Walden Castle

Essex, England

City/Town/Village: Saffron Walden
District: Uttlesford
County: Essex
Latitude/Longitude: 52.0256, 0.241844
Postcode: CB10 2BS
(postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the castle)


Privately Owned

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Hotels and Guest Houses in Saffron Walden
Walden Castle is an early 12th century stone keep and bailey fortress and was probably founded by Geoffrey de Mandeville. In 1158, the castle was rendered indefensible by order of King Henry II and the later the manor of Walden passed to the de Bohun family. In 1347, King Edward III granted Humphrey de Bohun a licence to crenellate but to what extent he refortified or rebuilt the castle is not clear. Sadly all the earthworks have been levelled but the lower storeys of a large three storey square keep and forebuilding have survived but only because they were originally enclosed within a low mound. Inside its flint-and-mortar walls are traces of a spiral stair, central pier base and well-shaft. Rubble foundations have also been found in the large bailey, with the surrounding streets giving its layout.

Walden Castle is a Listed Building. Here's what the official description says about it:


669-1/1/305 (East side (off))
28/11/51 Walden Castle
(Formerly Listed as:
Walden Castle)


Remnant of tower-keep. Late C11 or early C12. Flint and mortar
core of walls severely degraded. Rectangular plan, approx
12.3m square with NW projection of forebuilding. 2 storeys
survive. Interior has a central pier base to support upper
floors and ground floor semicircular arched recesses approx
2.0m deep on the N, S and W sides. S recess has some
herringbone pitched flint work, also shuttering ridges in the
soffit mortar of S, SW and N recesses. On first floor, a
recess on W side has been interpreted as a fireplace (RCHM).
The walls are breached through on SE corner, on site of stairs
and tunnelled through at back of the N recess. A well, now
covered, exists in the NW angle. Over this corner is a low
projection built in the C18 as a semaphore station. Although a
ruin, areas of original flat wall facing of simple flint work
survive in several places ie. exterior, centre of N wall,
outer face of pilaster buttress and adjacent wall on E side,
interior, rear wall of recess in S wall and adjacent wall to
E. Some of the walling is covered with ivy.
HISTORICAL NOTE: it is not known who built the keep. Stylistic
comparison suggests a building date of the second quarter of
C12, cf. Farnham Castle 1138, Ascot Doilly Castle 1129-42.
Geoffrey (II) de Mandeville was however forced to surrender
the castle to Stephen in 1144.
(Chelmsford Archaeological Trust Report, CBA Research Report
45: Bassett SR: Saffron Walden to 1300: London: 1982-: 15 -18;
The Buildings of England: Pevsner N & Ratcliffe E: Essex:
London: 1965-: 333).

Listing NGR: TL5390738722

Information from British Listed Buildings

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