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.

What next? Learn more facts about castles.

Facts About Castles

What is a Castle?

The meaning of the word castle has been used to describe a number of different types of buildings over the years. However, strictly speaking, it should only really be applied to a fortified home of a lord or nobleman. (Fortified means strengthened or designed for defence).

A castle is not the same as a palace as palaces aren’t fortified, and it’s not the same as a fortress because fortresses aren’t always homes.

The first castles were constructed in the 9th century. Many early castles were made from wood. Eventually, wood was replaced by stone, and castles continued to be made using this material until the 16th century.

Castle design changed and evolved over the centuries. As weapon technology and siege techniques developed, so castle designs adapted to counter the new threats. Castles became increasingly complex with elaborate defences in place to withstand whatever the attackers threw at them. Castles built in the late Middle Ages look very different to the motte-and-bailey castles constructed by The Normans.

Although castles varied greatly, they also had lot of features in common. Click here to learn more about some of these key castle features.

Why were castles built?

Castles were built for a two reasons. Firstly, they were constructed to defend those living within their walls, and, to a lesser extent, those living in the surrounding areas. Secondly, they were a symbol of power, strength and wealth. When the Normans invaded England in 1066, they built a series of motte and bailey castles. This wasn’t just a defensive measure – it was a way of exerting their dominance over the population.

What are some of the different types of castles?

As mentioned above, castle design changed over the years. Several different phases of castle design can be identified, ranging from simple motte and bailey castles to complicated concentric castles. Follow this link to learn more about some of different types of castles.

Here is a link to some more of our resources about castles.