In Domesday book William Mauduit held Portchester.  Under Edward the Confessor the estate had been three manors, but Mauduit, or King William before granting them, had consolidated them into one manor which William now held.  Amongst the large estate which paid a geld on 5 hides, was ‘a fishery for the hall'.  The land had been worth £4 10s under the Confessor, £5 when given by the Conqueror to William Mauduit and was now in 1086 worth £6.  War had not visited this district.  Further the mention of a hall - relatively unusual in Domesday considering the number of manors mentioned - could suggest that the Portchester hall was the hall of the castle, the centre of a thriving community.  There are 9 other halls mentioned in mainland Hampshire at this time and none of them can realistically be attached to any castle site.  The implication is that most manors were centred around a hall and this self-obvious fact did not concern the Domesday commissioners, although occasionally a defunct hall was mentioned.  King Edgar (959-75), at some point in his reign in Wessex, confirmed that Winchester cathedral had exchanged the fortified town of Portchester (oppidi quod Porteceaster) for other lands.

William Mauduit died before 1105 and his barony passed to his eldest son, Robert, who held Portchester by the serjeanty of performing the office of chamberlain of the Exchequer for the king.  This state of affairs came to an end on 25 November 1120 when Robert was drowned in the White Ship disaster.  As Robert only had one surviving child, Constance Mauduit, his estates passed to her and her husband, William Pont de l'Arche, apparently only for his lifetime.  In the meantime King Henry restored to Robert's younger brother, named William like his father, all the dower which his mother had held.  William Pont de l'Arche had apparently married Constance before 1129 as he was mentioned 22 times in the Pipe Roll of 1130 - confirmation that he was already a major baron.  He was also sheriff of Berkshire and Hampshire at the time, the shire in which Portchester castle stands. 

In the first couple of days of August 1133, while waiting to cross the Channel, King Henry I ‘founded' Portchester priory.  His recorded charter states that the king personally had granted to:

the church of St Mary of Portchester and the regular canons there who serve the same church of St Mary founded there by me with the lands and tithes and all things pertaining to the same church.

This is quite a peculiar statement for it both implies that nothing existed before Henry's grant and that the whole was already pre-existing.  Consequently it appears that this ‘foundation' by the king is no more than his agreeing to William's foundation in the king's sergeanty.  A sergeanty was land held directly and inalienably of the king for the performance of a specific duty.  In this case the duty was performing the chamberlainship of the treasury of Winchester.  Consequently William, or his successors and predecessors, could not have alienated land in their sergeanty without the king's permission and this is exactly why the king made this grant.  He was authorising what had already happened, presumably with his previously given consent.

On the death of King Henry in December 1135, William Pont de l'Arche was the first baron to declare against his oath for the old king's nephew, Stephen Blois.  In this he was joined with Bishop Roger of Salisbury, Henry Blois of Winchester and Archbishop William of Canterbury.  Soon after the old king's death he, with Bishop Roger, met Stephen of Blois outside Winchester and personally handed the keys to the fortress over to Stephen ignoring Bishop Henry's earlier pleas to hand the keys to the fortress and the Winchester treasury over to him.  With the disasters that befell the king's cause in 1141 William Pont de l'Arche, apparently as sheriff of Hampshire, went over to the Empress like most of the baronage in the April of that year.  He was followed by his nephew, William Mauduit, who in May was confirmed by the Empress as heir of his father-in-law Michael Hanslope.  On Bishop Henry's reverting to the cause of his brother, King Stephen, William Pont de l'Arche asked the Empress for military support against Bishop Henry, the king's brother.  She sent Robert Fitz Hildebrand and he rapidly seduced (or was seduced by) William's young wife, Constance Mauduit.  As a consequence Robert took over Winchester castle and William was imprisoned.  Soon after Robert died from the attentions of a worm that ‘slowly gnawed away his vitals'.  Presumably William resumed occupation of Winchester and Portchester castles in the aftermath of this and was still alive after August 1144.

