The Oldest Castles in England

Norwich Castle, one of the oldest in England.
Norwich Castle, one of the oldest in England.

Some of the oldest castles in England date back to the eleventh century. The castles were a symbol of power, wealth, and great influence in society. Many castles were owned by royal families or by wealthy people in society. This article discusses the oldest castles in England.

The Oldest Castles in England

Berkhamsted Castle

Built in 1067 by Robert of Mortain, the Berkhamsted Castle is the oldest castle in England. In 1216, the castle was captured by Louis VIII and was owned by several members of the royal family in following years. By the 15th century, the castle became unpopular with a reputation as being unfit for the royal leaders. A conical motte stands at the northeast corner of the castle and a high curtain wall rises from the motte and extends around a circular bailey. The London-Birmingham Railway was directed through the castle. The Berkhamsted was the first castle to be protected by an act of parliament.

Norwich Castle

The Norwich Castle was built in 1067 in Norwich, England by William the Conqueror to keep the newly acquired kingdom of East Anglia in subjection. The castle is fitted with an entry that is 88ft long and 68ft high. The southern half of the castle is divided into several rooms including a fireplace, a private king's room, and a chapel. Since its construction, the castle has served as a garrison, a county jail, and currently acts as a museum. The Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery houses a collection of art, archaeology, and national exhibitions.

Warwick Castle

The Warwick Castle in Warwickshire, England, was built in 1068 by William the Conqueror. The original castle was built of wood before being rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. A river flows below the castle on the eastern side where eroding rock has formed a cliff that acts as a natural barrier. The castle has been open to the public since the 17th century and has become a significant part of history surrounded 19th century England. After being under the ownership of the Greville family for 374 years, the castle was sold in 1978 to the Tussauds Group for £1.3 million. They decided to advertise it as a tourist destination. It is protected against any major reconstruction and preserved as an ancient monument even after Merlin Entertainments acquired Tussauds.

Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle in Lincoln, England, was constructed in 1068 by William the Conqueror replacing a Roman fortress that occupied the land . It is one of two castles that have two mottes, the other one being Lewes Castle. It is one of the best-preserved castles in England after serving as a prison and a law court. It is owned by Lincolnshire County Council and has been scheduled an ancient monument although several renovations have been done on it. It is open to the public as a museum. In 2013, an excavations and restoration program discovered a Scandinavian church and skeletons which are now displayed in the castle.

Castle in the 21st century

The earliest castles in England were built in the 11th and 12th centuries. They were built by kings and royal families and were fortified to withstand constant attack by enemies. Today, most of the castles have been transformed into museums and are protected as ancient monuments, preserving ancient English culture and artifacts. Most of them have also undergone major refurbishment due to erosion.

The Oldest Castles in England

RankCastle NameYear ConstructedLocation
1Berkhamsted Castle1067Berkhamsted
2Norwich Castle1067Norwich
3Warwick Castle1068Warwick
4Lincoln Castle1068Lincoln
5Colchester Castle1069Colchester
6Windsor Castle1070Windsor
7Richmond Castle1071Richmond
8Hedingham Castle1086Castle Hedingham
9Carlisle Castle1122Carlisle
10Rochester Castle1127Rochester
11Newcastle Castle1172Newcastle upon Tyne
12Oakham Castle1180Oakham, Rutland
13York Castle1265York, Yorkshire
14Dover Castle11th Century; exact date unknownDover
15Portchester Castle11th Century; exact date unknownPortchester
16Lancaster Castle11th Century; exact date unknownLancaster

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