Tamworth CastleEdit profile
Tamworth Castle, a Grade I listed building , is a small castle, located next to the River Tame, in the town of Tamworth in Staffordshire England. Overlooking the River Tame, the site has been fortified since Anglo-Saxon times, when Ethelfleda the Mercian Queen built a burh to defend against Danes ( Vikings); it served as a residence of the Mercian kings. The castle dates from the 11th century and was built by the Normans. It is today one of the best preserved Norman motte-and-bailey castles in Britain. Numerous additions were made to the castle over the centuries, especially in the Jacobean period. The shell keep contains a 12th century gate tower and later residential accommodation in an H plan comprising a 13th century three storey north range, and a 17th century Jacobean three storey south range linked by an oak timbered Great Hall of the 15th century Tamworth castle was home to the Marmion family, hereditary Royal Champions to the English Kings from Henry I to Edward I. In 1291 it passed by marriage to Sir Alexander Freville and in 1423 similarly passed to Thomas Ferrers of Groby . During the Civil War, when the castle's governor was Waldyve Willington , the castle was captured by parliamentary forces after a brief siege. In July, 1645 the castle garrison comprised ten officers and 77 soldiers under the command of Governor Willington. A muster of the garrison on 28 May 1646 lists only 23 soldiers, "the rest of the soldiers being about fiftie are at Lichfield Leguer uppon dutie there with Lt. Ensigne, one sergeant, one corporal and one drummer" (musters SP 28/122-3). In 1668 the castle passed to the Shirleys of Chartley. and then in 1715 to the Comptons when Elizabeth Ferrers married the 5th Earl of Northampton . During the Comptons period of ownership the castle fell into disrepair but in 1751 Charlotte Compton, the grandniece of 1st Earl Ferrers married George Townshend of Raynham . The Townshends took up residence and the castle was much improved by them in 1781. . During most of the 19th century the castle was let out to tenants including Robert Peel and from 1869 to 1891 Thomas Cooke. On Cookes death the Marquess Townshend put the castle up for sale by auction and it was purchased by the Tamworth Corporation. . The castle was also depicted in a work by the English Romantic artist J.M.W. Turner, entitled simply 'Tamworth Castle'.