William de Warrenne came to England in the army of William the Conqueror and fought at the Battle of Hastings. Afterwards, he became one of the King’s most trusted magnates. He was made Earl of Surrey and acquired lands in Norfolk through his wife. He chose the village of Acre near Swaffham as his base in the area.
Castle Acre is one of the best examples of a Motte and Bailey Castle from the early Middle Ages and the fortifications that remain give you a good indication of quite how formidable these castles must have seemed.
The original castle was a moated Manor House but in the 12th century, the fortifications were improved, including the building of a keep to replace the Manor House.
However, by the end of the 14th century, the Earls of Surrey had moved on to live at other estates and the castle had been abandoned.