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Stansted Mountfitchet Castle facts for kids

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Stansted Mountfitchet Castle
Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, England
Mountfitchet Castle - geograph.org.uk - 904600.jpg
The entrance to the castle
Coordinates 51°54′10″N 0°12′03″E / 51.9029°N 0.2007°E / 51.9029; 0.2007Coordinates: 51°54′10″N 0°12′03″E / 51.9029°N 0.2007°E / 51.9029; 0.2007
Site information
Open to
the public
Yes
Site history
Materials Stone and timber

Stansted Mountfitchet Castle, also termed simply Mountfitchet Castle, is a Norman ringwork and bailey fortification in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, England. The site is currently in use as a Living history museum, complete with livestock that would have been kept by people during the period that the castle was in use.

History

Mountfitchet Castle - geograph.org.uk - 188986
Reconstructed interior of the castle with free roaming chickens

The castle was built following the Norman conquest of England by the Mountfitchet family. It was constructed on high ground with a ringwork defence, enclosing around 0.5 acres (0.20 ha), and a bailey complex, enclosing 1 acre (0.40 ha) on slightly lower ground. Within the ringwork was a keep, within a small, round enclosure.

It is believed to have been an early Iron Age fort and Roman, Saxon and Viking settlement. Artefacts found on the site from these periods support this belief. In 1066 the site was attacked by the Normans and Robert Gernon built his castle here, making it his chief seat and the head of his Barony. Robert Gernon (or Robert Greno as he is referred to in the Domesday Book) came over from France with William the Conqueror, and was rewarded with this Lordship and several others in the County.The male line of the Gernon family continued for only five generations.

Mountfitchet Castle is a national Historic Monument, protected by the Department of the Environment. In the 1980s the castle was reconstructed as a tourist attraction.The grounds were cleared to reveal the original earthworks and mounds and after years of battling with planners, in 1980 the work began to reconstruct Mountfitchet Castle. After many years of work, the restoration of Mountfitchet Castle was complete and was opened to the public in 1985 and is unique as being the only wooden Motte and Bailey reconstruction on its original site anywhere in the world. Mountfitchet Castle and Norman Village as it is today enables the visitor to travel back in time to 1066 Norman England. A living history, hands-on and interactive experience.

In 2013, one of the castle's cockerels, a Light Brahma named 'Little John', was nominated for the world record for tallest chicken, standing at 66 centimetres tall.

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