At some point after 1144 William lost control of Portchester castle.  Presumably this loss was brought about by his death which had certainly occurred before the death of Queen Matilda in May 1152.  In the summer of 1153 at Leicester Duke Henry of Normandy restored to William Mauduit ‘Portchester castle with all its honour' with the office of chamberlain in the same way that his father and brother Robert (d.1120) had held it.  Mauduit was apparently holding the castle at his death in February 1158.

By 1158 at the latest William had been succeeded by his son, another William Mauduit.  That this William (d.1195) did not return Portchester castle in his return of 1166 is no surprise as the lands requested to be detailed were knight's fees and Portchester was held by serjeanty, and not as a knight's fee.  Therefore there is no reason to suspect that King Henry II was not respecting his agreement with William's father in 1153.  Indeed in 1164, William is mentioned as chamberlain.  And, as the office of chamberlain went with Portchester castle, it seems unlikely that Portchester castle was held by anyone else at this time.  
However, the castle had certainly been resumed by the king by Michaelmas 1174.  Consequently after this date, the king spent occasionally on its repair, which strongly suggests that it was under his personal control.  Other than taking the castle and ‘honour' of Portchester from him, the king seems to have punished William Maudit little for his apparent rebellion and in 1183 he was again recorded as a judge for the king.

The evidence for the castle coming into royal hands during the civil war of 1173-74 appears in the Michaelmas Exchequer account of 1174.  This all but proves that forces loyal to Henry II seized the castle from its owners that year - otherwise it would have been normally garrisoned by men loyal to him and in the service of William Mauduit.  Instead the Hampshire account recorded that 10 knights had been placed in
Portchester castle as a garrison for 20 days at a cost of £10.  The king also employed a porter and a watchman as well as having the gate and tower of Portchester castle repaired.  The dapifer, William Fitz Aldelin, was further given £20 for making the knights' houses in the castle by the writ of Richard Lucy as well as a further £20 for another 20 knights who resided in the castle.  He was also allowed £10 for escorting the captured rebel earl of Leicester and his wife to Portchester castle, who, with his wife, were allowed £40 for their entertainment (procuratio).  Also kept in the castle as prisoners this year was Countess Margaret of Brittany (d.1201), the widow of Earl Conan of Richmond (d.1171) and all of these were shipped across the Channel this year in 2 ships.

In the final part of the year the sheriff of Hampshire was replaced by Richard Homet and he accounted for 10 knights and 12 serjeants defending Portchester tower as well as acquiring 8 timbers for £88 total which had included ‘work to the bridge, gate and walls of the castle and for the engine, chapel, ironwork and other minor things'.  It is interesting to see a military engine, presumably a catapult within the castle.  It would seem most likely that this was placed on the square SE bastion.  A tower almost built for housing such a machine on its upper floor.

With this repair work nothing further seems to have happened to the castle.  From 1172 to 1175 there are no more than standard entries concerning William Mauduit, but in 1176 it was recorded under Buckinghamshire that William, along with many other barons of a similar class, owed £100 for misdeeds in the king's forest.  Like many others of his contemporaries he promptly paid half this sum to the Crown.  This phrase often seems to be a euphemism for having rebelled in the Young King's war.  Here is the final proof that Portchester was taken over by the king only in 1174 on the disobedience of its owner.  That the king had occupied the castle does not mean that he did a lot to maintain it and small sums were spent on the fortress for the rest of Henry's reign.  The implication of all this is that the castle was pretty much complete by 1174 when the king seized it.  King John (1199-1216) made regular use of the castle and spent over £40 repairing the king's houses in 1200-3.  He once more had the buildings of the castle repaired for £5 2s 4d in 1208 and in 1211 spent £15 9s 4d on a chamber and wardrobe/garderobe.

