Cambridge Castle: Grantabridge: Grantebrige: Grantabrycge: Cantebrigge: Castle Mound: Durolponte

View of Cambridge Castle and Plan of Cambridge Castle engraved by Warren and published in Picturesque Views of the Antiquities of England & Wales, 1786.


    • Cambridge
    • Scheduled Monument.


Iron Age hillfort, Roman Fort, Medieval motte and bailey castle.

Enclosure castle overlooking the small settlement of Grantabridge. Motte measures 200 ft diameter at its base, 34 ft at the top and stands between 33 ft to 56 ft high. The site originally enclosed 4 acres.

The West Gate of the roman site has been identified. 


70                               c; Roman fort or fortlett called DUROLIPONTE, built within an Iron Age fort. Covering 25-28 acres with four gates, and a cemetery located to the south. Had wooden buildings.

1 C                              Late; Rectangular enclosure of 198ft by 99ft. Had  public buildings. Evidence of iron workings and pottery production.

100-300                        Dating from; Rubbish dumps, ditches and roads identified. 

120                              c; Civilian population. 

3 C                              In decline. 

4 C                              Start; Refortified with a ditch, wall and bank. Re-inhabited. 

4 C                              End; Fell into decay. Abandoned.

410                              Romans withdrew..

870                              Grantbridgeshire was laid to waste by the Danes.

921                              An army of Danish settlers surrendered to King Edward the Elder, at the defended settlement.

1010                            The defended settlement was burnt by the army of King Swain.

1066                            c; Picot de Cambridge was Sheriff and lived at the castle.

1068                            Built by William the Conqueror against the outer walls of the town as a motte and bailey castle .

1085                            Domesday Book entry states that twenty seven houses were demolished to make room for the castle.

1190                            c; Stonework added. 

1199-1216                   Master Nicholas de Andeli was in charge of the siege engines.

1284-1299                   Rebuilt by Edward I, including barbican, gatehouse, curtain and cylindrical angle towers, great tower and hall at the cost of £2525.00

13 C                            Late; Rebuilt in stone. Curtain wall, Gatehouse, corner

                                    towers and a wet moat were added. The moat measuring 4m deep. 

1307-1327                   Between; Chapel was either rebuilt or completed.

1308                            Books and ornaments belonging to the Knights Templar and John Mohun were taken from their House of Templar in Duxford and placed in the castle.

1308                            Thomas Giselingham, William de Sutton and Ralph Bonet were custodians at the castle.

1308                            6 December; Brother William de Mawringges died at the castle. 

1308-1309                   Fourteen Knights Templar were imprisoned in the castle.

1309                            30 September; The fourteen Knight Templar being held in the castle were sent to the Tower of London. 

1359                            Agnes de Norwood was charged with transferring Sir John de Moynes, a prisoner, from Nottingham Castle to Cambridge Castle. 

1367                            There was an inquest in to the deterioration of the castle.

14 C                            Stone was taken for the building of new Colleges.

15 C                            The hall was demolished and materials used to help built Kings College.

1590                            Described as being ruined and decayed. 

1600                            The only complete building remaining was the gatehouse.

1603                            Nicholas Bastwicke, a Catholic Seminary, was imprisoned in the castle.

1606                            The south west Gatehouse was the only complete building standing. 

1642                            July; Oliver Cromwell seized the county weapons magazine at the castle

1643                            Parliament built earth bastions around the castle as well as brick barracks in the grounds.

1646                            The garrison was disbanded

1647                            July; Bastions slighted and partly demolished.

1663-1672                   Francis Holcroft (1633-1692), founder of the Churches on congregational principles, and known as the ‘Apostle of Cambridge’, was imprisoned in the gaol on the site with fellow preacher Joseph Oddy (1629-1687).

1717                            Simon Ockley (1678-1820), author of ‘The History Of The Saracens’ was imprisoned in the castle.

1801-1807                   G Byfield built the new octagonal county gaol and filled in part of the moat.

1810                            Stone coffins discovered on the site.

1811                            The western Civil War bastion was demolished.


Cambridge Castle Gateway.


1842                            The Gatehouse and Great Hall were pulled down to make way for the new courthouse.

19 C                            The Gatehouse was used as a prison.

1932                            The motte and the Civil War defences were badly damaged with the building of the County Council offices.

1942                            Document produced to show how defences would have been built around the castle grounds should there have been a German invasion. The document is kept at the Counties Record Office, Cambridge.

1949                            Excavated.

1954                            Courthouse designed by TH Wyatt and D Bandon was demolished. 

1957                            Excavated.

1957                            Scheduled.

1958-1959                   Excavated..

1959                            Excavated.

1961-1962                   Excavated.

1962-1963                   Excavated.

1964                            Excavated.                                  

1964-1968                   Excavated..

1972-1976                   Excavated.

1974                            Excavated.

1978                            Excavated.

1982                            Field Investigation.

1983                            Excavated.

1983                            Excavated.

1984                            Excavated.

1984                            Excavated..

1985                            Excavated.

1986                            Excavated.

1988                             Excavated.

1989                            Watching Brief.tion.

1993                            Evaluated.

1993-1994                   Evaluation.

1994                            Evaluation.

1994                            Excavated..

1995                            Excavation.

1997                            Excavated.

20 C                            The motte survives.

2000                            Surveyed.

2000                            Evaluated.

2002                            Excavated.


1837 Plan of Cambridge Castle.


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