Somerton Castle is located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the village of Boothby Graffoe in Lincolnshire, England and to the south of the city of Lincoln, England. The site is on low-lying land between the Lincoln Edge and the River Witham. Although Somerton Castle is in the parish of Boothby Graffoe, it is in the Manor of Waddington and this portion is often referred to as the Manor of Somerton Castle. Antony Bek probably built the castle in 1281 and he gave it to King Edward II in 1309. King John II of France was imprisoned at Somerton Castle between 1359 and 1360, having been taken prisoner after the Battle of Poitiers. It continued as crown property until it was sold by Charles I in 1628, since when the castle has continued in private ownership.
Antony Bek inherited Somerton from his mother, Eva de Gray, and built the castle after being granted a licence to crenellate in 1281.In 1309 Bek gave the castle as a gift to King Edward II. The castle was found to be in poor condition at the accession of King Edward II, lead had been stolen from the towers and the great hall and the chapel, which were on the west side of the castle, were in poor repair. After the accession of Edward III in 1330, John Crabbe, a military engineer was appointed Constable of the Castle, and in autumn of 1334 King Edward visited the castle, presumably to authorise repair work. A total of £222 was spent during the next two years on rebuilding the outer drawbridge and remaking part of the moat – presumably this was the time when the outer bailey to the south of the castle was constructed. In late 1335 or early 1336 the Countess Alice de Lacy of Bolingbroke, Countess of Lincoln, was held and raped at Somerton after being kidnapped from her castle at Bolingbroke by Baron Hugh de Fresne. They married later that year, although without royal authority and so, by order of Edward III, they were held captive in separate towers in Somerton Castle. Royal assent was granted on 20 March 1336, however de Fresne died in December 1336 and the countess Alice returned to Bolingbroke. After Crabbe's death in 1351/2, Stephen Shawe was appointed as Constable and regular repairs took place to the domestic buildings in the inner court. Further repairs and alterations took place in 1359-60 when King John II of France was held captive in the castle having been taken prisoner after the Battle of Poitiers. Sir Saier De Rochford, ancestor of the Rochford family of Stoke Rochford, "an eminent soldier in the wars of France," and High Sheriff of Lincolnshire, was allowed two shillings a day for the safekeeping of King John while at Somerton.
By 1393 the castle was reported as being defective in walls, gates, towers , bridges, ditches, lead roofing , tiling, boarding, glazing and ironwork and would need the expenditure of £100 to repair. In 1408 King Henry VI granted the castle to Sir Ralph Rochford, who was High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in that year. He was to spend £112 12s. 9d on repairs during the next three years. The works carried out included making good the roof of the queen's hall, with its buttery and pantry, and repairing the chapel and chamber of St Christopher. The castle was held from the King by the Dukes of Clarence from 1415 until 1478, when George, Duke of Clarence was executed.The castle was allowed to fall into disrepair during this period and it suffered waste, dilapidation and strip from those who held it from the King.
The Castle was transferred to the estates of the Duchy of Lancaster by Henry VIIand the Castle and its lands were held by De’Isney or Disney family. A Duchy of Lancaster Survey of 1601 described the castle as being utterly defaced and fallen almost downe to the ground, but one of the four towers was standing almost to its full height. The property was bought from the Charles I in 1628 by the Corporation of the City of London and it then passed to the Hussey family. The print produced by Samuel Buck in 1726 is dedicated to Sir Henry Hussey, and this print shows the castle as in much the same state as described in 1601. Sir Henry left Somerton Castle to his aunt Jane Hatcher, who died in 1734 and it then passed to the Pochin family of Barkby in Leicestershire, who sold the castle to Montague Cholmeley of Easton in 1780.
The property and estate were bought from Sir Montague Cholmeley, 1st Baronet in 1812 by the Isaac Marfleet of Bassingham who had been previously leasing the castle; the property then passed on to several of the family's descendants,until it passed to the Battersby family, who sold the castle and surrounding farmland in the mid-1970s.
