The Gatehouse

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The Gatehouse

The gate, with towers on either side, led into the outer courtyardor ward enclosed by the curtain wall.

The bishop’s general manager or Seneschal lodged within the ward. He was responsible for the bishop’s Manor Courts at Farnham and other nearby manors. Other servants, responsible for the daily running of the manor farms and castle, lived in quarters close by.

Soldiers stayed in a guardroom by the gate for soldiers. The guard probably came with the bishop or other important visitors and did not live permanently at the castle.

Once, a deep ditch lay between the gatehouse and the castle buildings. A wall of dead thorn bushes protected the ditch. A drawbridge crossed it. Access to the Palace was through a tower or ‘porch’. Bishop Waynflete replaced this in 1470 with a larger tower, an early example of building in brick.

Early in the English Civil War, Farnham Castle was in the hands of the Royalists. Parliament sent a regiment of horse and a regiment of dragoons under the command of Colonel Sir William Waller. On 26th November 1642, after a three-hour assault outside the gatehouse, the central gate was blown up with a petard. The soldiers fought their way into the outer courtyard and Waller led an attack on the Keep. The ill-trained Royalist soldiers soon surrendered.

Brooks, P.D. (1985) Farnham Castle, The Forgotten Years. Farnham & District Museum Society

Spring, L. and Hall, D. (2002) Farnham in the Civil War and the Commonwealth. Farnham & District Museum Society