Orford Castle, Suffolk, 6th June 2015

June 14, 2015
Written by: Rob Slusar

The last stop on our trip was to Orford Castle.

Like Framlingham, this castle was an important building in the power structure in the region and remained a royal castle for more than 150 years.

Built between 1165 and 1173 By King Henry II, the excellently well preserved keep is all that remains of the of the castle. Originally surrounded by a moat with stone curtain walls, all above ground remains of these have gone, probably to be reused in the town over the years.

Located near to Orford Ness military testing/sea defences, the top of the tower gave clear panoramic views of the sea and surrounding countryside, ideally located to defend against attackers.

Unusually, I found it hard to take “arty” pictures of this castle, as it was in such good condition there were less jagged and crumbly bits than I would normally like, but it was a good visit non the less.

Just looking a this castle you can see there is very little damage to it, and it still towers over Orford.

Canons at the front of the building.

Due to their longevity, castles would have many improvements and changes over their life, and this is no different. It is described as one of the only castles to have evidence of all of it’s different eras.

The castle chapel. The Chaplain had his own area of the castle with sleeping quarters and private toilet.

Stairs wind their way up the various towers, but there is one main staircase to the roof.

All staircases in castles are designed so that defending forces would have better ability to fight than those coming up the stairs.

My most arty shot of the day. These windows are in the upper hall and look out over the Suffolk countryside.

Corridor to the Chaplain’s private quarters.

Baker’s ovens. strategically placed at the top of one of the towers so that if a fire broke out it would be confined to the top of the castle and would not ravage the whole structure.

The guards room, a cold room on the roof but would have been heated by the chimney’s rising from the fires in the kitchen area. The roof that you can see is not the original castle roof. The original would have been a pitched timber roof. This structure was added later. As with a lot of castles, this was used in WWI and WWII as a radar listening post.

The fact that it is still standing is testament to it’s importance as a royal castle and defensive building.

It may be old, there may not be anything of the castle externals left, but the keep continues to stand, and judging by it’s condition, it will be with us a few more years yet.

Thus concludes my trip to Suffolk, no doubt we will return some time. Hope you enjoyed.


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