Castles of England/Surrey

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There are two castles in Surrey.

Name
Type
Date
Condition
Ownership
/ Access
Notes (Key)
Farnham Castle Keep and bailey 110112th century Substantially intact EHEH icon.svg Original very tall keep part buried, subsequently demolished and replaced by shell keep, part remodelled 17th century.
Guildford Castle Keep and bailey 110112–13th century Ruins HCCL icon.svg
Local authority
Tower keep survives, roofless since c.17th century.

Farnham Castle[edit]

Farnham Castle

Farnham Castle was built in 1138 by Henri de Blois, grandson of William the Conqueror,. The castle was to become the home of the Bishops of Winchester for over 800 years. The original building was demolished by Henry II in 1155 after the Anarchy and then rebuilt in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. The castle was slighted again after the Civil War in 1648. Since then more buildings have been constructed in the castle's grounds, the most impressive being those built by Bishop George Morley in the 17th century.

The architecture reflects changing styles through the ages, making it one of the most important historical buildings in the south of England. It is an impressive stone motte and bailey fortress, which has been in continuous occupation since the 12th century. The large motte was formed around the massive foundations of a Norman tower and then totally enclosed by a shell-keep, with buttress turrets and a shallow gatehouse. Attached to the motte is a triangular inner bailey, with a fine range of domestic buildings and a fifteenth century brick entrance tower. The formidable outer bailey curtain wall has square flanking towers, a 13th century gatehouse and a large ditch.


Guildford Castle[edit]

Guildford Castle

Guildford Castle in Surrey is thought to have been built shortly after the Norman Conquest. There is no record of it in the Domesday Book so construction probably started after 1086.

First to be built at the Castle would have been the motte around which was a ditch and a bailey protected by a wooden palisade. If it followed a typical Norman design the bailey would have been divided with a palisade and have been divided into an inner and outer bailey. The inner baily would have encompassed the motte on which a wooden keep would have been built as a look-out post for the soldiers stationed there.

In the late 11th or early 12th century, a wall made of Bargate stone was built around the top of the motte creating a shell keep, and then around the 1130s a keep was added, again made of Bargate stone bonded with hard and durable mortar. The keep may have been built over part of the shell keep an its foundations went down to the chalk bedrock. The general form was quadrangular, its exterior dimensions being 47ft by 45.5ft. The walls are about 10ft thick at the base and taper towards the top.

The keep's entrance was located on the first floor to aid in defence. The ground floor was windowless. On the first floor there was a Great Chamber, a chapel, and wardrobe with latrine. A second floor was added shortly afterwards containing a two-seater latrine. The addition of the second floor made the keep over 70ft high. The roof of the building was made of lead and the inner walls were covered in plaster and then whitewashed.