Tamworth Castle

amworth Castle is a large motte and bailey castle built in the Norman period. The motte remains but the bailey has gone. The castle is situated near the intersection of the Tame and Anker rivers. Originally a wooden tower was build on the motte but this has been replaced by a multi-sided stone shell-keep. Part of the bailey wall exists and a path on top of it leads up the motte to the castle entrance. The wall is a good example of herring-bone stone work. The early Norman buildings inside the castle have been replaced by brick over the many years that the castle has been lived in. Robert Despencer was first granted the lands of Tamworth by William I shortly after the Conquest. When he died in around 1114 the lands were passed to Robert de Marmion who may have married Despencer's daughter or niece. The walls of the shell-keep are about seven feet thick and have enough room inside them for staircases. There is a deep well within the keep used to supply the castle with water supplies vital in case of a siege.

Tamworth Castle Key Facts
CountyStaffordshire (6 castles)
CategoriesMotte & Bailey / Stone / Shell Keep
RemainsExcellent remains
Access to siteOnly open at certain times

913   Tamworth fortified against the Danes
 Athelflaed, the Lady of the Mercians, fortified the towns of Tamworth and Stafford against attack from the Danes. [1]

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Motte and Bailey Castles

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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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