In the 1216 the revolt against King John took on a new dimension.  Prince Louis of France joined the rebels and was proclaimed king.  On 5 June 1216 King John was probably fearing for the castle's safety.  Consequently he sent the following message patent:

The King to the constable of Portchester, greetings.  Know that we have granted to our trusty and well-beloved Savary Mauleon the custody of Portchester castle for so long as it may please us.  We therefore command that you deliver up the castle to him.  And in testimony etc.. Witness myself, at Ludgershall, the fifth day of June, in the eighteenth year of our reign.'

In the last week of June, after forcing King John from the South Coast, Prince Louis left Winchester and ‘went to lay siege to a castle near Portsmouth, which is called Portchester, which he took and gave to the count of Nevers.'  It was still in rebel hands on 21 March 1217 when the government gave letters of conduct for Peter Saunguin to travel from their base at Winchester to Southampton and then on to Portchester and London ‘with horses and arms'.   Quite possibly his job was to try to get these places to rejoin the royalist cause.  In this Peter failed and consequently on 27 April 1217 the Marshal at Winchester, less than 20 miles away from Portchester, ordered Oliver Aubigny ‘to completely demolish the castle of Portchester, and if he cannot then he is to knock over what he can and also burn it'.  Presumably Oliver failed to take the castle and consequently it survived.  It is uncertain who commanded the rebel garrison at Portchester and possibly it was held for the count by the young William Mauduit (d.1256) at this time.  He was the grandson of the William who had lost the castle in 1174 and had rebelled against King John as early as 28 November 1215 and was later in rebellion against King Henry III (d.1272).  He only returned to his loyalty after his defeat at Lincoln that May when the count of Nevers was killed.

What fate befell Portchester castle in these circumstances is unknown, but probably it was surrendered to Henry III's government with the general pacification of the kingdom after the treaty of Kingston between the king and Louis.  Consequently on 29 July 1218, the castle was ordered to be repaired by the sheriff of Southampton.  This may have been done by 27 February 1220 when the sheriff was ordered to pay the bishop of Winchester £5 for strengthening the royal castle of Portchester.  Further works were recorded in 1225, 1226, 1229, 1243, 1253, 1256-9, 1260, 1261, 1264 and 1267.  Yet in 1274 it was recorded that the fortress buildings were old, ruined and unsuitable for residence.  It was only in 1289 that limited sums were again spent on the buildings.  Further repairs took place on the gates and walls in 1296.  Between 1320 and 1326, King Edward II (1307-26) carried out major works at a cost of some £1,100 with much new building and re-roofing, plus the extension and modification of the castle gatehouse and the digging of ditches.  In 1324-5 a hall was built as well as a new chamber in the outer ward being roofed and both the land and sea gates of the Roman fort repaired.

In 1335 a survey noted almost £200 worth of defects including unroofed buildings and defects in both buildings and defences.  Between 1336 and 1338 most of the defensive defects were repaired and further repairs were ordered in 1339, 1340, 1344 and 1346.  In 1362 over £90 was spent on carpentry and some stonework on the hall, chamber and bakehouse, while the keep was releaded and the chapel reconstructed.  In 1369 another £90 was spent on the defences and the castle was kept fully garrisoned until 1374.  In 1376-7 £116 was spent which included the rebuilding of the mill.

Between April 1396 and August 1399, Richard II spent £1,600 on a new residential range in the western part of the inner bailey as well as improving the gates and modifying the keep.  Despite this, in 1441 the castle was described as ‘right ruynouse and fieble'.  Some £100 was then spent on it during the next few years, but in 1450 the constable again described the ruinous state of the castle.  Henry VII probably inserted the oriel window in the N forebuilding in 1489 and had his coat of arms added to the chapel window.  Under James I some £300 was spent on refurbishing the castle.  In 1609 John Norden noted the new work with approval, but found the rest of the castle ‘for the most part very ruinous' the lead having been stripped off the roofs, the timbers decaying and the great hall of Richard II, though spacious, was dark and melancholy.  In 1632 Charles I sold the castle.

