Looking every bit an old sentinel, with its sad searching eyes scanning the Thames Estuary, Hadleigh's crumbling, leaning towers are all that remain of this once important 13th century castle "that King Edward III was most pleased to reside". In fact it became the ageing king’s retreat.
A licence was granted to Hubert de Burgh in 1230 by Henry III to build a castle.
The following year Robert of Beverley the king's mason, appears to have surveyed the castle. Edward II seems to have shown a keen interest in Hadleigh, which probably explains the flurry of work activated in 1311 when seven masons and twenty-two of the king's carpenters of the royal household were alternately employed in the construction of a chamber above the main gate.
A new gate was made to the postern by contract with one John of Oxford.
All this work was completed by 1313.
Seven years later, in 1320, Robert of Glasham, the king's engineer, assisted by John de Filede, a mason, surveyed the royal castle in order to strengthen it against "enimies of the King",
In 1358 William Herland, the king's chief carpenter was appointed to have the "view and disposition of the repairs". He was to work there for the next twelve months until May of 1369. Major constructional works were carried out costing a massive £2,288. There was also work on the so called ‘High Tower’. The main gate and barbican built on the north side apparently replaced the earlier entrance to the east. Among the craftsment working here at this time were John Reynold, mason and Richard Sallynge, a warden of the masons.
One of the last references with regard to maintenance was in 1378 when work was carried out "against the King's arrival" on the tower called ‘Wikham's Tour’ which cannot now be identified.
After 1544 the estate began to break up and eventually the castle was quarried for its stone.
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