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FRAMLINGHAM CASTLE

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The now partly ruined Framlingham Castle was built around the end of the 12th century by Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. The first structure on the site was thought to have been a motte and bailey castle, built sometime after 1086 and in around the mid 12th century the first stone buildings were constructed. These, however, were dismantled in 1174-6. Roger Bigod's castle comprised a stone curtain with thirteen mural towers, and although there is no evidence for a keep it is possible that one was planned in the south-eastern corner. The castle is situated on a large earthen platform with a deep dry ditch separating it from a large kidney-shaped bailey and dry ditch on the south and east. Attached to the western side of the castle platform (and slightly post-dating it) is a roughly rectangular embanked enclosure, possibly the site of a garden.


In 1275 and 1483-5 the castle underwent alterations, including the construction of new lodgings, and soon after 1513, the gatehouse was remodelled. In 1552, the castle passed to Mary Tudor, and it was here that she assembled an army of men to defend her right to the crown. The castle housed forty prisoners in 1600, many of whom had been captured under the anti-Catholic laws. In 1654 almshouses were built here but in 1666, plague struck and castle buildings were used as isolation wards. Thirty years later the poor house was forced to close, however in 1729 a new poor house was built at the castle. During the Napoleonic wars the castle was used as an ammunition store and following the departure of its residents in 1839, the poor house was converted to a parish hall. Other parts of the castle were converted for use as a court house and drill hall and the castle also housed a parish lock up and stocks at this time.

During the Second World War prefabricated steel Nissen huts and a lorry park were located within the bailey, now Castle Meadow.

The castle is currently (2010) under the guardianship of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.