Bungay Castle, Suffolk

Bungay Castle, standing on the River Waveney, was the chief seat of the Bigod family and was most likely raised by Roger Bigod around 1100.  Roger's son, Hugh, took advantage of the Anarchy by switching sides as and when he felt like it - eventually falling on the side of King Stephen and becoming Earl of Norfolk as a reward.

However, Henry II, tiring of the belligerent Earl, confiscated all his properties; including his other major Castle at Framlingham, and in 1164 obliged the Earl to buy them back - thus finance Henry's own construction of Orford Castle, designed to block Bigod's escape from Framlingham down the River Alne.

Hugh rebuilt Bungay Castle, which was still the major family home, adding a keep and possibly the Gatehouse (although that may date from a century or so later).

In 1173 the ageing Hugh gladly took up arms against his old adversary when Prince Henry revolted against the King.  The rebellion failed and Bungay was besieged by the King, thinking probably to rid himself of Bigod once and for all.  The Castle was undermined and confiscated and subsequently dismantled.

The Bigods regained their land in 1294 by which time Framlingham had become their chief residence.  The last Roger Bigod incurred Edward I's wrath and when he died in 1306 all the Bigod lands passed to the Crown and both their Castles fell into some ruin; Bungay having suffered much more than Framlingham which was revived in Elizabethan times.

Bungay Castle is open to the public on a key-keeper basis.  Keep an eye out for the undermining tunnel which is still there and which Roy managed to crawl through!

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