Pocket Britain
Britain > Suffolk > Framlingham

A quaint market town with an imposing castle


Town Centre
In the mid-16th century, Henry VIII's eldest daughter sat in a Suffolk castle, waiting to find out if she was to become Queen. The previous monarch, Edward VI, had just died, and his followers were trying to exclude her from the line of succession. She began to gather an army of supporters around her. In just a few short days the rebellion had been crushed, and she was sitting on the throne. Her name was Mary I, Queen of England and Ireland.

Inside Framlingham Castle
The aspiring monarch's Suffolk headquarters was Framlingham Castle, a 12th century building of an immense scale. It's surrounded by a huge curtain wall, 13 metres high and 2.5 metres thick. The structure is broken up by 13 imposing towers, 12 of which are still standing. This was East Anglia's very first castle of its type, and it was immensely difficult to conquer.

Inside the walls of the Castle
Visitors can walk along the walls in a complete circle. There's no central keep, but there did used to be some small buildings, like a dining hall and a workhouse. Today, nothing's left but a poorhouse, built over the 17th and 18th centuries. It has been refurbished for modern use, and now houses the Visitor Centre. The ground floor contains various explanations and exhibitions about the castle itself. Upstairs is the Lanman Museum, which takes a wider look at the local area. The original collection was mostly made up of objects from the 19th century, but it has since expanded backwards, to Medieval times, and forwards to both World Wars. The museum rule is that no artefact should come from further away than 5 miles. One of the most interesting acquisitions was the Framlingham Weekly News, a discontinued local newspaper. It ran from 1859 to 1938, and the museum has a copy of every issue. They change the display copy week by week, so you can see the news from exactly 100 years ago. Some of the shops and properties it mentions are still visible in town.

The Poorhouse inside the Castle Walls

Inside the Lanman Museum
If you look out from the west side of the castle walls, you can gaze over the 33 beautiful acres of Framlingham Mere. It's run as a nature reserve by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. There are around 80 species of birds, and nearly 300 species of plant. The fauna can be appreciated via a walkway that loops around the lake. Once, the mere was deeper, and ships were able to sail across it. The waters have since silted up and become shallow, but the Trust are working on restoring that depth.

The view of the Castle from across the Mere
One of the best views of The Mere is from the imposing Framlingham College, founded in 1864 under Royal Charter in memory of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. He was a keen supporter of education, science and Technical and Business education. His statue stands in front of the College which today is a centre of all round academic excellence and enjoys a fine reputation as a fully co-educational school with both boarding and day schooling.
The castle is undoubtedly the dominant building in town, but St. Michael's Church isn't far behind it in both age and size. Most of the building work was done in the 15th century, but various updates and additions have taken place since then. There are plenty of interesting little details, particularly the detailed tomb carvings.

Framlingham Church

Inside the Church
Framlingham's other structures, including its shops and houses, have varied styles and histories, reflecting the town's journey through time. In the Victorian era this was a busy and fashionable place, with amenities like theatres, and services like surgeons. Today, these things are easily accessible in other towns, so Framlingham has reverted back to its original status as a quiet castle town.

Cottages in Framlingham

A Victorian Potbox in the centre of Framlingham
Visitor Information
Framlingham Castle (EH) is open daily from April to October (plus weekends in winter), 10am to 5pm (4pm in winter). Entry costs around £6.30 for adults, £3.80 children. Church Street, Framlingham, Suffolk, IP13 9BP. Tel: 01728 724189

Back ~ Top ~ Home ~ Index

Pocket Britain is optimised for use on a smartphone or tablet with internet access. All content is subject to copyright. All reasonable methods have been used to ensure information supplied is accurate at the time of publication. However, it is advisable to check information before relying on it. Privacy Policy