Castle Rising: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Castle Rising.

  • Castle Rising is located in the village of Castle Rising, near King’s Lynn in Norfolk.

  • The castle was constructed by William d’Aubigny II, Earl of Arundel in 1138
  • It was designed to be fortress combined with a hunting lodge. It’s location was not of massive strategic importance, but the site did allow for a large hunting park to be established.
  • In the 12th century, Castle Rising would probably have been mainly accessed by boat via Babingley River.
  • Castle Rising had three baileys and a stone keep. A Norman chapel, already on the site, was protected by the castle’s defences.
  • Castle Rising was the residence of Queen Isabella of France from the early 1330s to her death in 1358.
  • In the 15th and 16th centuries, Castle Rising was owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and became popular as hunting location. Mary Tudor visited the castle during this period.
  • By the early to mid-16th century, Castle Rising was becoming a ruin. The roof had collapsed and floors of the great hall were in disrepair.

Castle Rising

  • In 1544, Henry VIII gave the castle to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.
  • By 1570, huge rabbit warrens had damaged the castle’s earthworks, and, in time most of the buildings were removed, leaving only the ruined stone keep.
  • In 1822, restoration work was carried out on the stonework of the keep and the ground of the inner keep was stripped to its original level.
  • During the 1970s, archaeological work was carried out on the site.
  • In 1983 English Heritage took over the site. It has been classified as an Ancient Monument under UK law.
  • Castle Rising’s earthworks covered an area of 12 acres.
  • The Norman chapel, located on the north side of the inner bailey. Its roof was made from Roman tiles from local villas.
  • Castle Rising’s stone keep is similar in appearance to the Norman keep of Norwich Castle.
  • There are several carvings of cats throughout Castle Rising. It is thought that this shows a connection to Felix, the First Bishop of East Anglia.

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Norwich Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Norwich Castle.

Norwich Castle

  • In 1549, Robert Kett was hanged at Norwich Castle for his key role in the Norfolk Rebellion (Kett’s Rebellion).
  • A 1970s archaeological excavation revealed that the Norman castle had been built on the site of a Saxon cemetery.
  • Norwich Castle was the only major royal castle in east Anglia until the Orford Castle was built in the 12th century.
  • In the 1173-1174 revolt against King Henry II, Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk, captured Norwich Castle.
  • From 1220, Norwich Castle was used as a gaol. It was used for this purpose until 1887.
  • The original inner and outer bailey buildings survive today. The original keep still remains, but it has been substantially repaired and refaced.
  • Today Norwich Castle is a museum and art gallery. The building is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
  • More than 100,000 people visit the museum every year.
  • The museum is home to a collection of more than 3000 ceramic teapots.

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Castle Stalker: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Castle Stalker.

  • Castle Stalker is located on a tidal island on Loch Laich, north-east of Port Appin, Argyll, Scotland.
  • The castle is a keep with 4 floors.

  • The islet upon which the castle sits is known as the Rock of the Cormorants.
  • The castle can only be reached by boat.
  • In the 14th century a small fort stood where Castle Stalker stands today. It was built by Clan MacDougall.
  • In the mid-15th centurty, the Stewarts constructed the castle as it looks today.
  • During the Jacobite Rising in 1745 Castle Stalker was used as a troop garrison.

Stalker Castle

  • The castle was abandoned in around 1840, ownership having passed backwards and forwards between the Stewart clan and the Campbell clan.
  • In 1908 basic reconstruction work was carried out by Charles Stewart. In 1965 Lt. Col. D.R. Stewart Allward fully restored the building.
  • Castle Stalker has appeared in several films, including, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Highlander: Endgame.
  • James IV of Scotland often visited Castle Stalker when he was on hunting trips to Argyll.
  • In Gaelic, Stalker means ‘hunter’ or ‘falconer’.
  • The castle is currently privately owned. The public can tour the building between the months of March and October. Check out the official website.

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Alnwick Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Alnwick Castle.

  • Alnwick Castle is an 11th century castle, located near the town of Alnwick in Northumberland. It is about 30 km from the border between England and Scotland, and was built to control the border.

  • In 1309, Henry Percy, the first Baron Percy bought the castle. It has been in the Percy family ever since, and they still live in part of the building.
  • Alnwick Castle played an important part in the Wars of the Roses, fought between the Houses of York and Lancaster. It was one of three castles controlled by the Lancastrians during 1461 to 1462.

Alnwick Castle

  • The castle became empty in the late 16th century. The designer Robert Adam carried out many renovations, and the castle was again decorated in an Italianate style during the 19th century.
  • It is the second largest inhabited English castle, after Windsor Castle.
  • It attracts over 200,000 visitors each year, making it the 10th most visited stately home in England.
  • The castle has one of Britain’s best private art collections. It also has archaeological displays, including Ancient Egyptian artifacts, and is home to the Regimental Museum of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.
  • One of the most popular areas is the ornamental garden, with its large collection of European plants. The gardens also have one of the largest tree houses in the world.
  • The barbican is part of the castle’s strong defences, with 2 metre thick walls. Other defences included two baileys (or courtyards), a 7 metre deep moat and thick oak gates.
  • A 15 metre deep medieval well can still be seen in the courtyard. 15th century cannonballs on display in the castle were found at the bottom of the well.
  • Dozens of films and television programmes have been filmed at Alnwick castle. These include Blackadder, Robin of Sherwood, Star Trek and two of the Harry Potter films.

