Framlingham Castle

King Richard III is interred. Requiescat in pace.

069 078 079 080 082 083Today, I went to Framlingham Castle. The Ricardian connection to this lovely place is that Framlingham Castle was John Howard‘s seat and he was made duke of Norfolk by King Richard III just days after he himself was proclaimed king in July 1483. Howard’s descendants still hold the title and the Tudor Howards, who played such an important role in Henry VIII’s reign, are also descendants of John Howard.

My paternal grandparents had a home quite near Framlingham Castle and after my grandfather’s death, my uncle took over the house, so as we – as I have reunited with my mother – are visiting my uncle, I asked if we could go there (we tried to go yesterday, but it was closed as it was a Friday). I have been to Framlingham Castle probably a dozen times over the years. (I joking said that it was my home away from home to the ticket seller.)

There was a castle in Framlingham by 1148, but it was destroyed by Henry II in 1173-74. The present-day castle was rebuilt by Roger Bigod, but was captured by King John. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle became the property of the powerful Mowbray and Howard families. The Mowbray family married its daughter Anne to Richard, son of Edward IV, in 1481, when the bride was just five and the groom just four. Framlingham Castle reached the peak of its importance in 1553, when Mary, daughter of Henry VIII, announced from her castle in Framlingham that she was queen of England and collected her forces there and marched on London. Mary’s younger half-brother who had died only days earlier had given the throne to their first-cousin once-removed, Jane Grey, the fabled “nine-days queen.” By the end of the 16th century, Framlingham Castle had fallen into disrepair, which likely saved it from being used and thus totally destroyed during the Civil War.

Alas, I can’t tell if King Richard III visited Framlingham Castle before he became king, but I know that he did not visit it as king.

The present-day castle is unusual as it is a curtain castle with no central keep. Today, Framlingham Castle’s thirteen towers are in various states of disrepair, but it’s a lovely spot with some spectacular views of the surrounding Suffolk countryside.

Post script: We took my uncle out for his birthday tonight and I overheard the word “reinterment,” the two women at the table next to us were talking about King Richard III. I didn’t interrupt their conversation, but it was good to know that he has not been forgotten already in our 24-hour new cycle.

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