lun Castle was constructed shortly after the Norman Conquest by Robert 'Picot' de Say, a follower of William the Conqueror. Situated in the area called the Welsh Marches, the castle's location was designed to stop the Welsh attacking the area and to control the local Anglo-Saxons. A motte and bailey style castle would have been the first type of castle on the site. The castle was built on two existing mounds that next to the river Clun. Two or three baileys were built on the mounds and would probably have had an interconnecting bridge between the main two. At some point the original wooden castle was replaced in stone and as part of that reconstruction, the keep was built. The keep is the only large section of the castle that remains today and can be seen in the photograph on the left.

Clun Castle Key Facts
CountyShropshire (13 castles)
CategoriesMotte & Bailey / Stone / Norman Square Keep
RemainsSmall amount survives
Access to siteAt any reasonable time

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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.

Norman Square Keeps

White Tower, London

More about Norman square keeps

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.


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