasons it soon fell into disuse.

The tower, which now forms the focal point of the castle crowns the rocks on
the edge of the headland. It looks like two connected towers, one square and
one oval. In fact, the original design was for a freestanding oval tower and 
the most prominent square portion is an afterthought, but there is no internal 
division between the two. The splayed gun ports provided a degree of 
flexibility for cannon fire, which was hitherto unknown. They lie in the rock-
cut basement.

Christchurch Castle

Christchurch was in the beginning called Twineham and Richard de Redvers, Earl
of Devon, in all probability founded its castle in the region of 1100. The town
is noted for its priory church, a gem of Norman architecture, but close by
stands the Norman House, which is as well of great interest. This ruined
building contained the hall and solar of the castle, both apartments standing
higher than an unvaulted undercroft.

The original doorway, once upon a time reached by an outside staircase, marks
the junction flanked by the two rooms, which were only divided by a wooden
dividing wall. A number of two light windows enriched with chevron ornament
lighted the hall. Two of them pierce the wall in front of a stream, for
example, the outside wall of the castle. In the face of the fact that
positioned at first floor level they are too near to the ground and too large
for real defense.

Flanked by these two windows is a tall, circular chimney -- one of the very
oldest in existence in England. The architecture of the hall looks a lot like
that of the 1600s, making it the work of Richard de Redvers, the grandson of
the founder, or his son Baldwin. The only other remnant of the castle is the
motte, bearing two featureless walls of a square tower. It may possibly have
been a Norman keep, despite the fact that the canted corners suggest at least a
remodeling in the later Middle Ages at what time the castle belonged to the
Montagu earls of Salisbury. In 1645, the derelict castle became the very last
way out of some Roundhead armed forces, who managed to hold out here at what
time the Royalists attacked the town. Afterwards, the coastal defenses were
destroyed by order of Parliament.

Colchester Castle

Colchester reached the peak of its importance before the Romans came. A city
for veterans of the Roman army was established here, dominated by a temple of
the deified Emperor Claudius. Queen Boudicca razed it to the ground in AD 61
but a new city soon rose from the ashes.

Colchester Castle, near the center of the walled town, has by far the largest
ground area of any keep in England, measuring 150 by 110 feet. William the
Conqueror founded a castle here soon after the Norman Conquest and the keep may
have been started following a Danish raid on the town in 1071. The masonry is
certainly early Norman -- note for example the herringbone work in the

The keep has affinities with the Tower of London's White Tower, so much so that
the builder of the latter, Bishop Gundulf of Rochester, is often credited with
the design. However, it is possible that a destroyed keep at Rouen provided the
model for both. The chief similarity is the apsidal projection at the south end
of the east wall. In some respects the Colchester keep is quite different; it
is much more rectangular in plan, there are projecting towers rather than mere
buttresses at the corners and the keep was originally divided by two
cross-walls, so that the eastern half contained two curiously long and narrow

Only the eastern cross wall still stands. The apse shows where a chapel was
intended, but the keep now appears peculiarly squat in relation to its area
because only the two lower floors survive. Traces of walled-up battlements
reveal that, when only one story high, an embattled parapet capped the keep.
This may have been done as an emergency measure in 1083 when a Danish invasion
seemed imminent. The next level must have followed soon after.

Wingfield Manor

At South Wingfield are the stately ruins of a mansion erected by Sir Ralph
Cromwell in the 1440s. Lord Cromwell was High Treasurer of England and builder
of the grass brick tower at Tattershall Castle. Unlike Tattershall, Wingfield
Manor is all of one period and entirely of stone.

It follows the late medieval trend for two courtyards, one containing
Cromwell's residential buildings and the other a base court for retainers. This
arrangement is often described as a security measure but here the distinction
was purely a social one. Neither courtyard can be described as defensive and
both are entered by gatehouses that have side arches for pedestrians in
addition to the main arch. The flanking turrets cannot make up for such a
weakness. In fact the only defensive feature, apart from the commanding
position above the River Amber, is an oblong tower house rising at one corner
of the inner courtyard.

Tattershall's tower was a comfortable residence and a symbol of lordship, but
the tower here is a comparatively modest affair and can never have dominated
the mansion. Its outer half was blasted down after the Civil War. The tower
house is unusual for its distance from the principal apartments, which are
situated at the far end of the courtyard. The hall is notable for its porch,
its bay window and its vaulted undercroft. It is peculiar to find the solar and
the domestic offices lumped together beyond the west end of the hall.

