Berkhamsted Castle | Fotheringhay

Berkhamsted Castle



Fotheringhay is a small village in Northamptonshire, about 85km (53 miles) north of Berkhamsted. Its Norman castle historic associations with the House of York and the Wars of the Roses unveil ancient connections with Berkhamsted.

Fotheringhay Castle was a Norman Motte-and-bailey castle, founded a little later than Berkhamsted (probably around 1100) by Simon de Senlis, Earl of Northampton. For centuries it was in possession of the princes of Scotland until it was confiscated by King John of England in the early 13th century. In the 15th century it became a favoured residence of Richard, Duke of York. His wife, Cecily Neville, bore him several children, among them two sons who later became kings of England: Edward IV and Richard III (the latter was born at Fotheringhay Castle in 1452).

During the Wars of the Roses, the Duke of York was killed in battle in 1460. In 1469, Edward IV granted Berkhamsted Castle to his mother, and this became Cecily’s main residence. She was the last royal resident at Berkhamsted, and lived here for many years. When Cecily died in 1495, she was buried at the Church of St Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay in the family mausoleum, next to her husband Richard and their son Edmund.

Little remains today of Fotheringhay Castle except the earthworks and the motte. The site is a scheduled ancient monument on private land but it is open to visitors. St Mary and All Saints’ Church is a short distance away in the village, and can be visited. Cecily’s present tomb is actually Elizabethan.


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