Securing a Future for Mettingham Castle
Little known castle with a big story
Although Mettingham is one of the least known castles in the East of England, it has an unusual story marked by some of the major upheavals in British history.
In the Middle Ages building 'private' castles was strictly controlled. Only the current king's supporters would be given 'planning permission'. Those who opposed the king were prevented from building up military power bases.
In 1342, King Edward III allowed Sir John de Norwich to fortify the Manor House of Mettingham. After the male line of the family died out in 1373, the property passed to a female cousin, Catherine de Brewse, who later became a nun.
When she died in 1380, it was left to a College of Secular Canons (priests) that Sir John had founded. But before it could be transferred to their ownership, the castle was attacked and ransacked by rebels during the Peasants' Revolt of 1381.
The College of Canons moved in in 1394 and remained there until 1542. They were disbanded and ownership passed to King Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Mettingham was then bought by Sir Nicholas Bacon, father of Sir Francis Bacon who was to become one of the leading politicians in the government of Queen Elizabeth I. By this time it was already ruinous, and a new house was built in the grounds.
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