Castle Finder

Framlingham Castle

Brief History of Framlingham Castle

  • 1101: Henry I grants manor of Framlingham to Roger Bigod; timber fortress
  • 1140s: Hugh Bigod defies King Stephen, greeting exiled Archbishop of Canterbury at castle
  • 1157: King Henry II confiscates Framlingham from Hugh Bigod until 1165
  • 1173: Hugh joins rebellion against Henry II, who orders walls of castle destroyed
  • 1189: Roger Bigod II rebuilds castle; Roger and his son Hugh II sign Magna Carta
  • 1216: King John forces castle to surrender after 2 days; castle passes to Roger Bigod III
  • 1277: King Edward I stays in Framlingham, en route to his first campaign in Wales
  • 1306: Spectacular castle left to the crown, when Roger Bigod IV dies bankrupt
  • 1382: Margaret Brotherton becomes Countess Marshal; educates John, son of King Henry IV
  • 1413: After several traitor Mowbrays, John Mowbray V inherits castle; improved about 1450
  • 1483: John Howard inherits and, as Duke of Norfolk, repairs Framlingham; dies at Bosworth
  • 1489: Thomas Howard regains estates; improves chimneys, gatehouse, red brick buildings
  • 1552: Passes to Crown; Mary Tudor stays in castle 1553 while Jane Dudley is on the throne
  • 1589: Castle ruined; finally bought by Sir Robert Hitcham for £14,000
  • 1636: Left to Pembroke College, Cambridge - to be destroyed and a poorhouse set up!
  • 1729-1839: After legal wrangling, poorhouse solution found, housing adults and children
  • 1913: Pembroke College give it to Ministry of Works - English Heritage from 1984

Visitor Information Summary

White Castle

Brief History of White Castle

  • 1066: Normans advance and build the first fortification that would become White Castle
  • 1137: King Stephen's charter bequeaths Llantilio, the future location of White Castle
  • 1161: Henry II orders repairs to a building in Llantilio, Skenfrith and Grosmont
  • 1184: Stone curtain encloses the inner ward of White Castle; Crown pay £128
  • 1201: King John grants it to Hubert de Burgh; in 1205 to William de Braose; 1219 back again
  • 1232: Peter des Rivaux has site until 1234; back to the Crown under Waleran the German
  • 1244: Waleran adds hall, buttery, pantry
  • 1254: Granted to future King Edward I; unrest during offensive of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd
  • 1257: New gatehouse on north, outer ward enclosed; by 1263 completely refortified
  • 1277: Peace diminishes use of White Castle; passed to the state in 1922

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run by Cadw
  • Parking
  • Dogs welcome
  • Sat Nav: NP7 8UD

Carisbrooke Castle

Brief History of Carisbrooke Castle

  • 1086: Castle with church (modified from Saxon fortress) mentioned in Domesday survey
  • 1100: Henry I grants site to Richard de Redvers, whose family develop stone building
  • 1136: Baldwin Redvers supports Empress Matilda and loses Carisbrooke to King Stephen
  • 1153: Redvers family regain site; leave it to Edward I on death of the last heir in 1293
  • 1335: Drum towers added, extended and fortified in 1380
  • 1377: Castle besieged by the French in the Hundred Years War; ends when leader killed
  • 1386: Lord of island rebuilds accommodation block, adds new fireplace and windows
  • 1450: Castle in disrepair after many French raids; island asks Henry VI for help
  • 1467: Anthony Woodville improves site, leaving his coat of arms on the machiolations
  • 1540: New defensive sites on Isle of Wight leave Carisbrooke as the munitions store
  • 1587: Target for Spanish conquest; again in 1596, avoided by storms in the Channel
  • 1647: Charles I imprisoned in castle; his children move there after his execution
  • 1724: Improved living conditions for governor, one of Marlborough's generals
  • 1856: Passes out of use, restored and preserved
  • 1897: Gatehouse restored in honour of Prince Henry, late son-in-law of Queen Victoria

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run by English Heritage
  • Food available on-site
  • Museum, exhibition and gardens
  • Sat Nav: Isle of Wight - PO30 1XY

