Gresham Castle

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry footings remains

NameGresham Castle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorfolk
Modern AuthorityNorfolk
1974 AuthorityNorfolk
Civil ParishGresham

Fortified medieval manor house with moat. Portions of the outer wall remain as well as foundations, all neglected and overgrown. Probably C15th, resembling nearby Baconsthorpe Hall.

Castle, now ruinous. Medieval; licence to fortify granted in 1319. Flint. Plan, square with corner turrets. Moated site. Walls now 1.0m - 3.0m high. Circa 40 metres square with corner turrets c10m diameter, these at north east, north west and south west visible. Inside the walls now overgrown, the wall now a retaining wall for earth inside. Grade II (Listed Building Report).

Moat cleaned out 1846. Massive timbers of old drawbridge, keel of boat and pottery found. Also entrance to subterranean passage.

Nothing now stands to a substantial height and everything is swamped with trees, bushes and nettles. A licence to crenellate was granted in 1319 to Sir Edmund Bacon (Pevsner).

Impossible to penetrate the island due to a dense covering of brambles, briars and undergrowth. The published walls and corner bastions are visible from without, and consist entirely of flint (F1 BHS 22-SEP-69).

It was captured from Sir John Paston by Lord Moleyns in 1450 in a private quarrel, although not seriously defended (King 1983). (PastScape)

Licence to fortify granted by Edward II to Sir Edmund Bacon in 1319, but earlier castle of De Stuteville family stood on site. Bacon's castle was 40m or 130 feet square with a round tower 11m or 36 feet in diameter in each corner.

Castle was later possessed by the Pastons and held by Mary Paston from 1448 to 50.

1844 moat cleaned out; old drawbridge, keel of boat, pottery, and 'entrance to a subterranean passage' found. (Norfolk HER)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTG166380
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Gresham Castle 1200 4

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  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 245, 359
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 58
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 108
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 160
  • Rogerson, Andrew, 1994, 'Castles' in Wade-Martins, P, (ed), An Historical Atlas of Norfolk (2edn Norwich; Norfolk Museums) p. 68-9
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 307
  • Wilton, J.W., 1979, Earthworks and Fortifications of Norfolk (Weathercock Press) p. 24
  • Pevsner, N., 1962, Buildings of England: Norwich and north-east Norfolk p. 155
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 301 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 407 online copy
  • Blomefield, F., 1808, 'North Erpingham Hundred: Gresham' An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk Vol. 8 p. 126-9 (tenurial history) online transcription


  • Cozens-Hardy, 1958-61, Norfolk Archaeology Vol. 32 p. 180
  • 1936, Norfolk Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 13-14

Primary Sources

  • Myers, A.R. (ed), 1969, English Historical Documents Vol. 4 1327-1485 p. 1225-7 (assault of 1448)
  • Davis, N. (ed), 1958, The Paston Letters (Clarendon Press) p. 9
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1903, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1317-21) Vol. 3 p. 224 online copy