Fotheringhay

photo of Fotheringhay castle moundphoto of section of wall from keep


Fotheringhay or Fotheringay either is correct.

This small village in Northamptonshire lies 3½ miles from the market town of Oundle. The castle was founded about 1100 by Simon de Senlis, Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon. When he died the castle passed to Prince David of Scotland on his marriage to Maud/Margaret, Simon's widow. It would remain in Scottish ownership until King John confiscated it in the early 13th century. The castle was built as a traditional Motte & Bailey with a water moat and a polygonal timber keep.

The castle became a popular residence of Richard Duke of York and his wife Cecily Neville and became in 1452 the birthplace of Richard III. He only resided until he was about 6 years of age. When Henry VIII married Katherine of Aragon he gave the castle to her and she used a large amount of her own money to improve the accommodation. All Henry's wives were given the castle on their marriage. Katherine was buried in nearby Peterborough Cathedral .

The biggest claim to fame for the castle was to come in 1586/7 when Mary Stuart Queen of Scots was brought from Chartley in Staffordshire to stand trial for treason against her cousin Elizabeth I and was subsequently beheaded in July 1587. This followed from Mary fleeing Scotland in 1567 and asking Elizabeth for shelter and help. Instead Elizabeth held her prisoner for 20 years. Fotheringhay had by this time become a royal prison due to the marshy surrounding ground. Mary was also buried in Peterborough Cathedral but moved to Westminster Abbey after her son James VI/I came to the English throne.

By 1635 the castle was in a ruinous state and the stones were used for various local buildings.

The first photo shows the remaining mound on the right, with Fotheringhay Church in the left background. The second shows the small remaining section of the wall of the keep.


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