Posts Tagged ‘Castle Acre’

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Despite being close to the impressive Priory, St James Castle Acre is a large Church not much smaller than the Priory church itself. A church has existed in Acre since at least the late Saxon period as it is recorded that when William de Warrenne found Castle Acre Priory in 1090, the priory was granted income and control of ‘the church at Acre’

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During the 14th and 15th century it became an important stop on the pilgrim’s way to the shrine at Walsingham and the church was rebuilt in the Perpendicular Gothic style. The church contains a number of interesting 15th-century features;

– a hexagonal font

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– a wine-glass pulpit with paintings of Latin biblical scholars

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– Rood screen with paintings of the 11 disciples plus St Matthias.

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The remains of the Inner Bailey and curtain wall

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.

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Outer Bailey


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Outer Bailey c 12th century

 

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.

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13th century keep which replaced the original manor house


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Remains of 13th century keep


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Ditch surrounding Outer Bailey

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.