- Travel and Places
Castles of England
Castles and Fortresses of England
This lens is about the beautiful and amazing castles of Britain, which I hope to some day visit. I've always been fascinated with castles.
Since there's so many, and I have a ways to go to list more, I will never list all of them. Just my favorites or the most interesting ones.
The Norman Invasion and After
Many of the castles that we are familiar with today were built after the Norman Conquest. Once William of Normandy succeeded in conquering the original people of England, he parceled out lands and estates to many of his followers. From that point on, hundreds of castles were built, including "adulterine" (unauthorized) ones. At one point there were 1115 castles offering protection to the estate and people.
In the early part of this time period the interest of the king and his barons was identical. However, the king only had castles in the main towns of the shires, which were entrusted to his sheriffs. Meanwhile, the barons had castles and keeps all over England.
The feudal revolts under the current Norman king and his sons showed that these numerous castles in private hands was a huge obstacle to the rule of the king.
Thus, it proved to be worth the while to increase the number of royal castles and strengthen the existing ones, while cautiously keeping in check those of the barons.
However, during a struggle within the royal family, the royal power was relaxed and there was a large increase in castle-building once more, by the barons.
Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England, with the first being Windsor Castle, and has been the home of the Percys, Earls and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309.
The Castle was first restored by the 1st Lord Percy of Alnwick in the early 1300's and portions of this restoration remain today, including the Abbot's Tower, the Middle Gateway and the Constable's Tower.
It is located in Northumberland.
Map of Alnwick Castle
Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, is the oldest in continuous occupation.
The castle's floor area is approximately 484,000 square feet!
It is located in Windsor, in the the county of Berkshire.
Also, it is one of the principal official residences of the British monarchy.
Most of the Kings and Queens of England, later Kings and Queens of Great Britain, and later still kings and queens of the Commonwealth realms, have had a direct influence on the construction and evolution of the castle, which has been their garrison fortress, home, official palace, and sometimes their prison.
Reference - Wikipedia
Map of Windsor Castle
Known as the 'Key to England', this giant castle was considered to be a primary defensive castle of England. Dover Castle, as it stands today, dates from the rebuilding work during Henry II's reign, but the site has been of strategic importance since the Iron Age. The first castle at Dover was probably an Anglo-Saxon fortress and, on the arrival of William the Conqueror, the existing fortifications were improved with the building of an earthwork castle.
The Norman 'motte' (mound) which supported the castle is today known as 'Castle Hill'.
Work began on Dover Castle in the latter part of the 12th century with the construction of the Keep (or Great Tower) - the largest in Britain - and is entered through a "forebuilding" larger than any other built before or since.
There is also a history of the castle's use during World War II, in which the extensive tunnel system was used as a bomb shelter and command headquarters.
Map of Dover Castle
The castle was originally built in the 11th century as a projection of the Norman king's power in the north of England, as the population of England in the north remained "wild and fickle" following the disruption of the Norman Conquest in 1066. It is an excellent example of the early motte and bailey castles favoured by the Normans. The holder of the office of the Bishop of Durham was appointed by the King to exercise royal authority on his behalf: the Castle was his seat.
Entrance to Bishop Bek's Great Hall
It remained the Bishop's palace for the Bishops of Durham until the Bishops made Bishop Auckland their primary residence and the castle was converted into a college.
The castle has a vast Great Hall, created by Bishop Antony Bek in the early 14th century. It was the largest Great Hall in Britain until Bishop Richard Foxe shortened it at the end of the 15th century. However, it is still 14 m high and over 30 m long.
Courtesy of Wikipedia
To make a booking, or for more information, please contact Event Durham on 0800 28 99 70 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Map of Durham Castle
A perfect example of a late medieval moated castle
This castle looks strangely lonely to me. However, the appearance is a classic design of a castle. Simply beautiful!
The castle was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III. It was supposedly built in order to defend the surrounding area from French invasion. However, recent research suggests that the castle was built more for show than as an effective defense.
There is evidence supporting that research, as the walls of Bodiam Castle are only a couple of feet thick!
Just the same, it looks like a formidable castle. In addition to not have a thick wall, it also only had one line of defense.
The Bodiam Castle was never involved in a medieval siege, so we have no idea if it would have stood well to an attack.
At the time of building, England and France were fighting the Hundred Years' War, which had been going on since 1337.
Map of Bodiam Castle
Links to More Information
Map of Castles in England
Books on the Castles of England
"The hidden treasure in this book is that in over 3 dozen instances, a plan view drawing of the castle and environs is included. Labeled rooms, land forms, and out-buildings provide a much more intimate idea of what life inside was really like than any number of exterior photos could do." - Merry Guido
"This book is wonderful because it lets me do just that. Many guidebooks (I use the Let's Go and Rough Guides) do not differentiate between different kinds of castles, and offer a brief description of each one. It's hard to know what you're getting into before you actually arrive. With this book, you can get a preview of each castle, so you're never surprised. I mentioned my personal love of ruins, but this book is great for any taste, or just the curious." - Isaac Vanduyn