adapted from a design by George Bain based on the Book of Kells home Programme Bookings Shop The Wuffings .
Wuffing Education

Anglo-Norman Kings and Castles

The Castle of Dinan under siege  from the Bayeux Tapestry

with Dr Sam Newton

at Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday 10th March 2007

We begin with a survey of fortified centres of authority before the Norman conquest and consider their relation to what became known as ‘castles’. We shall then follow the building of Norman castles across the landscape and examine some specific examples in East Anglia and elsewhere. After lunch we shall look at the troubled reign of King Stephen [1135-1154] and reassess the famous description of castle-building in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Peterborough manuscript, entry for the year 1137) that

….each powerful man … filled the land full of castles. They greatly oppressed the poor men of the land with castle-work; [and] when the castles were made then they filled them with devils and evil men. I neither know nor may I tell all the horror nor all the pains that they did poor men in this land,… t’was said openly that Christ and his saints slept.

Finally, we shall consider the remarkable career of Earl Hugh Bigod, Lord of Framlingham, culminating in the war of 1173, in which he played a leading part though aged over eighty.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 Fortified Centres of Authority in England  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.30 Castles of the Conquest  
  12.30 Lunch break  
  14:00 The War of the Two Matildas  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 The Saga of Earl Hugh Bigod, Lord of Framlingham  
  16:15 Close  

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D in 1991 and published his first book, The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia, in 1993. Since then he has worked as an independent scholar in Early Medieval Studies. His latest book, The Reckoning of King Rædwald, was published in 2003. He is also now a Director of Wuffing Education, NADFAS lecturer, and Time Team historian.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Allen, J., V.Potter, & M.Poulter, The Building of Orford Castle: A Translation of the Pipe Rolls, 1163-78 (Orford Museum 2002)
Allen Brown, R., “Framlingham Castle and Bigod, 1154-1216”, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History 25 (1952), pp.127-148.
Allen Brown, R., The Normans and the Norman Conquest (London 1969)
Allen Brown, R., Castles from the Air (Cambridge 1989)
Allen Brown, R., Castles, Conquest and Charters: Collected Papers (Woodbridge 1989)
Barlow, F., Edward the Confessor (London 1970; Yale 1997)
Bevis, T., Hereward: De Gestis Herwardi Saxonis (Westrydale 1982)
Braun, H., Bungay Castle: Historical Notes and Account of the Excavations (Bungay Castle Trust 1991).
Heslop, T.A., “Orford Castle: Nostalgia and Sophisticated Living”, Architectural History 34 (1991), pp.36-58.
Heslop, T. A., Norwich Castle Keep: Romanesque Architecture and Social Context (University of East Anglia, 1994)
Higham, R. & P. Barker, Timber Castles (London 1992; Exeter 2004)
Liddiard, R. (ed.), Anglo-Norman Castles (Woodbridge 2003)
Liddiard, R., Castles in Context (Windgather 2005)
Poole, A.L., Domesday Book to Magna Carta (Oxford 1955).
Swanton, M., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Dent 1996; Phoenix 2000)
Wareham, A., “The Motives and Politics of the Bigod Family, c.1066-1177”, Anglo-Norman Studies 17 (1994), pp.223-242.
Williams, A., The English and the Norman Conquest (Woodbridge 1995)


Please phone or email to check the availability of places and then send the application form and a cheque for £38, payable to Wuffing Education to:

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
(tel : 01394 386498)

Email cliff AT
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