Clare Castle, lies in the small town of Clare in the county of Suffolk in England.
Clare Castle was first mentioned in 1090. It was built after the Norman conquest of England by a Norman lord Richard Fitz Gilbert. He had been granted the land by William the Conqueror and built his castle on the site of a former Anglo-Saxon manor house between the River Stour and the Chilton Stream as a motte and bailey type of castle, although with 2 baileys instead of one. Richard later became known Richard de Clare.
During the 13th century a new keep was built. It are the remains of this keep we see today.
In 1314 the Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Hertford, 8th Earl of Gloucester, died at the battle of Bannockburn and the castle went to his sister Elizabeth de Clare, Lady de Burgh. She used the castle as her main residence from 1322 on and was one of the wealthiest women of England at the time. The castle supported a luxurious life and had 3 gates, 4 towers and a substantial water-garden.
In 1360, when Elizabeth died, Clare Castle passed by marriage into the Mortimers of Wigmore. In 1425, the castle passed to Richard of York and in turn, via his son King Edward IV of England, to the Crown. During the 15th century the castle deteriorated and by the 16th century, it was in ruins, except for one of the towers which was being used as a local prison.
King Edward VI of England gave the castle to Sir John Checke, until it reverted to Mary I. After Mary, the castle was acquired by Sir Gervase Elwes, whose family retained it until the 19th century. At some point after 1720, the surviving east and south sides of the inner bailey walls were destroyed. In 1867 the inner bailey was destroyed when a railway line and station were built on its site.
At present all that remains are a large piece of wall of the keep on top of the motte and a stretch of the inner bailey stone wall and some earthworks. The site is now a town park and freely accessible. Not very spectacular but great views of the surrounding lands from the top of the motte.