Raglan Castle

Brief History of Raglan Castle

  • 1432: Sir William ap Thomas buys Raglan - manor house and estates; builds new castle
  • 1445: His son, William Herbert, inherits at father's death; builds the Great Tower
  • 1462: Henry Tudor placed in custody of Lord Herbert and his wife at Raglan Castle
  • 1468: Herbert made Earl of Pembroke by King Edward IV; executed in 1469
  • 1479: Chapel and hall roofs retiled; Herbert's widow and heir live at Chepstow Castle
  • 1492: Elizabeth Herbert marries Duke of Somerset; 1504, he is made Baron of Raglan
  • 1549: Henry 2nd Earl of Worcester inherits; enhances Raglan using material from abbeys
  • 1550: 3rd Earl of Worcester improves hall; Office wing rebuilt; Long Gallery added
  • 1589: 4th Earl adds Elizabethan features and develops gardens, inc. water garden
  • 1646: Earl supports Charles I in Civil War; surrenders to Parliament; damaged further

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run by Cadw
  • Dogs on leads welcome
  • Sat Nav: NP15 2BT

Pembroke Castle

Brief History of Pembroke Castle

  • 1189: William Marshall becomes Earl of Pembroke and starts castle construction
  • 1245: Fifth of childless sons of Marshall dies, having completed the castle
  • 1331: Crown repairs roof of Prison Tower, Chapel, court during fear of invasion
  • 1386: In disrepair; William Beauchamp suspected of stripping lead off roofs of castle!
  • 1403: Rented for 100 marks/yr to Sir Francis Court and Joan; armed; constable captured
  • 1447: Henry V's brother Humphrey Earl of Pembroke dies - granted to William de la Pole
  • 1454: Granted to Jasper Tudor - Margaret Beaufort delivers "Henry VII" in Pembroke Castle
  • 1462: Following Towton, castle given to William Herbert; Earl from 1468; beheaded 1469
  • 1642: Only castle in Wales to declare for Parliament; siege of Pembroke in 1648
  • 1880: Restoration by J R Cobb; cleared of ivy and repaired in 1928 by Sir Ivor Philipps

Visitor Information Summary

Dunstanburgh Castle

Brief History of Dunstanburgh Castle

  • 1313: Built by Thomas of Lancaster, as refuge after role in death of Piers Gaveston
  • 1315: Licence to crenellate Dunstanburgh granted by Edward II - finished 1319
  • 1322: Thomas in barons' revolt; barons flee back to castle waiting for King's pardon
  • 1326: With Thomas beheaded, castle passes to King, gives to Thomas' brother Henry
  • 1346: Damaged after 30 yrs of border hostilities; ends with Scottish defeat at Neville's Cross
  • 1362: Passes to John of Gaunt through his first wife, Blanche (Henry's grand-daughter)
  • 1380: Gaunt transforms layout to support his role as lieutenant of Scottish border
  • 1399: Gaunt's son becomes Henry IV; castle refurbished as a now royal estate
  • 1461: First battle at castle; Dunstanburgh held by Ralph Percy; seige again in 1462
  • 1520: Disrepair; farmhouse from 1594; Grey family 1605-1869; State-owned from 1920s

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run by English Heritage
  • No on-site parking / toilets
  • Dogs allowed on lead
  • Sat Nav: NE66 3TT

Scarborough Castle

Brief History of Scarborough Castle

  • 1130: William le Gros, Count of Aumale (Earl of York from 1138) builds tower and wall
  • 1154: New King Henry II seizes Scarborough as royal castle; rebuilds it from 1159
  • 1202-12: King John adds outer wall to inner bailey and extends wall down cliff; new hall
  • 1237: Tempest carries away some roofs, wall collapses follow; Henry III repairs castle
  • 1265: With Dover, Bamburgh, Nottingham and Corfe, used to broker peace with barons
  • 1308: Lord Percy granted licence to live in Scarborough; home for next 40 years
  • 1484: Richard III is last King to stay in castle (while assembling fleet against Henry Tudor)
  • 1536: Castle involved in Pilgrimage of Grace due to constables's support for Henry VIII
  • 1642: Scarborough held by Sir Cholmley for Parliament until he changed sides
  • 1914: Attacked by three German warships; state ownership from 1920

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run by English Heritage
  • Open on week days over winter
  • Not necessarily open in bad weather
  • Sat Nav: YO11 1HY

