Featured image of Hedingham Castle

The History Of Hedingham Castle

LocationHalstead, Essex, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byThe Lindsay Family
Official WebsiteHedingham Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Weddings, Events, Filming)

Built 900 years ago in the 12th century, Hedingham Castle is an iconic historic structure with a delightful landscape to woo visitors. The castle has faced many changes over the years with respect to ownership and development. It is presently the home of The Lindsay family, the descendants of the Earls of Oxford.

History

The De Vere family was one of the most powerful families in England during the early medieval period. Aubrey De Vere I fought alongside King William the Conqueror and was rewarded with vast estates in Middlesex and Essex. Hedingham Castle was among the estates awarded to Aubrey De Vere I by him in 1086 after the Norman conquest of England. The castle has had many royal visitors like King Henry VII, King Henry VIII, and Queen Elizabeth I, which has enriched the historic significance of the castle. It has suffered two short and successful sieges. The first siege was held in 1216 by King John and the second in 1217 by the advancing Prince Louis of France (who later became King Louis VIII of France).

The castle was held by the De Vere family, who gained the title of Earl of Oxford until 1625. The castle was then purchased by Sir William Ashhurst in 1713, The Mayor of London. However, the castle went back to The Lindsay family in the 20th century through inheritance.

Architecture

Hedingham Castle and Gardens: The dovecote interior
Hedingham Castle and Gardens: The dovecote interior”, by Michael Garlick, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Hedingham Castle was built in the style of the Norman style of architecture, designed by William De Corbeil, Archbishop of Canterbury. The castle was initially a manor made of timbre into a motte and bailey structure which was then replaced with stone buildings by Aubrey De Vere II in the 1130s. The castle is rectangular and stands to a height of 110 feet. The walls of the castle are in places 12 feet thick. It originally had a fore-building that acted as the main entrance, which was removed later. The Castle Keep is situated in the middle of the inner bailey, which originally had a curtain wall and connected to the outer bailey by a bridge. But now, only wall fragments remain, and the original bridge connecting the outer bailey to the castle, which was replaced in 1496 by the brick structure, still stands.

In the 18th century, the grounds of the castle were landscaped, and a country house of red brick was built beside the castle. The delightful gardens surrounding the castle enhance the castle’s beauty tenfold. The lake is situated such that one can see the castle’s reflection in the lake. The castle ranks among the most important Norman buildings in England and is a must-visit for history and art lovers.

Movie Features

Lovejoy (1986-1994)– The Comedy-Crime-Drama TV series features Hedingham Castle in its special episode- The Prague Sun (1992). The series starred Ian McShane, Phyllis Logan, Dudley Sutton and is directed by Geoffrey Sax.

Ivanhoe (1997) – The movie starring Ciaran Hinds, Susan Lynch, Victoria Smurfit, Steven Waddington features Hedingham Castle in its best light.

The Reckoning (II) (2002) – Directed by Paul Mcguigan, the castle is featured in the movie starring William Dafoe, Paul Bettany, Marian Aguilera, Trevor Steedman.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get to Hedingham Castle?

Hedingham Castle is situated in Halstead, Essex, and one can reach there by bus, which is the most preferred mode. You can take the bus from London going in the direction of Braintree and get off at The Bell station which is 3 min walk away from Hedingham Castle.

Can you go inside Hedingham Castle?

Yes, you can go inside Hedingham Castle and delve into the 900 years of rich Norman history. There are different prices for visitors of different age groups according to the Events Schedule depending on the day of the visit. The price for adults is £9.50, and for children, it is £7 whereas if you are visiting with family, you can take up the family package costing £28.

Why was Hedingham Castle built?

Hedingham Castle was built as a home for the De Vere family by Aubrey De Vere II after being rewarded by King William for their utmost loyalty in the many battles fought by the Conqueror.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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