Scheduled Ancient Monument: BUNGAY CASTLE (SF1)

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Suffix SF1
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Date last amended


Important Med castle to AD 1362, associated with Bigod family of Norfolk. (S2) contains a history of Bungay and particularly the castle, the Bigod family and other owners, a description of the castle and the 1934 excavations:- Noman motte and bailey, keep and earthworks. Taken by Stephen circa 1150. Mine gallery 1174. Use as a castle lapsed till 1294 licence to crenellate. Also built twin towered gatehouse, refaced keep and inserted four windows on ground floor. Its day ended, to all intents, with the death of Edward de Montacute in 1362. By 1382 "old and ruinous". Some indication that the castle was occupied and perhaps even repaired during C15 (S2). Part scheduled. Excavation circa 1890 described (S1). 1933, Feoffees of Bungay leased it from the Duke of Norfolk. Site cleared. 1934-1935 excavation (S2). Material from 1934 excavation in Ipswich Museum, a selection of rims probably in the British Museum. Used as dating evidence by G Dunning (R1). C13-C16 sherds (S3). Originally an earthen motte and bailey castle surrounded by wooden palisades. A stone keep with walls 18 feet thick and some 90 feet high was built on the motte about 1164, and a stone curtain wall replaced the palisade around the bailey. In 1294 an octagonal curtain wall round the keep, a gatehouse and drawbridge were built. The two round towers which defended the drawbridge on the W side still stand. On the S side of the keep are remains of the forebuilding, one of the largest in England. The inner bailey was on the W and at a much later date a large outer bailey surrounded by a deep ditch was added on the S. The ruined keep, parts of the inner bailey ramparts on W and S, and part of the outer bailey earthworks, which are known as "Castle Hills" remain. The main buildings were surrounded by a deep wide moat but the site as a whole has been mutilated by development (S5)(quoting (R2)). Hugh Bigod's castle was captured by the Crown in 1140 but he had regained it by 1166. Its destruction in 1174 is debatable as is the attribution of the curtain walls to the licence to crenellate in 1294. The military and political history of East Anglia in the Middle Ages cannot be told without reference to Bungay Castle, after Framlingham the chief residence of the Bigod Earls, the most powerful family in the region. Further structural details in (S6). Many planning applications of area suggested necessity for further scheduling. Scheduled area extended 13 July 1982 (S6). 1990: Geophysical survey (R7). 1991: Said to be falling. Castle trust formed with SPS help. Repairs to begin 2.2.91 (S7). See also "Castle Hills", BUN 012. Interesting account of Bungay Castle in 1829 in the Woodward Correspondence, volume 3 (1829), in Norwich Castle (S4). March 2008: site visit (Robert Carr) identified circa 1m length of Medieval 'in situ' N-S flint walling in land parcel SW of the inner bailey (TM 33488 89691) - report in parish file (S8).

External Links (1)

Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. Scheduled Ancient Monument file.



Grid reference Centred TM 3350 8974 (146m by 116m)
Map sheet TM38NW

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Record last edited

Nov 8 2018 2:04PM

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