Castles of England/Bedfordshire
There are three castles of note in the county of Bedfordshire.
|Bedford Castle||Keep and bailey||12th century||Archaeological remains||Largely demolished following well-documented 8-week siege by Henry III, with around 2000 men, in 1224.|
|Someries Castle||Fortified manor house||15th century||Fragmentary remains||Brick-built, never completed, on site of earlier building, ruined gatehouse and chapel survive, remainder demolished 1742.|
|Totternhoe Castle||Motte and bailey||12th century||Earthworks||Motte and 3 baileys in prominent position.|
Bedford Castle was a medieval castle built after 1100 by Henry I. The castle played a prominent part in civil war of the Anarchy in the mid-12th century and in the First Barons' War at the start of the 13th century. The castle was significantly extended in stone, although the final plan of the castle remains uncertain. Henry III besieged the castle in 1224 the siege lasting eight weeks and involving an army of as many as 2,700 men. After the surrender of the castle, the king ordered its destruction. Although partially refortified in the 17th century during the English Civil War, the castle remained a ruin until the urban expansion in Bedford during the 19th century, when houses were built across much of the property. Today only part of the motte still stands, forming part of an archaeological park built on the site between 2007 and 2009.
Someries Castle (sometimes spelt Summeries Castle) is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, in the Parish of Hyde, near the town of Luton, Bedfordshire. It was built in the 15th century by Sir John Wenlock. Although always referred to as a castle it was actually a fortified manor house.
The name of "Someries Castle" was derived from William de Someries, who had a residence on this site, but the title "castle" is contentious since it hardly describes the structure to which it is applied. The site was acquired by Wenlock in 1430 and building the mansion commenced. The house is unique in that it is regarded as one of the first brick buildings in England. The house was never completed by Wenlock, and was partly demolished in the 18th century. The brickwork can still be seen in the remains of the gatehouse, incorporating the chapel and lodge, which still stands today.
The remains of the original manor house and/or the earlier Norman Castle are now visible only as earthworks that outline the plot where the house originally stood, although remains of the gatehouse to the actual manor house and the chapel that was connected to it, are still partially standing. Some bricks from the manor house were used to build the nearby farm houses in the 17th century.
Totternhoe Castle is a medieval castle in Bedfordshire. It overlooks the village of Totternhoe and was built during the Norman period, probably during the years of the Anarchy. It is a motte-and-bailey design, with two baileys rather than the more usual one. A wide ditch protects three sides of the castle, with the fourth protected by the edge of the chalk hill on which the castle is situated.