Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk…

Oxburgh Hall is a fortified manor house in the parish of Oxborough in Norfolk, and was built on the orders of Sir Edmund Bedingfield in 1482. Sir Edmund had inherited the land that Oxburgh stands on from his grandmother, Margaret Tuddenham. He decided to move the family’s main seat or administrative centre from Bedingfield, near Eye in Suffolk, to Oxborough.

Constructed out of brick, Oxburgh Hall, was unusual for the time as brick was usually only usually used by the king. During the Wars of the Roses (1455 – 1487), Sir Edmund supported the Yorkist cause of Edward IV (1461 – 1470, 1471 – 1483), and was created Knight of the Bath in 1483 at the coronation of Richard III (1483 – 1485).

Following Richard III’s defeat at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485,  Sir Edmund became loyal to the new king, Henry VII (1485 – 1509). For his loyalty, Sir Edmund was made Knight Banneret. The king, queen and the king’s mother would go on to visit Oxburgh.

Today, Oxburgh Hall is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.

 

 

Oxburgh Hall
Oxburgh Hall
Oxburgh Hall Gatehouse
Oxburgh Hall Gatehouse
Oxburgh Hall Gatehouse
Oxburgh Hall Gatehouse
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Flamborough Castle (Danish Tower), East Yorkshire…

Flamborough Castle in the village of Flamborough in East Yorkshire is a manor house that was fortified in 1351 when Marmaduke Constable was granted a licence to crenellate by the king. The castle is constructed of rubble and chalk blocks which are thought to have been quarried locally.

It is recorded in the 14th Century that the castle consisted of a chapel, a hall, a suite of rooms for the lord, a courthouse, a mill and barn and a tower, the remains of which can be seen to this day, the others being represented by an extensive set of earthworks that can be seen in the field in which the castle sits. There are also earthworks of ditches and other associated manorial buildings.

It has been suggested that there was a castle on the site of the manor house as far back as 12th Century. Flamborough Castle remained the seat of the Constable family until 1537, when Sir Robert Constable died.

Over the following centuries, the castle went into decline with stone being quarried and used in local buildings. Chalk from the castle may also have been used in local lime kilns.

Today, the remains of Flamborough Castle can be observed from the public footpath in Tower Street in the village during reasonable hours.

Flamborough Castle
Flamborough Castle

Mettingham Castle, Suffolk…

Mettingham Castle is a fortified manor house in Suffolk. In 1342 Sir John de Norwich was granted a licence to crenellate his existing property. When Sir John received the licence to crenellate he made significant alterations to the castle, these included adding a court with moat and gateway to the north of the of the existing property. A court to the south with a moat would later be added. A large stone wall with gatehouse were erected to protect the castle. The building work at the castle was completed by Sir John’s wife, Dame Margaret.

The castle remained the property of the de Norwich family until 1394 when it was given to a college of secular cannons. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1542, the castle passed between several different private owners. In 1562 the castle is described as having servant accommodation, a bakehoue, brewery, storehouses, a kitchen and an aisled hall.

Much of the castle at Mettingham was demolished in the 18th Century to allow for the construction of a farm house. This farm house would go on to be pulled down in about 1880 and replaced by a new farm house that reused stonework of the original castle.

Remnants of the curtain wall and the gatehouse, plus other stone walls and earthworks of the castle still remain.

The castle is now a private residence.

Mettingham Castle Gatehouse
Mettingham Castle Gatehouse

Baconsthorpe Castle, Norfolk…

Baconsthorpe Castle in Norfolk was built in the 15th Century by the Heydon family. Not so much a castle but a fortified manor house, it reflects the style of the period where fortification was becoming less important for defence but critical as a status symbol.

The castle was started in about 1460 and was completed by about 1486 on the orders of John Heydon and later Sir Henry Heydon. The history of Baconsthorpe Castle very much mirrors that of its owners, being improved as their wealth increased and then gradually falling into a ruinous state as their fortunes declined.

The inner castle was comprised of two courts, the service court which contained servant accommodation, a brewhouse, stables and a bakehouse, all of which serviced the second court which was the main house. The service court was located on the eastern side of the inner castle and the main house on the western side.

Initially the Heydons had derived much of their wealth from the legal profession but they then successfully diversified into the wool industry from which they accumulated serious wealth. An outer gatehouse and a park were added in about 1561. Some of the buildings in the eastern service range were converted to accommodate a wool processing factory. The Heydons would also later add a mere.

The Heydon were not very good at managing their financial affairs and by about 1650 had accumulated large debts. In order to pay some of these debts off, the Heydons pulled down much of Baconsthorpe Castle and sold the material.

The outer gatehouse of the castle was lucky to survive this destruction and was converted into a private home. The gatehouse was given the name of Baconsthorpe Hall and was occupied until 1920.

Baconsthorpe Castle is managed by English Heritage and access to the site is free.

Baconsthorpe Castle Inner Gatehouse
Baconsthorpe Castle Inner Gatehouse
The Inner Court, Baconsthorpe Castle
The Inner Court, Baconsthorpe Castle
Baconsthorpe Castle Mere
Baconsthorpe Castle Mere
Baconsthorpe Castle Inner Gatehouse and Wall
Baconsthorpe Castle Inner Gatehouse and Wall