10 May 2009 - Hedingham (Castle Hedingham), England

Hedingham Castle in Essex, England, is a Norman motte and bailey castle with a stone keep. The stone keep survives in a very good state of preservation to this day and is open to the public. The keep stands approximately 35m high and commands the countryside around it from its elevated position atop the ringwork.

The castle was besieged twice, in 1216 and 1217, during the dispute between King John, the rebel barons, and the French prince. (In both cases the sieges were short and successful for those besieging the castle). Two of the original four corner turrets are missing, but it seems more likely that their demise was a result of an attempt to demolish the building for materials than through military action.

The keep is the only mediaeval element of the castle to have survived, the hall, drawbridge and outbuildings all having been replaced during the Tudor period by structures which - with the exception of a fine late 15th century brick bridge - have now also been lost. A country mansion was built by the Ashurst family during the early 18th century, and this survives.
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Castle Hedingham - Hedingham Castle!

Castle Hedingham - Hedingham Castle!

Rather confusingly, this small village is called Castle Hedingham whilst the castle which the village grew up next to is called Hedingham Castle. It sort of makes sense.

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