Framlington Castle is partially ruined, but is still one of the top tourist attractions in Suffolk and is found not far from the market town of Framlington. The present structure is extremely unusual, in terms of it not having a central keep. It was instead designed with a number guard towers and a ring wall to prevent invaders from getting in.
The design was innovative, but it did not allow for a redoubt to fall back on in the event of raiders managing to get over, or under the inside walls. In contemporary castles, there was always the opportunity to fall back to the keep, which was a self contained castle in itself.
The original fortifications were built by the Normans after the invasion of England by William the Conqueror in 1066. It was built in the form of a motte and bailey, which is essentially a small fortification built on a man made mound of dirt, surrounded by wooden palisades. It is thought that the castle was completed by about 1150.
But the castle was taken just a few decades later in the 1173-74 revolt against King Henry the second, which was organised by his wife and sons. The revolt ultimately failed after 18 months, but the king and his family eventually reconciled. In the revolt, the motte and bailey was destroyed, and a stone edifice was built in its stead by the Earl of Norfolk Roger Bigod. Despite its futuristic design (at the time) the castle was sacked after a short siege by King John in 1216 in the War of the Barons.
When the dust settled and England became more stable, the castle became a stately home and hunting grounds. The stonework castle was extended with brick structures, but it fell into disrepair after the last private owner went bankrupt at the end of the 16th Century. After that, it was used as a drill hall, housing for the poor and England’s World War Two defenses. It later became a heritage building and enjoys that status till today.