Bailey Walls to Hertford Castle, Hertford, Hertfordshire

Bailey Walls to Hertford Castle, Hertford, Hertfordshire
Photograph taken 04 September 2000 © Mr A. Gude. Source Historic England Archive ref: 461233

These walls are part of the bailey walls of Hertford Castle. They were built in c1171-4. Hertford Castle may have begun as a Saxon fort built by King Alfred against the Danes, who were encamped at Ware. The castle was built (or reconstructed) by William I shortly after 1066 as a motte and bailey. In 1171-4 Henry II ordered that £171 be spent, probably on the replacement of the wooden palisade by the flint rubble curtain wall we see today. It remained in Royal hands with a few minor interruptions, throughout the Medieval period. Eizabeth Woodville took possession of it in 1465. It was never used as a major royal residence. During the reign of Elizabeth I the law courts were moved from London to Hertford. This was because of outbreaks of plague in London in 1564, 1582 and 1592. The internal layout of the castle is preserved in an Elizabethan plan by Henry Hawthorne in about 1582 or 1592. Following Elizabeth's death, it was abandoned as a royal residence. The castle was demolished soon after 1609.