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Historic England Research Records

Wingfield Castle

Hob Uid: 390625
Location :
Suffolk
Mid Suffolk
Wingfield
Grid Ref : TM2221077240
Summary : Remains of castle or fortified manor house licenced in 1384. Only the south curtain wall survives intact, incorporating a gatehouse and polygonal corner bastions. The foundations of the remaining walls can still be traced. The present house dates from the mid 16th century and was built into the remains of the western curtain wall. It is part stone-built and partly timber framed.
More information : TM 22227720 Wingfield Castle (NR) (Remains of). (1)

Wingfield Castle built by Michael de la Pole about 1384, although the house dates from shortly after 1544. (3) This is a good example of the transition from the feudal castle to the moated manor house. The walls of the castle rise immediately from the moat which is from 24ft to 40ft broad and nearly square in plan. The principal entrance is by stone bridge but a drawbridge still spans the eastern side of the moat. Outside the moat on the northern side is a wide Vallum 8ft 4ins high. Grade 1. (2-3)

Remains of fortified manor house. Late C14, for Michael de la Pole, who was granted licence to crenellate in 1384. An irregular rectangle on plan, surrounded by a moat. Only the south curtain wall is intact, with a fine gatehouse, not quite central, and polygonal corner bastions. Flint rubble with stone dressings. Red brick embattlements, mostly rebuilt. Below the parapet a string course with gargoyles. Lancet and loop windows to ground
floor, 2-light Decorated-style windows above. Gatehouse has 3-storey polygonal corner towers with flushwork panelling at the base. Outer entrance has moulded segmental pointed arch, dying into the imposts. Moulded inner arch with original gates and wicket gate. In the jambs are square panels with the Wingfield and de la Pole arms and a portcullis groove. To courtyard a 4-
centred arch. Inside the gateway 4 doorways with 2-centred arches. Evidence for vaulted roof. First-floor guardroom has original fireplace with stone buttresses terminating in corbels carved as human heads. 2-storey curtain walls; on the inner side there are several fireplaces and a piscina where living rooms and the chapel once stood. Foundations of the missing curtain walls and bastions can be traced. The present house is built into the remains of the west curtain wall, probably on the site of the castle great hall, part of which it may incorporate. Mid C16, with at least 2 phases of C17 alteration. An impressive range some 40m long. Part rubblework, colourwashed or plastered, part timber framed to the upper floor, with good C16 exposed close studding to the east. Roof plaintiled to east, glazed black pantiled to west. 2 storeys and attic. Various mullioned and mullion and transom
windows: some original, others of later date and some C20 copies of C16 work. Fine diamond-leaded glazing with many stained glass panels, much of it old but all inserted C20 from elsewhere. 2-storey rubblework entrance porch: 4- centred arch, the hoodmould supported on stops carved with falcons, the crest of the Jernyngham family to whom the castle was granted in 1544. Above the entrance an oblong niche surrounded by guilloche work. Original doorframe and door. To north of porch a 3-storey stair tower: square, with splayed angles to ground and first floor. To the west a massive external stack with 4 octagonal shafts, 2 having moulded brick embellishment; star caps. 3 other external stacks, one with rebuilt octagonal shafts. Later axial stacks. Interior has a number of good 4-centre arched brick fireplaces. Main ground floor room has ovolo-moulded ceiling beams of c.1600. In the kitchen a blocked late C14 opening to the moat with a moulded arch. Fine C16 plain oak newel stair in 2 flights. Large first floor room with plain barrel ceiling. Much C17 work, especially partitioning. Mid C16 roof with clasped purlins and arched wind braces. The detached buildings within the line of the curtain walls are not included in the listing. Listed Grade I. (4)

Wingfield Castle (name verified) is as described above. It consists of a 14th century castle and moat with a 16th century house within and is in outstanding condition.

The moat is almost square, perfectly preserved and up to 2.0m
deep. Its' overall dimensions are 100.0m E to W and 102.0m N to S and it is 17.0m wide at its' widest point. There are remains of a low counterscarp bank up to 0.5m high on the E and W arms. The S arm is spanned at its centre by a brick bridge and the E arm is spanned by a wooden drawbridge. The drawbridge has been extensively reconstructed by the present owner, Baron Ash, but retains some of the original timbers.

The only remaining parts of the original castle are the S wall and
gatehouse, most of the W wall (incorporated in the house) and a short section of the E wall. The whole castle wall was apparently intact at the time of the last County Series revision, but the N and E walls had been demolished by 1945 when the present owner bought the castle. Now only the bases of these walls remain as revetments to the moat. The walls are constructed of rubble and flints with brick battlements.

The house consists of two separate wings. The W wing is the living accommodation and is timber framed with two storeys. The E wing is an outhouse and is of similar construction.

Outside the moated area to the south are two fishponds. Adjoining the moat to the N is a large, irregular mound measuring 75.0m E to W by 10.0m N to S and 2.5m high. It is very densely overgrown and is possibly a spoil heap from the excavation of the moat. There are irregular minor earthworks in the field to the north of the castle but these form no coherent pattern.
Published survey revised at 1:2500 on MSD. (5)

Listed by Cathcart King. (6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1959
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Suffolk, volume one
Source details : VCH Suff 1 1911 320
Page(s) : 320
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Source Number : 3
Source : The Buildings of England
Source details : Bldgs of Eng Suff 1961 457 (N Pevsner)
Page(s) : 457
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Source Number : 4
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Hartismere Suff April 1950 155
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 CDA 17-SEP-76
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Source Number : 6
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 459
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Licenced 1384
Monument End Date : 1384
Monument Start Date : 1384
Monument Type : Fortified Manor House, Castle, Great Hall, Gatehouse, Curtain Wall, Moat
Evidence : Demolished Building, Extant Building, Structure, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : C17 alterations
Monument End Date : 1699
Monument Start Date : 1600
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 280114
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TM 27 NW 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON TM 27 NW 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1976-09-17
End Date : 1976-09-17
Associated Activities : WINGFIELD CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : WINGFIELD CASTLE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : CASTLE FARM BARNS
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31