Framlingham is one of the most iconic places in the East Anglian medieval landscape; mostly this is because it is one of the very few places that has survived into the modern era relatively unscathed, but it is also an impressive structure — even if it is not as large as some other castles or not as well-defined as others.
The story of Framlingham is the story of the Bigods and these guys were keen. As demonstrated at Bungay, the Bigods liked building castles and they also liked building structures such that their power would be as well-defined as the royal one. In this key, Norfolk and Suffolk share a list of places where the Bigodian and Crown rivalry has resulted in castles meant to oppose each other.
Another instance where the Bigod name comes up is in a dispute between Roger Bigod IV and Edward I, where the King demanded Roger’s military service: “By God, O Earl, you shall either go or hang!” Roger’s opinion differed considerably, demonstrated in his reply: “By God, O King, I shall neither go nor hang!” And he didn’t.
I liked this place though I think it does not deserve the hype. I would be as happy if some of the other castles had survived to the degree instead of Framlingham, but from the point of view of what can be done and arranged here, it’s a pretty good sight. The grand bailey here is also quite a sight though not as clear-cut as, for example, Castle Acre, because it seems to me that most of the flanks have gradually become indistinguishable from the rest of the landscape.
What I liked doing here was a walk around the place in the base of the ditch surrounding the motte. After all, what better place to assess the masonry than where a potential attacker would have investigated it from?
Of course, another aspect which should be mentioned is the recent popularisation of the place by Ed Sheeran. I am not much of a fan of him, but I like this song and the sentiment in it though it doesn’t have much to do with castles and just any old place we grew up at would do. Yet, this was the place for him; and perhaps this can serve as a reminder to us that everywhere is important to someone.