Castle Rising - History and Facts | History Hit

Castle Rising

King's Lynn, England, United Kingdom

Castle Rising is a ruined Norman fortification in Norfolk which was once home to Queen Isabella, widow of Edward II and mother of Edward III.

Lily Johnson

01 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Castle Rising

Castle Rising is a ruined Norman fortification in Norfolk which is now one of the best preserved castle-keeps in England.

Castle Rising history

Castle Rising was constructed by the Anglo-Norman lord William d’Aubigny in 1138, who had risen through the medieval nobility to become the Earl of Arundel. The Castle was originally built as part-fortification, part-hunting lodge for the surrounding deer park, and passed down through the Earl’s descendants until landing in the hands of the Montalt family in 1243.

It was then sold to Queen Isabella of France, widow of Edward II and mother of Edward III. Isabella had staged a successful rebellion against Edward II in 1326. However by 1330 had fallen from power when her son Edward III forcibly asserted his authority as King. She went on to live at Castle Rising in significant comfort however, expanding it significantly on and many occasions entertaining her son and his court.

In the 16th century the Castle passed to the Howard family, with Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk taking ownership. Howard was infamously the uncle of both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, two Queens of England executed by Henry VIII.

Castle Rising today

Though ownership of Castle Rising remains with the Howard family, today it is periodically open to the public in partnership with English Heritage. Surrounded by twenty acres of expansive earthworks, Castle Rising represents the ultimate medieval defence system, and through climbing the steps by the gatehouse their vast scale can be admired.

The elaborately decorated outer walls of the Castle echo its use as a royal palatial home, while inside the Great Hall and the remains of Queen Isabella’s apartments allows visitors to walk in the footsteps of the infamous ‘She-wolf of France’. Elsewhere the remains of an early Norman Church that predates the Castle may also be viewed.

Getting to Castle Rising

Castle Rising is located near King’s Lynn in Norfolk off the A149, and parking is available 50m from the site. The nearest train station is King’s Lynn, 4.5 miles away, while the Norfolk Green 11 bus service stops directly at the site.

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