Shortly before his death in 145, Lord Cromwell sold the mansion to John Talbot,
Earl of Shrewsbury. It remained in Talbot hands for over a century. During that
time Mary Queen of Scots spent portions of her long imprisonment here, in some
discomfort. In 1643, the house was wrested from the Roundheads by the Earl of

Brancepeth Castle

Brancepeth Caste, four miles southwest of Durham, was the original seat of the
powerful Neville family. It is first mentioned during the Magna Carta war of
1216. In outline, the castle may date back to this period but nothing now
standing is that old. The castle is similar architecturally to some of its late
fourteenth century neighbors in the county and the rebuilding is attributed to
Ralph Neville, first Earl of Westmoreland, after Raby was complete.
Unfortunately his stronghold has been subjected to radical alterations.

From 1818 there was a heavy-handed restoration in neo-Norman style under the
architect John Paterson, whose uninspired work has been justly criticized. The
end result is a castle, which is a mishmash of original and sham features, best
seen from a distance. Nevertheless, a considerable amount of medieval masonry
has survived and the contrast between the old and the new is clearly apparent.

The castle is situated on a rise overlooking the Stockley Beck. It is a large,
irregular enclosure surrounded by a strong curtain. The curtain looks complete,
but some portions have been rebuilt. Paterson erected the present round-towered
gatehouse on the site of the original. Most of the mural towers are authentic
and have suffered comparatively little interference. These massive, oblong
structures are unusual for the diagonal buttresses clasping their outer corners.

Proceeding clockwise from the gatehouse, we pass the Westmoreland and Constable
towers, which have turrets rather than buttresses. Next comes the Russell Tower,
a Paterson insertion, followed by three closely spaced towers containing vaulted
chambers (including the so-called Barons' Hall in Bulmer's Tower). These three
towers were attached to the main residential apartments, but the buildings,
which now lean against the curtain on this side, are entirely of the nineteenth
The curtain returns to the gatehouse via two small turrets.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is one of England's largest, containing thirteen acres within
its walls. It has enjoyed favor as a royal residence from Norman times to the
present and is the only royal castle to have made the transition to palace.
Most monarchs have contributed in some way to its splendor and every century
except the eighteenth has left its mark on the fabric. The result is a
magnificent but extremely mutilated stronghold.

The castle owes its position to William the Conqueror. He chose the elevated
site on a chalk cliff above the Thames in 1067 and his earthworks have since
dictated the layout of the castle. Although raised on the grand scale, Windsor
is a typical motte and bailey fortress, with two baileys or wards of roughly
equal size on either side of a motte fifty feet high.

The west front has three D-shaped towers, named Curfew, Salisbury and Garter.
Henry VIII rebuilt the gatehouse leading into the lower ward in 1510. The
heavily restored Henry III and Edward III towers rising at the foot of the
motte were built in the thirteenth century. Five Norman flanking towers also
remain -- the York, Augusta, Clarence, Chester and Prince of Wales towers. Mural
towers were by no means a new invention, but Windsor's are spaced closely enough
to methodically flank the curtain. These simple square towers may be compared
with the round towers flanking Windsor's west front to appreciate the progress
of fifty years.

The route towards the upper ward passes the Winchester Tower overlooking the
river. At the foot of the motte is the so-called Norman Gate which leads from
the lower ward into the upper. This gatehouse has the veneer of newness
characteristic of all the castle's defenses, but the vault of the gate passage,
the porticullis and one of the twin flanking towers go back to Edward III's
reign in 1359.

Hurst Castle

Its nucleus is one of the coastal forts of Henry VIII, expanded as a result of
another invasion scare in Victorian times. The original castle was built in
1539-44 and the master mason, Thomas Bertie, later became captain of the
garrison here, a curious but not uncommon reward for a castle builder.

Like Calshot, it lies at the end of a spit of shingle, well over a mile long
and projecting into the middle of the Solent. The Isle of Wight is little more
than a mile away and, along with its counterpart at Yarmouth, the castle's guns
could effectively command the western entrance to the Solent.

Hurst was garrisoned almost continuously until the Second World War. Its
situation also made a secure prison, used mainly for the incarceration of
Catholics though its most famous inmate was Charles I en route to his trial and
execution. The Henrician fort is now flanked by two long batteries added in
1861-73, when the fear of a resurgent France under Napoleon III led to that
vast array of defensive works known as "Palmerston's Follies'.

