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Freckenham Castle

In the civil parish of Freckenham.
In the historic county of Suffolk.
Modern Authority of Suffolk.
1974 county of Suffolk.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL66727185
Latitude 52.31953° Longitude 0.44469°

Freckenham Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Palace.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

Freckenham Castle. A circular chalk mound some 40 ft high with a level summit c 40 ft in circumference with no evidence of stonework; bounded on the south and east by a sunken road and on the north by a considerable ditch; between the ditch and the sunken road is an outer court. Documentary evidence confirms the existence of the Castle during the early Norman period (Morley). A motte with double bailey situated in a commanding position adjacent to an old road junction covering the main east-west highway, and above a river junction (See Brook and Kennett). Originally the castle comprised a substantial motte standing in the north-east corner of an inner bailey with an outer bailey to the north, a strong ditch sub-dividing the two. Extant remains now constitute the motte (heavily tree covered) and ditch, with traces of an outer bailey perimeter ditch to the north - now mainly occupied by a road; elsewhere all earthworks have been destroyed by either modern road and building construction or, to the west, quarrying above the river plain. An excavation has been made into the mound at TL 6671 7186 by the present owners, this has revealed the tooled corner stone of a substantial building. The corner supports a cob, flint and chalk mortar wall. Further foundations are of the same cob and flint make-up; there appears to be no intention of the excavation continuing (Field Investigators Comments–F1 FDC 19-JUL-76). (PastScape)

The manor of Feckenham may have been granted, by William I to Archbishop Lafranc, who, in turn, granted it to bishop Gandulf of Rochester. Although based on a forged C13 document this document may have been a copy of a lost document rather than a deception. The bishop of Rochester was granted a market and fair at Feckenham in the early C13. A residence of the bishop of Rochester is sometimes suggested here. The castle may have been built by the bishops to assert a claim to the manor, well outside the see of Rochester. There seems to be no other potential builder, other than the bishops of Rochester; presumably Bishop Gandulf.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated on Wednesday, July 2, 2014

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