Rockingham Castle

Northamptonshire, England

City/Town/Village: Caldecott
District: Corby
County: Northamptonshire
Latitude/Longitude: 52.5134, -0.723842
Postcode: LE16 8TH
(postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the castle)

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Rockingham Castle is an 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by King William I. Built in the Norman layout, of two baileys with the motte in-between, it was a Royal fortress for 450 years. By the end of the 11th century, King William II had founded the stone castle, when adding a shell keep to the large motte and encasing the inner bailey with a curtain wall. Flanking the remains of the curtain wall, is an impressive Edwardian two storey, twin-tower gatehouse built in 1270. After 1485, the castle fell into disrepair and Edward Watson, converted the lodgings into a Tudor house. At the start of the Civil War, it was a Royalist stronghold but it was taken by Lord Grey of Groby and the walls and keep were slighted in 1646.

Rockingham Castle is a Listed Building. Here's what the official description says about it:

SP8691 (West side)
12/143 Rockingham Castle


Castle, now country house. C11 castle founded by William the Conqueror. Parts of
gatehouse may be of this date but mainly of 1275-80, also section of wall to
south and structure of great hall. Range to east of great hall 1535 and
datestone 1553, range to west of great hall C16 remodelled 1660 and mid C19, by
A. Salvin. Laundry to south and Walkers house to north of gatehouse 1650.
Limestone ashlar and squared coursed limestone and ironstone with Colleyweston
slate roof. Originally motte and bailey with shell keep now an irregular H-shape
layout with outer bailey to the north and a courtyard to the south. Mainly 2
storeys with attics. Gatehouse to east of outer building is squared coursed
ironstone with pair of semicircular limestone ashlar towers with 2-centred arch
between cross slits in towers, chamfered plinth, string courses and castellated
parapets. C13 curtain wall attached to left has C17 gable to right and square
turret to left with blocked 4-centred arch to first floor. Rear of Walker house
attached to right is blank. Elevation of great hall, through gateway to left.
Squared coursed limestone and ironstone. 5-window range of 4-, 3- and 2-light
stone mullion and transom windows, with small gables over. C13 arch-head door
opening to left is to screens passage and has coats of arms above. Large lateral
stack to centre and C19 staircase projection by Salvin to right. Range attached
to left breaks forward as three gables of ashlar and squared coursed limestone
and ironstone. 4-light stone mullion and transom windows and similar 2-light
attic windows. Ashlar gable parapets with finials throughout, and stone stacks
with octagonal flues at ridge and eaves. Rear of gatehouse and Walkers house are
attached at right angles to left. Walkers house is single storey with attic and
undercroft. 3-window range of stone mullion and transom windows with door
opening combined in centre window. Ashlar parapets and hipped roof with 2 hipped
roof doremrs. West range attached at right angles to right of great hall is
4-window range of 3-light stone mullion and transom windows to first floor and
similar 3-light windows to ground floor. 2 door openings with 4-centred heads
and central lateral stack. Garden front to rear of west range is 11-window range
of stone mullion windows, 5 to right have pediments over. Central gable is end
of great hall range and has 6-light first floor and 4-light ground floor stone
mullion and transom windows. Range to left has long central canted bay of 1838
by Salvin taken up as 3-storey tower with corner turret and castellated parapet.
Gable to far right is also by Salvin and has steps attached, flanked by cannon
balls. Rear of Great Hall is similar to front with C13 door to right. C18 gabled
stair turret to right (to courtyard) has 2 sash windows. C17 four-window range
to right of courtyard and similar range to left with C19 passage projection. C19
Bachelors wing in C17 style is attached to end of this range. The Street to
right of the courtyard is a narrow yard with C17 two-storey range to left, part
now a brewhouse, and C17 and C18 lean-to buildings abutting the C13 curtain wall
to right. The laundry is attached to end of curtain wall by a square tower.
5-window range of 2-light stone mullion windows, some with transoms. Square head
door with moulded stone surround to right. Moulded string courses, ashlar gable
parapets and bellcote to left. First floor arch-head opening in tower to left of
laundry. Interior: Great hall now subdivided has reset screens passage, reset
C17 panelling and large fireplace with moulded stone surround. Inscriptions on
ceiling beams. Kitchen with C19 range to left of Great Hall. C19 staircase to
rear right. Panel room to right of Great Hall is also formed out of the original
hall, has late C17 style panelling. Library to south of west range remodelled
early C20 in C18 style. Staircase to long gallery by Salvin. Long gallery to
first floor, north end of west range, has fireplace dated 1634, but mainly C19
decoration. C17 staircase in Walkers house is probably reset. Rockingham was a
Royal Castle from 1066 until 1619 when James I sold to Sir Lewis Watston whose
family are the present owners. Attacked during the Civil War after which the
remains of the Keep were demolished.
(Garden is included in the HBMC County Register of Gardens at grade II*;
Buildings of England: p.386; The Old Hall and Manor Houses of Northamptonshire
by J.A. Gotch, p.24; Rockingham Castle Guide Book by T. Stock).

Listing NGR: SP8670091375

Information from British Listed Buildings

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