Set within the most perfectly preserved Roman fort in the UK, the castle inner ditch is 55-75' across and 10' deep.  This is backed by an ashlar wall 6' thick and standing up to 32' high.  In 1929 the renovators removed the bank around the base of the castle ward revealing some 6' of foundations which the ashlared wall sits on top of.

The Keep
Before construction could have began on the main tower, a length of Roman wall, initially at least 60' and finally 105' long, together with a Roman bastion must have been grubbed up.  Excavation uncovered a concrete foundation over 6'6" deep under the south wall of the keep.  Presumably this was laid all around the site of the future tower, although the 3 phase build of the tower might suggest that this did not happen initially as the original structure was only planned to be one storey high.  Consequently the foundations may have been added as underpinning when the initial hall was converted into a tower.

The first structure built on the site after the demolition of the Roman wall was a single-storey rubble-built ‘hall' about 56' square and divided by an off-centre east to west dividing wall.  The resultant pair of halls have two double-splayed loops in the north, south and west walls.  If this was initially planned as a pair of halls the question must be asked as to why it is two halls in one and not two rectangular halls like most similar structures?  Further, although the latest excavators note that the ‘windows are regarded as synonymous with Anglo-Saxon architecture' they then go to explain why the ones in the ‘halls' are Norman by comparison with similar undated features.  The obvious argument that this is Anglo-Saxon work is then carefully sidestepped and subsequently ignored.  Further irregularities in the design, like the well placed in the south-east buttress and the stair placed in the south wall and not the south-west buttress are also ignored.  Their siting here probably merely suggests that they were not intended to initially serve a great tower, but just the minor rectangular hall of 1 and then 2 storeys.  It is argued though that the double splaying of the windows is due to the later thickening of the walls to hold up the new structures added above.  The original first floor (roof) was carried on offsets which were replaced with ribbed vaults similar to that built in the gatehouse and accounted for in 1397-8.  The possibility must exist that these two ‘halls' when added to the nearby north hall might have made up the 3 halls of the 3 Saxon manors which were amalgamated to form the single Norman manor of Portchester.

The 2 early square ‘halls' were subsequently encased within an ashlar tower of a further storey that was initially topped by a W shaped pitched roof.  This first tower had a chamfered plinth of some ten courses and had angle buttresses on the 4 corners and mid-wall buttresses on the external 2 sides.  Also externally are 3 string courses, each being some 16.5' apart, the central one being decorated with a billet ornament.  Above the top string course, the buttresses die back into the added upper storeys of the even newer tower keep just above the level of the old W pitched roof.  When the tower was raised in its third stage, the plinth was buried under a mound of earth some 10' high.  This was removed in the 1930s.  The interior of the old hall was also partially infilled to the same height as the ground level is now 8' higher than the external inner ward level.  This initial keep was entered from the east via the forebuildings where it was protected by a 5" thick door.  In the south wall is the remnant of an impressive chevron decorated 2 light window of a style also found in Goodrich castle keep.  There is also a domed fireplace, similar to one found in the keep at Rochester.  There is some similarity in this early hall conversion into a keep with the work done at Castle Acre.

The original keep later had its W roof removed and was raised by another 34', the alignment of the spiral stair changing 3' to the west into the corner buttress.  The newly formed upper room was only lit by one loop in the centre of the south wall and 2 in the west wall.  No access was made to this room via the buttress stair, so presumably it was reached via an internal wooden stairway.  The new fourth floor was entered via the stairwell and is lit by 2 square headed windows in each wall.  These are rebated for shutters.  The east and south facing windows are rectangular 2 lights under a round headed outer order.  These windows are v. plain and simpler than those in the keeps at Carrickfergus in Ireland and Houdan in Normandy.  The roof apparently lay on a set back 3' below an internal chamfered string course, below which is the crease of the roof leading.  The crosswall terminates at the level of the string course.  Above the string course the walls are set back and continue for a further 8' feet corresponding to an obvious change in masonry on the outside.  This marks the final heightening of the tower to take an almost flat roof and parapet.  Quite obviously the thickening of the base walls was required to allow the construction of first the original tower that encased the halls and then the final upper floor.  It seems likely that the south forebuilding with associated chapel was built at the same time as the first floor ‘halls' were raised into the initial tower keep as can be seen by the excavations of the 1970s.  Externally these additions to the tower are hard to see amongst the well laid ashlar, but occasionally narrow courses show up where the work has been altered to bring the ashlar into line. 

