Tong Castle in the mid 13th century

This article forms part of Alan Wharton's Report No. 4 on the Tong Castle excavation published in September 1986. The text and illustrations do not form part of the Discovering Tong book.

Mid 13th Century Castle

Alan la Zouche, grandson of the first Alan la Zouche, succeeded to the Tong Estate and saw a relative period of stability, after the series of forfeitures of the estate to the Crown, which ended with Alan la Zouche paying all the outstanding fines in return for the estate being brought back into the family.

The 13th century in general saw the need for a more residential form of building whilst retaining the elements of the defensive nature of the original castle. This was achieved at Tong Castle by additions to the castle rather than that of a completely new building as so often happened during this period.

The building of the Angular Tower to the west of the Keep area, over the original entrance to the defensive area, increased the residential use of the castle and with this came the need for a substantial kitchen building with its numerous ovens and hearths to cater for the increased 'household'. The original use of the Keep building must have continued into the 13th century as a small rubbish pit was located at the south east corner of the building.

A further smaller building in the Keep courtyard, with its heavily burnt cobbled flooring, suggested its use for some form of 'industrial' activity, and the heavily sooted sandstone and bronze fragments found amongst the building's demolition rubble points to the use of the building for bronze smelting or working. The curtain wall was extended from the Keep area across the inner ditch to the front courtyard area on the north and south sides, and whilst still retaining a defensive role, it also totally enclosed the whole castle site.

Click here to go to the late 13th century castle - the next in the sequence of Tong Castles or here to go to the index page with information about the Tong archaeological excavation.

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