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The site of Farnham Castle. Excavations in 1958-9 revealed much of the castle's development, although the phasing of the castle has since been disputed. It was originally believed to have been constructed in 1138 by Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester; however, this assumption was based on documentary evidence which has since been reviewed. Studies of the Pipe Rolls of the Bishop of Winchester from 1208/9, and a review of the archaeological evidence along with an appraisal of the castle's construction techniques, indicate that a building was already present by the 1130s, and that Henry de Blois fortified an existing structure rather than constructing an entirely new castle. The phasing is suggested as follows: Phase 1, pre-1100 manor house and farm. Phase 2, early 12th century country house built by Bishop Giffard. Phase 3, circa 1130-40 fortification of the country house and construction of the ringwork. Phase 4, 1155 demolition of the tower keep. Phase 5, post-1160 construction of the shell keep.

A stone tower, perhaps as much as 35 metres high with a central well shaft was built. The base was then buried to form a mound around the tower. To the south were the kitchens, a chapel, and great hall, enclosed within a ditch. After 1160 the castle was rebuilt in the form of a shell keep 50 metres in diameter with rooms in four towers. The bailey was enlarged, the 40 metre wide ditch was dug, and the curtain wall and gatehouse were built. A north aisle was added to the chapel in the 13th century, but later demolished. In 1470-5, a three-storey brick tower, now known as Fox's Tower, was built to the south-west of the hall. The hall itself was remodelled and refronted in the late 17th century, and a new chapel was added to the eastern range in circa 1670. Stables were built south-west of the keep in the early 18th century. The keep was abandoned after the Civil War and used as a garden during the early 19th century. The castle is now in the care of English Heritage.

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