The interior of the keep is very well preserved and on the second floor is a large banqueting hall whose timber roof is supported by a massive Norman semi-circular arch with a span of 28 feet, one of the largest of its kind. It is still possible to walk around a gallery set within the thickness of the walls to overlook the banqueting hall below.
|Hedingham Castle Key Facts|
|County||Essex (7 castles)|
|Directions||The castle is to the north of Braintree off the A1017|
|Categories||Stone / Norman Square Keep|
|Remains||Not complete but much survives|
|Access to site||Only open at certain times|
| || |
Hedingham Castle keep floor layouts
|1140||Construction of Hedingham Castle|
|Built by the de Vere family, land owners in Essex.|
|1220||Jul 7||Stephen Langton returns to England|
|Stephen Langton returned to England and resumed the role of Archbishop of Canterbury. He performed a ceremony in Canterbury in which relics from St. Thomas Becket were put in a tomb. The 7th of July became St. Thomas of Canterbury's Day; a major holy day.|
White Tower, London
One of the most important types of building in the time of William the Conqueror and William Rufus were the Norman keeps. Although many were rebuilt in the following century there are many good examples still remaining. The White Tower in London (pictured left), Dover and Rochester in the south east, Newcastle, Appleby, Carlisle, Brough, Richmond in the north are all examples of this type of castle. Other examples include Portchester, Guilford, Goodrich, Norwich, Castle Rising, Hedingham and Colchester. The castles are all built from a roughly uniform plan. A massive square tower with a square turret at each of the corners that project slightly. Each of the main faces of the castle has a flat buttress running up the centre of the wall for extra strength. The only parts that have decoration are usually the main doorway at the entrance and the chapel. At the centre of the keep are large halls. Some keeps have a dividing wall down the middle. Access to different levels and sections of the castle are by passages and spiral staircases built into the thick walls.
Do you want to explore a Saxon Hall, a medieval church or a large stone keep? Click the images below to enter a medieval world.