There are two types of castles, a fortress or fort and a chateau or palace. We hope from pictures and descriptions you will be able to see for yourself which type were our “family-linked” castles. All are castles where Wingfields lived, including ones they held or governed.
Our family connected castles will include: Berkhamsted, Caernarvon, Deal, Denbigh, Dublin, Duntrune, Eye, Fotheringhay, Framlingham, Glamis, Newcastle-under-Lyme,Stone, Restormel, Tattershall, Tutbury, Windsor, and Carcassonne in France. All are old and in various conditions. Some in ruins, while others show a good representation of their days of glory. Where pictures are available and will reproduce will enough, they will be published along with the narrative.
These Castle Connections are written by and where available pictures, provided by Jocelyn Wingfield our historian and international vice president.
By Jocelyn R. Wingfield
Down the centuries the Wingfields have had close connections with sixteen castles, owning eight, governing six, residing at and issuing orders of the Black Prince from one, and guarding one. Four are no more, two are ruins. Twelve can be visited today, (those annotated thus: are open to the public). The castles are: Benburb, Cragge, Deal, Dublin, Eye, Framlingham, Fotheringhay, Kimbolton, Orford, Powerscourt, Restormel, Robertstown, Sherborne, Stone, Tattershall and Wingfield.
1.* Benburb Castle, sometimes called Wingfield’s Bawn, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland (Bawn means fortified enclosure round a house). The old castle of the O’Neills, 200 feet above the River Blackwater, was granted in 1610 to Marshal Sir Richard Wingfield (Viscount Powerscourt, 1618), who built a new one, incorporating some of the old walling (“built by Lord Wingfield ca. 1615”). He also built the nearby Clonfeacle Church (still in use), “one of the best examples of a Plantation Period church.” The new castle is now a Servite priory; the old one nearby contains an irregular quadrangular fort, with buildings and a round tower and spiral staircase. Ownership was disputed by Attorney Edward Wingfield with Richard Whaley (claim thru Richard Chappel) in the House of Lords on March 13th 1722 [BLAB. MS 8575622], but Benburb & 2000 acres remained in the family until sold by the 7th Viscount Powerscourt in the 1880s to the Bruces. American troops used the 1880s Benburb Manorhouse, which has Wingfield’s Bawn in the grounds, as a hospital in the 1940s. The Historic Monuments & Building Service of the Northern Ireland Environment Service has just restored “Wingfield’s Bawn,” much of which is the Wingfields’ original construction. The promotional tourist literature reads: ” … and there is an active Wingfield Family Society in America”. Visitors are welcome.
2. Cragge Castle, near Robertstown, County Limerick, Ireland. (Alias Clan Machowne a Touga). Held 1614-ca.1641 by Richard Wingfield & Honora Wingfield (nee Honora O’Brien, dau. of Teige O’Brien of Inch Castle, Smithstown, Co. Clare, granddaughter of the 1st Baron Inchiquin – she died a Roman Catholic) of Smithstown & of Ballycullen near Robertstown, (Powerscourt Line). Robert Wingfield was a 2nd cousin of President Edward-Maria Wingfield of Jamestown, VA (1550-ca.1614). “Hath a castle and a fair-sized stone house.” A small fort. See also 12. [Inchiquin MS; Carew, Howth II, 430; J. Begley, Diocese of Limerick, Dublin, 1927, 418-419; R. T. Dunlop, Plantation of Munster in EHR III, 1888, 132]. Nothing to see today.
3.* Deal Castle, Kent. A small round coastal fort, built 1540, its first Governor was Thomas Wingfield (Upton Line), the engineer who constructed the great harbour at Dover nearby and who helped build Deal castle itself. Thomas Wingfield was eldest son of Sir Henry Wingfield of Orford Castle. Deal Castle contains Thomas Wingfield’s framed coat of arms (1st floor British English, 2nd floor American English).
4.* Dublin Castle, Ireland. Jacques Wingfield was 1560-87 the Governor of Dublin Castle, which was then prison, armoury and residence of the Lord Deputy (Powder Tower). Jacques Wingfield was uncle of President Edward-Maria Wingfield, Virginia’s Founding Father, 1607. Well worth a 2-hour visit, including to the state rooms. Contains the Knight of St. Patrick banner and coat of arms of Mervyn Wingfield, 7th Viscount Powerscourt (fl. 1870), author of The Muniments of the Ancient Saxon Family of Wingfield.
5. Eye Castle, 4 miles southwest of Wingfield Castle, Suffolk (See 16). Sir Robert Wingfield, PC, the great ambassador (fl. 1497-1539) was Governor in 1509-1539 [Some Records of the Wingfield Family, p. 40] of the Norman (ca. 1205) hill-top fortress, where stands also the 11th century octagonal priory. Largely demolished by Cromwell’s army in 1655, a house was constructed from the castle in the 19th century, which was extant 1941. Little or nothing is visible today.