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Skipton Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Skipton Castle.

  • Skipton Castle is one of the best preserved castles anywhere in Britain. It is located in the town of Skipton, North Yorkshire, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

  • The castle was intended to help keep the Scottish tribes out of northern England. It was built in the early 12th century to replace an earlier castle made from wood and earth.
  • In 1310, King Edward II gave Skipton Castle to Robert Clifford, who became Lord Clifford of Skipton. It belonged to the Clifford family until 1676.
  • During the first few years of the English Civil War of 1642 to 1651, Skipton Castle was the only Royalist stronghold in the north of England. The Royalists surrendered after a three year siege.
  • Legend has it that during the siege, sheep fleeces were hung over the walls to minimize the impact of cannon shots. Skipton’s coat of arms has sheep fleeces on it.

Skipton Castle

  • The castle has two floors of rooms, all connected to six large defensive towers. The bedrooms, kitchen and great hall are on the first floor, while the ground floor has cellars and storage rooms.
  • The castle’s enclosed courtyard is known as the Conduit Court. It has a yew tree supposedly planted by Lady Anne in 1659, making the tree over 350 years old.
  • Medieval stonemasons often left a symbol or letter in the stone so they could get paid for their work. Masons’ marks can still be seen today in parts of the castle.
  • Throughout much of its history, the castle has relied on nearby Skipton Castle Woods for food, fuel and building materials. The woods are home to over 160 plant, tree and grass species.The castle’s chapel was often used for wedding ceremonies before being converted into stables in 1635. Today, Skipton castle is still a popular and memorable place to get married.

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Arundel Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Arundel Castle.

  • Arundel Castle is near the town of Arundel, in West Sussex. It dates from the 11th century, although large parts of it were entirely rebuilt during the 18th and 19th centuries.

  • William the Conqueror built the castle to protect the area from a French invasion and to guard the mouth of the River Arun. The first Earl of the castle was Roger de Montgomery.
  • Several Kings have owned the castle over the centuries, including Henry I, Henry II and Richard I. The Dukes of Norfolk have lived in the castle for over 800 years.
  • Arundel Castle was badly damaged during the English Civil War of 1642-45.
  • Improvements were made in the 18th century, including building the folly overlooking Swanbourne Lake.

Arundel Castle

  • The castle’s beautiful gardens have been open to visitors since 1854. They include a cut flower garden and an organic garden, which supplies the castle with fresh flowers and fruit.
  • Cricket has been played in the castle grounds since 1895.
  • Arundel Castle has events all year, including jousting shows, living history days and classic car shows.
  • The 14th century Fitzalan Chapel is still the burial place of all the Dukes of Norfolk. The church and chapel are unusual, in that one is Protestant and one Catholic.
  • Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed in Arundel Castle for several days in 1846. Her specially made bedroom furniture can be seen today, as well as her toilet and her guest book.
  • In 1900, the 15th Duke of Norfolk carried out more renovations. Arundel Castle was one of the first English country houses to have central heating, lifts and electric lighting.
  • The nearby Arundel Museum is also a good place to explore the area’s history. The exhibits include Roman remains, horse racing memorabilia, 18th century clocks and a wooden rudder from a river barge.

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Urquhart Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Urquhart Castle.

  • Urquhart Castle is situated on the bank of Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland, home of the famous Loch Ness Monster. It was built during the 13th and 16th centuries.
  • The castle grounds and towers offer some of the best views of Loch Ness, and many supposed monster sightings have been made there. The monster has been seen since the 7th century.

  • The medieval castle seen today was built on the site of an earlier castle.
  • The 6th century Irish monk, St. Columba is said to have visited the site and performed miracles there.
  • The walled part of the castle measures about 150 metres by 46 metres. A 30 metre wide dry moat also offered protection, although many visitors arrived by water.

Urquhart Castle

  • In the late 13th century, King Edward I of England controlled the castle. It was taken by the Scottish and in 1332 was the only castle in the Highlands to withstand English attacks.
  • During the 14th century, Urquhart Castle was controlled by the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce. Legend says that he was inspired to keep fighting the English by watching a spider spin its web.
  • The MacDonalds, Lords of the Isles attacked the castle several times during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Grant clan owned the castle from the 16th century until 1912.
  • One attack by the MacDonalds and Camerons in 1545 is known as the Great Raid. The attackers took most of the furniture, cannon and castle gates, as well as 2,000 cattle.
  • It is Scotland’s third most visited castle, after Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle. As well as having a museum and cinema, the castle also hosts wedding ceremonies during the year.
  • Much of Urquhart Castle was destroyed during 17th century fighting between the Jacobites and Williamites. Locals used the stones for building and a tower was damaged during a 1715 storm.

