Last Saturday we made an unexpected visit to Stowmarket in Suffolk and on our way home, I managed to visit three churches, and again unexpected, a castle, or the remains of one. We were driving through the lovely Suffolk village of Haughley, when I spied the church and we stopped for a quick look. With luck the church was open, infact all three churches had been open, which was great. After taking my photos, I wandered around the back of the church into quite an unkept part of the churchyard, and noticed what I thought was a pond, with a steep incline beyond it. This incline was covered in trees and brambles, very unkept, but I suddenly thought the pond could be part of a moat and the mound could be the castle motte. It was hard to see more from where I was standing and I really dismissed it, thinking I’m getting carried away…….wanting to see castles everywhere. Back to the car and as we drove out of the village….. I saw it…….. moat and mound, husband very kindly turned back for me, well he didn’t really have a choice did he 🙂
A few details for you ………..The castle was built of a motte and bailey design by Hugh de Montfort in the 11th century. Most early castles were made of a Motte and Bailey design, consisting of a man-made mound, the ‘motte’ which had the fort on top and an enclosed surrounding area, the ‘bailey’ where the community would live. The castle at Haughley was previously known as Hageneth or Hagenorth Castle. It was destroyed in 1173 by the army of the Lord of Leicester and the site abandoned, today the only inhabitants are the ducks in the moat. The motte is one of the largest in the country at 210 feet (64 m) wide at the base and 80 feet (24 m) tall, with traces of stonework, but is now very overgrown.
Unfortunately you can not visit the motte, but the village and church are very interesting and you could feed the ducks in the 11th century moat.