Henry's castle is made up of a central tower, polygonal outside but circular
within, surrounded by a thick curtain with three semi-circular projecting
bastions. Large gun ports in the beginning pierced the curtain and further
cannon could have been mounted on the parapets of the curtain and the higher
central tower. Later modifications have obscured much of the original layout.

The central tower has a spiral stair turret at its nucleus, probably an
original feature though it was rebuilt in the Napoleonic period when the
tower's brick vault was inserted. Only the northwest bastion, which is higher
than the others, preserves its original appearance. Beside it is the entrance
gateway, retaining its portcullis groove and slots for the drawbridge chains.

Thornbury Castle

The Thornbury Castle has been described as the last genuine castle, or rather
private house with defensive features, ever raised in England. This is probably
true if we ignore Scottish border territory. It is testimony to the ambition of
Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, who began building here in 1511. Ten years
later, Henry VIII had him executed on a charge of treason. It was alleged that
the duke had raised a private army in the Welsh Marches, in defiance of the
Tudor laws against such practices, and Thornbury Castle may have been another
factor weighing against him.

The castle follows the standard quadrangular layout of later medieval times,
and is provided with an outer courtyard large enough to house a sizeable body
of retainers. So here, as elsewhere, the hired levies were kept away from the
duke and his personal household, though whether this arrangement reflects
mistrust or the social hierarchy is a moot point.

Two long ranges of retainers' lodgings back onto the outer curtain. This
curtain has three square flanking towers, the angle tower is set diagonally,
several intermediate turrets and a liberal supply of gun ports and arrow slits.
The main entrance, flanked by semi-octagonal turrets to front and rear, was
furnished with a portcullis in traditional fashion. The south wall of the outer
courtyard was never built and on the east lies the inner quadrangle.

Clearly, the west fašade of the inner curtain was intended to look
uncompromisingly defensive, with massive octagonal towers at each end and a
twin-towered gatehouse in between. However, this front appears woefully squat
because it was left in 1521 at less than half its intended height. The north
range, with square flanking towers, is similarly truncated and the east range,
which would have contained the hall, was never even begun.

Naworth Castle

Naworth Castle has become a fine mansion without sacrificing its medieval
character. Ranulf de Dacre obtained a license to crenellate in 1335. His
castle, on a promontory two miles east of Brampton, consists of an irregular,
quadrilateral courtyard surrounded by a curtain wall. The only level approach
is from the southeast and this side has a tower at each end, named Dacre and
Howard after the two prominent families who have lived here since the
fourteenth century.

Dacre Tower is the original tower house. Five stories high with corner turrets,
it flanks the original gateway through the curtain though it does not project at
all from the southeast front. The doorway into its vaulted ground floor
preserves an iron yert. The Howard Tower is probably one of Thomas Dacre's
additions and as a defensive tower it is something of an illusion. It fills the
acute angle between two walls and its inner sides are supported on arches above
the residential buildings, so it is only a tower at the upper levels. In front
of the southeast curtain was a narrow outer bailey, as indicated by the
surviving gatehouse and the squat tower known as the Boat House.

There are courtyard buildings against the curtain on three sides. They are
largely the work of Thomas, Lord Dacre, who proved to be a capable Warden of
the Western march. The southeast range contained the solar and the chapel, the
latter indicated by large windows at the Dacre Tower end. The hall occupies
most of the northeast range. This lofty apartment contains four intriguing
heraldic beasts -- a bull, a gryphon, a dolphin and a sheep. These but little
else survived a devastating fire in 1844. As a result of this fire, the
interiors, while adhering to the old, are the work of Anthony Salvin. He also
added the Morpeth Tower near the north corner.

Hedingham Castle

The village of Castle Hedingham is dominated by one of the finest keeps. Faced
with ashlar masonry brought all the way from Barnack, it is almost perfectly
preserved, lacking only its battlements. The sloping plinth and pilaster
buttresses are typical Norman motifs but the turrets rising at two opposite
corners are a distinctive feature. From outside, the keep is seen to have five

This translates to four stories within because the hall -- as usual in the
larger Norman keeps -- is twice the height of the other rooms and its upper
windows are at gallery level. The top floor, or solar, is just below the
parapet, so there is no blank space to protect a steeply pitched roof as in
many Norman keeps. It is interesting to see how the windows graduate from
narrow slits at ground level to larger and more elaborate openings above,
though being Norman, they are relatively small. Note the even rows of putlog
holes used in the construction.

