Weeting Castle was a small manor house built by a tenant of William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey in the twelfth century. The design was based a Norman house within the Earl’s major fortress at Castle Acre and was occupied for around 200 years. Thereafter it came into the possession of the powerful Howard family who abandoned it.
HISTORY OF WEETING CASTLE
Despite the name, Weeting Castle was never anything other than a lightly defended manor house. Although the site itself was seemingly occupied during the Saxon period, the castle itself was built circa-1180 by Hugh de Plais who held the lands as a tenant of the powerful Norman magnate William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey. The Earl's powerbase was centred on Castle Acre and the design of a country house within its Inner Bailey provided the inspiration for Weeting.
The castle was centred around a Great Hall which dominated much of the structure. Built to impress it would have been lavishly decorated with tapestries, plate and ornate stonework - all designed to articulate the status of the owner. A small service area, probably including a pantry and buttery (a wine storage), existed at the north end of the Hall but the bulk of the supporting facilities, in particular the Kitchen, would have been located in separate buildings in order to reduce the risk of fire plus to ensure suitable class separation. Accommodation was catered for by a three-storey block connected to the south end of the Great Hall.
Weeting remained in the possession of the de Plais family throughout the thirteenth century and was later augmented with a water filled moat built for purely symbolic value rather than defensive reasons. Towards the end of the fourteenth century it passed through marriage to the powerful Howard family. As their prominence continued to rise, they had little use for a small manor house such as Weeting and accordingly it was abandoned and left to ruin.