Castle Rising Castle

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Castle Rising Castle is one of the most famous 12th Century castles in England. The stone keep, built in around 1140 AD, is amongst the finest surviving examples of its kind anywhere in the country and, together with the massive surrounding earthworks, ensures that Rising is a castle of national importance.

Castle Rising Castle

In its time Rising has served as a hunting lodge, royal residence, and for a brief time in the 18th century even housed a mental patient. The most famous period in its history was when it came to the mother of Edward III, Queen Isabella, following her part in the murder of her husband Edward II. The castle passed to the Howard family in 1544 and it remains in their hands today, the current owner being a descendant of William D'Albini II, the Norman baron who raised the castle.

The great earthworks which form the whole site and extent of the castle cover an area of between 12 and 13 acres, and comprise a main central enclose, or inner bailey, and two lesser outworks respectively to east and west. The central enclosure, in shape something between a circle and an oval about 73m north to south and 64m east to west, has a circumference around its crest of about 320m, and is far and away the strongest, with its banks, even now after the cumulative and combined effects of erosion and in-filling, rising to a height of some 18m.

Within the inner bailey can be found the remains of an early Norman Church. Discovered in the early nineteenth century when the bailey was cleared of accumulated sand and soil, it is the earliest building within the site, pre-dating even the castle itself. Dating from around the late eleventh century it is thought to be the first parish church of Rising (no earlier church has been discovered) and was probably replaced by the current twelfth-century church when the castle was founded.

It was built soon after 1138 by William d'Aubigny II, who had risen through the ranks of the Anglo-Norman nobility to become the Earl of Arundel. With his new wealth, he constructed Castle Rising and its surrounding deer park, a combination of fortress and palatial hunting lodge.

During the 15th century, the castle became increasingly valued for its hunting facilities rather than its military defences. It fell into disrepair and, despite the construction of new living quarters and service facilities, by the middle of the 16th century it was derelict. Henry VIII sold the property to Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, and most of the castle buildings were demolished. It was not until the 19th century, when Mary and Fulke Greville Howard inherited the property, that the castle was renovated and restored. Victorian scholars examined the site, and it was opened to the public. In 1958 the castle passed into the custody of the state, which carried out further stabilisation work and a programme of archaeological investigation. In 1998 English Heritage passed the management of the site back to its current owner, Baron Howard of Rising, who continues to operate the castle as a tourist attraction.

Site Information
Opening Times:
1st April to 1st November: 10am to 6pm; 2nd November to 31st March: Wed to Sun 10:00am to 4:00pm
Entrance Fee:
Castle Rising, King's Lynn, PE31 6AH, Norfolk
Visitor Information
Links to National Heritage
Nearby Attractions
Attraction 1:
Roydon and Grimston Warren
1.36 Miles Away
These fantastic adjacent reserves form part of NWT’s Gaywood Valley Living Landscape, and share a rich mosaic of habitats. They include the Tony Hallatt Memorial Reserve, and we have added in recent years The Delft and Rising Heath.
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Attraction 2:
Dersingham Bog
2.39 Miles Away
Dersingham Bog is part of the Sandringham Royal Estate and includes the largest, most intact example of an acid valley mire in East Anglia. It is also one of the last remaining fragments of lowland heathland in south east England.
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Attraction 3:
Ruins of St Mary the Virgin, Appleton
2.99 Miles Away
A small round towered church, ruined since the 18th century, which has recently been restored.
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Attraction 4:
Sandringham House, Museum and Gardens
3.22 Miles Away
Sandringham is the much-loved country retreat of Her Majesty The Queen, and has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862. The house, set in 24 hectares of stunning gardens, is perhaps the most famous stately home in Norfolk and is at the heart of the 8,000-hectare Sandringham Estate, 240 hectares of which make up the woodland and heath of the Country Park.
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Attraction 5:
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Flitcham
3.9 Miles Away
When St Felix came from Burgundy to bring the Christian message to Britain in 630AD, he is attributed with founding churches at Babingley and Shemborne, and then at Flitcham. This church would have been built of wood, not stone, and there are no visible remains of it. However, there is still evidence of the 11 C church built by the Normans.
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