Orford Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Orford Castle.

  • Orford Castle is located near the village of the same name in Suffolk. The 12th century castle is about 20 km from Ipswich, and about 120 km from London.
  • The central tower of Orford Castle is 27 metres high, and has 3 taller turrets attached to it.

  • Some of the rooms were draught proofed and designed to catch the morning sun.
  • Orford Castle has been described as having one of England’s most remarkable keeps. The keep, or tower, was built to precise proportions similar to those found in many Medieval churches.
  • The castle was built by Henry II between 1165 and 1173 to help maintain Royal control over that part of the country and to repel invaders.
  • The castle had several owners between the 14th and 18th centuries. It was almost demolished in 1805, and was only saved as it made a useful landmark for ships to navigate by.
  • During World War 2, the castle was used to house radar equipment. After the war, it was given to the Ministry of Works and eventually to English Heritage.
  • There is a small museum in the castle, which displays artifacts found in the area. On display are coins, Medieval seals and jewellery dating back to Roman times.
  • From the walls of Orford Castle, there are spectacular views over the surrounding countryside.
  • The legend of the ‘Wild Man of Orford’ is associated with the castle. In 1167, a wild hairy man was found in the sea and believed to be a male mermaid (or merman).
  • Apparently, the man was kept in the castle for several months. After he escaped, the local people carved pictures of wild men into the fonts in some of the local churches.

What next? Discover more castle facts by visiting our castle resources page.

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