Rochester Castle

Brief History of Rochester Castle

  • 1088: Nobles support Duke Robert, brother of William Rufus; castle under siege
  • 1089: Castle rebuilt for victorious William Rufus - one of first castles fortified in stone
  • 1127: Great Tower added under Henry I; castle granted to Archbishop of Canterbury
  • 1215: King John tries to supplant Archbishop Stephen Langton with the Sheriff of Kent
  • 1216: Castle captured by Prince Louis of France; John dies 1217; castle to Henry III (age 9)
  • 1223: Castle walls repaired; new chapel and chamber constructed in December
  • 1264: Under siege during the Barons' War; attacked by Gilbert de Clare
  • 1281: Not repaired since '64, Constable permitted to demolish hall and chambers
  • 1367: Edward III pays £2262 to repair Rochester! Richard II continues work
  • 1780: Almost turned into barracks; 1870 becomes pleasure-garden; 1965 state-owned

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run by English Heritage
  • Rochester Guildhall Museum near castle
  • No parking on site
  • Sat Nav ME1 1SW

Stokesay Castle

Brief History of Stokesay Castle

  • 1291: Licence from Edward I to crenelate manor house of Stokesay
  • 1577: Park of red and fallow deer added to Stokesay Castle
  • 1598: Stokesay sold to Sir George Mainwaring for £6,000
  • 1617: Castle sold to Dame Elizabeth Craven and her son William for £13,500
  • 1640: New owner Charles Baldwyn (MP for Ludlow) builds a new gatehouse
  • 1645: Son of Charles, Sir Samuel, oversees siege at Stokesay during Civil War
  • 1706: Unoccupied after death of Samuel's son, Charles Baldwyn
  • 1850: After 150 years as farm building, efforts made to preserve the remains
  • 1908: Allcroft family's restoration complete, open to public
  • 1992: Passes to English Heritage on the death of Lady Magnus Allcroft

Visitor Information Summary

  • Tea rooms on site
  • Closed from November to February
  • Shropshire
  • Sat Nav: SY7 9AH

Castle Rising

Brief History of Castle Rising

  • 1138: William de Albini (d'Aubigny) weds Queen Alice of Louvain, widow of King Henry I
  • 1139: Father of William dies; William II builds castle; earthworks extending to 12 acres
  • 1139: William and Alice loyal to King Stephen but also feast Empress Matilda at Arundel
  • 1153: William helps broker peace between King Stephen and Henry II, son of Empress
  • 1194: William IV inherits and is right-hand of King John; many heirs die young
  • 1331: Widow of Castle Rising surrenders rights to Rising to Queen Isabella for £400 a year
  • 1358: Black Prince takes residence aged 28, until his death in 1376
  • 1378: Exchanged for Castle of Brest with John Duke of Brittany (husband of King's sister)
  • 1403-1544: Part of Duchy of Cornwall; held by Duke / Prince or the King in their absence
  • 1544: Given to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk by Henry VIII until his execution in 1572

Visitor Information Summary

Bodiam Castle

Brief History of Bodiam Castle

  • 1385: Built under Richard II to defend the River Rother from French naval raids
  • 1483: Incumbent Sir Thomas Lewknor attainted by Richard III, siege and surrender
  • 1641: Not severely damaged during the English Civil War, although witness to troops
  • 1917: Bought and repaired by Marquess Curzon, leaving it to National Trust in 1926

3 Things about Bodiam Castle

  • Coat of arms over gateway for Wardeux, Dalyngrigge and Radynden
  • Pigeon house at top of south-west tower, accommodating up to 300 nests
  • Moat was re-flooded by Lord Curzon in 20th century

Visitor Information Summary

Barnard Castle

Visitor Information Summary

Brief History of Barnard Castle

  • 1125: Site developed by Bernard de Baliol I, as castle, town, market, park, pastures
  • 1216: Hugh de Baliol supports King John against Northumbrian barons and Scottish King
  • 1228: John de Baliol inherits; marries Devorguilla of Galloway, gaining vast parts of Scotland
  • 1264: John in Battle of Lewes for Henry III vs. barons; Barnard briefly held by barons
  • 1290: Third son of John becomes King of Scotland; breaks oath of loyalty to England; war
  • 1307: Barnard seized while John imprisoned; given to Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick
  • 1440: Bishop Nevill seizes castle briefly; returned to crown during minority of heir, Anne
  • 1471: Richard Nevill "Kingmaker"dies; Barnard passes to Richard Duke of Gloucester
  • 1569: Rising of North; 5000 rebels outside; 226 men jump over wall, 35 injured
  • 1630: Raby Castle extended using Barnard's materials; gutted by 1728; 1974 excavated

