Permission had to be granted by the King before a castle could be built. This permission could also sometimes be given by a lord or earl who had the blessing of the king. If a castle was built without this licence it would be demolished. During times of uncertainty an unauthorised castle might stand for some time before the ruling monarch either had it pulled down or officially agreed it could stay. These unauthorised castles are known as adulterine castles…
One particularly tumultuous period was in the mid twelfth century during ‘The Anarchy’, when the death in 1135 of Henry I led to a struggle between his daughter Empress Matilda and nephew Stephen of Blois. Stephen was declared King in 1135 but upon his death in 1154 Henry II, son of Matilda, succeeded the throne.
This is my latest discovery and I decided to make a list of the knowna and suspected adulterine castles as I search online. If you know of one that I don’t find – even if it no longer exists – please share the information. I will gladly return to this post and update it.
Newbury Castle, Berkshire
Kilkhampton Castle, Cornwall *
Truro Castle, Cornwall *
Bothamsall Castle Hill *
Worksop Castle, Nottinghamshire *
Castle Acre, Norfolk *
Walkern Bury Castle, Hertfordshire
Bengeworth Castle, Worcestershire
* Sites where this information was found stated that these castles were possibly adulterine.