County Court (including Remains of Castle), Castle Yard, Leicester
Behind the red brick single storeyed front of the Court House of c1695, rises the stone built Great Hall of the castle. The Great Hall was probably the work of Robert 'le Bossu' (died 1168). It is said to be the oldest surviving hall in Europe that has aisles and is divided up into bays. Leicester Castle was originally a motte and bailey castle. It was built in timber by Hugh de Grentmesnil to whom William the Conqueror had granted Leicester in c1068. It was apparently rebuilt by Robert Beaumont, Count of Meulan and first Earl of Leicester in 1101. This was following the almost certain damage which it suffered in the rebellion of 1101. Henry II ordered its demolition in 1174 but how much was cleared is unknown. It is recorded again later as being the residence of the Earl of Leicester. Simon de Montfort held it from 1231 until his death in 1265 when it passed to Edmund Crouchback who improved the structure. John of Gaunt died there in 1399. After his son became Henry IV it was only used occasionally for Parliaments; the `Parliament of Bats ' was assembled there in 1426. Richard III seems to have been the last occupant in 1483. By Charles I's (1625-49) time, apart from the great hall, the rest was `utterly ruynous, useless and irreparable'.