Photographer's Note

Looking over the mere on to Framlingham Castle and St. Michael's Church.

Framlingham Castle is a castle in the market town of Framlingham in Suffolk in England. An early mote and bailey or ring work Norman castle was built on the Framlingham site by 1148, but this was destroyed by Henry II of England in the aftermath of the revolt of 1173-4. Its replacement, constructed by Roger Bigod, the Earl of Norfolk, was unusual for the time in having no central keep, but instead using a curtain wall with thirteen mural towers to defend the centre of the castle. Despite this, the castle was successfully taken by King John in 1216 after a short siege. By the end of the 13th century, Framlingham had become a luxurious home, surrounded by extensive parkland used for hunting.

During the 15th and 16th centuries Framlingham was at the heart of the estates of the powerful Mowbray and Howard families. Two artificial meres were built around the castle, which was expanded in fashionable brick. With a large, wealthy household to maintain, the castle purchased supplies from across England and brought in luxury goods from international markets. Extensive pleasure gardens were built within the castle and older parts redesigned to allow visitors to enjoy the resulting views. By the end of the 16th century, however, the castle fell into disrepair and after the final Howard owner, Theophilus, entered into financial difficulties the castle and the surrounding estates were sold off.

Framlingham Castle was given to Pembroke College as a philanthropic gesture in 1636, after which the internal buildings were taken down to make way for the construction of a poorhouse within the site. The castle was used in this way until 1839 when the facility was closed; the castle was then used as a drill hall and as a county court. In 1913, Pembroke College donated Framlingham to the Commissioner of Works. During the Second World War, Framlingham Castle was used by the British military as part of the regional defences against a potential German invasion. Today, Framlingham Castle is a scheduled monument and a grade I listed building, owned by English Heritage and run as a tourist attraction.

Saint Michael's Church..

There is no other Suffolk church quite like St Michael. Suffolk is famous for its naves, but the nave here is almost hidden, squeezed between the huge chancel, longer and wider than the nave to which it is attached, the great tower, and two ornate aisles. The pretty clerestory peeps up in the middle, as if the nave were standing on tip-toe to take a look at the outside world. .

Wills specialist Simon Cotton noted that quite a few bequests in the last years of the 15th century left money for the tower, although there is evidence that it hadn't been started by 1500. This means it must have been built pretty much in one campaign, the battlements topping it out on the very eve of the Reformation. But it is the chancel that makes St Michael an extraordinary church. Whereas at Lavenham, Long Melford and elsewhere, the churches were rebuilt by the new money of 15th century industrial Suffolk as great spaces for public piety, here the rebuilding was effectively an expedient measure for a landed family. The Howards, the Dukes of Norfolk, residents of the nearby castle, lost their family mausoleum at Thetford Priory to the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s. They built the great chancel here as a new one, to be their final resting place for generations to come. It wasn't finished until 1554, after the brief but militantly protestant intervention of Edward VI's reign, when Mary I seemed to have brought some stability to the English church again.

In these turbulent years of the mid-Sixteenth Century, they had backed Catholic Mary's claim to the throne against that of the protestant Lady Jane Grey and seemed, for a brief while, to have chosen the winning side. However, when Mary died just five short years after her accession and Catholic England was lost forever, their patronage was not forgotten. The Howards retired, licking their wounds, to their other castle at Arundel in Sussex, leaving the new Church of England a fascinating document of how the Reformation years affected a great landed family, a moment frozen in time. Framlingham's Catholic community today meet in the nearby parish church of St Clare, a bare shadow of this former glory, although, ironically, their great Cathedral at Norwich was built by a direct descendant of the Howards. Info Wiki and Suffolk Churches.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Iain Richardson (RhodieIke) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 835 W: 1 N: 2666] (11744)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2014-02-02
  • Categories: Daily Life
  • Exposure: f/6.3, 1/160 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-02-16 0:51
Viewed: 745
Points: 18
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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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