This overgrown 50 ft mound and stagnant moat at its base, is all that is left of a not quite forgotten time when a Norman motte and bailey castle stood here.
Swein or his father, Robert fitzWimarc, built a timbered fortress here probably in
the early 1070’s. Robert, although a Norman, was brought to England where
he became a favourite of King Edward (Confessor).
After the Battle of Hastings, Swein went on to become one of the wealthiest landowners in Essex.
On his death the castle and his property passed to his son Robert de Essex.
Robert’s son Henry de Essex in 1157 was on campaign in Wales for King Henry II, when he was ambushed and dropped the royal standard. A few years later he was charged with cowardice for this act and had to prove his innocence in a trial by battle. He lost and was carried away senseless to Reading Abbey and took
the habit. Guilt proven his lands, including Rayleigh castle, were taken by the crown and his family disgraced.
Although repairs and alterations were made in the 1170’s and 80’s, when John came to the throne in 1200, he gave the castle to Hubert de Burgh who probably used it for a source of
building materials for his castle at Hadleigh.
It is now in the care of the National Trust and is open to the public.
English &Welsh Castle Picture Search Results
Your Search returned 2 pictures.
Click on a picture to enlarge and order