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LUDGERSHALL CASTLE

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Ludgershall Castle consists of the remains of a flint tower and extensive earthworks dating to between the 11th and 13th centuries. The earthworks include two contiguous enclosures - ringworks, which have also been interpreted as baileys. The northern enclosure was a medieval fortification which was later used as a royal residence. The bank and ditch of the ringwork enclosed an area of 4.2 acres and also formed part of a garden feature. The southern enclosure comprises a double bank and ditch which has been extensively quarried in the south-west area; in the south-east area modern housing and a farm track obscures the earthworks. This has been interpreted as a 'bailey'. The souther enclosure encloses a larger arear of 8.2 acres.
Additional features include a hollow way to the west of the castle, and a massive ditch to the east which has been variously described as a deer park boundary and town defences.
Excavations carried out between 1964 and 1971 identified the development of residential buildings from the 11th to 13th century within the north ringwork. A great hall is thought to have been added in the 1240s, and by the late 12th century mural towers, an undercroft and latrine towers were constructed. Excavations within the south ringwork identified three phases of 12th century timber buildings, a dewpond and a large timber-lined cellar.

Ludgershall castle was adopted by King John (1199-1216) as a stopping point to the West Country. Historical records show that King John and then his son Henry III took a great interest in the castle and Ludgershall was a hunting lodge associated with Savernake forest. Later kings were not so interested in the castle and by the 16th century it was totally ruined.

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