A fore building preceded by a flight of steps guarded the way in. This has been
allowed to decay into a ruinous stump, but the first floor entrance, with
chevron ornament and portcullis groove, is still in use. The room within is
bisected by a wide archway, which prepares us for the loftier, molded arch at
hall level. These cross arches are a unique feature. They helped support the
wooden floors without dividing the keep into smaller rooms as a cross wall
would have done.

A mural gallery runs all the way around the keep at the upper level of the
hall. Frequent window recesses pierce it so the hall benefits from light at two
levels. The present floors and roof are modern, the older ones having been
consumed by a fire in 1918.

Palace of Westminster

The Houses of Parliament occupy the site of a royal palace which flourished
from the time of Edward the Confessor until Henry VIII moved to Whitehall and
St. James's. Although the Tower of London could accommodate the royal
entourage, most kings found Westminster more congenial than the volatile city
of London. There was convenient transport between the two by barge along the

Parliament's relationship with the palace is an old one, since the House of
Lords regularly met in the private royal apartments from the fourteenth century
and the House of Commons used the collegiate chapel.

Several royal palaces were unfortified even in Norman times and Westminster was
one of them. The precinct wall that surrounded the palace never quite developed
into a defensive curtain, though Edward III commissioned a youthful Henry
Yevele to build two towers along its line in 1365. One of them, the original
Clock Tower, has disappeared beneath its famous successor. The Jewel Tower
survives owing to later use as a repository for Parliamentary records. Now an
isolated structure facing, and overawed by, the Victoria Tower, it occupied the
southwest corner of the medieval palace precinct.

The present windows, enlargements in 1718, do not conceal the defensive
character of the tower, and the ground floor is covered by a vault with
beautifully carved bosses. As a matter of fact, the Jewel Tower, as its name
suggests, was built as a secure place for the extensive treasures of the King's
privy wardrobe.

The tower is a rectangular structure with a smaller wing at right angles,
carefully contrived to stand completely outside the angle of the precinct and
thus not encroach upon the King's private garden, which lay behind. The moat,
reinstated at this point, had to be pushed out onto a piece of land
appropriated from Westminster Abbey, much to the annoyance of the abbot and

Tattershall Castle

Tattershall Castle posses one of the most splendid of later medieval tower
houses. It has justly been described as the finest piece of medieval brickwork
in England. Ralph, Lord Cromwell, erected this tower in the years 1434046.
Rising over a hundred feet to the top of its corner turrets, with a view
stretching from Lincoln Cathedral to Boston Stump, it dominates the surrounding
fenland, all the more so because the rest of the castle has perished.

There had, in fact, been a castle here since 1231m when Robert de Tattershall
obtained a license to crenellate. Weir moats enclose an inner bailey and a
concentric platform, which is divided into two outer baileys. Unfortunately,
the thirteenth century curtain has been totally destroyed though excavations
have left on view the stone bases of two rounded flanking towers.

The corner turrets rise well above parapet level and are finished off with
decorative brickwork emulating machicolations. Between the turrets on all four
sides is a covered fighting gallery projecting outwards on genuine
machicolations. The gallery has embrasures in its outer wall and there is an
embattled parapet above. This elaborate crown gives Tattershall its unique
dignity, but the present isolation of the tower is misleading. Originally, it
was connected to the main residential buildings of the castle and that is why
the angle turrets do not project at all on the bailey side. The tower basically
formed a suite of apartments for Lord Cromwell's personal use so it was not a
self-contained keep in the old sense.

There are five stories in the tower, including the vaulted basement, each level
comprising one grand apartment with extra accommodation provided in the angle
turrets. The first floor contained a hall. The second floor is conjectured to
have been Lord Cromwell's audience chamber. Above that was the solar.

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle rises serenely from the waters of its urrounding lake. The lake is
an artificial one created by damming the River Len. The castle existed in 1139
because, in that year, King Stephen wrested it from Matilda's supporters.

The two islands on which suggest a motte and bailey origin, and the lake itself
existed by 1272. In terms of masonry, however, the castle is essentially the
work of Edward I, with additions by Henry VIII and much nineteenth century
beautification. Around the entrance, the lake decreases to a narrow moat.

On the near side of the moat are the ruins of a peculiar barbican, which had
three gateways because three roads converged here. The gatehouse is a squat
tower, Edwardian in date but not at all in spirit. It has a recess for the
drawbridge and a later row of machicolations above the entrance.

