The History of Nottingham Castle

Nottingham Castle is one of the most iconic monuments in Nottingham. It packs centuries of history and thousands of people come to see it. It makes for an interesting history lesson and there’s a lot that it has gone through, but thankfully, it has stood the test of time.


The castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1067 in a site of Promontory known as ‘Castle Rock.’ Since its beginning, the castle has grown to become one of the most important medieval landmarks in England. Even though William the Conqueror receives most of the credit for building the castle after the Norman conquest of England, it’s not certain if the castle existed before these events.

But the first castle, which was the Norman Castle, was undoubtedly a wooden structure built in 1067 after the battle of Hastings took place. It was replaced by a more efficient and more formidable stronghold made out of reconditioned stone during the time of King Henry II. The upgrade cost the royal treasure £1,737 which was a monstrous amount at the time.

The Royal Coup

Not only known for its majestic appearance, but the castle also was never short of drama. The year 1330 was a special one in that aspect. In 1326, Edward II had been deposed by his wife and her lover. In 1327, Edward died under suspicious circumstances at the Berkeley Castle and his wife Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer acted as regent because the prince was still a minor.

When Prince Edward turned 16 in 1330, he and a few of his trusted allies aided by a conspirator called Eland sneaked into the Nottingham Castle through a tunnel whose door was left open by Eland.

The prince seized Mortimer and took him away through the same tunnel before the guards could respond. He sent Mortimer to the Tower of London where he was tried and executed for treason. Isabella didn’t suffer the same fate but was forced into exile. In 1460, Edward of York was declared as King in the Nottingham Castle. He later took the throne as Edward IV. He was then succeeded by his brother Richard the III who had a short reign.

Check out our latest blog: 10 Facts About Nottingham You Won’t Believe.

Robin Hood

The Robin Hood folklore and the castle are joined at the hip. The two have loads of history together and today, there’s a statue and the Robin Hood Lawn as a result of this history.

Legend has it that Robin was once captured by the wicked Sheriff and held a prisoner in the caster. He escaped through the caves into the Sherwood Forest where he took refuge. The Castle was the Sheriff’s stronghold and it appears as the setting for several of Robin Hood’s stories as well as several encounters between him and the Sheriff.

Art Gallery

Today, Nottingham Castle has a rich collection of art that was founded in 1878. The collection includes prints, watercolours, pottery, drawings, jewellery, oil paintings, silverware, and glass. There are close to one hundred paintings on display at the gallery and there’s also a collection of medieval alabaster sculptures.

Cave Tours

Nottingham Castle has plenty for you to see. Other than the museum and the art gallery, guided tours are also available to visitors. You can visit the caves that permeate Castle rock and even get to see the foundation walls of the castle on the lawn outside the museum. There are magnificent views from the top of the castle mound, but as a safety tip, make sure you have suitable footwear when going here.

Unfortunately, the cave tours and the Museum of Nottingham are currently under renovation. As a result, the areas will be closed to the public until 2020.

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