Bolingbroke Castle

Bolingbroke Castle

Bolingbroke Castle is at Bolingbroke (or Old Bolingbroke) in Lincolnshire (gbmapping|TF349649).


The present structure was founded by Ranulf, Earl of Chester, in around 1220, and in 1311 passed to the House of Lancaster. Its most famous owner was John of Gaunt. It was partially destroyed in 1643 during the English Civil War and abandoned shortly afterwards. The last major structure collapsed in 1815 and the castle now lies as a ruin.

The castle was excavated in the 1960s and 1970s and is now a national monument. It was maintained by English Heritage up until 1995 when Heritage Lincolnshire took ownership. Much of the lower walls and still visible as are the ground floors of the towers. In the summertime, the castle is home to numerous events including performances of Shakespeare. Upon the conclusion of the excavation the Pilgrim Bowmen of Boston gave archery demonstrations, whilst a drama was performed to illustrated the castles importance in its past.


Most of the castle is built of Spilsby greenstone, as is the nearby church. The castle was constructed as a polygonal enclosure with seven horseshoe-shaped towers. Two of the towers form the entrance to the enclosure. The castle is one of the earliest examples of a uniform castle designed and built without a keep. It was also originally surrounded by a moat 31 metres (100 ft) across. Some similarities are noted with contemporary Boulogne-sur-Mer, France also designed without a keep.

Important events

Important events which took place at Bolingbroke Castle:

*Birth of King Henry IV of England, (April 3, 1367)
*Death of Blanche of Lancaster, wife of John of Gaunt (September 12, 1369)


*cite book
last = Matarasso
first = Francois
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The English Castle
publisher = Cassell
date = 1995
location = London
pages = 224 pp
url =
doi =
isbn = 0-34753-1

* []

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