Except for one of the four D-shaped flanking bastions, the curtain was reduced
to a low retaining wall in the nineteenth century, to allow an unimpeded view
across the lake. Foundations of an earlier curtain enclosing a slightly
narrower area have come to light, so Leeds may have been a concentric castle,
though there is no proof that the two walls stood simultaneously. There are two
separate residential blocks within the bailey: Maiden's Tower, one of Henry
VIII's additions, and the neo-Gothic mansion built by Fiennes Wykeham-Martin in
the 1820s. It occupies the site of lavish medieval apartments.

From the back of the mansion, a stone corridor, replacing a wooden causeway and
drawbridge, leads to the keep on the smaller island. It is known as the
Gloriette. This peculiar, D-shaped structure is built around a tiny courtyard
in shell keep manner. Its lower part, including the tall plinth, which rises
straight out of the water, is Edward I's work.

Hereford Castle

Hereford means "army ford", a reference to the turbulent days of its foundation
when the Kingdom of Mercia was pushing westwards into Welsh territory.
Excavations have uncovered the Saxon town rampart. For centuries the English
settlers and the Welsh beyond the River Wye were uneasy neighbors, and in 1055
the town went up in flames. Harold Godwinson, later King Harold, drove back the
invaders and rebuilt the shattered defenses.

In Norman times, the enclosed area doubled in size and a walled circuit
replaced the earthwork defenses from 1224 onward. Hereford rebuffed a Scottish
army in 1645 but fell to Parliament at the end of the year. Damaged during
these sieges, the city wall suffered the common fate of demolition and
concealment thereafter. However, clearance in the 1960s for the Victoria Street
bypass has led to the re-appearance of much of the western part of the circuit,
extending from the river almost to West Street. The wall is mutilated but it
preserves two semi-circular bastions. All the gatehouses have perished,
including the one which guarded the medieval Wye Bridge. There was no wall on
the riverside, but remains of a ditch show that the medieval city had a suburb
on the opposite bank.

According to John Leland, Hereford Castle was one of the "largest, fairest and
strongest" in England, so its virtual disappearance is a great pity. Castle
suffered from too close a proximity to the cathedral. In 1140 the Empress
Matilda's supporters fired stones and arrows into the bailey from the central
tower, a forerunner of the present one. Henry III found himself a prisoner here
after of Battle of Lewes, but his son Edward escaped and rallied the royal
forces to victory over Simon de Montfort at Evesham.The defenses of this royal
stronghold were torn down at the Restoration.

Berry Pomeroy Castle

Berry Pomeroy Castle occupies a spur of land falling steeply to the Gatcombe
Valley, three miles northeast of Tornes. The ruins of a late medieval castle
are juxtaposed with those of a great Tudor mansion. The Pomeroys settled here
soon after the Norman Conquest but their castle dates only from the fifteenth
century. It is probably the work of Henry Pomeroy who held the manor from 1446
to 1487. The new defenses were doubtless a response to the menace of French
raids, the castle being just a few miles inland from Torbay.

Only one side remains of the castle defenses, comprising the gatehouse, the
D-shaped Margaret's Tower and the length of curtain between them. Enough
survives to show that this was no regular quadrangle. The gatehouse has tall
flanking towers with pointed fronts and a long machicolation between them. An
arcade, the narrower part having served as the chapel, divides the chamber over
the gate passage. A fine fresco here depicting the Adoration of the Magi shows
Flemish influence, and its discovery led to the re-roofing of the gatehouse
during the restoration of the 1980s. An earth rampart as reinforcement against
artillery backs the curtain, and the walls are liberally supplied with gun

The big residential block on the east side of the courtyard incorporates the
Pomeroys' hall and solar, but it was transformed in the large-scale rebuilding
of the following century. In 1547, Sir Thomas Pomeroy sold the castle to Edward
Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector. As well as converting the eastern
block, which survives as a well-preserved shell, he began an ambitious
Renaissance mansion centered upon an immense new hall range on the far side of
the courtyard, overlooking the valley. Unfortunately, it is too fragmentary to
be readily appreciated. Somerset was executed in 1552 and his son completed the
work on a reduced scale.

