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Hedingham Castle

Hob Uid: 379085
Location :
Essex
Braintree
Castle Hedingham
Grid Ref : TL7870035800
Summary : Castle consisting of a ringwork and bailey with a keep dating from 1130-1140. Most of the buildings date from a rebuild dating to the 15th and 16th centuries including the bridge connecting the inner and outher baileys. Most of the buildings were demolished during the early 17th century. Scheduled and listed.
More information : (TL 787 358) Hedingham Castle (remains of) (1)

The castle (a large ring-work with 'wishbone' counterscarp banks and bailey (4) (see plan from (2)), was built by Aubrey de Vere (Earl of Oxford) in 1130-40. By 1214 it was in Crown hands and was captured in 1216 although it remained a stronghold until the 17th/18th century when all buildings (most of them rebuilt in the 15th/16th century) were destroyed with the exception of the great Norman Keep (TL 7870 3587) and the 15th/16th century bridge connecting the inner and outer baileys (TL 7875 3589). The Keep (4 storeys high and and built of Barnack stone), is one of the finest and most complete examples of 12th century military architecture in the country. Roman tile has been worked into the back of the fireplace but nowhere else (6). Although the interior has suffered from fire in 1954 it is well preserved and in private ownership. Excavations in 1853 and 1869 were carried out and foundations discovered (see plan from (5)). (2-7)

Hedingham Castle. Castle keep circa 1130-1140. Built for Aubrey De Vere and reputedly designed by William De Corbeuil. RCHM 3. Grade I (see list for details). (8)

TL 787 359. Hedingham Castle. Scheduled no.3. (9)

Hedingham Castle (TL 787 358) was the main seat of the Earls of Oxford. It is a large earthen ringwork castle with two baileys and was probably built in the late 11th/early 12th century by Aubrey de Vere who was granted the land by William I during the Norman Conquest. The large central mound was evidently the main focus of the castle, with the smaller, inner, bailey to the east and the larger, outer, bailey to the west. The entrance to the inner bailey is lost, possibly beneath the C18th Hedingham Castle House (see TL 73 NE 30). The outer bailey quickly went out of use as the town grew (see TL 73 NE 58).

The magnificent and sophisticated keep was built around the middle of the 12th century, at the height of the Anarchy, and may have been constructed to mark the elevation of the de Veres to the earldom of Oxford (an honour granted by Queen Matilda). Other buildings would also have existed, though no sign of these remain today. Around the castle three hunting parks were created; Great Park, Castle Park and Little Park.

The 13th Earl of Oxford was instrumental in the accession of Henry VII, and it was he who was responsible for an ambitious building programme at Hedingham at the end of the 15th century, when all of the earlier stone buildings other than the keep and a gatehouse (now gone) were replaced by brick towers and apartment ranges covering most of the castle mound; slight earthworks mark the positions of some of these buildings. The most notable of these was the Great Brick Tower, an ornate `donjon' overlooking the town of Castle Hedingham; the foundations of the stair turrets of this tower remain. The Tudor bridge (recently restored) and Tennis Court also date to this phase of the history of the castle. The castle was surveyed in 1592 by Israel Armyse (10a), but many of the buildings appear to have been razed to the ground by the early 17th century (10b), by which time it had ceased to be the seat of the Earls of Oxford (10c).

In 1713, the estate was sold to the Ashurst family who proceeded to build a great house there (see TL 73 NE 30) and to extensively landscape the grounds for gardens (see TL 73 NE 60).

The earthworks at Hedingham Castle were surveyed by the Royal Commission in October and November 1995 following a request from English Heritage. See archive report and plan at 1:1000 scale. (10)

Dixon and Marshall provide evidence that the keep was originally three-storeyed, and the later 4th floor was added as a sign of the enhanced status of the de Vere family. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1960
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Source Number : 2
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in Essex. Volume I [north west]
Source details : plans photos
Page(s) : 51-57
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Source Number : 10a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : I Armyse 1592 A Survey of Castle Hedingham (Essex Record Office Ref: D/DMh M1)
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Source Number : 10b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Untitled and unattributed early C17 survey of Hedingham Castle (Essex Record Office Ref: D/DMh P1)
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Source Number : 10c
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Lewis Majendie 1796 An Account of Hedingham Castle (London, John Nichols)
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Source Number : 11
Source : Fortress : the castles and fortifications quarterly
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Vol(s) : 18-Dec-92
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Source : Hedingham Castle, ringwork and bailey/pencil survey
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Source : Hedingham Castle/ink survey
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Source : Hedingham Castle, canal/pencil survey
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Source : Hedingham Castle
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Source Number : 3
Source : The Buildings of England
Source details : Essex 1954
Page(s) : 110-111
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Source Number : 4
Source : Norman castles in Britain
Source details : plan
Page(s) : 202-204
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Source Number : 5
Source : Essex Archaeological Society transactions
Source details : 1869 (L A Majendie)
Page(s) : 240
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Vol(s) : 4
Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Essex Highways Byeways etc 1892 (C R B Barrett)
Page(s) : 69
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Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Halstead Rural District March 1960
Page(s) : 26
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Source Number : 8
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : District of Braintree 1984
Page(s) : 01-Mar
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Source Number : 9
Source : County list of Scheduled Ancient Monuments : December 1987
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Page(s) : 4
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Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : RCHME: Hedingham Castle Survey
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1130-1140
Monument End Date : 1140
Monument Start Date : 1130
Monument Type : Keep, Ringwork And Bailey
Evidence : Extant Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 15th and 16th century
Monument End Date : 1599
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Bridge, Tennis Court, Tower
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 15th and 16th century
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1400
Monument Type : Bridge, Tennis Court, Tower
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Demolished early 17th century
Monument End Date : 1632
Monument Start Date : 1600
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Demolished Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : EX 3
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Essex)
External Cross Reference Number : 6787
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 114521
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 111046
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 73 NE 9
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 975163
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1057870
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1057874
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 379109
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, HEDINGHAM CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1853-01-01
End Date : 1853-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HEDINGHAM CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1868-01-01
End Date : 1868-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: HEDINGHAM CASTLE SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-10-02
End Date : 1996-03-15
Associated Activities : Primary, FORMER GARAGE, BAYLEY STREET
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND REAR OF 1-3 CASTLE LANE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2014-01-01
End Date : 2014-12-31