Many eyes across the globe were turned towards our little island this weekend as we celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We may not be a very big nation geographically, or even in terms of power these days, but no one can deny we have a rich and long history. Among the signs of that history are the many castles that still stand right across the country. I do love a good castle so I thought I might do an occasional series about them.
Guildford Castle is the closest castle to where I live. It was originally a Norman castle, built shortly after the conquest in 1066. Wooden defences were replaced with stone ones during the 12th century. As the only royal castle in Surrey, Guildford Castle became the centre for the county’s administration and justice and the keep, photographed here, housed the county gaol. However, after Henry III’s death in 1272, the castle fell into decline. In 1885, the ruins were bought by Guildford Borough Council. The keep has been renovated and now contains an interesting display about its history. The grounds are now a lovely park, full of beautiful flowers.