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Farnham Castle

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(CC [1]) Photo: Adam Piontek
The ruins of Farnham Castle's great tower

Farnham Castle in Surrey was founded in the 12th century by Henry de Blois, the Bishop of Winchester. The castle was built on a ridge of chalk at the northern end of the town of Farnham. The town originated as a Saxon settlement and was greatly expanded in the 12th century, around the time Bishop Henry built the castle. Farnham Castle was originally a motte-and-bailey, with a square stone great tower standing on top of an earthen mound (the motte), surrounded by an enclosure (the bailey) containing ancillary buildings. The tower which now stands was a 12th-century replacement of the previous tower which was destroyed (slighted) by Henry II in 1155. A 320-acre deer park under the auspices of the castle and its lord was enclosed in the 12th century.[1]

The castle was the seat of the Bishops of Winchester until the early 20th century.[2] After the Second World War, care of Farnham Castle passed to the Ministry of Works (later succeeded by English Heritage). Soon after archaeological excavations began on the site.[3] Farnham Castle is both a Grade I listed building and a scheduled monument.[4][5]


  1. Robertson, Jane (2000). Extensive Urban Survey of Surrey: Farnham. Woking: Surrey County Archaeological Unit. pp. 5, 8–9.
  2. Robertson, Extensive Urban Survey of Surrey: Farnham, p. 9.
  3. Graham, David (October 2010). "Farnham Castle keep", Surrey Archaeological Society Bulletin 423. p. 2.
  4. "Farnham Castle", Pastscape. Accessed 10 March 2013.
  5. "Farnham Castle (comprising castle buildings to the south only)", The National Heritage List for England . Accessed 10 March 2013.