Tutbury Castle was built in 1071, following the Norman invasion of 1066 as a reminder of the new rulers. Built on the site of an old Anglo-Saxon fort, it was originally a timber motte and bailey castle. It was given to one of William the Conqueror's soldiers, Henry de Ferrers, as reward for his loyalty and it stayed in the hands of the de Ferrers family who later were awarded the title of Earl of Derby. In the mid-thirteenth century the de Ferrers family became embroiled in the Second Barons War and the castle was attacked by Lord Edward (later Edward I) on behalf of his father, Henry III. Further rebellions meant that Tutbury Castle saw a few different owners. It was partially destroyed during the English Civil War in the 1640s.
It sits on a hill overlooking the twisty River Dove and has great views over the hills of Derbyshire, if you can make it up the tower's tiny steps to have a look. Ruins now, of course, but there is still enough left of the building for a day out, school trips and, over the last ten years or so, a popular site for weddings, including the feast in the great hall. It is still in undeveloped land, woodland, streams and fields, and I know I'm nearly home when I see the ruined walls poking into the sunset. I live about fifteen minutes away in Burton-upon-Trent.
Famous visitors include Henry VIII, Queen Isabella, but the castle is most famous for being one of the prisons of Mary Queen of Scots. She was imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth I four times and it is thought that Tutbury is where she planned to overthrow Elizabeth, the plot that eventually led to her execution.
This year there is a ghost hunt on Halloween at Tutbury Castle. Plus, around the time of Bonfire Night, every year there is a Viking battle and funeral show with a wonderful fireworks display to follow. Great stuff.
Other 11th century castles include Lincoln, Windsor, Tamworth