It was possibly only after the building of the inner ward curtain that the keep was raised in height again and the north forebuilding added, which required the destruction of this section of the old Roman north wall.  The forebuilding allowed access to the first floor entrance to the tower via a flight of steps that ran along the north Roman curtain, terminating at the entrance to the north forebuilding upper wall.  From here a platform over the pit between the two forebuildings allowed access to the first floor keep entrance.  This pit was later converted into a prison by building a blocking wall at the east end between the 2 forebuildings.  On the south side of the castle prison was the east to west running chapel set in the south forebuilding.  The barrel vaulted end of this still remains cut into the keep wall.  Subsequently the east wall of the forebuilding was extended out 6'2" and the chapel above enlarged.  Externally the new walls were bonded perfectly in ashlar.  Internally the join between the 2 works is obvious.  It is thought that around the time the forebuildings were constructed the domestic buildings to the north-west, south-west, south-east and west were also built.  It was probably in the fifteenth century that the upper room in the north forebuilding had the great and militarily undefendable oriel window added, probably by Henry VII (d.1509).

Inner Ward
It would seem likely that the inner ditch was cut around the time the keep was constructed.  This enclosed an area that included the earlier north hall and the west postern gate cut through the Roman wall to allow easy access to the exterior which was also ditched at this time some 20' beyond the Roman wall and swinging out around the new ‘halls' which protruded beyond the line of the Roman masonry defences in the north-west corner.  The south-west corner of this enclosure has never been excavated and it is impossible to say how this ditch functioned with there being no continuity due to the two Roman walls cutting through its course and the old Roman berm apparently remaining intact.

Some time after the digging of the ditch the inner ward wall was built, partially blocking the west postern.  This was later modified in the fourteenth century by Edward II who added a new, higher doorway.  It was finally fully blocked, probably under Richard II (d.1400).  Certainly the style of stonework in the new postern matches such a scenario.  This may also explain the irregular shape of the south-east bastion which has its gorge tightened to allow for the change of angle of the wall from right angle and the two side walls correspondingly further apart at its furthest face.

The curtain wall is built with a high quality ashlar facing and does not make a true rectangle, the south wall from the south-east bastion to the Roman wall cutting back towards the keep to make sure that the west postern remained outside the new defences.  Obviously allowing the west postern to still function was of importance to the builders.  Further it can be seen that the portions of Roman wall remaining on either side of the keep were altered at this time.  The west wall between the north side of the west postern and the keep was internally reduced in width by about a foot, as too was the north wall in the short 15' section running from the north forebuilding eastwards.  Presumably this thinning was to allow slightly more room in the forebuildings and the hall and service chamber south of the keep.  Such work for such minimal gains seems surprising.

The wall once had a wallwalk, of which the only remnants now are part of the parapet abutting the Assheton's tower and a U shaped gutter spout where the south curtain meets the west Roman wall.  Access to the north wallwalk on the Roman wall was gained via a round headed doorway in a possible parados in the ‘Norman' hall.  When the wall was heightened temp. Richard II some 3' of stairs were added in a mural passage to reach the new higher gun parapet.  A similar raising of the west Roman wall can be seen in the masonry.  Further the remains of the Ricardian battlements above this block out the sunlight into the keep stairwell and therefore should post date it.

