No one ever forgets their first sight of Oxburgh. A romantic, moated manor house, it was built by the Bedingfeld family in the 15th century and they have lived here ever since. Inside, the family’s Catholic history is revealed, complete with a secret priest’s hole which you can crawl inside.
Cannot be considered as a castle; it is a very fine example of a moated and defensible mansion of the fifteenth century. The early lords of the territory were the family of de Weyland, who obtained the manor 3 Edward I and the later and present possessors, the Bedingfields, have descended through heiresses from them and from the Tudenhams. Sir Edmund Bedingfield obtained a licence from Edward IV. in 1482 to build the manor-house and hall of Oxburgh, with towers, battlements, machicolations, and walls.
The structure is entirely of brick, and much resembles Queen’s College, Cambridge, built in the same reign. A bridge of three arches, successor of the drawbridge, leads to the great gatehouse, a grand and massive pile, having lofty octagonal turrets at each corner, rising to 80 feet from the ground level. The arched entrance passage is 22 feet long, and gives to the inner courtyard, on the S. side of which is the great tower, and on the N. is the site of the great banqueting hall, which, with other old portions, was taken down in 1778. Various buildings of the castle stand round the yard, and beyond them is the moat, fed by a running stream, and 52 feet broad. The King’s room, in which Henry VII. was lodged, in 1487, is over the gateway, and is lined with tapestry of that date. Sir Henry Bedingfield, grandson of the founder, came to the support of Queen Mary at Framlingham (q.v.), with 140 fully-armed retainers ; he was uncle Governor of the Tower of London by her, and in that capacity acted as gaoler to the Princess Elizabeth, who when Queen, visited him here.
The architecture is pure Late Perpendicular. (Castles Of England, Sir James D. Mackenzie, 1896)
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