Photographer's Note

The event was over the weekend and bank holiday, I was working but managed to view the re-enactment late on the Easter Monday.
As I was late the crowds were so deep to get a decent photo, so I looked around the Castle and came across this scene in one of the tents.
May be to exhausted over the battle or too much Mead, or was he on the bed to protect the baby?.

The two day English Heritage living history event on Easter Sunday and yesterday re-enacted the siege of the castle in 1216.Families were treated to the awesome spectacle of a castle under Norman attack, as feisty Mahelt Marshall – daughter of the legendary William Marshall, England’s first Knight – prepared the Garrison of Men at Arms and archers to defy the king.Re-enactors took part in dramatic mock battles inside the castle walls, displaying their skill, agility, and strength in close combat. Other events included medieval music, children’s mock battles, stories and riddles, plus a chance to use and view the action from the newly-restored wall walk following a three-year multi-million pound restoration project.The exhibition, From Powerhouse to Poorhouse, was also open.

Framlingham Castle, was besieged by King John in the early spring of 1216. This siege forms a very powerful and significant moment in To Defy A King, despite the fact that it only lasted for three days.
To all intents and purposes, Framlingham castle should have been capable of resisting attack for a considerable time. It was a brand new, magnificent, state of the art castle. Building work had begun in 1189 when Roger Bigod II became Earl of Norfolk as Richard I took the throne. Before that, the old castle had been no more than a manorial hall after its defences were razed by Henry II following the rebellion of 1173 when the Hugh Bigod the first earl had defied him. It took Hugh's son, Roger Bigod II, 16 years to restore the family to favour and regain the title of earl that his father had thrown away. To mark the upturn in his fortunes and to reflect the restored power of the family, Roger II embarked on building a castle worthy of his status.
The new Framlingham was built in the shape of a large, irregular shell keep on a mound, flanked by two baileys and surrounded by a moat. The keep boasted thirteen towers, each one seven and a half feet thick. They were open at the back and without proper floors, having instead, simple wooden gangways. These could be removed in times of danger, thus isolating each tower. If an enemy force reached the wall walk, they would be unable to progress further. Each tower was crowned by a fighting gallery reached by ladder from the wall walk. The towers were so arranged that anyone gaining the inner ward, would be slaughtered in a hail of archers' crossfire. It was formidable. Roger and his family lived in comfort in a great hall built in the inner bailey, but there were soldier's dwellings, guardrooms and latrines in some of the towers.
In times of turbulence, Roger Bigod II rebelled against King John somewhere prior to the signing of the Magna Carta in June 1215, but probably not that much before it. In 1213 John had visited the castle and stayed the night, and everything had been on good terms then. In early 1216, John was in the Eastern Counties dealing with his rebel barons and on March 12th arrived in person before the walls of Framlingham to demand its surrender.
Roger Bigod was not in residence to answer that demand. In all likelihood he was in London with the other rebel barons because later in the month his bowmen and hunters were permitted to go to London and join him there. The castle was held in his absence by one of his vassals and hereditory constable into the bargain, William Lenveise. Lenveise had at his disposal 26 knights, 20 serjeants, 7 crossbowmen, and one chaplain. (we even know their names - see end of the post). R. Allen Brown in his paper on Framlingham castle 'Framlingham Castle and Bigod 1154-1216' suggests that the garrison numbers were larger than the peacetime norm and were at wartime strength. He also remarks upon the crossbowmen (ballistarii) because they were a comparatively recent and effective component of garrison warfare and were much used by both Richard I and John. They also cost a lot of money to hire. To have all this lot in the keep, hints at being prepared for war. However, the Castle surrendered almost immediately and was taken into custody by the king. Why Framlingham didn't put up any resistance is open to conjecture and something I address in To Defy A King. There are several reasons/theories that might explain the rapid capitulation, not least John's massive success at taking Rochester Castle from the rebels, a keep that had been thought to be impregnable. At that point, John's campaign was rolling along very successfully and perhaps the Bigods thought to mitigate the damage later. It has also been suggested that because the castle was so recently under construction, it wasn't fully complete. I have another notion about why they yielded the keep without too much opposition, but you'll have to read the novel to find out. It would be a spoiler to tell you now!
One of the fall outs from the capitulation of the castle, was that John demanded hostages, and one of them was young Roger Bigod, grandson of Roger II and one day to be Earl of Norfolk, but at this point, just a small boy of 6 years old. Was he in the castle when it yielded? It seems very likely. I suspect his mother, Mahelt Marshal, the central female figure in To Defy A King, was there too, but that her husband Hugh, eldest son of Roger II was probably in London with his father.
Little Roger was taken to Norwich and held there. A month later, he was brought to the King at Sandwich by the King's notorious mercenary captain Faulkes de Breaute. For part of the time he was also held in the custody of his uncle, William Longespee, Earl of Salisbury.
The rebellion ended in the later summer 1217 following the Battle of Sandwich and the departure of the Dauphin Louis from English shores. The Bigods returned to loyal service to the crown - at that point in the capable hands of the regent William Marshal, little Roger's maternal grandsire. Framlingham castle was returned to them - probably in the autumn of 1217, but the official notice went out in April of the following year. It is the one and only time that the castle has been beseiged. it is ironic that the only time its formidable defences were threatened, those inside yielded without offering any sort of opposition.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Iain Richardson (RhodieIke) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 835 W: 1 N: 2666] (11744)
  • Genre: People
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2014-04-21
  • Categories: Event
  • Exposure: f/7.1, 1/250 seconds
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  • Date Submitted: 2014-04-22 8:00
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Additional Photos by Iain Richardson (RhodieIke) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 835 W: 1 N: 2666] (11744)
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