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The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
 
 
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Bedford Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
castrum Bedefordie; castello de Bedford

In the civil parish of Bedford.
In the historic county of Bedfordshire.
Modern Authority of Bedfordshire.
1974 county of Bedfordshire.
Medieval County of Bedfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL05264968
Latitude 52.13539° Longitude -0.46333°

Bedford Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

A motte and bailey castle erected c. 1100-1130; the castle sustained sieges in 1132, 1137, 1145 and 1153 prior to its demolition in 1224; this was thoroughly carried out and only a portion of the motte remains with a slight section of its surrounding ditch, together with a second mound to the north - now covered with buildings. (PastScape)

Bedford Castle occupied a far larger space than appears from the present remains, for the outer bailey extended along the river front to where a postern and causeway communicated with an island, and followed the line of High Street where it touches the bridge, the whole area being enclosed by a moat. (PastScape–Ref. VCH Vol. 2)

Although officially a royal castle, it was in the custody of the Beauchamp family throughout C12. In 1215, William de Beauchamp joined the rebellion against King John, and the castle was captured by Fawkwes de Breaute, who held it for the next 9 years. The castle was greatly strengthened with John's approval, during the course of which the parish church was demolished because it overlooked the ward, its materials being used to build the castle towers and walls. In 1224, Breaute refused to surrender the castle to the young King Henry III and broke into open rebellion. Following a 2 month long siege, the castle was captured in August 1224 and ordered to be levelled. Following this slighting, it ceased to have military significance. (PastScape–ref. HKW)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
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This record last updated 31/07/2016 00:53:06

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