Helmsley Castle

Brief History of Helmsley Castle

  • 1120: Walter Espec granted land and manor; makes Helmsley Yorkshire residence
  • 1157: Nephew Robert de Roos inherits; his grandson, Fursan, rebuilds castle in 1186
  • 1246: New chapel consecrated under William de Roos I, son of Fursan
  • 1334: castle improved for Edward III visit; new hall, new kitchen, more apartments
  • 1464: Thomas de Roos III dies at Battle of Hexham; passes to George Duke of Clarence
  • 1485: Post-Bosworth, back to de Roos family; no heir, passes to Manners family in 1508
  • 1582: Helmsley Castle transformed into Tudor mansion
  • 1644: Garrisons Royalist troops; surrender due to lack of food; castle slighted
  • 1648-89: Passed to George Villiers; dies in great debt; castle sold to Charles Duncombe
  • 1923: Sir Charles Peers improves site; prepared for WWII due to anti-tank landscaping

Visitor Information Summary

Corfe Castle

Brief History of Corfe Castle

  • 978: Elfrida murders Saxon King Edward at Corfe Gate to advance her son Ethelred
  • 1106: After defeat at Tinchebrai, Robert Duke of Normandy imprisoned at Corfe
  • 1138-9: King Stephen lays siege to Corfe against Baldwin de Redvers, Earl of Devon
  • 1204: Normandy lost, King John commences £1,400 of work to improve Corfe
  • 1222: After years of imprisonment in Corfe, Eleanor of Brittany moves to Gloucester
  • 1269-70: Plukenet Tower built, named after constable Alan de Plukenet (shield on tower)
  • 1275: Amaury de Montfort imprisoned in Corfe for taking sister to marry Prince of Wales
  • 1293: Edward I has Keep height increased, under Brother Henry of Bindon, carpenter
  • 1341: Edward III's survey leads to 20 years of extensive repairs; builds the Gloriette Tower
  • 1646: Only royalist castle between London and Exeter; under siege, defences destroyed

Visitor Information Summary

  • National Trust
  • Suitable for picnics
  • Pet dogs allowed on short lead
  • Sat Nav: BH20 5EZ

Beaumaris Castle

Brief History of Beaumaris Castle

  • 1295: James St. George hired for Beaumaris (his 8th castle in North Wales for Edward I)
  • 1295: Building commences quickly and costs £6,000 in the first 6 months
  • 1298: Funds diverted to Scottish affairs and little money spared for Beaumaris
  • 1306: New constable reports castle not finished - no defence on north and north-west sides
  • 1309: James St. George dies, possibly having seen the barbican finished at Beaumaris
  • 1309: Nicholas de Derneford adds his own style of windows in north gatehouse (above)
  • 1312: Llanfaes Gate built to secure north-west, towers built up, moat deepened
  • 1343: South gatehouse still not complete; costed for Edward the Black Prince
  • 1403: Besieged by the Welsh; relief raid launched from Ireland recaptures castle in 1405
  • 1646: Held for the King in the Civil War, receiving supplies from Ireland, surrenders in June

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run today by Cadw
  • Assistance dogs only
  • No smoking
  • No unaccompanied children (under 16)
  • Sat Nav: LL58 8AP

Warkworth Castle

Brief History of Warkworth Castle

  • 1157: Henry II takes Northumberland; gives castle and manor to "Roger son of Richard"
  • 1173: William the Lion, once earl of Northumerland, besieges castle; Roger flees
  • 1214: Considerable building and structural improvement by Robert son of Roger.
  • 1327: Scots lay siege to Warkworth, second attack led by Robert the Bruce, castle defended
  • 1332: Lord Percy of Alnwick gains Warkworth Castle
  • 1462: Given to brother George by Edward IV; Yorkist campaign headquarters until 1469;
  • 1572: Castle spoiled considerably by Sir John Forster, the warden of Middle Marches
  • 1585: 8th Percy dies in Tower for role in Guy Fawkes' plot; castle given to Sir Ralph Grey
  • 1617: James I stops in castle but finds sheep and goats in every room, much decay
  • 1672: 272 wagon loads of lead, timber taken from castle to build manor-house at Chirton

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run by English Heritage, so check in advance for potential events / activities
  • Accessible site
  • Pet dogs allowed on lead
  • Sat Nav: NE65 0UJ