6. Fotheringhay Castle, Northants. 500 yards from the magnificent Fotheringhay Church, the double-moated castle on the Nene was where Richard III was born. Sir Richard Wingfield, Sr., ex-Governor of Portsmouth, father of the 1st Viscount Powerscourt and 2nd cousin of President Edward-Maria Wingfield of Jamestown, was Governor here in 1575. In 1587 Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded here – the details of which are known to history from the account written by Robert Wingfield of Upton (later Sir RW III), nephew of the great Lord Burghley and elder brother of Sir John Wingfield of Tickencote, a dozen miles to the north. Today a 200 yard walk and a short climb will take you to the top of the castle mound – a “right of way.” Only one small block of stone remains.
7.” Framlingham Castle, near Wingfield Castle, Suffolk. Built pre-1101 by Roger Bigod of Bungay Castle, the main manor of Wingfield, etc, etc, this great castle above the river was where the Wingfield knights of yesteryear did their guard duty with their tenants “in lieu of military service overseas.” In 1311 Richard Wingfield held the quite grand post of Keeper of the Park, with its attendant security of access responsibilities. [V. B. Redstone Memorials of Old Suffolk, 1908, p.133]. Sir Robert Wingfield of Letheringham, KB [Knight Banneret – they often sat with the Lords at Westminster], was Steward of the Manor of Framlingham 143353, when his son & heir John, also Knight Banneret took over until 1461. (The latter is the central figure in the Tickencote Wingfield Knights picture. [See Some Records of the Wingfield Family]. Solicitor-General John Gosnold had the job during Edward-Maria Wingfield’s first six years of life).
Those responsible as castle guards could later pay “castle-guard-rent” instead of doing guard duty. These included: Sir John Wingfield (1381); Michael de la Pole, 2nd Earl of Suffolk, son of Katherine (Wingfield), Countess of Suffolk (1389); John Wingfield & Sir Wm. Drury (1433); Sir Anthony Wingfield (1531 & 1547-52/3); Sir Humphrey Wingfield (n.d.); Sir Anthony Wingfield of Brook Hall, Ipswich, Sir John Wingfield, Sir Robert Wingfield, John
Harbottle & Edmund Gosnold (1560); Sir Anthony Wingfield (1596); Sir Richard Wingfield, Bart., (1639); Thomas Wingfield (?of Stonham Aspal). [R.Green, p. 3135,176].
The great curtain wall can be walked round today. Framlingham Castle is owned by English Heritage. A gift shop is in the old farmhouse within the walls.
8.” Kimbolton Castle, Cambridgeshire. Originally a fortified manor house of ca. 1200. Home of President Edward-Maria Wingfield’s grandfather, Sir Richard Wingfield, KG from 1522-25 (during which time he completely rebuilt the castle as a Tudor manor house); then in the family until 1615. Today’s Kimbolton Castle (rebuilt 1690-1720) is a school and contains only small portions of wall that were there in Edward-Maria Wingfield’s day. Edward-Maria Wingfield was a Governor of Kimbolton School in 1600. [Kimbolton School Records]. Edward Maria Wingfield may well have been raised at Kimbolton Castle from the age of seven, when his father died. Visits to Kimbolton Castle should be arranged in advance.
9.5 Orford Castle, SuffOlk. Built in 1100. Roger de Wingfield, the first really important Wingfield, “delivered the castle up” in 1312. Sir Henry Wingfield, ancestor of the Tickencote Line and 4-greats grandfather of Thomas Wingfield of St. Benet’s Paul’s Wharf, London (b. 1664) & of York River, Virginia (1680), was the Governor here in the 1480s/ 90s. Of the original vast castle, a substantial part – one complete tower of 4 floors remains. Owned by English Heritage. Closed in winter.
10.* Powerscourt Castle, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. The ancient round fortress (from 1540 granted to the O’Tooles, but never used by them as a residence), was as a ruin granted in 1609 (with the Manor of Wingfield, Co. Wexford) to Marshal (from 1603) Sir Richard Wingfield, who in 1618 was elevated to the peerage as the 1st Viscount Powersourt of Powerscourt & Baron Wingfield of Wingfield, Co. Wexford. Powerscourt House (105 rooms), built in 1723/43, which is thought to have the old castle incorporated, was still in 1947 sometimes czdled Powerscourt Castle by the press. Presumably between 1609 and 1723/43 the family lived in the old castle. The present towers are of a later date. Powerscourt was owned by the Wingfields until 1961, when it was purchased by Mr. Ralph Slazenger. The main part of Powerscourt House was gutted by fire on Guy Fawkes Day 1974. A visit is a must. The gardens are superb. Gift shop. Private Wingfield family graveyard.