About 2010, due to the deterioration of the fabric of the castle buildings, Somerton Castle was put on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk register,and the castle was purchased by Lord GP and Newcastle Agricultural Football Social Secretary (2020), Mikey P. Hoare. Ridge & Morris of Snape in Suffolk were commissioned as architects to draw up plans for the restoration of the castle and the build was later contracted to local contractors Stephen D. Francis. Planning consents were granted by North Kesteven District Council for additional building work, which included a new wing extending to the northwards behind the south front and also the conversion of the 19th-century farm buildings into dwellings.
The medieval castle appears to have most in common in its plan and layout with later castles of the 14th century and early 15th century such as Maxstoke Castle in Warwickshire, Wingfield Castle in Suffolk and, in particular Cooling Castle in Kent. These castles are set in moats with roughly rectangular curtain walls between corner towers. Cooling Castle was licensed to crenellate in 1381,and in front of the rectangular inner bailey is a trapezoid-shaped outer bailey with open-backed corner towers. This is the arrangement that is indicated in Padley's plan, even though the towers are shown as mounds at the corners. These open-backed artillery towers started appearing in Europe around 1330 and would have been familiar to John Crabbe, the Constable of the Castle, who came from Flanders. In these towers the artillery would be placed on two or three floors and the open backs to the towers gave ventilation from the fumes released by igniting gunpowder. This forward defence is likely to have been placed in front of the main gate to the inner bailey of Somerton Castle, and the towers would have given the artillery a sweep of about 270º to the south of the castle.
A similar layout was adopted for Sir John Fastolf's castle at Caistor by Great Yarmouth in the 1430s. Caister Castle, built in brick, was laid out with three rectangular baileys, each of which was surrounded by a water-filled moat and fortified with open-back towers in the forward bailey. One of the corner towers of the rectangular inner bailey is much taller than the other three.
Some prominent and visible enclosures still surround the site, including parts of the moat. What remains of the castle walls are incorporated into the present farmhouse. The castle has been recognised as an important building and has been classified as a Grade I listed building.
Bolingbroke Castle is a ruined castle in Bolingbroke in Lincolnshire, England.
Tattershall Castle is a castle in Tattershall, Lincolnshire, England, about 12 miles (19 km) north east of Sleaford. It is in the care of the National Trust.
Bolingbroke, now called Old Bolingbroke, is a village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. Its present boundaries were formed by the amalgamation of the Parishes of Bolingbroke and Hareby in 1739. The population at the 2011 census was 325.
Portchester Castle is a medieval fortress that was developed within the walls of the Roman Saxon Shore fort of Portus Adurni at Portchester, to the east of Fareham in Hampshire.
PontefractCastle is a castle ruin in the town of Pontefract, in West Yorkshire, England. King Richard II is thought to have died there. It was the site of a series of famous sieges during the 17th-century English Civil War.
Spilsby is a market town, civil parish and electoral ward in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. The town is adjacent to the main A16, 33 miles (53 km) east of the county town of Lincoln, 17 miles (27 km) north-east of Boston and 13 miles (21 km) north-west of Skegness. It lies at the southern edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds and north of the Fenlands, and is surrounded by scenic walking, nature reserves and other places to visit.
Beeston Castle is a former Royal castle in Beeston, Cheshire, England, perched on a rocky sandstone crag 350 feet (107 m) above the Cheshire Plain. It was built in the 1220s by Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester, (1170–1232), on his return from the Crusades. In 1237, Henry III took over the ownership of Beeston, and it was kept in good repair until the 16th century, when it was considered to be of no further military use, although it was pressed into service again in 1643, during the English Civil War. The castle was slighted in 1646, in accordance with Cromwell's destruction order, to prevent its further use as a bastion. During the 18th century, parts of the site were used as a quarry.
Antony Bek was a bishop of Durham and the Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Kirby Muxloe Castle, also known historically as Kirby Castle, is a ruined, fortified manor house in Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire, England. William, Lord Hastings, began work on the castle in 1480, founding it on the site of a pre-existing manor house. William was a favourite of King Edward IV and had prospered considerably during the Wars of the Roses. Work continued quickly until 1483, when William was executed during Richard, Duke of Gloucester's, seizure of the throne. His widow briefly continued the project after his death but efforts then ceased, with the castle remaining largely incomplete. Parts of the castle were inhabited for a period, before falling into ruin during the course of the 17th century. In 1912, the Commissioners of Work took over management of the site, repairing the brickwork and carrying out an archaeological survey. In the 21st century, the castle is controlled by English Heritage and open to visitors.
