Caister lifeboat station
Caister lifeboat station

Caister-on-Sea is a seaside resort town just north of Great Yarmouth. Caister took its name from the Roman 'castra', a reference to the Roman fort established here in the late 2nd century AD. Partial remains of the fort can still be seen, with outer defences and foundation walls of buildings.
Caister Roman Fort
Caister Roman Fort

Caister Castle

Caister Castle is a 15th century moated castle built by Sir John Fastolf, used by Shakespeare as a model for his 'Falstaff'. The castle is built partly in brick; one of the earliest uses of brick in England. It was besieged and captured by the Duke of Norfolk in 1468 and later owned by the wealthy Paston family. The castle is partly ruinous, but you can climb the 100 foot high tower for wonderful views.

One of the things you'll see from the castle tower is Caister Hall, a 15th century manor house built by the Pastons. Just beside the castle stands the Caister Castle Car Collection (formerly the Caister Hall Motor Museum), a modern museum boasting the largest private collection of historic motor vehicles in Britain, with hundreds of vintage, antique, and classic motorcycles, cars, carriages, and cycles. One highlight is the 1893 Panhard et Levassor, probably the first true motor car ever made.

Caister Roman Fort

The fort at Caister was built around AD 200 and remained in use long after the Romans departed Britain. The fort was intended as a link in the Saxon Shore defences; a string of fortifications along the east and southern coastlines of Britain to guard against attack from Europe. After the Romans left there was a gap in occupation, but the site was reoccupied in the 7th-8th centuries.

The Lifeboat Memorial

In the churchyard of Holy Trinity at Caister stands a memorial to 9 lifeboat crewmen who lost their lives while attempting a rescue in 1901. The men refused to turn back from their rescue mission despite heavy seas, and were lost. This incident gave the RNLI their motto, 'Never turn back'.

Holy Trinity Church

The church is mostly 14th century, with a sturdy west tower that resembles a beacon. Much of the interior is Victorian save for a row of carved stone corbels made to support the original hammerbeam roof. There is a 15th century font, brought here from Eye, Suffolk.The east window commemorates the 1901 lifeboat disaster. There is a royal coat of arms to George II dates 1786, but the arms are painted over an earlier coat of arms to James I.