11.* Restormel Castle, Cornwall. 1.5 miles north of Lostwithiel, this ca. 1100 round Norman Castle on the River Fowey, was held by the Black Prince. In the 1350s before he sailed for France with the Black Prince, Sir John Wingfield, Lord of Wingfield, Governor alias Chief of Staff of the Black Prince, issued orders in the Prince’s name from here (& ordered his own wine from here) . English Heritage-owned.
12. Robertstown Castle, County Limerick, Ireland. Held 1614-ca .1641 by Richard Wingfield & Honora Wingfield (nee Honora O’Brien, dau. of Teige O’Brien of Inch Castle, Smithstown, County Clare, granddaughter of the 1st Baron Inchiquin -she died in Robertstown Castle) of Smithstown & of Ballycullen near Robertstown, Richard Wingfield was a 2nd cousin of Edward-Maria Wingfield of Jamestown, VA (1550-ca.1614). A small fort. See also 2. [Inchiquin MS; Carew, Howth II, 430; J. Begley, Diocese of Limerick, 418419; Dunlop, 132]. Nothing to see today.
13.* Sherborne Castle, Dorset. Held by the Wingfields since 1856, when the son of William Wingfield-Baker, KC & Lady Charlotte Digby (married 1796), George Wingfield, succeeded. George Wingfield – as did his successors – added the name Digby, becoming George Wingfield-Digby. The old ruined 12th century castle of Sir Walter Ralegh lies across the river. The present castle was started by Ralegh and enlarged in about 1625 & in 1766. Gift shop, tea room.
14. Stone Castle, 3 miles east of Dartford centre, Kent 12, miles downstream from where Captain Edward-Maria Wingfield’s fleet set sail for Jamestown, VA, 1606. Inherited by Edward-Maria Wingfield’s grandmother, Bridget nee Wiltshire, the castle passed to her son, Charles Wingfield of Kimbolton Castle, then to his son Richard (1540-ca.’87), to his nephew James Wingfield. Stone Castle was later held by his cousin, William Carew, who died in 1625. Today there is a Victorian house on the site.
15.* Tattershall Castle, near Boston, Lincolnshire. Vast red 5-floored keep, ca.1230, 30 miles NE of Tickencote. 16 century home of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. John Wingfield, son of President Edward-Maria Wingfield’s great uncle, Captain Sir Edmund Wingfield described as “of Tattershall Castle,” was Comptroller for his 2nd cousin (1R), the Duke, “whose two infant sons were probably under the care of this John Wingfield.”
Treasurer Lord (Ralph) Cromwell did much building work here in 1434-1446, simultaneously with his work at Wingfield Castle (later styled Wingfield Manor), Derbyshire. Tattershall Castle is where John Smith reputedly had riding lessons in about 1600. National Trust-owned. Visits must be arranged in advance.
16. Wingfield Castle, Suffolk. Near Diss, Norfolk. Permission to crenellate their house was given by King Richard II in 1384 to Michael de la Pole and his wife, Katherine nee Wingfield (34, daughter of the Black prince’s Chief of Staff). In 1385 they became the Earl & Countess of Suffolk. In 1387 the Duke, then Chancellor of England, was impeached and forced to flee the country, dying two years later in Paris. Katherine (Wingfield), Countess of Suffolk would appear to have been still alive in 1388, when she held Gorleston, 25 miles to the NE. Michael & Katherine were buried at Kingston-uponHull.
Wingfield Castle is a private home today with a 100-yard private drive, gated at the main road. The castle can be seen, however from the common, which comes right up to the moat. It is conceivable that a private family visit may be permitted for the WFS at a future date, perhaps in May 1995, but nothing has yet been arranged.
Besides these castles in England and Ireland, there are family links – tenuous ones – with French and other castles that the family besieged, like the vast French fortress of *Carcassone, 50 miles SE of Toulouse, (attacked by Sir John Wingfield with the Black Prince in 1355); and with two Scottish castles. These last are Duntrune Castle, Argyllshire, Scotland, a modernised baronial fortress on the shores of Loch Crinan, a day trip west of Glasgow. It was Isabella Wingfield-Stratford who married into the family of Lord Malcolm of Poltalloch (Duntrune) in 1832. And the vast great castle of *Glamis, (pronounced “Glarms”), 15 miles north of Dundee in Scotland, home of the Queen Mother (nee Bowes-Lyon), was where Cecilia Wingfield, wife of Lewis S. Wingfield (Powerscourt Branch) in 1870 or ’71 apparently saw “the Giant Ghost of 1486.” There are more than a dozen ghost stories connected with Glamis, that the one about Cecilia Wingfield and the Giant is not in the present guide-book; but hopefully this family ghost story will fit into some later issue of the Newsletter.