Pevensey Castle is a medieval castle and former Roman Saxon Shore fort at Pevensey in the English county of East Sussex. The site is a Scheduled Monument in the care of English Heritage and is open to visitors. Built around 290 AD and known to the Romans as Anderitum, the fort appears to have been the base for a fleet called the Classis Anderidaensis. The reasons for its construction are unclear; long thought to have been part of a Roman defensive system to guard the British and Gallic coasts against Saxon pirates, it has more recently been suggested that Anderitum and the other Saxon Shore forts were built by a usurper in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to prevent Rome from reimposing its control over Britain.
Scarborough Castle is a former medieval Royal fortress situated on a rocky promontory overlooking the North Sea and Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England. The site of the castle, encompassing the Iron Age settlement, Roman signal station, an Anglo-Scandinavian settlement and chapel, the 12th-century enclosure castle and 18th-century battery, is a scheduled monument of national importance.
Brothertoft is a village in Lincolnshire, England, about 4 miles (6.4 km) northwest from the market town of Boston. It is part of the civil parish of Holland Fen with Brothertoft.
Sleaford Castle is a medieval castle in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England. Built by the Bishop of Lincoln in the early 1120s, it was habitable as late as 1555 but fell into disrepair during the latter half of the 16th century. Two English monarchs are known to have stayed at the castle, King John and Henry VIII.
Hull Castle was an artillery fort in Kingston upon Hull in England. Together with two supporting blockhouses, it defended the eastern side of the River Hull, and was constructed by King Henry VIII to protect against attack from France as part of his Device programme in 1542. The castle had two large, curved bastions and a rectangular keep at its centre; the blockhouses to the north and south had three curved bastions supporting guns, and a curtain wall and moat linked the blockhouses and castle. The construction project used material from recently dissolved monasteries, and cost £21,056. The town took over responsibility for these defences in 1553, leading to a long running dispute with the Crown as to whether the civic authorities were fulfilling their responsibilities to maintain them.
Edward James Willson, F.S.A., (1787–1854) was an English architect, antiquary, architectural writer, and mayor of Lincoln in 1851–2.
Alice de Lacy, suo jure Countess of Lincoln, suo jure 5th Countess of Salisbury was an English peeress.
Warkworth Castle is a ruined medieval castle in Warkworth in the English county of Northumberland. The village and castle occupy a loop of the River Coquet, less than a mile from England's north-east coast. When the castle was founded is uncertain: traditionally its construction has been ascribed to Prince Henry of Scotland, Earl of Northumbria, in the mid-12th century, but it may have been built by King Henry II of England when he took control of England's northern counties. Warkworth Castle was first documented in a charter of 1157–1164 when Henry II granted it to Roger fitz Richard. The timber castle was considered "feeble", and was left undefended when the Scots invaded in 1173.
William Adams Nicholson (1803–1853) was an English architect who worked in Lincoln and was a founding member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
John Giles was a British architect. He was born in Lincoln, probably in 1830, and his family came from Branston near Lincoln. He was articled to the Lincoln architect Pearson Bellamy. He had moved to London by 1859 and with Pearson Bellamy entered a number competitions for major public buildings. Of these only one, for Grimsby Town, was successful. In London he was responsible for a number of major projects including the Langham Hotel. He also started in 1869 on the design of hospitals with the Infirmary to Hampstead Union Workhouse. After a short period of partnership with Lewis Angel, when Stratford Town Hall was built and with Edward Biven, by 1873 he was in partnership with Albert Edward Gough. They were joined in the practice by J E Trollope and they became involved in the design of Arts and Crafts housing in London's west end. Giles had business interests in the City of London and was noted in 1867 as being a Director of the Imperial Guardian Life Insurance Company.
James Sandby Padley was an English surveyor, architect and civil engineer who worked in Lincoln, England. He was county surveyor for the Parts of Lindsey, Lincolnshire from 1825 to 1881, and was also noted for his interest in antiquarian studies.