Berkhamsted Castle

Whilst researching one of our most complex histories to date, we decided to go and see for ourselves one of the castles documented. 

Berkhamsted castle

Berkhamsted castle is a unique Norman Motte and Bailey Castle, situated in the Chilterns, it is an unmanned English Heritage site.

After his victory at the Battle of Hastings, William and his army marched through Southern England, crossing the Thames at Wallingford.  William granted the manor of Berkhamsted to his half-brother Robert, Count of Mortain.  It was a strategic stronghold, and guarded the main route north of the valley.

A royal castle, and favourite residence for many English monarchs;

Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine resided at Berkhamsted in 1163. Prior to the signing of the Magna Carta King John stayed at Berkhamsted, and hurriedly improved the castles defenses against the threatening revolts of the Barons – We all know what happened next!

In 1227 the castle belonged to Richard Earl of Cornwall, it is his Coat of Arms with 13 gold balls, which is incorporated into Berkhamsted coat of arms.

In 1361 the Black prince married the Fair Maid of Kent and they honeymooned at Berkhamsted.

The castle was prison to King John of France after the battle of Poitiers.

Henry VIII granted the castle to three of his wives, and it was later in the hands of Queen Elizabeth.

Sometimes when researching and writing up our comprehensive title histories we become so enthralled in them that a visit is inevitable.  We know it is often the case for others that the pull of a place connected to their title/s, family or home is so strong that they must make the trip.