Devizes Castle, Wiltshire

The building that calls itself Devizes Castle today is an 1842 rebuild, but the title is an honourable one, for Devizes was probably the most important medieval Castle in Wiltshire.

This building still occupies the much adulterated motte built by Roger de Caen in the 1120s. Roger was Bishop of Salisbury, but during the Anarchy he backed Queen Matilda. King Stephen captured Roger and held him hostage to force Devizes Castle to surrender.  Once the fighting was over de Caen lost all his lands, and Devizes Castle followed the familiar pattern of numerous different owners until it began to fall into decline in the Tudor period.

As the Civil War approached the Royalists fixed up the Castle and garrisoned it. After the Battle of Roundway Down (1642) the garrison was relieved by a Royalist force...two years later Cromwell himself laid siege to the Castle and captured it.  After this the Castle was badly slighted and most of the remains were allowed to fall into decay.

During the building of the new Castle remains were found of a curtain wall and tower, but nothing medieval is now visible from above ground.

The Castle is a private residence, but if approached by letter beforehand the owners are very amenable to visitors.

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