Wisbech Castle: Wisbeach Castle: Wisbich: Wisbitche Castle

  • Wisbech, Cambridgeshire
  • Scheduled Monument
  • Monument Number 354806


Motte and bailey castle.

The site covered 2 acres internally and 4 acres in total. Was surrounded by a high wall. The moat measured 40ft wide. Drawbridge was situated to the west.

Site defended by the Saxons against the Danes.


1072                            A castle was built by William the Conqueror

1215-1219                   Owned by the Church. Entrusted to Ralph de Normanville, Robert de Cantia and Richard Poore, Bishop of Salisbury.

1216                            King John visited the castle. 

1236                             The castle was badly damaged through flooding.

1246                            William Justice was Constable.

1262                            Simon de Dullingham was Constable.

1291                            John de Lacy broke out of the prison – and he received a pardon.

1292                            Visited by Edward I.

1297                            John de Dromore of Scotland was a prisoner at the castle.

1298                            Visited by Edward I. 

13 C                            Mainly used as a prison and for holding the Bishop’s Court. 

1300                            Visited by Edward I.

1305                            Visited by Edward I.

1308                            Richard de Halstead was Constable.

1314                            Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow, and the wife of Robert Brus were held in the castle.

1315                            Richard Lambert was illegally held and died from toads eating at him.

1350                            Bailiff, threatened the constable and laid siege to the castle. Following this a garrison was installed.

1360                            A number of prisoners escaped.

1372                            A new gate was added at Dugdale.

1401                            Thomas de Bramstone was Constable.

1403                            Sir John de Rochford was Constable.

1409                            New flood gates were added.

1410                            Sir John de Colville was Constable.

1414                            The Earl of Doncaster bought Dominus Heyle and other prisoners to the castle.

1446                            Sir Andrew Hoggard (Ogard) was Constable.

1460-1461                   c; The castle made a profit of £100

1476                            Sir Thomas Grey was Constable. Repairs undertaken.

1478-1483                   Rebuilt by Bishop Morton and Bishop Alcock.

1489                            Sir Thomas Hobard was Constable.

15 C                            Fell into disrepair.

1500                            Bishop Morton, founder of Jesus College, Cambridge, died at the castle.

1513                            The Dove Cote was destroyed.

1525                            Walter and Thomas Hubbard were Constables.

1531                            Thomas Megges and Sir Richard Cromwell were constables.

1553                            Robert Dudley made the castle his headquarters.

1553                            14/24 July; Thomas Carwell Edmund Beaupre of Outwell and John Dethick were ordered by Queen Mary to take the castle.

1558-1603                   During; used as a prison for Catholic prisoners. Thirty three are recorded during this period.

1580                            The Bishop was ordered to strengthen the castle, in order for it to hold prisoners.

1580                            October; eight priests were imprisoned in the castle.            

1584                            Thomas Whyte, Bishop of Lincoln, was held and died at the castle.

1585                            John Freckingham, last Abbot of Westminster, was held and died at the castle. The ditch was still intact.

1587                            Thomas Watson, Bishop of Lincoln, was held and died at the castle. 

1590                            The castle keeper, Thomas Grey had allegations made against him, so the townspeople were appointed to help him with the prisoners. 

1597                            William Medley and William Brewster were in charge of the prisoners.

1598                            Some prisoners were moved to the Tower of London.

1602                            Thirty six prisoners, priests, were moved to Framlingham Castle.

1605                            William Chester, Sen. Esq., was Constable. Famous prisoners included Robert Catesby and Francis Tresham, who were involved in the Gunpowder Plot.

1606                            Bishop Heaton reported that George Smith, a prisoner, had apparently changed faith.

1607                            William Chester was constable and paid £75 12s for feeding the prisoners.

1609-1619                   Between; Bishop Andrews spent £2000 on the castle.

1615                            Twenty four priests were bought to the castle, as prisoners, from London.

1618                            Nine priests were deported.

1627                            The Constable was made accountable for the nine deported priests.

1628                            There were no more prisoners at the castle but it was still considered a place where prisoners could be kept.

1631-1638                   Between; Bishop White spent a large amount of money on the castle.

1633                            Matthias Taylor, Esq., was Constable.

1642-1651                   During the Civil War; Held by Parliament. Demolished by its owner, John Thurloe, Secretary of State to the Protectorate. He built a new house on the site.

1653                            At the Restoration the site went back to the Bishops of Ely and was leased out.

1793                            Bought by Joseph Medworth. He demolished the out buildings and built The Crescent.

1794                            Joseph Medworth demolished the house and built a new one on the site.

1816                            Joseph Medworth’s new house was completed.

1827                            Joseph Medworth died and it was bought by the Peckover family. They leased it out. It became a school, then a dental surgery, than an opticians.

19 C                            Bought by Mr and Mrs. Fendick.

1969                            Mrs Gordon Fendick gave the house to Cambridgeshire Education Authority 

20 C                            Late; Turned into a living museum and used for education training.


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