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Historic England Research Records

Wisbech Castle

Hob Uid: 354806
Location :
Cambridgeshire
Fenland
Wisbech
Grid Ref : TF4618009580
Summary : Castle, built either circa 1070 or 1086. It is not known when it became disused. The site of the castle was finally cleared in 1794.
More information : (TF 46180958) Wisbech Castle (NR) (Site of) (NAT)

The date of the building of Wisbech Castle is uncertain, but it was probably built shortly after 1070 (2). Other sources (3,4,5) give a date of 1086 which appears to be based solely on the castle's omission from the Domesday Book. An early date is reinforced by the finding of an Anglo-Saxon "Urnes-style" openwork brooch in the castle ditch in 1846 (6,7). This object is now in Wisbech Museum.

The first castle was of stone and the buildings covered two acres, the whole area of the castle being four acres. A sketch plan of the castle made in 1794 when the site was finally cleared shows that it was nearly circular in form and was of motte-and-bailey type. (Sketch plan in the Cambridge University Library, MS plans 581). In 1236 the castle was badly damaged by a sea flood and was rebuilt, only to be dismantled before the close of Henry III's reign. Building operations in the 15th, 17th and 19th centuries have obliterated all trace of the original castle. It is said to have had a moat 40 feet wide towards the town and this is clearly shown on the 1794 plan round the northern side of the enclosure fronting the market-place. (2-7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:2500 1968
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Source Number : 2
Source : Norman castles in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 349
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Source Number : 3
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely : volume two
Source details :
Page(s) : 47
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely : volume four
Source details :
Page(s) : 251
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Source Number : 5
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details : R B Dawbarn
Page(s) : 59-67
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Vol(s) : 35, 1879
Source Number : 6
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely : volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 323
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : AS Metalwork 1964 114 photo (D M Wilson)
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built circa 1070-1086
Monument End Date : 1086
Monument Start Date : 1070
Monument Type : Castle, Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Demoliahed 1794
Monument End Date : 1794
Monument Start Date : 1794
Monument Type : Castle, Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TF 40 NE 29
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, WISBECH LIBRARY, 5 ELY PLACE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, WISBECH CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT 4 ELY PLACE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31