Page 8 - John Barber's Oakham Castle and its archaeology
P. 8

Oakham Castle Time Line

                Based on T H McK Clough, Oakham Castle: A Guide and History (4th edition, Rutland County Council, 2008)

            Circa 1075         The motte and bailey is constructed.
            Circa 1180         The Great Hall is built by Walkelin de Ferrers.
            1206               King John visits Oakham.
            1219-1258          Henry III visits Oakham at least seven times.
            1229               The first recorded assize.
            13th century       A gateway and drawbridge and a stone curtain wall are built against the existing earthworks.
            1264               The Great Hall is damaged by fire in the Barons’ War during Richard Earl of Cornwall’s tenure of Oakham.
            1300               A garden, fishponds, windmill, water-mill, and deer parks are noted in the inquisition post mortem following
                               the death of Richard Earl of Cornwall.
            1307               Edward II issues a general order to fortify all castles, including Oakham. The curtain wall of the inner bailey
                               was probably completed before this date but possibly then improved.
            1323               Edward II visits Oakham.
            1340               Inquisition – At Oakham there is a certain castle, well walled, and in that castle are a hall, four rooms, a
                               chapel, a kitchen, two stables, a barn for hay, a house for prisoners – the county gaol, a room for the gate-
                               keeper, and a drawbridge with iron chains. The castle contains within its wall an estimated two acres of
                               ground. The same is called the manor of Oakham. Outside the castle is a garden, and fish ponds and a moat.
            1361               Inquisition –…worth nothing per annum … but in need of repair (the Great Hall is now nearly 200 years old
                               and the country is suffering plague, famine, and loss of man-power).
            1373               William Flore repairs houses, walls and buildings in the manor.
            1373-75            The Great Chapel and the King’s two great chambers are pargeted and whitewashed. A chimney is inserted in
                               the chamber by the gate. In the following year a new chapel and chamber are built, with a passageway
                               connecting the chapel to the hall. It has stone walls, a tiled roof, and three glazed windows.
            1375               Edward III’s last visit to Oakham.
            1378               Richard II visits Oakham.
            1380               Summer grazing in the small park is granted to William Flore.
            1380               Richard II visits: repairs are made to doors, walls and windows, a chimney is made for the King’s chamber
                               and a new roasting house is built.
            1382               Timber, tiles and slates purchased for repairs at Oakham and Rockingham castles.
            1385               5000 Collyweston slates sent to Oakham.
            1388               Inquisition – the buildings are in a poor state, suffering from neglect and lack of maintenance.
            1388-90            Minor repairs are carried out. Late medieval stock is grazing within the bailey.
            1521               Inquisition following the execution of the Duke of Buckingham – there is an old castle, all ruinous…the hall
                               is in the best state of repair, and old fashioned…but reasonable and roofed for the courts held there.
                               Everything else is probably in a state of collapse, never to be resurrected. By the early 16th century the hall
                               probably ceased to be used for any domestic purpose. As Burley on the Hill became the residence of the lord
                               of the manor the Great Hall was kept largely because of its use for court purposes.
            16th century       A window is inserted into the east wall.
            1584               Robert Johnson’s grammar school is established
            1621               George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, now resides in the first big house at Burley on the Hill.
                               He probably:
                                  Levelled the ruins around the castle and the old domestic offices at the east and west end;
                                  Re-roofed the great hall;
                                  Installed a new pediment over the Castle Lane gateway.
            1684               James Wright’s illustration (fig. 20) shows the Great Hall standing alone within the remnants of the wall.
            1730               Buck’s engraving (fig. 21) shows a similar condition.
            Between 1730 and 1847  The entrance into the great hall is moved.
            Early 19th century   Dormer windows are inserted into the north and south aisles.
            1872               The gateway is rebuilt.
            1911               The Great Hall is restored in memory of the Rt Hon G H Finch, MP for Rutland for 40 years, with extensive
                               repairs to the east wall and the stone flagged floor.
            1953-54            Peter Gathercole conducts an archaeological excavation of the moated area to the south of the bailey
                               (Gathercole 1958).
            1955-59            John Barber conducts archaeological excavations adjacent to the Great Hall.
            1980               The Great Hall is rewired and redecorated.
            1989               Josephine Sharman and Deborah Sawday carry out an archaeological evaluation in the outer bailey for
                               Leicestershire Museums.
            2011               Terrestrial laser scan and photographic survey of the defence earthworks, the Great Hall interior, and Cutt’s
                               Close by Trent & Peak Archaeology (Shepherd & Walker 2011).
            2012               Channel 4’s Time Team carries out excavations in the Castle grounds (Good & Mepham 2013).
            2013               Nick Hill’s architectural re-assessment of the Great Hall appears in Antiquaries Journal (Hill 2013).
            2013-14            Rutland County Council prepares a bid for a Heritage Lottery Fund award to ensure the future of the Castle
                               and its site.

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