Inner Gatehouse
The first gatehouse consisted of a rectangular projecting structure with 3 loops above, one in each of the external faces.  The external corners were nicked to first floor level in a similar manner to those of the south-east bastion.  All of the structure, inside and out, is encased in a fine Binstead limestone ashlar.  The second storey was reached via unknown means before a mostly destroyed spiral stair in the south-east corner continued to the battlements or a second floor.

On 3 occasions the gatehouse was extended outwards, each of these expansions, 1320s, 1380s and 1580s, seeming to be to utilised in adding an extra drawbridge pit, though how many of these were used at once is an open question, though apparently only one was ever operational at any one time.  There is no portcullis in the original gatetower, which suggests it as an early structure.  The portcullis was added in the first extension towards the moat.

South-East Bastion
Irregular projection with recessed external contours.  No loops on ground floor, though one may be blocked to the south-east, but there was an upper floor with one small loop in each front.  The chamfering in of the external corners of the castle are not a common feature, but they exist on various keep buttresses, namely at Moreton Corbet, a castle with a strong ‘Saxon' past, and Wattlesborough in Shropshire, Knepp and Guildford in Sussex, Corfe in Dorset and the inner gatehouse at Carlisle.  However all these are dissimilar to the gatehouse and bastion at Portchester in having buttresses with the nicks in.  Similar corner nicks can be seen in the ashlar quoins of the rubble tower in Civaux at the Tour aux Cognons in Vienne, France, supposedly built in the eleventh century.  However these nicks go up several storeys to battlement height.

South-West Bastion
This was a bastion of the Roman fort, which, like the north-west Roman bastion, was taken into the inner defences of the castle.  The tower was in use
in 1321 as ‘the king's wardrobe in the turret at the head of the hall' and fell sometime after 1733.

Assheton's Tower
During Richard II's rebuilding of the castle the foundations of the room in the north-east corner of the inner ward was massively reinforced and the rectangular tower built above.  There is little doubt that this was done under the command of the constable, Robert Assheton (1376-81), although the structure wasn't finished until 1385 when iron hinges and bolts were purchased for it and the roof was leaded.  Assheton was also responsible for acquiring 3 guns for the castle which came with 153 lbs of lead bullets that arrived in a barrel.

The new tower had two floors above the wallwalk which were designed as fighting platforms as well as the constable's most secure accommodation.  Interestingly the wallwalk passes through the tower at a different level to the interior rooms, but gives no access to the interior of the tower.  Access was only gained via the raised section of the Roman north wall via a flight of internal steps into the tower, thus the upper rooms were only accessible from the wallwalk to the west.  At near wallwalk level there were 5 loops of inverted keyholes design pointing away from the inner ward and obviously for use with late fourteenth century hand-guns.  Similar loops appear in the town wall at Southampton.  Two more loops may have been in the upper floor together with large rectangular windows which may have replaced others.  Entrance to the tower was only gained from the north hall at the two lower levels and from the north wallwalk on the level above.  In the basement of the tower was a cess pit to the south that exited into the inner ward ditch to the east.  On the first floor was a garderobe entered from the hall to the west.

West Postern
South of the west Roman bastion is a 2 phase blocked doorway some 3' above current ground level, which was lowered from the medieval level in the 1930s.  The larger door has plain jambs, some of local Quarr stone, and has tentatively been dated as ‘Norman', although where it fits into the castle design is uncertain.  This was partially blocked in the fourteenth and a new smaller doorway of Bembridge stone inserted nearly 5' higher up.  This seems to be of a similar build to the first extension to the inner ward gatehouse.  This passage was subsequently crudely blocked with ashlar.

