Wallingford Castle

Wallingford Castle lies in the town of the same name, in the county of Oxfordshire in England.

Wallingford Castle was probably built between 1067 and 1071 by the Norman nobleman Robert D'Oyly for William the Conqueror. It was built as a wooden motte-and-bailey castle in the corner of an already existing Anglo-Saxon burgh.

Brian Fitz Count, an illegitimate son of the Duke of Brittany and a supporter of Henry I of England, rebuilt the castle in stone during the 1130's. He made it a powerful fortification with a shell keep, a curtain wall around the bailey and extensive earthworks. Being a staunch supporter of Henry's daughter, the Empress Matilda, during the Anarchy caused Wallingford Castle to be besieged by King Stephen of England in 1139, 1146 and 1152. Even though Stephen used siege castles to blockade Wallingford he never managed to take it. In 1153 the civil war ended and Brian entered a monastery, handing over the castle to King Henry II of England.

Henry II then had the castle strengthened and repaired several times in 1170's-80's. John, King of England, used it extensively around the beginning of the 13th century, also reinforcing the fortifications and mobilising a substantial garrison to protect it.

In 1231 Wallingford Castle was granted to Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, by his brother King Henry III of England. Around 1264, during the Second Barons' War, the castle was seized by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and used to imprison the royal family for a short time. After the war it was reclaimed by Henry III and used as the residence of the Earls of Cornwall for the rest of the century.

King Edward II of England used it as a royal prison in the early 14th century. When he was overthrown by his own wife, Isabella of France, she used it as an early headquarters following her invasion of England. The rest of the century it continued to be used as a prison. And although quite some prisoners were able to escape from it, the castle was still in good condition and well fortified in 1399.

During the 15th century the importance of Wallingford Castle diminished and in the 16th century it fell into decline and was stripped for building materials for use at Windsor Castle. In 1540 it was already described as being ruinous.

In 1643, during the English Civil War, the castle was refortified on the order of King Charles I of England. It managed to ward off an attack by Parliamentary forces in 1645. The next year it surrendered, after a 16-week siege, to Parliamentary forces and was subsequently slighted to prevent any future military use. Almost nothing remained of it afterwards.

At present the site of Wallingford Castle is a public park and thus freely accessible. Sadly enough not much has survived of this once large castle, which makes it hard to envision how it once must have been.


Gallery

Wallingford Castle

Wallingford Castle lies in the town of the same name, in the county of Oxfordshire in England.

Wallingford Castle was probably built between 1067 and 1071 by the Norman nobleman Robert D'Oyly for William the Conqueror. It was built as a wooden motte-and-bailey castle in the corner of an already existing Anglo-Saxon burgh.

Brian Fitz Count, an illegitimate son of the Duke of Brittany and a supporter of Henry I of England, rebuilt the castle in stone during the 1130's. He made it a powerful fortification with a shell keep, a curtain wall around the bailey and extensive earthworks. Being a staunch supporter of Henry's daughter, the Empress Matilda, during the Anarchy caused Wallingford Castle to be besieged by King Stephen of England in 1139, 1146 and 1152. Even though Stephen used siege castles to blockade Wallingford he never managed to take it. In 1153 the civil war ended and Brian entered a monastery, handing over the castle to King Henry II of England.

Henry II then had the castle strengthened and repaired several times in 1170's-80's. John, King of England, used it extensively around the beginning of the 13th century, also reinforcing the fortifications and mobilising a substantial garrison to protect it.

In 1231 Wallingford Castle was granted to Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, by his brother King Henry III of England. Around 1264, during the Second Barons' War, the castle was seized by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and used to imprison the royal family for a short time. After the war it was reclaimed by Henry III and used as the residence of the Earls of Cornwall for the rest of the century.

King Edward II of England used it as a royal prison in the early 14th century. When he was overthrown by his own wife, Isabella of France, she used it as an early headquarters following her invasion of England. The rest of the century it continued to be used as a prison. And although quite some prisoners were able to escape from it, the castle was still in good condition and well fortified in 1399.

During the 15th century the importance of Wallingford Castle diminished and in the 16th century it fell into decline and was stripped for building materials for use at Windsor Castle. In 1540 it was already described as being ruinous.

In 1643, during the English Civil War, the castle was refortified on the order of King Charles I of England. It managed to ward off an attack by Parliamentary forces in 1645. The next year it surrendered, after a 16-week siege, to Parliamentary forces and was subsequently slighted to prevent any future military use. Almost nothing remained of it afterwards.

At present the site of Wallingford Castle is a public park and thus freely accessible. Sadly enough not much has survived of this once large castle, which makes it hard to envision how it once must have been.


Gallery