Durham Castle

In the year 995, monks from Chester-le-Street brought St. Cuthber's body here
to protect it from the Danes. They chose the naturally fortified site within an
incised loop of the River Wear as the setting for their new cathedral. As late
as 1075 it rebuffed a Danish attack. The only landward approach to the
promontory is guarded by Durham Castle, which was established by William the
Conqueror in 1072 but was soon given to Bishop Welcher. The castle remained the
chief seat of the bishops of Durham until 1836, when Bishop Van Mildert gave it
to the newly founded university. It now serves as University College.

As seen from across the Wear, castle and cathedral form a magnificent
spectacle. It is the cathedral which dominates, but this can only be expected
of England's celebrated Norman church. Above the river the castle presents a
purely residential fašade, the domestic buildings protruding from the great
hall to the edge of the precipice. Clearly, the steep drop was considered
protection enough. Whereas Durham Cathedral is still essentially a Norman
building, the castle exhibits architecture of every century from the eleventh
to the nineteenth, reflecting the changing tastes of the bishops, and is
memorable as a palace rather than a fortress. In outline, however, the castle
is still a Norman stronghold, comprising a triangular bailey overlooked by a
large motte.

The promontory within the loop of the Wear was given a stone enclosure wall for
extra protection under Bishop Flambard in the early twelfth century. Much of
this wall remains in a featureless condition, particularly on the west side
beyond the cathedral building. Near the soythern apex is the Water Gate,
rebuilt in 1778. The short gap between the castle motte and the eastern arm of
the river was closed by a stronger wall and ditch.

Peveril Castle

Peveril Castle crowns a steep hill overlooking Castleton in the Peak District.
This area was a center of medieval lead mining and William the Conqueror
appointed William Peveril (supposedly his illegitimate son) as bailiff of the
royal lands here. The ruined castle that bears his name was usually called the
Castle of the Peak in medieval times. It existed by the time the Domesday
survey and comprises a triangular enclosure sloping upwards to a sheer drop at
the rear.

The very ruinous curtain is probably William Peveril's, since I displays
herringbone masonry typical of early Norman work and stone was easy to come by
here. It is of some interest as an early stone enclosure with neither keep nor
gatehouse originally. It would seem that the north wall, guarding the easiest
approach, came first, with the western wall (overlooking the ravine) following.
Henry II inserted the present gate arch, facing the town. The precipitous
southeastern side of the bailey was not walled until the thirteenth century and
the curtain here has since disappeared. Two round towers stood along it, though
why there should have been towers on the edge of the cliff but none elsewhere
is difficult to explain.

When the third William Peveril forfeited his estates in 1155, the castle was
taken over by Henry II. Expenditure of 184 pounds in 1176-77, is just enough to
account for the square keep which now dominates the castle. The keep has come
down to us in good condition, preserving its ashlar facing except on two of the
outside walls. As keeps go its is a modest structure, just two stories high,
though the walls rise higher to protect the vanished roof. The entrance was at
first-floor level as usual but there is no evidence for a fore building.
Clearly the main accommodation was always in the bailey and the foundations of
two successive halls.

Tower of London

The Tower of London and Dover Castle were the strongest castles of medieval
England. There are those who would put Dover first and London second, but this
is a matter of preference. Both castle retain their majesty in spite of
extensive later mutilation. It must be admitted that Dover makes the most of
its glorious position; whereas the Tower derives no advantages from its site.

Squatting on the north bank of the Thames, and now overshadowed by the glass
skyscrapers of the City, the grandeur of the complex is not immediately
apparent. Nevertheless, its sheer size-eighteen acres-cannot fail to impress
and the majestic keep and concentric curtains are visible from all directions.
The prime role of the Tower was to overawe the defiant citizens of the capital.
This may seem less strategic than Dover's coastal defense, but English kings
generally had more to fear from their own subjects than from external attack.
One claim can never be denied. That is the fact that, in terms of historic
intensity, the Tower has no equal.

The interior of the White Tower is somewhat obscured by the vast array of arms
and armor on display. This magnificent collection recalls one of the chief
functions of the Tower of London as its use as a palace declined -- that of
arsenal and armory for the realm. Until 1812, it housed the mint and the Crown
Jewels are still entrusted to the Tower's safe keeping.

Above all, the Tower is celebrated for the sinister events arising from its use
as a prison for illustrious captives, many of who languished here en route to
the block. Indeed, imprisonment within the Tower, and decapitation on Tower
Hill, were jealously guarded privileges of the nobility. A list of victims
reads like a roll call of tragic heroes and villains.

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