Inside the lair of the She-Wolf of France: why you should visit Castle Rising

A seat of the Plantagenets and once home to Isabella, wife of King Edward II, this fortress is a trip that satisfies the mind, lifts the spirit and takes its visitors back in time Castle Rising castle. Once you say it, there’s no obvious place to stop: “Castle-Rising-castle-rising … castle … rising … castle.” This chant would come, without fail, from the back of the car as we headed past fields of lavender, between high hedgerows, down narrow lanes leading to nowhere except, yes, Castle Rising: the tiny village with almshouses, ancient cottages and abundant gardens; the handsome church, its ornate west front heavily restored but still a thing of Norman glory; and, dominating the low landscape, the castle itself. It wasn’t just the name that held such charm. (Rising apparently comes from Hrsing, meaning “dwellers at the brushwood place”; poetic but none too helpful.) The attraction of the magnificent 12th-century keep, earthworks and associated buildings was its sense of remoteness, of a place forgotten. On the edge of the Fens, close to the Wash, the castle sits in the mysterious flatlands of north-west Norfolk. The lost village of Babingley nearby – taking its name from the river that meanders through the marshes between castle and sea – heightens this mood of isolation. Continue reading...

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