Hertford Castle


Bailey_Walls, South East Range to Hertford Castle.
By AnemoneProjectors – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47949645


  • Hertford, Hertfordshire.
  • Scheduled Ancient Monument


  • Motte and bailey castle with a double moat on three sides.
  • King Alfred built twin forts on either side of the river.
  • Edward the Elder fortified the town.
  • David, King of Scotland, was imprisoned at the castle
  • Gatehouse restored.
  • John II of France was imprisoned at the castle.
  • The Dowager Queen Katherine often stayed at the castle.


673                              The Archbishop of Canterbury held the first Synod of the English church on the site. People attending included Bishops from East Anglia, Kent, Mercia, Northumbria and Essex.

905                              Fortified by Edward the Elder.

1066                            After: Built by William I who appointed a constable to it.

1070                            The castle was built of stone.

1171-1174                   ?: Pentagonal shaped curtain surrounding the inner bailey which linked up with the stone walling which ascends the side of the motte. Henry II spent money on the castle.

1182-1183                   Money as spent on the castle.

1190-1192                   Geoffrey Fitz Peter was Constable.

1199                            Living accommodation was built.

12 C                            Stone walls and towers were added.

1202                            August: Robert Fitz Walter was Constable. Later in the year Richard de Montfitchet was Constable.

1211                            Passed to the Crown.

1212                            John Fitz Hugh was Constable but had to hand it over to John de Bassingbourn later in the year.

1215                            Taken by the Baron’s against King John.

1216                            Louis of France took the castle after a one month siege.

1216                            Walter de Godarville was Governor of the castle followed by Robert Fitz Walter.

1223                            Before: Constable was Falkes de Breaute, then it was handed to William de Eynesford.

1224                            7th January: Granted to Stephen de Seagrave.

1224-1228                   22nd January: Was handed to Richard de Argenten.

1225                            The gate was repaired.

1228                            Granted to Raymond de Burgh.

1230                            Before 23rd January: Granted to William de Colworth.

1230                            23rd January: Granted to Raymond de Burgh.

1230                            3rd July: Granted to William de Colworth.

1230                            25th September: Granted to John de Burgh.

1230                            Late: Granted to Hugh de Burgh.

1232                            Hugh de Burgh had to hand over the castle to Stephen de Seagrave.

1234                            May; Held by Robert Passelewe.

1234                            Late: Held by William de Colworth.

1236                            May: William de Colworth handed it to Peter de Tony.

1242-1246                   Richard de Montfitchet was Custodian.

1247-1249                   William de Vallance, brother to the Henry III, was granted the castle.

1300                            The Hall, chamber, wardrobe and kitchen were all repaired.

1301                            The bakehouse and the bridge were repaired.

1302                            Outer gates and chamber over the gate was repaired.

1309                            Four Knights Templars were imprisoned in the castle.

1327                            A survey was made of the castle.

1327-1377                   Between: Edward III gave the castle to his mother.

1357                            Works undertaken on the castle.

1358                            22nd August: Isabella, widow of Edward II died at the castle.

1360                            Edward III gave the castle to his son, John of Gaunt.

1396-1399                   Richard I used the castle as his main residence.

1377                            The King had possession of the castle.

1379-1399                   c: Richard II visited the castle.

1397                            Works undertaken on the castle.

14 C                            Joanna, Queen of Scotland, was granted the castle by Edward III.

1424                            Works undertaken on the castle. The Bishop of Durham surrendered the Great Seal in the Great Hall of the castle.

1427                            Henry VI stayed, on and off, at the castle.

1428                            Was the summer residence of the King.

1455                            Margaret of Anjou was held under house arrest at the castle.

1463                            Brick gatehouse of three storeys added as well as towers to the curtain wall.

1522-1523                   A survey was made of the castle.

1539                            December: Princess Mary stayed at the castle.

1558-1559                   The Duchy of Lancaster stayed at the castle.

1560                            Works undertaken on the castle.

1563                            Law Courts were held at the castle.

1581                            Law Courts were held at the castle.

1587-1588                   Castle surveyed. Most apartments need rebuilding.

1592                            Law Courts were held at the castle.

1603-1610                   c: Demolished.

1609-1610                   Castle was surveyed as it was in ruins.

1628                            Fell into disrepair.

1790’s                         Windows were added to the gatehouse and given a neo-Gothic appearance by the Earl of Hillsborough.

1911                            Lord Salisbury leased the castle to the local council.

1926                            Excavated .

1967                            Excavated.

1970-1971                   Excavated.

1972                            Watching Brief.

1974                            Excavated.

1988-1989                   Excavated.

1996                            Watching Brief.

1997                            Geophysical Survey of the curtain wall.

2002                            Inner moat evaluated.

2005                            Part of the curtain wall collapsed.


Hertford Castle



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