Friday, 5 September 2008

Exeter Castle

On Thursday afternoon I took a look at Exeter Castle. It is a Norman stone ringwork fortress, founded by Baldwin de Brionne.

The entrance with its projecting barbican, is an 11th century square three storey gatehouse, with above the gate-passage, chambers lit by unusual triangular-headed windows. Because ground level has since been lowered the gateway, now blocked, appears to stand at first floor level.

Its strong earthworks and curtain wall are flanked by square and round towers, which command the north-west corner of the old town wall. Sadly in the 18th century, all the remaining medieval buildings inside the walls were levelled, to make way for the Georgian Assize County Courts.

By the year 1136, when King Stephen besieged Baldwin de Redvers in Exeter Castle, it had walls on the top of the southern rampart, and 'Athelstan's Tower' at the junction of this wall with the city wall may be contemporary.

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