Castle Acre Part One: The Castle

As you can see, Ollie wasn’t that impressed. But he did of course think that it was his castle.

All photos can be enlarged for detail by clicking on them, so please do.

In bright sunshine, I took a trip to the pretty village of Castle Acre. Just north of the market town of Swaffham, it is only around fifteen miles from home. The village is famous for a large Priory, and for the castle which gives it its name. Entry to the castle is free, as is parking there. It is open every day in daylight hours.

It dominates the surrounding area, sitting on a large man-made mound. Originally built just after the Norman Conquest, in 1067, it was a wooden hill fort surrounded by a deep ditch. Used as a base by the occupying Normans, it was later developed into a substantial stone castle, and local centre of trade and the judiciary. By the year 1200, it was one of the largest castles in the area, and had a huge stone keep, with a grand hall beneath. This is all that remains of that imposing keep now.

The castle was surrounded by a deep ditch, as well as outer stone walls. The ditch could also be flooded, to act as a protective moat.

Access would have been via a bridge that could be raised in the event of attack. This modern version is only for pedestrians.

With the high position enhanced by building on a large mound of earth, the defenders got a tremendous view of the low-lying countryside nearby.

This gives some idea of the amount of earth used to create the mound it sat on.

Lower walls would have protected the ditch too. They were known as ‘curtain’ walls. You can see how thick they would have been, and they led up to the castle wall above.

Tall watchtowers were built at intervals, into the main wall of the castle. This is all that remains of one of them.

If you are ever in the area, Castle Acre is a great place to visit. There are cafes, shops, and a very nice pub/hotel too. As well as the castle, there is the famous Priory. I will feature that in part two.

57 thoughts on “Castle Acre Part One: The Castle

    1. It’s a lovely little village, Sue. Close to Swaffham and Fakenham, and not that far from the coast.
      The Ostrich hotel looks very nice, and there is the Castle and The Priory to see. I wouldn’t mind living there!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. The nearest stations are Norwich, Downham Market, or Kings Lynn. But there is nothing in between,, so driving becomes an issue. If you are ever staying up in Norfolk, I would happily pick you up, and take some time to show you around. But I would suggest waiting until it is not dark at 4 pm, and I would also have to bring Ollie. 🙂
          Best wishes, Pete.:

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ron. He is a very relaxed dog. 🙂
      The old castle really gives you a sense of those times, how they chose the position, and imposed the occupation on the local people. I’m a big fan of castles, even ruined ones.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Britain has lots and lots of them, especially in Wales.
      We used to have to keep the Welsh under control!
      There are not many in Norfolk,
      The biggest and best locally is in Norwich. I haven’t been to the castle there yet.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw a few of the castles close to London when I was there, but I would love to see the ones in your links. They look amazing especially further out in the countryside. I guess I need to make another trip to Great Britain. (If I remember correctly that includes Wales and Scotland, right??)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It was already unused and derelict by 1397, David. It had no doubt been superceded by more important fortifications by that time. Once it was no longer occupied, local people would have stolen the stonework for their own building projects.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Definitely adding this to my ever growing list of places to visit. This really does look amazing! And I love the pictures. One of my favorite things that I like of history are castles. I can pretty much never get enough of those! 😊 Even though this one is in ruins it looks still quite impressive! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Michel. Most British castles were deliberately ruined following the English Civil war, in 1651. The idea being that any rebels could no longer use them as defensive positions. Many have since been rebuilt, and look splendid. But this old one still has a certain grandeur.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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