We all know about Suffolk’s most iconic castles, Framlingham castle and Orford keep, but there are a number of other intriguing castles dotted about the Suffolk Coast which are worth a visit.
In Bungay, there are remains of the gatehouse of Bungay Castle still standing as well as the bridge pit and curtain walls. The castle was owned by the Bigod family who were awarded Framlingham and Bungay castles in return for their assistance to King William with the Conuest of England in 1066. Then followed a period of instability in which the Bigods lost Bungay Castle which was not returned to them until the 12th century by Richard I, however the family focussed their attentions on Framlingham Castle rather than Bungay.
photo credit: Martin Pettitt
In 1269 Roger Bigod inherited the title of 5th Earl. He crenellated the castle, erected the gatehouse and curtain walls to encircle the original keep. Sadly he died without any heirs and the castle passed into the hands of the Crown, owned for a while in the 15th century by the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk.
In 1934 Dr. Leonard Cane became town Reeve of Bungay and organised a programme of restoration. The castle is now owned by the Castle Trust and in 2000 a new vistors centre (“Jesters”) was opened with cafe and gift shop. For a more detailed history visit www.bungay-suffolk.co.uk/activities/castle. Free entry. Donations appreciated.
If you travel further inland you reach the pretty market town of Eye. Eye castle is a 50 foot tall 11th century Norman motte with a Victorian folly on the top. It was in use until the 14th century and some of the original stonework still lies on top of the motte.