Object in Focus - Berkhamsted Castle Tile

This 13th century tile was found at Berkhamsted Castle during excavations in the 1930s.

Berkhamsted Castle was one of the most important early Norman castles. It is probably most famous for being the location of the English submission to William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings.

William’s half-brother, Robert of Mortain, built a timber motte-and-bailey castle here just a few years later. When Thomas Becket, King Henry II’s right hand man, was granted the land in 1155 he rebuilt the castle including the large stone wall, the remains of which still stand. The castle did not face much military activity and was for the most part an impressive home for royal residents. However in 1216 it was besieged for two weeks by Prince Louis of France. Having been battered with huge stones from siege weapons, the nine-year-old King Henry III surrendered the castle.


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