25 July 2018

Visiting Framlingham Castle in Suffolk

While in Suffolk doing research for my latest book I was inspired by Sarah Morris' post on the Tudor Travel Guide to visit Framlington Castle.  Once owned by Charles Brandon's nemesis Sir Thomas Howard, Third Duke of Norfolk, this was also where Mary Tudor (daughter of Henry VIII) assembled her troops in the summer of 1553 as she prepared to become Queen of England. (See Sarah's post for a full history of the castle.)

I recommend a cream tea in the English Heritage cafe, then a climb up the steps to the walkway high on the castle walls. It's quite a height but made safe with good guardrails (unlike Harlech Castle!) and from this vantage point you can really begin to understand how the castle works in the landscape.

You can also take a close look at the impressive Tudor chimneys - some of which, we are told, were ornamental as they were never used.

Inside the castle walls is an interesting ‘Poor House', which was built in 1729 and includes stones salvaged from the medieval hall. This is a rare surviving example of the provision made for the destitute poor, prior to the passing of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.

Finally, the castle museum includes one of English Heritage's treasured relics, an Apple II desktop PC,  launched in 1977, which went on to become one of the longest running mass-produced home computers, in production for some 17 years and the forerunner of the MacBook Pro I'm using to write all my books on now.

Tony Riches

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