New Buckenham Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Ringwork), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry footings remains

NameNew Buckenham Castle
Alternative NamesBukenham; Bukeham
Historic CountryNorfolk
Modern AuthorityNorfolk
1974 AuthorityNorfolk
Civil ParishOld Buckenham

Remains of castle earthworks, moat and keep. Built circa 1145-50 by William II de Albini to replace Old Buckenham Castle It comprises an inner bailey and two outer baileys, all with earth walls. The circular keep is the earliest in England. Its walls are 11ft thick at the foot and the total height of the keep may have been as much as 40ft. The castle was demolished in the 1640's by the then owner (Sir Philip Knyvet) perhaps at the request of Parliament. The earliest castle seems to have been a simple ringwork 200 ft across with an oval outer enclosure (or bailey) to the East, defended by a bank and ditch. Later, the ditch of the ringmotte was widened and the bank thereof correspondingly raised, burying a stone gatehouse beside the keep, and a new entrance was made (on the opposite side) from a new bailey to the SW. Nothing remains above the ground storey. There is evidence of a second bailey to the South-West. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

The round keep is flint built. There is a traditional of circular church towers in this part of Norfolk dating back to pre-Conquest Saxon and, in all likelihood, this represents the economic necessity of reducing the expensive ashlar stone work required for corners and pilasters in an area where there is no readily available quality building stone rather than some defense innovation designed to reduce vulnerable corners. (NB since writing this I have become aware that Charles Coulson expressed, in 1994, the same idea of economic necessity being the reason for the round tower. It is possibly I had seen Coulson's work but failed to remember the source.) NB The castle is in Old Buckenham CP Parish although New Buckenham town in New Buckenham CP, This does seem a rather unfortunate choice of boundary not reflecting either the medieval or modern connection between castle and village.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 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 ReferenceTM084904
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  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 101, 103, 129, 353
  • Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Early Medieval Siege c. 450-1220 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 281
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  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 60-1
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  • Blomefield, Francis, 1805, 'Hundred of Shropham: Old-Bukenham' An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk Vol. 1 p. 369-394 online transcription [online transcription >]


  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
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  • Creighton, O.H., 2010, 'Room with a View: Framing Castles Landscapes' Château Gaillard Vol. 24 p. 37-49 (slight)
  • Speight, Sarah, 2008, ''Castles as Past Culture: Living with Castles in the Post-Medieval World' Cha^teau Gaillard Vol. 23 p. 385-94 (slight)
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  • Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 312
  • Rigold, S., 1980, 'New Buckenham Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 137 p. 353-5
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Guide Books

  • Cushion, B.. 1999, New Buckenham Castle
  • Holland, J.I.. 1975, The History of the Castle of Buckenham
  • Westgate, Peter, 1937, Buckenham Castle: A Monograph (London)

Primary Sources

  • Stubbs, W. (ed), 1880, The Minor Works comprising the Gesta regum with its continuation, the Actus pontificum, and the Mappa mundi, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury (London: Longman Rolls series 73) Vol. 2 p. 428 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 326-7


  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 52 online copy