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Castle Hill, Shaftesbury

4.7
#3 of 10 in Things to do in Shaftesbury
Castle Hill, also called Mere Castle, was a medieval fortification built by Richard, the Earl of Cornwall, in 1253 on a hill overlooking the village of Mere, Wiltshire, England. The castle was constructed in stone, with six towers, inner buildings and gates. It was abandoned in the 14th century and stripped of its stone and metalwork. Only earthworks remain in the 21st century.
ConstructionThe village of Mere was a small and unimportant settlement in the early 13th century. In 1243 Richard, the Earl of Cornwall, acquired the manor. Richard was the brother of Henry III and immensely rich. In 1253 he began to build a castle at Mere.
The castle was built on Long Hill, a chalk ridge overlooking the village; the hill was flattened and scarped, with a 5m deep ditch cut into the west side. As archaeologist Phil Mcmahon describes, documentary sources imply the castle was "a rectangular stone-built structure with six towers, incorporating a hall, an inner and outer gate, a deep well and a chapel", and it may have resembled a smaller version of Framlingham Castle. The castle was probably entered from the west, with a possible road running up the south side of the hill. At the same time the village was expanded into a planned town with an unofficial market. The castle was renovated in 1300, possibly in response to the threat of rebellion in England at the time.
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  • The overwhelming majority of people visiting Shaftesbury will go to see the beautiful view from Abbey Walk overlooking the Stour Valley. Few people know about the much less busy, equally as beautiful,...  more »
  • It's a place i've walked by accident, and the idyllic English countryside overlooking it was amazing. It also blends well with the old-fashioned buildings behind it.
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