An earl’s tower
In the first of two articles on this great castle, John Goodall looks at the medieval development of the site and the remarkable history of the keep
Hedingham Castle, Essex, part I The home of Jason and Demetra Lindsay
of Oxford in succession from him died more than 550 years later.
There is no documentary evidence to date the tower at Castle hedingham, but the case for associating it with his earldom is compelling. It is significant, moreover, that its architectural inspiration comes not from Norwich, but from the south-east of england, almost certainly a reflection of William’s connections with London.
The tower was laid out on a square plan with massive walls about 12ft thick and rises to a height of about 100ft, the benchmark measurement of a medieval skyscraper. It is faced with beautifully cut blocks of limestone from Barnack in Northamptonshire and, as another mark of quality and expense, incorporates richly carved architectural ornament, including chevrons or zigzags (Fig 1). even the plinth from which the whole structure rises is delicately moulded, an extraordinary extravagance.