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Suffolk HER Number (Pref. Ref.):ORF 001
Unique number (MonUID):MSF2586
Type of Record:Monument
NGR:TM 418 498


Orford Castle - A cylindrical keep with three projecting rectangular towers. Scheduled.

Monument Types

  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BEACON (16th century to IPS: Post Medieval - 1588 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BARBED WIRE OBSTRUCTION (Second World War - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • NISSEN HUT (Second World War - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Second World War - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POTTERY (13th century to 15th century - 1201 AD to 1400 AD)
  • POTTERY CONTINENTAL IMPORT (13th century to 15th century - 1201 AD to 1400 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (13th century to 15th century - 1201 AD to 1400 AD)

Protected Status



Orford Castle - A cylindrical keep with three projecting rectangular towers. Built by Henry II, 1165-1172. Scheduled area constitutes a public park on the edge of the town. NE part is occupied by keep & earthworks; SW by old sand pit (S1).
Whetstone, hone of mica-quartz-schist (Ellis type IA1).
1991: Said to be maintained and in guardianship.
1993: Trench inserted from entrance kiosk to W side of keep, for electricity line, monitored & recorded by SAU.
1995: Trench along similar alignment inserted and again monitored by SAU. Details of finds in (S3).
August 1996: Scheduled area slightly revised (S1).
A range of structures of World War II date and probable military function are visible on aerial photographs in the immediate area of Orford castle its earthworks. From at least 1943 to 1945 the castle is surrounded by circa 325m of barbed wire that roughly follows the line of the bailey earthworks. Also within this time, three structures can be seen to the south-east of the keep. In 1943 a square building can be seen in the ditch of the earthworks at circa TM41974984, with a possible smaller structure to the south of it. A nissen hut type structure is visible at circa TM41924989 on 1943 photographs, but has been removed by 1944. A second nissen hut type structure is visible at TM41994986 in September 1945. All of the structures have been removed by October 1945. It is not clear what role Orford Castle might have played during the war, but it is possible that it was used as an observation tower, as was Slaughden Martello tower (see ADB 013). (S5-8)
Also Mes, Un.


[R1]Bibliographic reference: Victoria County History of Suffolk (Vol I 1911; Vol II 1907). VCH, Suffolk (many references). (SSF50048)
[M1]Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: copy (S1)(S3). (SSF50072)
[S1]Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. Scheduling information. (SSF5242)
[M2]Photograph: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Air Photograph. APs: SAU ALO 5-7; OS 72057/53; Essex C C CP/96/18/12-13. (SSF50071)
[S2](No record type): Archaeologia, 29, 1842, 60-69. (SSF692)
[S3](No record type): SAU, Loader T, Orford Castle ORF 001: Record of Archaeological Monitoring, report, August 1995, ill. (SSF19347)
[M3](No record type): SAM file:. (SSF45932)
[M4](No record type): Monitoring archive:. (SSF45933)
[S4]Photograph: Essex County Council. Air Photograph. Essex C C, Strachan D, APs, CP/96/18/12-13, June 1996. (SSF50025)
[S5]Photograph: USAAF. USAAF Air Photograph. US 7PH/GP/LOC132 5014-5 30-DEC-1943. (SXS50085)
[S6]Photograph: USAAF. USAAF Air Photograph. US 7GR/LOC355 4059-60 30-MAY-1944. (SXS50085)
[S7]Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/832 4173-4 23-SEP-1945. (SSF50005)
[S8]Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/929 3366-7 16-OCT-1945. (SSF50005)
[S9]Unpublished document: English Heritage. Barker L, Survey Report, A1/22/2004, 2004. (SSF50080)
[S10]Unpublished document: Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service evaluation report. SCCAS, Gardner R, No 2003/22, March 2003. (SSF50056)

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