t is not known when Bedford Castle was built but it is thought construction took place somewhere at the end of the eleventh century or at the start of the twelfth. The castle was built within the town and overlooks the River Great Ouse. The first castle on the site would have been a wooden motte and bailey but this was replaced with stone at a later date. In 1224 a lengthy siege took place at the castle when Fulkes de Breaut, the owner at the time, rebelled again the King, Henry III. The castle was badly damaged at the end of the siege. Very little remains of the castle today apart from the base of the motte but the site can be visited.

Bedford Castle Key Facts
CountyBedfordshire (3 castles)
CategoriesMotte & Bailey
RemainsJust the motte remains
Access to siteAt any reasonable time

1224 Jun  Bedford Castle siege
 The garrison at Bedford Castle, belonging to the rebel Falkes de Breute, refused to surrender to the Crown. Falkes had been repeated summonsed to account for his refusal to comply with agreement and when he refused to appear before the King the castle was surrounded. The castle fell when the keep was undermined. The garrison, who had surrendered the castle, were all hung on the order of the Justiciar. Falkes was allowed to leave the country but he lost all his possessions in doing so. Bedford Castle was badly damaged as a result.[1] 

Motte and Bailey Castles

Virtual reconstruction

The Norman Conquerors built their castles in locations where they could keep control of the local populations of Saxons or at important locations such as river crossings or on key roads. Many motte and bailey castles were built on the border with Wales to try and keep the Welsh at bay. The advantage of this type of castle was that it was quick to construct. Making a fortification from wood was much easier than making one of stone.


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