Castle Rising Castle
Castle Rising Castle is one of the most famous 12th Century castle ruins in the country. The stone keep was originally constructed around 1140 ad and is amongst the finest surviving examples of its kind anywhere in the UK. Along with the massive surrounding earthworks, Castle Rising Castle and the history that surrounds it is of national importance.
Throughout the annals of time, the castle at Rising has served in many different roles including 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.
Castle Acre Priory
One of the largest and best preserved monastic sites in England, the foundation of Castle Acre Priory in about 1090 ad sprang directly from a visit by William de Warenne II and his wife Gundrada to the great French monastery of Cluny. So impressed were they by its beauty and holiness that they vowed to introduce the Cluniac order of monks to England.
The village of Castle Acre itself is well worth a visit in many respects. Located on the ancient Peddars Way, it has a Roman trackway to the North which until recently, remained an important route to the north Norfolk coast. In addition to the Priory ruins are the impressive Norman mott and bailey castle earthworks. Both were founded around the same time, soon after the Norman Conquest in 1066 by William the Conqueror, first earl of Surrey.
Also in the village, the surviving Bailey Gate was once the North gateway to what was once a walled town. When first established, Castle Acre was one of the finest examples of Norman town planning in the country, and much of this can still be seen.