Caernarfon Castle

Brief History of Caernarfon Castle

  • 1090: Hugh of Avranches, first Norman earl of Chester, builds castle on current site
  • 1115: Welsh princes reclaim Gwynedd, take possession and stay in the castle
  • 1283: Edward I starts construction work on castle and town walls
  • 1284: Edward and his Queen Eleanor visit, lodge and have Prince Edward there in April
  • 1292: Construction ends, having cost about £12,000 (about £100 million today!)
  • 1294: Madoc ap Llywelyn storms Caernarfon; Sheriff killed; structural damage from fire
  • 1295: Extensive rebuilding begins on castle; walls rebuilt for £1 million in today's money
  • 1330: Repairs finally completed for £20,000-£25,000 (about £200 million today)
  • 1538: Caernarfon falls into decay and by 1620 a few rooms are used as county prisons
  • 1880: Sir Llewelyn Turner restores castle using sandstone from Mostyn, Flintshire

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run by CADW
  • Disabled access
  • Car park right outside
  • Assistance dogs only
  • Wear comfy shoes - it's massive!
  • Sat Nav: LL55 2AY

Conisbrough Castle

Brief History of Conisbrough Castle

  • 1000: estate of Kyningesburg granted by Wulfric to Elfehim, another Saxon nobleman
  • 1066: New castle built by William de Warren, son-in-law of William the Conqueror
  • 1163: Hamelin Plantagenet marries Isabel de Warren; develops stone keep at Conisbrough
  • 1189: Hamelin and Isabel found endowment for priest at castle, i.e. chapel is built
  • 1201: King John stays in Conisbrough; Warrens lose castle to Lancaster in messy divorce
  • 1322: Thomas Earl of Lancaster executed; King Edward II seizes Conisbrough
  • 1347-1402: Edward III gives castle to his youngest son Edmund; major improvements
  • 1446: Passed to Richard Duke of York and, after his death at Wakefield, to King Edward IV
  • 1537-38: Reports of decay in floors, roofs and bridges; given to Carey family by Henry VIII
  • 1940s: Bought by Conisbrough council; national property from 1949

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run by English Heritage 
  • Car park nearby
  • Picnic-friendly!
  • Pet dogs cannot go into the Keep
  • Sat Nav: DN12 3BU

Kenilworth Castle

Brief History of Kenilworth Castle

  • 1124: built by Geoffrey de Clinton (Henry I's treasurer); crown property in 1174
  • 1210: King John spends £1,100 on Kenilworth, expands mere (artificial lake)
  • 1244: granted to Simon de Montfort; killed at Evesham 1265; his men besieged in 1266
  • 1279: Edward I visits for Arthurian 'round table' festival of tournaments and literature
  • 1326: Henry of Lancaster brings Edward II to Kenilworth, where he abdicates
  • 1361: John of Gaunt acquires Kenilworth, through his wife, Blanche of Lancaster
  • 1389-93: Extensive improvements for John of Gaunt by Robert Skillington
  • 1563: Robert Dudley gains and remodels castle for Elizabeth I (who visits 4 times)
  • 1642: Royal garrison withdrawn; slighted in 1649, but dwelling house spared
  • 1937: Purchased for nation by Sir John Siddeley after expensive restoration work

Visitor Information Summary

  • Run by English Heritage, so check for events before going
  • Guided tours twice a week
  • Audio tours available
  • Pet dogs allowed on lead
  • Sat Nav: CV8 1NE

Ludlow Castle

Brief History of Ludlow Castle

  • 1066: Founded by the Norman Walter de Lacy; probably built by sons Roger and Hugh
  • 1150: Norman Chapel built - the oldest remaing part of the castle today
  • 1139: The sole stronghold for Matilda in the Welsh Marches; besieged by King Stephen
  • 1308: Roger Mortimer adds Great Chamber block, transforming it into a palace by 1320
  • 1425: Last Mortimer dies; castle passes by inheritance to Richard Duke of York
  • 1461: Duke of York killed at Wakefield and son Edward raised force from Ludlow
  • 1472: Ludlow Castle made headquarters of Council in the Marches
  • 1473: King Edward IV makes Ludlow home to Edward Prince of Wales
  • 1502: Arthur and Catherine of Aragon honeymooned at Ludlow; Arthur shortly died
  • 1689: Council abolished; by 1771 comes under the care of the Earl of Powis to this day

Visitor Information Summary

  • Fairly accessible site
  • Well-behaved dogs on leads admitted
  • Events are held in the castle grounds