Baconsthorpe Castle is a ruined, fortified manor house originally built in the 15th century on the site of a former manor hall by the lawyer John Heydon I and his father William. John had built a tall, fortified house but descendants, who were wealthy sheep farmers, decided to develope the property into a more elegant, courtyard house, complete with a nearby deer park and mere.
At the end of the 16th century the Heydons fell into financial difficulty and the castle had to be mortgaged. During this time Sir John Heydon III fought alongside the Royalists in the English Civil War. He was declared delinquent by Parliament in 1646 and he began to lose money. As a result he started demolishing the castle in order to sell off its stonework.
What survives today is the moated inner court, the mere, the outer court and part of the outer gatehouse. This was originally built in the 16th century and altered considerably during later years. It was eventually turned into a private home and continued to be occupied until 1920 when one of its turrets collapsed following a fire.
The ruins of the castle are managed by English Heritage and open to visitors. For further information and an audio tour please visit the English Heritage site:
The Heydon Walk
The Heydon Walk has been created by English Heritage in conjunction with Baconsthorpe PCC. The aim is to encourage visitors to Baconsthorpe Castle to go the the church and see the stained glass from the banqueting hall that is now in the church windows and the memorials to the Heydon family. Likewise visitors to the church are encourage to go to the Baconsthorpe Castle to see where the Heydon family (memorialised in the church) lived.
This project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Baconsthorpe Castle PamphletDownload PDF
The pamphlet was originally printed in 1966 by HMSO and is available to download in full as a pdf
Baconsthorpe Castle Map
A map of the castle site from the back of the pamphlet is available to download as a separate pdf