Norwich Castle

Norwich Castle in 1851


  • Norwich, Norfolk
  • OSGB – TG 2319 0853
  • Scheduled Monument
  • Grade I Listed Building.


Medieval motte and bailey castle.

Saxon cemetery was discovered below the southern bailey rampart.


1067                            Built by William Fitz Osbern under the orders of William I, as a motte and bailey castle.

1069                            Royal castle.

1074                            Ralph Fitz Osbern and his younger son, Roger, rose a revolt against the king but their bid failed and they were given 40 days to leave the country.

1075                            Surrendered on the agreement that the garrison could all leave England.

1075                            The defence of the castle was maintained by the wife of Earl Ralph.

1077                            Roger Bigot held the castle in the position of Constable for the King.

1087-1088                   Besieged by Roger Bigod during his revolt against William II.

1090                            Stone keep was built.

1100                            Motte heightened and the ditch was dug deeper.

1103                            Henry I stayed at the castle.

1108                            Henry I stayed at the castle.

1122                            Henry I stayed at the castle.

1125-1135                   The Great Tower was built measuring approximately 95ft by 90 ft and standing 70ft high. It contained a large hall and chamber on the first floor with garderobes, chapel and a room for the castallian. The ground floor contained storage chambers and the armoury. The second floor comprised of guard rooms and a gallery inside the walls all around. The tower had a kitchen and was built of ashlar blocks of Caen stone and faced with flint work core.

1136                            Hugh Bigod laid seige to the castle.

1154-1189                   During: Henry II took the castle from one of Stephen’s sons, the Count of Mortain. He then carried out some works including a double palisade.

1165/6                         First used as a gaol.

1172-1173                   Bridge repaired.

1173-1174                   Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, captured the castle for Prince Henry during his revolt against his father Henry II.

1174                            Henry II garrisoned the castle with 300 men-at-arms, archers and engineers.

1216                            Captured by Louis of France, who held it for a year.

1220                            Used as a gaol with additional buildings added.

1268-1270                   The wooden defences were replaced by a stone curtain wall at the cost of £500.

1290                            Edward I rebuilt the hall in the great tower and spent around £500 on it.

1345                            Edward III gave the two baileys to the city.

1381                            Geoffrey Lister took the castle over during the Peasants Revolt.

15th C                          Derelict, abandoned.

1642-1651                   Civil War: Held by Parliament. Artillery battery built on the north east side of the mound.

1707-1709                   £1,300 was spent on repairs.

1789-1795                   Used as a prison. The prison was designed by John Soane to a U-shaped plan. The prison buildings added in 1220 were demolished.

1790                            The walls were replaced.

1820                            Alterations made to the gaol buildings.

1822-1828                   New prison plans drawn up and built by William Wilkins.

1825                            The Norman bridge was replaced.

1830                            Lower part of the keep was redressed in stone.

1834-1839                   Keep rebuilt to its original design by Anthony Salvin.

1839                            Until: Used as a prison.

1856                            New prison cells were approved.

1884                            Bought by Norwich Corporation for £4000.

1887                            Prison closed.

1888-1894                   Made into a museum by Edward Boardman at a cost of £22,000.

1894                            23rd October: Museum opened to the public.

19th C                          Rebuilding has hidden the original castle work. Alterations made to the prison.

1905-1906                   Excavated.

1950                            Excavated.

1961                            Excavated.

1963                            Excavated.

1973                            Excavated.

1975                            Excavated.

1979                            Excavated.. Scheduling amended.

1986                            Excavated.


1989-1991                   Excavated.

1991-1992                   Excavated..

1992                            Excavated.

1992                            Excavated.

1992                            Watching Brief.

1993                            Watching Brief.

1993-1994                   Watching Brief.nit.

1995                            Architectural Survey.

1998                            Excavated.

1998                            Evaluated.

1999                            Watching Brief.

1999                            Evaluated.

2000                            Excavated.

2000                            Watching Brief.

2000                            Excavated.

2001                            Architectural Survey..

2005                            Watching Brief.


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