West Range
This was 51'x16' internally and was possibly built soon after the curtain with the south-west range, but totally rebuilt from the foundations up in fourteenth century.  Foundations 1' deep lie on the natural brick earth.  There are remains of an original fireplace in the north part of range, while there are traces of a rectangular ‘Norman' door base that joined to the south-west range hard against the east wall.  Before the fourteenth century a new north wall was added to make a garderobe emptying through the Roman wall hard against the keep.  This seems to have served the buildings of the forebuilding cluster.  The entire range was systematically rebuilt for Richard II.

South-West Range
Originally 42'x23' internally and built on similar foundations to the west range.  Again rebuilt in fourteenth century from ground up and expanded east to be 65'x23' .  To the east of the door to west range are the remains of an early arcade, being supported on small columns, with an inner order of zigzag.  Again these bear comparison with the surviving windows in the keep at Goodrich castle.  Below the arcade is a single course of ashlar before original ground level - above is a patch of high quality ashlar.  Slate was purchased in 1180 and fragments of slate were found in the courtyard when excavated.  The entire range was systematically rebuilt for Richard II.

South-East Range
This was probably built at the same time as the west ranges.  It was 20' wide and stretched from the east wall to the gatehouse.  Internally it was unequally divided to cut the bastion area off from the main accommodation.  The entire range had a fireplace centrally in the north wall which projected to the exterior, though it was later blocked off.  It lay towards the east end of the 17' long west end of the range.  The west wall was totally rebuilt in the seventeenth century, while the north wall was mostly refaced and the partition walls around the bastion totally demolished at the same time. 

North Range
The North range was built against the Roman north wall of the fort and was 62' by 19' internally.  Despite the 1930s clearance and the fourteenth and seventeenth century alterations it can be seen to have originally been a hall standing above an inserted 3 bay vaulted undercroft.  The basement floor was 3' beneath current ground level.  The superstructure was built of coursed flint rubble while the corner was strengthened with shallow clasping buttresses faced with Binstead limestone ashlar as too apparently was the interior judging from the single course that survives.  The room was repeatedly rebuilt with buttresses being added to the south wall and the pilaster buttresses being done away with.  The original wooden approach via the west end was rebuilt in stone in the thirteenth century and was still in use in 1733.  The south wall and east end were demolished in the fourteenth century when the new east range was built.  The 1930s clearances removed all trace of the stratigraphy, but it has been suggested that the hall may predate the keep.  The postern cut through the Roman curtain next to the keep in the north range would appear to date to the 
fourteenth century

East Range
This was created in the early thirteenth century by simply building a wall between the SE and north ranges and moving the well westwards.  This appears to have first been used as a kitchen (judging by the burning on the curtain wall) and then for industry and finally as a roofless storehouse.  In the seventeenth century the windows were replaced and a second storey added in ashlar, whose weight was partially supported by 2 new buttresses. 

Centrally between the south-east and north range was the castle well.  This is 30' deep and is lined in fine ashlar.  It was probably dug in the 
fourteenth century when the east range was constructed as the disturbed nature of the soil to the east suggests it was moved some 7' west when the east range was constructed.

The Dating of the Castle
The current dating of the castle is highly insecure as the excavators readily admit:

Archaeological evidence for dating is sparse: the curtain wall post dates the filling of a pit which contained Portchester ware for which an eleventh century date is probable.  Elsewhere no datable material was found in association with these early structures...  Architecturally the early keep... is likely to pre-date Rochester (1127-9) but has significant similarities to Corfe... erected by Henry I.

As the date of the erection of Rochester and Corfe are actually unknown and there is no tangible evidence that Rochester was erected in 1127 - see Rochester comments - the argument is totally circular and contains not a scrap of reliable evidence.  The same can be said for the north hall for where the excavators found ‘no relevant archaeological dating evidence', but for which they then proceeded to imply must date to the early twelfth century.  All that can really be said is that it post dates the Roman wall and predates the thirteenth century rebuilding by a considerable time.

Why not join me at other Great British Castles in October?  Please see the information on tours at Scholarly Sojourns.


Copyright©2019 Paul Martin Remfry