Monument record FML 001 - Framlingham Castle (Med)

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Framlingham Castle.


Grid reference Centred TM 287 637 (345m by 287m) Centred on
Map sheet TM26SE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Framlingham Castle.
Lands at Framlingham given to Roger Bigod by Henry I, circa 1100; 1st castle subsequently built. Castle then standing destroyed 1175, following Earl Hugh Bigod's participation in unsuccessful revolt against Henry II. Present castle built by Early Roger Bigod sometime between 1190 and 1216 (R8). It fell, after only two days seige, to King John in 1216.
During excavations within the curtain wall in 1801 "several thousand cart loads of stone and other material were raised and removed from the interior, but ... all was one mass of material buried in the most chaotic confusion" (R11).
Limited excavations in 1969 and 1970 identified foundations of Earl Roger Bigod's Great Hall, approximately on site of standing Poor House, and of other buildings, at least one of them pre-dating the hall. Depth and extent of made-up ground suggested a former (?ditched) motte or raised platform in N half of present courtyard.
Poor House used as drill hall in C19. Courtyard levelled between World Wars I and II.
The castle consists of three enclosures. The innermost is roughly pear- shaped and surrounded by a curtain wall with 13 projecting towers. Below it to the W, circa 10 ft above the valley floor, is a rectangular area called the lower court, which was formerly surrounded by a curtain wall of which traces can be seen. The bailey surrounded the castle in a crescent-shaped arc from SW to NE; it seems to have been defended by an outer moat and a earthen bank. A further moat called the town ditch runs NE of the bailey; its course is now untraceable, but probably once enclosed the town of Framlingham (R8).

1986: Earthworks grassed and open to the public as park. Moats mainly dry (S1).
February 1990: Area of possible outer bailey or planned settlement to SW of castle area included in HER defined area of site.

1991: Said to be maintained and under guardianship (S2).
September 1994: Area to N of Scheduled area included in HER defined area of site after OS AP cropmarks/soilmarks (S3).

January-February 2002: Geophysical and earthworks surveys of castle and mere (FML 021) by English Heritage. The magnetometer and earth resistance surveys were conducted over the outer bailey and lower court areas produced mixed results but most notably confirmed the presence of buried walls under the banks of the lower court. Details in (S5)(S6).

For coin hoard of 1190-1205 found at the base of the barbican see FML Misc (SF21363).

2007: A desk top assessment was undertaken as part of the revision of the interpretation of Framlingham Castle with a focus on explaining the significance of the historic grouping of the castle, the village, the church and the landscape context of Framlingham Castle. (S10)

2007: Three living oak trees at the Mere west of Framlingham Castle (FML 021) were cored in an attempt to estimate their ages. Although superficially similar in size, the three trees varied in estimated age from approximately 174 to 321 years old, showing the influence of competition between trees affecting overall growth rates. One tree may be sufficiently old that it could be considered to have been planted in the late 17th century or early 18th century as suggested in documentary evidence. (S11)

2008: Monitoring of the installation of new interpretaition boards revealed no archaeological finds or features were located (S7).
Features visible on Lidar. See associated files.

2019: In May and June 2019, earth resistance, magnetic and GPR surveys together with a vertical electrical resistance section were conducted at Framlingham Castle to identify any significant remains surving within the Inner Ward of the castle. The earth resistance (0.3ha) and GPR (0.4ha) surveys revealed the course of modern services together with possible wall footings associated with the site of former buildings adjacent to the north-east curtain wall and kitchens. Additional building ranges detected by the surveys included the former cloister range crossing the inner-ward on an east-west alignment known from documentary sources, and remains of possibly less well preserved buildings to the south. Only very fragmentary evidence for remains in the area of the Chapel has been detected, suggesting wall-footings have been almost entirely robbed out.The depth to any surviving remains was estimated both from the GPR data and the vertical electrical resistance section positioned over the putative building ranges and possible moat of an earlier motte.With regard to the deeper-lying construction of the Inner Ward platform the vertical electrical resistance section revealed the potential presence of a wide, low resistivity ditch immediately beneath a ~2m deep surface layer of rubble, possibly the clay-filled moat of an earlier motte cutting across the centre of the Inner Ward as suggested by Moraig Brown. (S9)

Sources/Archives (24)

  • <M1> (No record type): SAM file:.
  • <R1> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TM 26SE1.
  • <R1> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Archaeology in Suffolk, PSIA, 32, (3), 1972, 284 (burials).
  • <S1> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. Scheduling information.
  • <R1> (No record type): Green R, The History, Topography & Antiq of Framlingham & Saxtead, 1834.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Suffolk Preservation Society. 1991. Suffolk Preservation Society Survey. Suff Pres Soc Survey, 1991.
  • <R2> Index: Ipswich Museum. IPSMG card. IPSMG, card 962-154, 1962.
  • <M2> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish Files. Parish file: copy (S3); (S5)(S6).
  • <S3> (No record type): OS, AP, 94 003 027, 4 March 1994.
  • <R3> Bibliographic reference: 1911. Victoria County History, Suffolk (VCH).
  • <R4> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. PSIA, 6, 15 (Tudor helmet from moat).
  • <S4> Photograph: Air Photographs. NAU, TM 286 637, JFZ 1-3, 20/7/1992.
  • <R5> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. PSIA, 3, 386.
  • <S5> Unpublished document: Brown, M.. 2002. Survey Report: Framlingham Castle, Framlingham.
  • <R6> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. PSIA, 25, 1952, 127-148.
  • <S6> Unpublished document: Martin, L. 2002. Framlingham Castle, Geophysical Survey - English Heritage.
  • <R7> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. PSIA. 27, 1956, 65-88.
  • <S7> Unpublished document: West, A.. 2008. Archaeological Monitoring Report: Framlingham Castle, Framlingham.
  • <R8> (No record type): Coad J, Recent Excavations, PSIA, 32, 1971, 152-163.
  • <S8> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. PSIA 41, 2005, 43-50.
  • <R9> (No record type): Renn D, 'Defensive Features ...', PSIA, 33, 1973, 58-67.
  • <S9> Unpublished document: Linford, N., Linford, P., Payne, A.. 2019. Geophysical Survey: Framlingham Castle, Framlingham.
  • <S10> Unpublished document: Alexander, M.. 2007. Desk Top Assessment: Framlingham Castle, The Landscape Context.
  • <S11> Unpublished document: Bridge, M.. 2008. Tree-Ring Analysis of Living Oaks: Framlingham Castle, Framlingham.

Finds (1)

Protected Status/Designation

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Related Events/Activities (8)

Record last edited

Dec 13 2022 11:50AM

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