Orford Castle - Suffolk :: Shared Description

Orford Castle is a castle in the village of Orford, Suffolk, England, located 12 miles (20km) northeast of Ipswich, with views over Orford Ness and Orford Island. It was ordered by Henry II, King of England.
Construction work at Orford Castle began in 1165 according to plans still held at the Public Records Office in London. The marshes nearby were drained turning the village of Orford into a sheltered and successful port. The castle cost £1413 to build, a huge sum considering the royal revenue of £10,000 a year. The design of the castle was unique. The 90-foot (27 m) high central tower was circular in cross-section with three rectangular towers built into the structure. This was surrounded by a curtain wall with flanking towers and a fortified gatehouse. These outerworks were quarried for building material in the post-mediaeval period (the last section collapsing in 1841).

In 1173-4, Henry the Young King (Henry's son) rebelled over control of lands allotted to him (his father was still in power at this time). The 1st Earl of Norfolk Hugh Bigod (with castles at Bungay TM3389 : Bungay Keep and Framlingham TM2863 : Framlingham Castle) supported the rebellion leading to Orford Castle becoming heavily garrisoned. Flemish mercenaries where hired, they took several castles including Haugley and Norwich. Orford was not attacked as it had just been completed. Upon the collapse of the rebellion, Henry ordered the confiscation of Framlingham and Bungay. Demolition was started, however Hugh paid a massive fine and he kept his lands, title and castle.
Later Hugh Bigod would die during the Crusades, fighting for his King.

Orford Castle was not as important after Henry's death in 1189. The castle was captured by Prince Louis of France who invaded England in 1216 at the invitation of the English barons who were disillusioned by King John.

In 1280 under the rule of Edward I Orford Castle was granted out and eventually sold. This marked the beginning of the end of Orford Castle, as the estuary of the River Alde silted up and trade declined, reducing the importance of the castle as the centre of local government.

In 1930, Sir Arthur Churchman presented the remains of the castle to the Orford Town Trust and it passed to the guardianship of the British government in 1962.
The Castle is one of the best preserved royal keeps in England and is run by English Heritage.
by Ashley Dace
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71 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

TM4149 : Orford Castle - Henry's Bedroom by Ashley Dace
TM4249 : The Crown and Castle in Orford by Mat Fascione
TM4149 : Orford Castle - Toilet by Ashley Dace
TM4249 : Orford Castle - Cannon by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Orford Castle - Chapel by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Orford Castle - The Toilets by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Orford Castle - Fireplace by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Orford Castle - The Main Room by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Orford Castle - Door in the Basement by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Orford Castle - Earthworks by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Caution Falling debris sign at Orford Castle by Hamish Griffin
TM4149 : Orford Castle, Suffolk by Mat Fascione
TM4048 : Gedgrave Road heading towards Orford by Mat Fascione
TM4149 : Orford Castle by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Orford Castle by PAUL FARMER
TM4149 : Tree behind fence and Orford Castle by Hamish Griffin
TM4149 : Orford Castle - Passage from the Constable's Room by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Orford Castle - The Basement by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Steps down from Orford Castle by Hamish Griffin
TM4149 : Orford Castle barrier by Hamish Griffin
TM4149 : Orford Castle - The Constable's Room by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Orford Castle by Hamish Griffin
TM4149 : Orford Castle by Christopher Hilton
TM4149 : Orford Castle - Small Kitchen by Ashley Dace
TM4149 : Orford Castle - In the Basement by Ashley Dace

... and 46 more images.

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Created: Wed, 21 Jul 2010, Updated: Sat, 24 Jul 2010

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2010 Ashley Dace, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.