Record Details

NHER Number:3307
Type of record:Building
Name:Castle Rising Castle

Summary

Excavations in the 1970s and 1980s along with a study of documents have enabled a reconstruction of the history of the site. The area was used for agriculture in the Roman period, but by the Late Saxon/early medieval period there is evidence for buildings. These may have been part of a manorial complex, or an expansion of the village. A chapel of ease was built around AD 1100 and was later incorporated into the castle's earthworks in 1138. The castle was built in one stage when William d’ Albini constructed the central ringwork, outer earthworks and the keep in AD 1138. The castle remained unfinished and uninhabited until the first decades of the 13th century when the earthworks were heightened by up to 5m. In the 14th century Queen Isabella, the widow of Edward II, lived in a private suite to the south of the keep. Later the castle gradually fell into disrepair and parts of it were demolished in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 19th century the first attempts at repair and ground clearance were undertaken. The castle is open to the public.

Images

  • The 12th century keep at Castle Rising  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • 19th century photograph of Castle Rising Castle. Note the man in the top hat!  © Norfolk County Council
  • 19th century photograph of Castle Rising Castle.  © Norfolk County Council

Location

Grid Reference:TF 6660 2457
Map Sheet:TF62SE
Parish:CASTLE RISING, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

Castle Rising Castle.
Castle, about 1138 with later additions, incorporating 11th century church (later reidentified as 12th century).

1828.
Well cleared out. 'In clearing the large room in which is a well, in the well was found lamps, stone balls about an inch in diameter which were used for shooting, a very early reckoning penny or counter with other relics'.
See (S1).

1970 to 1976. Excavation
Excavation carried out by B. M. Morley for M.P.B.W. on the castle and church, also on the underlying Roman and Late Saxon ditches.Site was originally common land. Reused Roman brick in church. Thetford ware found at these levels but not early medieval. Ditches, postholes and hearths were cut by the keep foundations. South gable wall of substantial timber building found running north under the keep but no dating evidence. The 'chapel' in the bailey is in fact the original parish church, or perhaps a chapel of ease, of around 1150 and its bell pit was found; disused when castle built and became secular through the medieval period. There are two principal phases of construction of the main bank which were later than the church.A possible Saxon bow sided hall and two wooden walled features predate the chapel. The 'Roman' rectangular earthwork around the central bailey was shown to be contemporary with the castle and postdate the chapel. The castle keep was not completed until the 13th century. Ground inside keep made up with gravel to form floor, but this removed in the 17th century. The south range had been dismantled to ground level and then rebuilt as a timber-framed structure much of the same size; further work on the south range found the structure did not extend much further east.
The earliest ancillary buildings were 14th century with a chapel ?built for Queen Isabella which stood until the 18th century. A curtain wall with towers stood on the central bailey bank 14th to 18th century. The garderobes had no drainage and therefore raised walkways had to be provided in the bailey! A large brick kitchen with three phases of outbuildings stood south of the keep. Possibility of a 14th century great hall on a north and south alignment between the keep and the south range could not be verified.
See (S2), (S12), (S13), (S14), (S15), (S16), (S17) and (S18) for further information.
Amended by M. Langham-Lopez (HES), 7 May 2013.

1978.
Guidebook revised. The keep and gatehouse date from around 1138 and were repaired and altered around 1300. Some 18th to 19th century alterations.
See (S3).

1979. Visit.
Two huge erratics stand in inner bailey, one used as a quoin of a service building. In keep original entrance, large number of Bawsey tiles excavated at NHER 1075 were set here in the 1840s.
E. Rose (NAU), 20 September 1979.

1983.
R. Rickett (NAU) notes selection of tiles from Castle Rising in Peterborough Museum basement. Are these more of the Bawsey tiles such as the ones now in the doorway or from the castle itself?
E. Rose (NAU), 1 September 1983.

1st-19th June 1987. Excavation.
Excavation took for ticket office, 1st June to 19th June, excavated two trenches within the rectangular outwork to the east of the great oval ringwork surrounding the keep. To the west of the access path a soakaway trench recovered little pottery and no archaeological features. To the east of the access path a larger trench buried soil up to 33cm thick contained 12th century pottery. The edge of a substantial feature was recorded at the southern edge of the excavation, but this produced no finds and had been filled with two dumps of redeposited material. Above the redeposited layers modern pipe trenches and postholes were found. The dumps encountered in this excavation are likely to be part of the same remodelling of the defences in the late 12th century that was recorded in the 1970s excavations.
See (S2), (S4) and (S19) for further information.

April 1988.
(S5) mentions 'paving tiles from Castle Rising'. Are these in fact more tiles from Bawsey?
Information from J. J. Wymer (NAU).

1994.
Scheduled area adjusted.

June 1999. Earthwork survey.
Survey at 1:1250 amends that in (S2). Main additional features include sections of curtain wall on central earthwork bank and minor feature in northwest and some possible sub division in eastern enclosure. Scarp to east of building may be partly the result of building work for new or earlier works hut.
See (S6) and (S7).
See also (S11).
B. Cushion (NLA), 6 July 1999.

(S8) notes that contrary to most modern accounts, Queen Isabella did not live at Rising until her death, but in the final years of her reign lived at Hertford Castle, hence the lack of finds from that period at Rising.
E. Rose (NLA), 1 April 2006.

The Commission at the time of the French invasion of 1386 examined Castle Rising and it may be no coincidence that two early cannons of the 14th century from the castle are now in the Tower of London (S9).
Rose, E. (NLA), 19 March 2007.

