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Framlingham Castle

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The Castle is located in the market town of Framlingham in Suffolk, an area that is known as the ‘bread basket’ of England.  There has been a castle standing on the Framlingham site going back to 1148 but this was destroyed by Henry II of England after the revolt of 1173-74 when Henry’s three sons, his wife and their supporters tried to overthrow him. They were finally defeated and had to reconcile themselves to his continuing rule. Roger Bigod, the Earl of Norfolk, re-built a castle on the site but the design was somewhat different for the period. It was built without any central keep. Instead a curtain wall was erected with thirteen mural towers to defend the centre of the castle. However, this did not protect the castle from being breached and in 1216 it was taken by King John.

Framlingham Castle ceased to be a fortress at the end of the 13th century and was turned into a private mansion with extensive woodlands which were was used for hunting.

In the 15th and 16th centuries Framlingham was at the heart of the estates of the powerful Mowbray and Howard families.  Mary Tudor took refuge there and used the safety of the walls to gather her supporters around her in preparation for challenging the token Queen, Lady Jane Grey. Mary was crowned Queen in 1553.

Towards the end of the 16th Century the last owner of Framlingham Castle, Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk, fell on hard times and had to sell the castle and all of the estate.

In 1636 it was given to Pembroke College as a gesture of charitable assistance after which the internal buildings were taken down to make room for the construction of a poorhouse that remained open until 1839.

In 1913, Pembroke College donated Framlingham to the Commissioner of Works and during the Second World War it was used by the British military as part of the regional defence network in case of German invasion.

The castle is now owned by English Heritage and has become an archaeological site, protected under ‘scheduled monument’ status. It provides some of the best opportunities for bird watching in the country.


There are reports of a lost tunnel that once stretched from all the way from Leiston Abbey to Framlingham Castle. It is said to have an exit at the site of the former Angel Inn which is on a direct path between the two destinations.

The Castle is reputed to be haunted and many apparitions and eerie noises have been reported by staff and visitors. Numerous visitors have claimed to see glimpses of children wearing ragged old cloths – particularly late in the afternoon. Paranormal enthusiast are quick to make the connection between these apparitions and Framlingham Castle’s history as a poor house.



Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Africa Alive Wildlife Park, Whites Lane
Suffolk, England, NR33 7TF
+44 (0)1502 742 040

Contact Details

  • Address: Church St, Framlingham, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom, IP13 9BP
  • GPS: 52.224156,1.346667
  • Phone: 0044 (0) 870 333 1181
  • Part of UK: England
  • Sat Nav Postcode: IP13 9BP
  • Entrance Fees: Yes
  • Disabled Access: Good access for the mobillity impaired
  • Visibility from Road: Fair (Front only)
  • Image Credits: Header Image: Paul Wishart

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