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Berkhamsted Castle

By freewilluk      
Berkhamsted Castle is a Norman motte-and-bailey castle at Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, England. The castle was built during the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century to control a key route between London and the Midlands. Robert of Mortain, William the Conqueror's half brother, was probably responsible for the construction and became the subsequent owner of the fortification. A motte and bailey design, the castle was surrounded by extensive protective earthworks and a deer park for hunting. The future town of Berkhamsted grew up alongside it. Subsequent kings granted the castle to their chancellors and it was substantially extended in the mid-12th century, probably by Thomas Becket.
The castle was besieged in 1216 during the civil war between King John and rebel barons, backed by France. It was successfully taken after Prince Louis, the future Louis VIII, attacked it with siege engines for twenty days, leading the garrison to surrender. Reclaimed by royal forces the subsequent year, it was passed to Richard the Earl of Cornwall, beginning a long associate with the earldom and the later duchy. Richard redeveloped the castle as a palatial residence and the centre of his administration of the Earldom of Cornwall. Edward III further developed the castle in the 14th century and gave it to his son, Edward, the Black Prince, who extended the hunting grounds. It was used to hold royal prisoners, including John II of France and rival claimants to the English throne.

Tags: Architecture Landscape and travel Wildlife and nature


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