Baconsthorpe Castle - Baconsthorpe - Norfolk
The ruins of Baconsthorpe Castle which dates from the
early 15th century can be found in the small rural village of
Baconsthorpe. The castle which is now managed by English Heritage is a
popular place for picnickers. The main line of the family Heydon
settled in village of Baconsthorpe where they flourished for many
generations. The castle was built by Sir John Heydon a lawyer of dubious
reputation who it was said had earned his living by nefarious means during
the War of the Roses. Sir John was an avid supporter of the Yorkist
cause n the War of the Roses. The castle was expaned by his son Sir
Henry who added an outer curtain wall and a gatehouse and doubled the
width of the moat.
The Heydons accumulated several manors in the area and married into a number of prominent families, most notably the marriage of Sir Henry Heyden who married Ann Boleyn, aunt of Anne Boleyn, the second Queen of Henry VIII. In Elizabethan times an outer gatehouse was also added. When the fortunes of the Heydon family started to wane they offered parts of the stone from the Castle for sale. It is said that some of this stone found its way to the building of Felbrigg Hall.
The outer gatehouse continued to be lived in by descendants of the Heydon family until 1920 when one of the turrets collapsed. An old book in a Norfolk library showed a photograph of Baconsthorpe Castle with children in school uniform from the 1920 era standing outside the castle which was obviously still their home. There is a legend that there is a tunnel which ran from Baconsthorpe Castle all the way through to the Guildhall at Blakeney