Baconsthorpe Castle was the home of wealthy Sir John Heydon, who had it built around the 1460s to protect himself and his family during the Wars of the Roses. He was a supporter of the first Duke of Suffolk, but is said to have changed his allegiance a few times for his own gain, thus upsetting a number of influential people. The exact date when work started on the castle is not known, since Sir John did not apply for the statutory royal licence necessary to construct a fortified house. He built the house anyway, to a quadrangle design with towers and a collection of buildings around an inner courtyard, with the fortification added later. A three-storey gatehouse was built as a focal point in the middle of the south wall, and an outer gatehouse had a drawbridge over which visitors could cross the moat. It was a lavish home. In the 1560s, Sir John’s grandson added the outer gatehouse, which was inhabited until the 1920s, when one of the turrets fell down. Visiting the site today, you can see many of the walls and the gatehouses, which remain in fairly good condition and give an insight into how grand this house once was. The red-brick and knapped-flint remains are reflected in the lake, which still partly embraces the castle as a moat, offering a dramatic view and a great photo op.
Facilities – at a glance
- Parking onsite
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open at any reasonable time during daylight hours
Also in the area
About the area
The North Norfolk Coast is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and probably the finest of its kind in Europe. Here you’ll find a string of quaint villages and small towns – Holkham, Wells-next-the-Sea and Cley next the Sea are 21st-century favourites, while Sheringham and Cromer are classic examples of a good old-fashioned seaside resort where grand Victorian hotels look out to sea. Further round the coast you'll find Great Yarmouth, one of the most popular resorts in the UK and packed full of amusements, shops and seashore entertainment. And let's not forget Norwich, the region's only city.
Norfolk prides itself on its wealth of historic houses, the most famous being Sandringham, where Her Majesty the Queen and her family spend Christmas. Many of Norfolk’s towns have a particular charm and a strong sense of community. The quiet market towns of Fakenham and Swaffham are prime examples, as well as Thetford, with its popular museum focusing on the TV comedy series Dad’s Army which was filmed in the area.
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