THE CASTLE KEEP, Castle Hill, Guildford
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- RefNo: 8878
- Reference Number: SHHER_8878
- Site Name: THE CASTLE KEEP, Castle Hill, Guildford
- Grid Reference: 499769 149310
- Description: Remains of Tower Keep. Mid 12th century (first mentioned in written record in 1173), partly rebuilt after fire in 13th century and converted to a house for Francis Carter in early 17th century; further altered and restored in 19th century and 20th century. Bargate rubblestone with some chalk and flint, ashlar quoins to angles and on buttresses; some decorative bands of stone laid in herringbone pattern. Square keep on earlier mound, probably on the site of earlier wooden keep and shell keep. Internal floors and roof now gone. 14 metres square and 19 metres high, three storeys with battlemented parapets. Angle pier buttresses and centre pier buttress on each side with plinths below battering outwards. Original entrance at first floor level, ground floor used for storage and illuminated by slit windows.
South face brick-dressed, mullioned 3-light window at first floor level, to left of centre buttress, with chamfered surround. Round-arched opening above to right of buttress in deep surround; corbelled garde-robe, inserted in early 17th century above. Two-light, round-arched opening on upper floor on top of central buttress.
East face: two round-arched, two-light openings in central buttress at first floor and upper levels, stone blocks below lower window forming buttress.
North face: irregular slit fenestration in lower stages, two-light round-arched opening to upper stage, left of centre, and round-arched ashlar-dressed opening to right of centre in middle stage.
West face: entrance front of keep with the central pier buttress now largely destroyed. Two-light round-arched opening to upper stage, original first floor entrance, where a tall narrow passage led to the hall, now blocked. New entrance on ground floor. Interior: offsets in internal walls show where original floors were positioned. First floor hall with fireplace on one wall and deep window embrasures; in the western and southern walls small chambers have been constructed. Chamber in the south west corner was probably a chapel and has barrel-vaulted roof and blind arcading on one wall comprising attached pilaster piers under Norman leaf-carved capitals. The chalk walls are covered with medieval graffiti. The Keep was in use as a prison by the end of the 12th century and the new apartments built to southwest became a popular residence for Royalty in the 13th century. Henry III turned Guildford Castle into one of the most luxurious palaces in England and organized the rebuilding following the fire. Originally the exterior was whitewashed and the interiors were painted by William Florentyn who possibly also worked at St. Marys Church in Quarry Street; the main hall was marbled and the ceiling green and gold. The keep is part of a scheduled Ancient Monument, Surrey Monument No. I.
PEVSNER: BUILDINGS OF ENGLAND, SURREY (1971) p.275. M. ALEXANDER: GUILDFORD CASTLE GUIDE (1985) M. ALEXANDER: GUILDFORD AS IT WAS (1978) V.C.H. VOL III (1967 EDN) M. TOY: CASTLES OF ENGLAND (1953) pp.88-9 G. T. CLARK: MEDIEVAL MILITARY ARCHITECTURE IN ENGLAND, VOL I (1884) pp.53-71.
Listing NGR: SU9976949310
- Form: EXTANT BUILDING
- For more information contact: Surrey Sites and Monuments Record
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