Famous English Castles
In 1385 Sir Edward Dalyngrigge received orders by Richard II to strenghten and crenellate his manor house,the purpose being to defend the country from the French raids on the south coast.But the castle was n o sooner built that it became reduntant , as by 1388 the English had retained control of the channel and for centuries the castle was left to its slow decay.But in 1916 Lord Curzon bought it, restored the walls and landscaped the surrounding land.Bodiam although not large is a perfect example of a 14thc.castle and its string symmetrical walls and towers reflected in its broad moat present a lovely sight.The plan is simple with the curtain walls enclosing a rectangular inner courtyard with round towers at each corner, a square tower in the middle of each flank, a gate tower in front and a smaller one in the back.
Huge earthworks totally dominate the remains of this early Norman Castle with a vast sweeping bank encircling a wide bailey, and a high mound overlooking it at the end. There is however some stonework too. On top of the mound is all that’s left of an intriguing keep like structure surrounded by a later curtain wall that looks almost like a shell keep, while between the mound and the bailey is a very crumbly gateway.The building on top of the mound was converted into a keep in about 1140 when the fragile reign of King Stephen meant that a lot of unlicensed castles were springing up.Originally though, it was a large defended manor house which is thought to have been one of the earliest stone structures in any English castle.
This mighty Norman keep has many resemblances to the White Tower at the Tower of London, and may well have been designed and built by the same master mason. The site was an historic one, since Colchester had been a British stronghold before the Roman conquest. Characteristically the Romans advertised their domination by building a temple to the Emperor Claudius in the city, renamed Camulodunum; the British rebelling under the leadership of Boudicca(Boudicea) burned it down; the Normans in their economical way built a keep on the temple foundations using many of the Roman bricks. It was conceived on a grander scale than the White Tower measuring about 170 by 145 foot; but only two storeys were completed. Colchester was probably built for Eudo , William the Conquerer’s steward in about 1180. It later became a royal castle.
Dover’s history is rich in episodes of invasion and defence,and the castle high on the cliffs above the town,has been called the key of England.It is one of the largest and best preserved castles in England and has a long history: the main earthworks were almost certainly part of an Iron Age hill fort built before the roman conquest.The great keep was built in the 1180s by Henry II , and the surrounding curtain wall and outer fortifications were begun by him ,continued by his son Richard and completed by king John.In John’s reign (1189-1216)the castle was besieged by Prince Louis of France and the northern gateway was undermined causing the collapse of the eastern tower, clearly showing that the castle was not impregnable after all, and in Henry III’s reign a great deal of money was spent on rebuilding.
The great curtain walls of this late 13th century castle, all that remains present a fine sight. The castle was built by Roger Bigot, 2nd Earl of Norfolk,on the site of his father’s castle. It was built without a keep,its defences being a series of towers and a gatehouse linked by a ring of walls, approached by a draw bridge over a moat. The Bigot family were rebels against royal authority and, although the castle was besieged and taken by King John in 1216, they were not finally crushed until the reign of Edward I, when their estates were received by the Crown. and the castle became the seat of the Mowbrays.
Hedingham Castle was built by Aubrey de Vere , 1st Earl of Oxford in about 1140, and the magnificent and well preserved keep is a monument to his once illustrious family.It stands alone in the grassy enclosure which was the inner bailey, once also containing gthe hall, chapel, and other principal castle buildings.The original outer bailey is now occupied by a red brick Queen Anne House.The stone great tower still has all its exterior walls, thpough two of the corner towers are gone. Access is at the 1st floor level, a spiral staircase leads to the 2nd floor banqueting hall, the most splendid room in the keep, with a timbered ceiling supported by a great cenytral arch.The lovely Tudor bridge spanning the dry moat was built in 1486 by the 13th Earl of Oxford a supporter of the Lancastrians during the Wars of the Roses.
At Orfor only the keep has survived, but it is a splendid one. It was built for Henry II by his designer Alnoth , Keeper of the King’s Houses. The keep was erected first in 1165-1167 , followed by a curtain wall with towers in 1167-1173. Orford was a powerful, modern castle designed to assert royal authority in a part of the country where there were all too many over-mighty barons. The keep was built on a revolutionary principle that was new to England.It was designed not as a rectangle but as a polygon with so many faces that it was virtually a circle and they represented the most advance military thinking. Orford remained a royal castle, seemingly kept in good repair ,until 1336, when Edward III gave it to Robert de Ufford;it was in private hands until 1962.
Portchester is an extremely unusual castle for two reasons. It stands out not on a hill but on a flat piece of land by Portsmouth harbor, and it is a Norman castle built inside a Roman fort. the walls of which still stand to their full height. The roman fort was square in plan, with entrances on the east and west sides, which were destroyed to make Norman entrances, most of the walls however were left intact, and the Norman casile was built on the north-west corner about 1120.The castle seems to have been appropriated by Henry II at about 1133 when the priory was built and remained in royal hands thereafter.
The Tower of London|
The most visited castle in England, and one of the most important examples of medieval architecture. It was intended as a royal fortress, and at its core is the White Tower, the huge Norman Keep built by William the Conqueror in about 1080. This was built whitin the Roman city walls, which probably formed part of the fortifications. By the 13th. century the building had more or less the form it has today, with the White Tower encircled by two rings of massive walls and towers. Richard I and Henry II built the inner wall and Edward I the outer one, and although they have been much repaired and restored they remain substantially as built.
The castle stands on an isolated chalk hill above the river Thames. It began as a simple motte-and-bailey fortress, one of a ring built by William I to protect London, his capital. rom an early date it became a royal residence as well as a fortress. From the central mound the spectacular Round Tower rises to dominate its surroundings. The original shell keep, built not long after the Conquest, was 15 foot high and of irregular shape. In the 12th century Henry II carried out a large defensive work, building another wall within the original shell and rising 20 foot above it.During the reign of Edward III in the 14th. century two-storey buildings were put up inside the keep, leaving an open courtyard in the centre.These are substantially the buildings seen to-day.
The sturdy ruined tower, open to the sky, is a friendly and familiar sight in its present setting, but his past history was exciting and often grim. It was originally one of two motte-and-bailey castles built by William the Conqueror to control the river Ouse. Both were destroyed by Danish raiders in 1069, and only the timber castle on the present site was rebuilt. In 1190 it burned down, or was burned along with the Jews of York who had taken refuge in it from a mob on the rampage.The presdent stone structure dates from about 1250 and is really a keep built in a very rare quatrefoil shape.It was a busy royal headquarter during the Scottish wars of the early 14th.century and in 1322 , when Edward II defeated the home-grown baronial opposition. /td>