Freckenham Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle, and also as a Certain Palace (Bishop)

There are earthwork remains

NameFreckenham Castle
Alternative Names
Historic CountrySuffolk
Modern AuthoritySuffolk
1974 AuthoritySuffolk
Civil ParishFreckenham

Freckenham Castle. A circular chalk mound some 40 ft high with a level summit c 40 ft in circumference with no evidence of stonework; bounded on the south and east by a sunken road and on the north by a considerable ditch; between the ditch and the sunken road is an outer court. Documentary evidence confirms the existence of the Castle during the early Norman period (Morley). A motte with double bailey situated in a commanding position adjacent to an old road junction covering the main east-west highway, and above a river junction (See Brook and Kennett). Originally the castle comprised a substantial motte standing in the north-east corner of an inner bailey with an outer bailey to the north, a strong ditch sub-dividing the two. Extant remains now constitute the motte (heavily tree covered) and ditch, with traces of an outer bailey perimeter ditch to the north - now mainly occupied by a road; elsewhere all earthworks have been destroyed by either modern road and building construction or, to the west, quarrying above the river plain. An excavation has been made into the mound at TL 6671 7186 by the present owners, this has revealed the tooled corner stone of a substantial building. The corner supports a cob, flint and chalk mortar wall. Further foundations are of the same cob and flint make-up; there appears to be no intention of the excavation continuing (Field Investigators Comments–F1 FDC 19-JUL-76). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

The manor of Feckenham may have been granted, by William I to Archbishop Lafranc, who, in turn, granted it to bishop Gandulf of Rochester. Although based on a forged C13 document this document may have been a copy of a lost document rather than a deception. The bishop of Rochester was granted a market and fair at Feckenham in the early C13. A residence of the bishop of Rochester is sometimes suggested here. The castle may have been built by the bishops to assert a claim to the manor, well outside the see of Rochester. There seems to be no other potential builder, other than the bishops of Rochester; presumably Bishop Gandulf.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL667718
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  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 78
  • Martin, Edward, 1999 (3edn), 'Medieval Castles' in Dymond, David and Martin, Edward (eds) An Historical Atlas of Suffolk (Lavenham) p. 58-9
  • Flight, C., 1997, The Bishops and Monks of Rochester 1076-1214 (Maidstone: Kent Archaeological Society)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 457
  • Pevsner, N., 1961, Buildings of England: Suffolk (London, Penguin) p. 202


  • Morley, C., 1921, 'Freckenham, Suffolk: Notes and theories on the village and its unrecorded castle' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History Vol. 17.3 p. 182-192 online copy

Primary Sources


  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) Appendix B: List of Medieval Bishop's Palaces in England and Wales (available via EThOS)