History of Framlingham Castle

A timeline showing the owners of the castle from 1101 to 1913 and important events.


Norman Conquest

1066 - 1071


1101 - 1306

Roger Bigod was a follower of King William I at the battle of Hastings in 1066 and as a reward for his service was made Sheriff of Suffolk and in 1101 he was given Framlingham Castle by Henry I.

His son, Hugh Bigod was made the 1st Earl of Norfolk in 1141 but was never particularly loyal to the Crown. In 1173 Hugh rebelled against Henry II but found himself on the losing side. He was allowed to keep his lands and title on condition he went on crusade to the Holy Lands where he died in 1177.

He was succeeded by his son Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk who rebelled against King John in the Barons' Revolt and was a signatory of the Magna Carta in 1216, dying in 1221.

His son Hugh Bigord, was briefly 3rd Earl of Norfolk until 1225 and when he died was followed by his son, Roger Bigod, the 4th Earl who died childless in 1270 and was succeeded by his nephew Roger Bigod the 5th Earl.

The 5th Earl had an infamous argument with King Edward I and was repeatedly accused by him of disloyalty. In 1302 Roger was forced to agree to surrender the castle to the Crown on his death, which came in 1306.


1133 - 1485

The Anarchy

1135 - 1154



Revolt against Henry II

1173 - 1174

Barons War

1215 - 1217

Second Barons' War

1264 - 1267




1306 - 1399

In 1312 Framlingham was given to Prince Thomas of Brotherton by King Edward II. Brotherton was Edward II's uncle; being his late father's fifth and youngest son. Brotherton had already been made Earl of Norfolk in 1300.

When Prince Thomas died in 1338 his title and estate passed to his daughter Margaret who was his sole surviving heir. Margaret was granted the newly created title Duchess of Norfolk in 1397 and died in 1399.

Peasants' Revolt



1399 - 1476

Thomas de Mowbray inherited Framlingham through his late mother, Elizabeth de Segrave, in March 1399. Elizabeth was the only daughter and heiress of Margaret, the elderly Duchess of Norfolk and last of the Brotherton line.

Mowbray kept the castle but was quickly reduced in status to earl by Henry IV when he took the throne in September 1399. Mowbray served the Crown well and was later made Duke of Norfolk when that title was recreated by Henry VI in 1425. The last of the Mowbrays died in 1476.

Wars of the Roses

1455 - 1485

Tudor Improvements



1476 - 1635

John Howard was a grandson of Thomas de Mowbray and inherited the castle in 1476 but not the dukedom which reverted to the Crown. However, after the sudden death of Edward IV and the accession of Richard III, Howard was awarded the recreated title 1st Duke of Norfolk.

The 1st Duke was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field fighting alongside Richard III and thereby forfeited his title and estates to the new king, Henry VII.

John's son, Thomas Howard, served Henry VII loyally and was restored to his title of duke (2nd Duke) and his property in 1514. When he died in 1524 his son Thomas Howard became 3rd Duke and inherited Framllngham.

During the reign of Henry VIII the Howard's were closely connected to the royal family - Catherine Howard (the 3rd Duke's niece) became Queen of England in 1540 but after she was executed for treason only sixteen months later the Howard's fell from favour. In 1546 the 3rd Duke was arrested but was released when Henry VIII died in 1547. The 3rd Duke died in in 1554 and was succeeded by his grandson, Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke.

The 4th Duke was suspected of being part of a Catholic plot and was executed for treason for conspiring against Elizabeth I in 1572. The Norfolk title and lands were forfeit once again.

After the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 the Howards were immediately restored to much of their lands (including Framlingham) and later, following a petition in the House of Lords, to their title of Duke of Norfolk in 1660. However, the family were in poor financial circumstances and had sold the castle at Framlingham to a private buyer (Mr. Hitcham) in 1635.

The Howard family continue to hold the titles Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Surrey and Earl Marshal of England. The 18th Duke is Edward Fitzalan-Howard (since 2002).


1485 - 1603


1603 - 1714

Pembroke College Cambridge

1635 - 1913

Mr. Hitcham died almost as soon as he had bought the castle and in his will donated the castle to his alma mata Pembroke College Cambridge for use as a poor house - which it was until 1839. After lying vacant for some time it was sold to the Ministry of Public Works in 1913 and passed into public ownership.


1714 - 1837