Stafford Castle is considered one of the finest existing examples of Norman earthworks in the UK. It is an ancient grade 2 listed castle that extends over 26 acres. The castle is known as an impressive example of the motte and baily system. Visitors can engage in an informative trail of interpretation panels to discover the castle’s history.
This strategic site and prominent vantage point was recognised by the Normans who designed and built it into a huge timber fortress by 1100 AD. Stafford Castle was firstly built by Robert de Toeni (later titled as Robert of Stafford.) The structure dominated Stafford’s local skyline for over 900 years. The wealth and importance of Stafford Castle is reflected in extensive documentary records dating from the mid-14th century to the site’s abandonment in the mid-17th century. With the addition to the sites reconstruction in 19th century.
The motte and double bailey castle, known as Stafford Castle, is thought to have been constructed towards the end of the 11th century or in the early 12th century by Robert de Stafford or one of his successors. Stafford Castle survives well and is a good example of a motte and bailey castle with two baileys.
In the early 19th century the Jerningham family of Norfolk made an attempt to rebuild the medieval keep of Stafford Castle, using the earlier building’s foundations. However, part of the reconstruction was never completed. The reconstructed remains of the 19th century, represent an important early example of Gothic Revival architecture.
The site itself consists of a Keep, inner bailey, outer bailey, the woodland, a herb garden, the visitor centre and a car park. During visitors hours the Keep is open to the public. The castle is situated two miles west of the town of Stafford and a mile from the nearest railway station.
In the facility visitors have the opportunity to learn the history of the castle. With exhibitions, a visual display and artefacts, visitors are able to discover the heritage to this fascinating local land mark. The visitors centre is designed to encourage a ‘hands on’ approach to history, the fascinating interior helps bring the Castle’s historic narrative to life.
There are also outdoor facilities such as the fragrant herb garden, showing examples of what herbs were used in the medieval period. This garden has sixteen beds, each containing herbs related to specific illnesses. During medieval times, the herbs were widely used for their medicinal, aromatic and edible properties. As well as being extremely enjoyable to walk around, the herb garden provides a unique insight into living history.