|Somerton Castle in 1801|
The length of the walls was as follows: North 230 ft, South 210.5 ft, East 276.5 ft, West 251 ft.
Bek died in 1311 and Edward I took possession of the castle, granting it to William de Beaumont.
On the 20th September 1356, during the 100 Years War, Edward, the Black Prince, against massive odds beat and captured King John II, John the Good, at the Battle of Poitiers.
John was brought to England in May 1357, the party landed at Sandwich and travelled onto Canterbury where, after making offerings at the shrine of St Thomas Becket, they rested for the night. Following two more overnight stops, the party arrived in London on 24th May. John, on his white charger, rode through London to the palace of the Savoy. Late in the summer John and Prince Philip visited Windsor Castle where they enjoyed the sport of hunting.
Towards the end of 1358, a series of restrictions were placed on the captives. On 12th December 1358, Roger de Beauchamp was ordered to watch the captives with 69 men-at-arms and moved them to Somerton Castle, 10 miles south of Lincoln. Four large casks of wine were transported there and a ship carried his goods to Lincolnshire by sea. John only remained there for four months and was transferred to Hertford Castle on 4th April 1359.
In February 1360 there were concerns about a possible French invasion to attempt to release the captives, Edward III ordered that they should be imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Following an agreement about payment of a ransom, King John and Prince Philip were released on the 30th June 1360. The King agreed to send hostages to guarantee the payment of the ransom.
The King and his entourage arrived at Dover on 5th July, where he was entertained by the Black Prince. He sailed from Dover in July arriving in Calais where he was held for three months while he obtained the first instalment of the ransom.
|1850 Plan of the castle |
Drawn by J S Padley
Somerton Castle remained in royal ownership until it was sold by Charles I in 1628.
Samuel and Nathaniel Buck's engraving of
Somerton Castle, 1726.
Today the south-east tower is complete, the house attached to it is said to be Elizabethan (but I suspect it was built in the 19th century). The northeast tower is vaulted, and supported by a single pillar, from which to the sides spring twelve arches forming as many niches in the walls. The lower part of the south-west tower is still visible. The north-west tower and curtain walling no longer exist, probably removed for the development of the farm buildings in the 19th century.
There are remains of moats around the castle with a double moat and earth banks to the south.
|Northeast tower vaulting|
Was the name a misspelling or an insult to the French?
A modern copy of the notice
in the Dolphins
|The Dolphins Inn, removed by Albert Shuttleworth |
in 1892 to improve his view of Lincoln Cathedral
from his Eastgate House
Somerton Castle was bought a few years ago by a local businessman and is now being restored.