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Wallingford Castle 1913.


The remains of Wallingford Castle, once an important royal castle and defensive stronghold, are situated in Wallingfordmarker in the Englishmarker county of Oxfordshire (historically in Berkshire until 1974 reorganization), adjacent to the River Thames.

History

Wallingford Castle is generally thought to have been built by Robert D'Oyly between 1067 and 1071 on orders from William the Conqueror, at the same time as Oxford Castlemarker, to the Norman motte and bailey design, though it has been suggested that Miles Crispin may have founded it. It was strengthened by Brien FitzCount before the wars between King Stephen and Empress Matilda, and Stephen's forces attacked it many times, before he was in turn attacked by the soon-to-be King Henry II. FitzCount established a prison within the castle, called Cloere Brien.

It was described as "most securely fortified by impregnable walls". Ealdred of Abingdon, Edward I, Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, Maurice de Berkeley, Waleran de Beaumont, Henry of Almain, Walter Langton,Robert de Ferrers, Owen Tudor, Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter, Margaret of Anjou, Charles of Orléans, [[Sir Richard Browne, 1st Baronet, of London|Sir Richard Browne]], John Clotworthy and Judge David Jenkins were all imprisoned here.

King John added further to the castle, and Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall spent substantial sums on it: during the 13th century it gained two further walls and ditches. William IX, Count of Poitiers died at the castle in 1156, as did Joan of Kent who died at the castle in 1387. Catherine of Valois, widow of Henry V, was given the castle and here her relationship with Owen Tudor developed. The castle contained St Nicholas's College, established by Miles Crispin. The college trained choirboys, including the poet Thomas Tusser.

The castle fell into decline in the 16th century, but in the 17th century, it was strengthened again for supporters of Charles I during the war with Oliver Cromwell. It was the last English stronghold to surrender during the English Civil War, following the surrender of Thomas Blagge (1646) after a siege conducted by Thomas Fairfax and Cromwell later ordered it to be destroyed (1652). The site was a meeting-place for nonconformists later in that century.

A large gothic house was built on the site in 1837 but demolished in 1972. The castle grounds (including the remains of St Nicholas College, two sections of castle wall and the motte hill) are now open to the public, and more information can be found at Wallingford Museummarker.
Wallingford Castle motte, from Castle Lane
St Nicholas College, Wallingford Castle
The lords of Wallingford Castle have included the following:

References

  • Brooks, N.P. (1966) Excavations at Wallingford Castle, 1965: an interim report. Berkshire Archaeological Journal 62, 17-21.
  • Hedges, J.K. (1881) The history of Wallingford, in the county of Berks. Wm Clowes, London, 2 vol.
  • Keats-Rohan, K.S.B. (1989) The devolution of the Honour of Wallingford, 1066-1148. Oxoniensia 54, 311.
  • Slade, C.F. (1960) Wallingford castle in the reign of Stephen. Berkshire Archaeological Journal 58, 33-43.
  • Speight, S. (2000) "Castle Warfare in the Gesta Stephani", In: Flambard Héricher, A.-M. (Ed.) Chateau Gaillard XIX: Actes du Colloque International de Graz, Austriche, 22-29 août 1998, Caen : Publications du CRAM, ISBN 2-902685-09-2, p. 269-274.
  • Spurrell, M. (1995) Containing Wallingford Castle, 1146-53. Oxoniensia 60, 257-270.


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