Castles, Moats, and Feudal Symbolism in Medieval Suffolk
with Edward Martin (Retired Archaeologist & Independent Scholar)
at the Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley (IP12 3JR)
on Saturday, 1st December, 2018

Castles – and the less monumental but related moated sites – are powerful and evocative symbols of the medieval feudal system. This course will examine the history and development of those in Suffolk, exploring both their physical and symbolic values.  We will begin with a scene-setting session that will examine the way that land was held in the medieval period and the significance of lordship. We will then move on to examine the earliest castles, their origins and their role as feudal symbols. This will be followed by a study of the non-standard ‘adulterine’ castles and the meaning and significance of the numerous but barely defended moated sites. Finally we will examine the role that both castles and moats played in late medieval society.

Provisional Programme

10.00 – 10.30:      Coffee on arrival

10.30 – 11.30:      An introduction to feudal society – honours, baronies and knights’ fees

11.30 – 11.50:      Coffee break

11.50 – 12.50:      The early castles: origins – ringworks, mottes and keeps

12.50 – 13.50:      Lunch break

13.50 – 14.40:       Adulterine castles, forcelets and early moated sites

14.40 – 15.00:      Tea break

15.00 – 15.50:      The late castles and moats: the triumph of ostentatious display

c.15.50:                  Thanks and Close

About Edward Martin

Edward worked for many years as an archaeologist with Suffolk County Council, specialising in prehistory and historic landscape studies. He co-edited An Historical Atlas of Suffolk (3rd edition 1999) and has written and lectured widely on this region’s archaeology, landscape and architectural heritage. He is a vice-president and a past chairman of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History.

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

  • Coss, P., The Knight in Medieval England 1000-1400 (Alan Sutton, Stroud 1993)
  • Coss, P. and Keen, M. (eds), Heraldry, Pageantry and Social Display in Medieval England (Boydell Press, Woodbridge 2002)
  • Creighton, O.H., Castles and Landscapes. Power, Community and Fortification in Medieval England (Equinox, London, 2002)
  • Creighton, O., Early European Castles. Aristocracy and Authority AD 800 – 1200 (Bristol Classical Press, London 2012)
  • Creighton, O. and R. Higham, Medieval Castles (Shire, Princes Risborough 2003)
  • Crouch, D. The Birth of Nobility. Constructing Aristocracy in England and France 900-1300 (Pearson Longman, Harlow 2005)
  • Faith, R., The English Peasantry and the Growth of Lordship (Leicester University Press 1997)
  • Goodall, J., The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press, New Haven & London 2011)
  • Heslop, T.A., Norwich Castle Keep. Romanesque architecture and social context (U.E.A., Norwich 1994)
  • Higham, R. and P. Barker, Timber Castles (Batsford, London 1992; new ed. Exeter University Press 2004)
  • Johnson, M., Behind the Castle Gate. From Medieval to Renaissance Routledge, London 2002)
  • Liddiard, R., “Landscapes of Lordship”. Norman castles and the countryside in Medieval Norfolk, 1066-1200 (BAR British Series 309, 2000)
  • Liddiard, R. (ed.), Anglo-Norman Castles (Boydell, Woodbridge 2003)
  • Martin, E., ‘Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex: Medieval Rural Settlement in “Greater East Anglia”’ in N. Christie and P. Stamper (eds) Medieval Rural Settlement. Britain and Ireland, AD 800-1600 (Windgather Press, Oxford 2012) 225-48.
  • Morris, M., Castle. A history of the buildings that shaped Medieval Britain (Macmillan, London 2003)
  • Potter, V., M. Poulter and J. Allen, The Building of Orford Castle. A translation from the Pipe Rolls 1163-78 (Orford Museum 2002)
  • Pounds, N.J.G., The Medieval Castle in England and Wales. A social and political history (Cambridge University Press 1990)
  • Salter, M., The Castles of East Anglia (Folly Publications, Malvern 2001)
  • Stenton, F., The First Century of English Feudalism 1066-1166 (Oxford University Press, 2nd edition 1961)