History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
When Henry ascended the throne in 1154 there was not a single royal castle in all of Suffolk. This meant that the king had very little presence in the county to counter the power of Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. So a new castle made sense, and the location at Orford made equal sense. Unlike today, when Orford is a quiet coastal village, in the 12th century it was a busy port, second only to Ipswich as an important trading centre for Suffolk. In 1217 Orfford was briefly captured by King Louis of France, but it was not badly damaged. It stayed a royal castle until 1336 when it was granted to Robert de Ufford.
Orford is unique in that it is the earliest British castle for which records of the construction exist. The royal Pipe Rolls - detailed accounts of expenses by Henry's court, show that the total cost of building the castle was £1414 9s 2d - a huge sum for the time. But the expense was worth it to Henry, for Orford was not simply a fortress, it was a symbol of royal authority at a time when that authority was threatened by his most powerful barons.
The main interior feature is contained in the cellars, where a deep well has been cut down into the solid stone.
About Orford Castle
Address: Orford, Woodbridge, East Anglia, Suffolk, England, IP12 2ND
Attraction Type: Castle
Location: In Orford, Suffolk, on B1084
Website: Orford Castle
Phone: 01394 450472
English Heritage - see also: English Heritage memberships (official website)
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Orford Ness National Nature Reserve - 0.2 miles (Countryside)
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