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Weeting Castle

Visited May 2017

Location Weeting, Norfolk
Entrance Fee No 
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes 
Facilities None
Map

 

 

 


 

 


Review

 

Weeting Castle was a fortified manor house in the village of Weeting, in Norfolk. It would have been a grand building, a sign of the wealth and status of the de Plais family who  built the castle in the 1180's. Hugh de Plais was thought to have used a similar layout for his castle as the one his landlord William de Warren used at Castle Acre Castle. However, the similarities stop there as de Warren's castle was a genuine stronghold, whereas Weeting Castle would not have realistically been able to withstand an attack. Even the moat, an essential part of any castle defences, was added later in the thirteenth century, when the need for a defensive residence was no longer so great.

 

The castle was lived in as a residence until the late 14th century when the de Plais family married into the Howard family. The Howards, who were the Dukes of Norfolk, had no use for such a small castle so it was abandoned and fell to ruin. 

 


 

 


 

Despite its unremarkable history, the castle is still interesting to visit today. The main part of the ruins are the site of the great hall and the chamber block. It is thought that the hall was ground floor only with a ceiling up to the roof joists. All the important business of the de Plais family would have been conducted here, including entertaining guests. You can still see the remains of some impressive window openings. Next to the hall was the chamber block, this was three storeys high, some of the walls are still intact to almost their original height. Behind the chamber block is a further tower which was the site of the latrine. The waste dropped from upstairs into the ground floor of the tower and it was then emptied into the moat. Remember that when you stand on the floor of the tower today!

 

The remains of a free standing building which was thought to be a kitchen block have has been excavated. It is thought that this was separate to the rest of the building to stop the risk of fire spreading from the kitchen, and perhaps also to keep any cooking smells out of the main living quarters. 

 


 

 


 

The site seems very quiet, the village of Weeting is not large and the castle is tucked away at the bottom of a narrow lane leading to the church. There is space to park at the end of the lane, then a footpath takes you to the remains of the castle. There is enough space for children to have a run around if they want to , and scope for playing in and out of the ruins. The moat is now dry (in late spring at least, I cannot vouch for the conditions in winter) so does not present any real danger to children playing. There is also the site of an ice house within the castle grounds, this is a much later addition and dates to the 18th century when the castle was part of the grounds of Weeting House (now demolished) The ice house shaft is deep, so beware, but access is barred via locked gates.

 

The site is free to visit, but there are no facilities at the castle, not even a picnic bench if you wanted to bring your own food (English Heritage -why not?) Weeting Village has a Spar shop and a pub but not much else. As the visit to the castle is likely to be a short one  we recommend combining it with nearby Grimes Graves,  a fascinating Neolithic flint mine. There are toilets and refreshments at the mine and plenty of those elusive picnic tables so lacking at Weeting. Follow our link to the English Heritage website for more details.

 


 

 


 

More info:  English Heritage Weeting Castle

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