Motte and bailey castle surrounded by double wet moats, a rampart and counterscarp. The motte stood 13.7 m high with a 18.3 m circumference at the top. The bailey measured 137 m by 91.5 m. Had a circular shall keep and three half round towers along the curtain wall. The main entrance was originally to the south.
There was a chapel and chamber within the bailey.
The English submitted to Duke William of Normandy on the site prior to the castle being built.
1066 An earth and timber castle was constructed under the orders of William I
1066-1087 c: Edgar Atheling submitted to William I at the castle.
1087 Robert Mortain had the castle taken from him by William II as he had disputed the King’s right to the throne.
11 C Held by Robert de Mortain, Earl of Cornwall, half brother to William I
1104 The castle was fortified by the Robert de Mortain’s son after he rebelled against Henry I.
1123 Henry I held Court at the castle.
1154-1189 Between: Henry II held Court at the castle.
1155-1165 Thomas Becket lived at the castle as Chancellor for Henry II. He replaced the wooden palisade with stone defences around the site. The stone buildings date from.
1157 Stone circular keep built.
1163 Henry II took the castle back from Thomas Becket and spent Christmas at the site.
1191 Richard I gave it to his Queen, Berengaria, and she took up residence at the castle.
1199-1216 c: King John added walls and towers to the curtain.
12 C Leased out. Tenants included Thomas Becket.
1204 King John gave it to his Queen, Isabella.
1204-1216 Queen Isabella was in residence.
1216 Besieged for two weeks by King Louis of France.
1217 Henry III retook the castle.
1227 The castle was given by Henry III to his brother, Richard.
1246 15th August: Richard de Cornwall was born at the castle.
1254 Richard of Cornwall made additions to the castle.
1264 Earl Richard of Cornwall was imprisoned in the castle.
1272 2nd April: Richard Plantagenet died at the castle.
1291 Edward I gave it to his Queen, Margaret.
13th C Outworks date from. Keep built.
1300 Earl Edward of Cornwall left the castle to Edward I in his will.
1300-1317 Held by the second wife of Edward I, Margaret.
1317 Queen Margaret died.
1317-1326 Held by the wife of Edward II, Isabella
1326-1336 Held by John of Eltham.
1327 Recorded as having a tower on the motte.
1336 Given to the Black Prince, Edward Earl of Chester, by his father Edward III
1337 Came into the possession of the Duchy of Cornwall.
1356 c: John II of France was imprisoned at the castle for a short time following the Battle of Poitiers.
1360 King John of France was still being held at the castle.
1361 The Black Prince had his honeymoon at the castle.
1376 Where the Black Prince spent the last days of his life.
1386 The castle was given by Richard II to Robert de Vere, 9th Earl of Cornwall.
1389 Geoffrey Chaucer was Clerk to the Kings Works.
1399 Henry IV gave it to his son, Henry (Later Henry V).
1427 The king lived periodically at the castle.
1445 c: Given to Margaret of Anjou by Henry IV.
1469 Edward IV gave it to his mother, Cecily, Duchess of York.
1495 Cecily, Duchess of York, died and the castle was abandoned.
1509-1533 Between: Henry VIII gave it to Catherine of Aragon.
1533-1534 Between: Henry VIII gave it to Anne Boleyn.
1536-1537 Between: Henry VIII gave it to Jane Seymour.
1540-1546 Itinerary of John Leland: Ruinous.
1558-1603 Beginning: Site was abandoned.
1580 In ruins. Elizabeth I leased the manor to Sir Edward Carey, Keeper of the Queens Jewels. He built himself a house nearby, using masonry from the castle ruins.
1837 The outer defences were damaged when the railway was built.
1838 The barbican was demolished for the railway.
1850’s Late: Grand Bazaar held on the site to raise money for a new Town Hall.
1864 Earl Brownlow was given the site by the Duke of Cornwall.
1920’s Under the care of the Ministry of Works.
1922 Pageant held on the site.
1930’s The western outer defences were damaged by road building.
1931 Pageant held on the site.
1935 June: Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) visited the site.
1950 The moat was still wet.
1966 Pageant held to celebrate 900 years of the site.
20 C In ruins. Golf and cricket played on the site.