Historic building report.
The castle was founded by William de Albini in 1138. The present structure is roofless and without upper floors but is still one of the best preserved Norman castles in the country. The castle stands in an inner bailey surrounded by tall banks standing to their original height and with the remains of a later curtain wall. An outer bailey of earthworks survives to the east. In about AD 1300 a room was constructed above the forebuilding and this is the only part of the castle that is still roofed. Excavation during the 1970's and 1980's uncovered extensive evidence of buildings belonging to this period.
See (S10).
S. Howard (NLA), 14 June 2010.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TESSELLATED FLOOR (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BUILDING (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • DITCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • GREAT HALL (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • HEARTH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • KILN (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PIT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BAILEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BELL PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GREAT HALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HEARTH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KILN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • OVEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RINGWORK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOWN DEFENCES (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • LAMP (Undated)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRICK (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FLUE TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • COIN (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARROWHEAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • AWL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • AXEHEAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BALL (RITUAL) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BARREL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BEAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOOK FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOX (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CANNON BALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHAIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHISEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COLANDER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COMB (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DAGGER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DIE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FIREARM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISH REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FURNITURE FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HAMMER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HARNESS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HARNESS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HORSESHOE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INGOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • LOCKING MECHANISM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MORTAR (VESSEL) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MUSICAL INSTRUMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MUSKET BALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MUSKET BALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NET SINKER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PADLOCK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PENDANT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PILGRIM BADGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PLATE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • QUERN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SCABBARD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SCISSORS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SHEARS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SICKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SLAVE CHAIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPEAR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPOON (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPUR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STAINED GLASS (WINDOW) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STUD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TEXTILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TEXTILE EQUIPMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • THIMBLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOILET ARTICLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOKEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • VESSEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WEIGHT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WEIGHT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WRITING AND DRAWING EQUIPMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BOTTLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DOOR FITTING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PADLOCK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SPUR (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SPUR (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOILET ARTICLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VESSEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VESSEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF6624 A-ACG,ACK-ACV.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1998. TF 6624ACW - ADD.
---Publication: Liddiard, R.. 2000. Landcapes of Lordship. pp 45-46.
---Archive: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 62 SE 1 [4].
---Verbal communication: Whyte, N.. 2007. Lecture at UEA. February 24.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. The second Norman invasion.. 28 July.
---Monograph: Castle Rising History Group. 2010. The Ancient Borough of Castle Rising: from prehistory to the present day..
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Down Memory Lane: Excavations probe past at castle dig. 7 September.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Norfolk's spooky past. 27 October.
---Article in serial: 1941. Keep of runined Castle Rising Castle.. Country Life. 5 December, p1.
---Article in serial: H. Avray Tipping. 1920. Castle Rising, Norfolk.. Country Life. 3 Janurary, p8.
---Article in serial: 1947. Castle from the air.. Country Life. 11 July, p1.
---Leaflet: Castle Rising Norfolk..
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Iron Age. Castle Rising.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Late Saxon. Castle Rising.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Castle Rising [4].
---Article in serial: Bailey, G. 1908. Renaissance Carving, Rising Castle, Norfolk. The Antiquary. Vol XLIV pp 423-425.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Fiche: Exists.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Post-Medieval. Castle Rising.
---Photograph: BVG 2-3, ETA-ETZ, W 1-36, EUA-B, GYG.
<S1>Publication: 1842. Collectanta Norfolciensis.
<S2>Monograph: Gurney, D. & Morley, B.. 1997. Castle Rising Castle. East Anglian Archaeology. Vol 81.
<S3>Publication: Brown, R. A. 1978. Castle Rising, Norfolk. Official Guide.
<S4>Unpublished document: Gurney, D.. 1987. Castle Rising Castle, Norfolk. Excavation on the Site of the New Ticket Office, 1987.. 3rd July.
<S5>Publication: 1847. Society of Antiquaries Catalogue of Antiquities. p 20.
<S6>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A.. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk.. East Anglian Archaeology. Vol 104. p 166.
<S7>Illustration: Cushion, B.. Earthwork survey.
<S8>Verbal communication: Woolgar, C.. 2006. Lecture at Cambridge. March.
<S9>Verbal communication: Alban, J.. 2007. Lecture at UEA. March 15.
<S10>Unpublished document: Heywood, S.. Historic building report for Castle Rising, Norfolk..
<S11>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2000. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1999. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt III pp 521-543. p 524.
<S12>Article in serial: Wilson, D. M. and Hurst, D. G. 1972. Medieval Britain in 1970. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XV (for 1971) pp 124-179. p147.
<S13>Article in serial: Webster, L. E. and Cherry, J. 1973. Medieval Britain in 1971. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XVI (for 1972) pp 147-212. p181.
<S14>Article in serial: Webster, L. E. and Cherry, J. 1973 or 1974. Medieval Britain in 1972. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XVII (for 1973) pp 138-188. p163.
<S15>Article in serial: Webster, L. E. and Cherry, J. 1974. Medieval Britain in 1973. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XVIII pp 174-223. p196.
<S16>Article in serial: Webster, L. E. and Cherry, J. 1975. Medieval Britain in 1974. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XIX pp 220-260. p239.
<S17>Article in serial: Webster, L. E. and Cherry, J. 1976. Medieval Britain in 1975. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XX pp 158-201. p185.
<S18>Article in serial: Webster, L. E. and Cherry, J. 1977. Medieval Britain in 1976. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XXI pp 204-262. p235.
<S19>Article in serial: Youngs, S. M., Clark, J., Gaimster, D. R. M. and Barry, T.. 1988. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1987. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XXXII pp 225-314. p262.

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