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Guidebook: Orford Castle


Product Code: 503690

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Orford Castle, overlooking Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast, is the subject of the latest addition to the Red Guide series. Orford was built by Henry II (r.1154-89) in 1165-73 as a highly visible symbol of royal power in East Anglia, where for nearly 200 years the belligerent Bigod family periodically contested the Crown for supremacy. Its foundation and building are recorded in the Pipe Rolls now in the National Archives, and it is the earliest castle in England for which such documents survive.

Orford’s polygonal keep is a masterpiece of 12th-century architecture. In its early days the castle served as the base for a garrison, and it was visited periodically by the sheriffs of Norfolk and Suffolk. By the end of the 16th century, however, it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The ruin was acquired by Francis Seymour-Conway, later 1st Marquess of Hertford, in the 18th century, and passed through his family until the late 19th century. Acquired by the collector Richard Wallace – the owner of nearby Sudbourne Hall, and whose collections of fine and decorative arts later formed the basis of the Wallace Collection in London – it was used as a venue for visits and shooting lunches. In 1928 it was presented by its owner, Sir Arthur Churchman, to the Orford Town Trust, which opened the castle to the public in 1930.

This fully illustrated guidebook includes a full tour and history of the castle from its 12th-century origins to the present day and contains new features on the building and folklore of the castle, and on the leading figures associated with it. New photographs, reconstruction, maps and plans bring the history of the site to life.

Key Features:

  • Published: September 2018
  • Paperback
  • 285mm x 160mm

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Guidebook: Orford Castle