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Powis Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Powis Castle.

  • Powis Castle was built in the 13th century as a Royal residence. Other nearby castles, such as Caernarfon Castle and Conwy Castle were built to help the English control the neighbouring Welsh population.

  • It is located near the town of Welshpool, in the county of Powys, mid-Wales.
  • The castle is famous for its terraces, parks and gardens, and fine furnishings.
  • The original owner was Owain, the Prince of Powys. During the next few centuries, the castle was owned by several different Barons, Earls and Lords, some of whom made improvements.
  • The castle’s state bedroom was designed in the 1660s. It is the only surviving castle bedroom in the UK with railings separating the bed from the rest of the bedroom.
  • The beautiful gardens at Powis Castle were designed in the 1680s by architect William Winde. They were built in the style of an Italian terraced garden and a Dutch water garden.
  • The gardens were designed to be more formal in the 19th century. Today, the greenhouses are heated by solar panels and the plants are sold in the castle shop.

Powis Castle

  • Deer were introduced to the grounds over 300 years ago. Birds of prey, butterflies, snakes and bats can also be seen in the grounds and there are several beehives.
  • Major improvements to Powis Castle were made at the start of the 20th century.
  • During World War II, a London girl’s school was evacuated to the castle to be safe from German bombing.
  • The castle’s Clive Museum is named for Clive of India and is the largest of its kind in the UK. It features over 300 statues, suits of armour, weapons and Indian decorative items.
  • The rooms at Powis Castle are filled with valuable and unique items. These include a medieval prayer book, a Roman statue of a cat, and the colourful cotton tent of an Indian sultan.

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White Castle: Facts About Llantilio Castle

Here are some facts about White Castle.

  • White Castle, or Llantilio Castle is located about 1.5 km from Llantilio in Monmouthshire, South Wales. Along with nearby Skenfrith Castle and Grosmont Castle, they are sometimes called the Three Castles.

  • The castle is situated close to Offa’s Dyke. This 240 km 8th century earthwork was built to form the boundary between England and Wales; today the boundary still follows much the same path.
  • An earlier castle on the site was made of wood. It was replaced with the existing castle during the 12th century. It was given the name White Castle as the walls were originally whitewashed.
  • King Henry II ordered the castle to be built to strengthen his control over the Welsh. The castle’s position on a hill provided good views in all directions.

White Castle

  • In 1201, Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent took over ownership of White Castle. He is said to have spent a fortune adding the 6 towers to the structure.
  • In the 13th century, the Three Castles were given to future King Edward II and later to his younger brother. They were used as Royal homes and administrative centres.
  • By 1538 all 3 castles were abandoned and in ruins. They were used to store supplies, and as local offices until being cared for by the Welsh government in the early 20th century.
  • The Three Castles walk is a long distance path connecting the three strongholds. The 32 km walk also passes through woodlands and provides good views of the Black Mountains.
  • During World War II, White Castle was painted by Rudolf Hess when he was a prisoner in a nearby military hospital. Hess was Adolf Hitler‘s second in command.
  • The water filled moat can still be seen at White Castle and was one of its defensive features. Other defences included an inner and outer ward, a gatehouse and strong walls and towers.

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Pembroke Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Pembroke Castle.

  • Pembroke Castle is in Pembroke, west Wales.
  • The medieval castle was built on the site of an earlier Norman castle, on a rocky outcrop overlooking the estuary of the Cleddau River.

  • It was built by the Earl of Shrewsbury, Roger Montgomery and during the next few centuries owned by several earls and future kings. The future King Henry VII was born in the castle in 1457.
  • Defensive features of Pembroke castle included 5 metre thick walls, a deep ditch and an overhanging wooden fighting platform. It was also surrounded by water on 3 sides.

Pembroke Castle

  • Pembroke Castle is the only castle in Britain to be built over a large cave, known as the Wogan Cave. The cave served as a port for ships and was protected by a wall and arrow slits.
  • The main keep, or tower, at Pembroke Castle is almost 27 metres high. It features decorative moulding and an unusual stone dome as a roof.
  • In 1648, during the English Civil War, the castle was attacked by Oliver Cromwell‘s army for 7 weeks. The garrison surrendered when the attackers blocked off their water supply.
  • The castle was abandoned from the mid-17th century to the late 19th century, when much of it was restored. A World War I veteran bought it in 1928 and carried out more repairs.
  • The BBC has used the castle as a location. It featured in a 1989 production of the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, as well as in a later television version of William Shakespeare‘s Richard II.
  • Today, Pembroke Castle offers battle re-enactments and has several exhibitions on the castle’s history, including a typical medieval banquet. It also has its own brass rubbing centre.
  • The castle has also been licensed for weddings. Couples can get married in the Great Keep or the Henry VII Tower and either location can accommodate 60 guests.

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