Sunday 15 October 2017

Castles (4) : Duffield

Duffield Castle in Derbyshire dates from Norman times, the castle was built by one of William the Conqueror's soldiers Henry de Ferrers who had been granted a number of estates in return for his service. He already had a castle at Tutbury but another castle was needed at Duffield to protect the North of his Derbyshire estate. The site the castle was built on has probably also been a defensive position in Saxon times and earlier.

The original Duffield Castle was made out of wood in the traditional Norman motte and bailey style. The castle was rebuilt in stone following the original's destruction by Henry II after Henry de Ferrers great-grandson William picked the wrong side in a rebellion. The rebuilt castle had the third largest medieval keep in the land, only slightly smaller than the Tower of London.

Two generations of owner later and the castle was destroyed again, this time on the order of Henry III after the castle's then-owner Robert again rebelled against the king. This time there was no comeback for Duffield Castle. It was razed to the ground and the stone reused in other buildings. The site was rediscovered in 1885 though the Victorian archaeologists missed some of the features of the castle when they cleared the site and marked the foundations.