Welcome back to Hertford – A History Part 7!
Although the original shape of the old motte and bailey castle still stands, it was around 1153 that the new ‘modern day’ castle was built up to what we can see in stone now. Following on from the 18 year civil war between Henry 1’s daughter Matilda and his first nephew Stephen of Bois, it was Henry II who enlarged and strengthened the castle and included it in a place along the outer lines of defences north of London, with Windsor, Berkhampstead, Bishop’s Stortford and Rayleigh. This work cost in todays money a considerable amount, nearly £10,000.
Protected on the north side by the River Lee and on the other sides by a high wall and moat. The outer wall was enclosed by a second moat which ran along the line of Castle Street, Parliament Row and The Wash, the fort covered an area of about 7 ¾ acres. Along the outer wall gatehouses and drawbridges gave entrance to the outer enclosures from points in the streets mentioned. You can still see the massive flint rubble wall today which is about 7 feet thick. The big arch present in the Castle grounds probably was the gatehouse into the outer enclosure. The inner sanctions of the fort housed the king’s residence and the garrison.
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