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MALMESBURY CASTLE

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The castle, probably a motte, built by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, in 1118 was recorded as being 'not a stone's throw away from the Abbey', although by 1977 its site had not yet been verified by excavation. Documentary research shows it to have occupied the site of the cloisters and the area northwest of the Abbey, in the grounds of the Bell Hotel (for details of the history of that building , please see ST 98 NW30). The castle was involved in the wars of King Stephen and Mathilda: it was taken three times in 1139, when King Stephen captured it, lost it in a suprise move by Robert fitz Hugh, and recaptured by Stephen shortly afterwards. In 1144 it was beseiged by Robert Earl of Gloucester, who constructed three seige castles around it (see ST 98 NW 20). In 1153 it was taken by Henry, Duke of Normandy. Twenty pounds were spent on the castle walls in 1173-4, but in 1216 the monks were given permission to dispose of the site after it had been abandoned by King John. Some remains may still have existed in 1643, when there was a Royalist garrison in Malmesbury.

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