Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wolverton Castle

Somehow I've let almost a month elapse without blogging. In my defence I've been working on my "Dunleavy" book, which was a fairly short project. That done, back to medieval Wolverton.

Close by Holy Trinity is a mound which was the site of the original castle. It was a Norman Motte and Bailey type of castle with a central mound and buildings protected by a wooden pallisade and a moat. Archaeologists date the construction to about 1100 while Maigno was still alive. You can see why, when looking over the valley why it was built in this location. Although North Bucks is not spectacularly hilly this is one place which can be easily defended. When there was snow, this hill (the steep slope just beyond the rim of the hill)  made a great tobogganing slope when we were kids.
Once England was more settled the castle was abandoned in favour of a more permanent great house, which, with additions, lasted to the 18th century when it fell into rack and ruin, mirroring the fortunes of the Longueville family. The house was demolished in the 18th century and the materials re-used in the building of the Rectory - no longer a Rectory of course and now appears to have been converted into apartments.
Castles were a central feature of the government of 11th century England and those with the resources were able to build bigger and stronger fortresses. This was not the case in Wolverton. Maigno's descendants, the de Wolvertons, were middling rank lords who could probably depend on their greater lords for their security. The castle here probably did not last even 100 years.

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