Folkingham Castle

often spelled "Falkingham" in old records.

The history of Folkingham Castle over the centuries is intricately tied into the proud tapestry of the families and defenders of the castle. Folkingham can be tracked through the centuries in annals of Lincolnshire. Before the Norman Conquest of 1066, Folkingham had been the chief estate in this area of Ulf of Fenisc, a great Saxon landowner. Ownership back beyond Ulf's time is hard to determine.

Folkingham Castle like many castles of England traces its construction after the Conquest of England by Norman King William I. (see battle of hastings) In 1066, William the Conqueror gave vast estates to Baron Gilbert de Gant (or Gaunt), his nephew and a General in the Norman army, in return for his service. Folkingham was the seat of de Gaunt's estate. It was recorded as "Folchingeham" in the 1086 Domesday Book.

According to Gaxetteer records, Gilbert de Gaunt is recorded as holding a Saturday Market as early as 1239 & a Fair on May 3 of 1281. When Gilbert de Gaunt died in 1298 his estates went to Henry Beaumont. By 1307, Folkingham had been granted a fair to Henry Beaumont. In 1321, as some records indicate, Henry de Beaumont built "or rebuilt" a castle at Folkingham, but little remains of this medieval moated castle, of which the earthworks can still be traced. King Edward II granted Folkingham a market and as some records indicate, seven annual fairs. It has also been noted that King Edward III stayed in the castle in 1331.

A short list of some of those families who may have acted as defenders for Folkingham Castle include;
  1. Saxon Ulf of Fenisc
  2. de Ghent (Gaunt) "Related to King William I".
  3. de Beaumont related to Ghent & Plantagenet families.
  4. de Everingham - Katherine (Everingham) Beaumont's dau. & grandchildren were born in Folkingham Castle & related to King Henry III of England & King Henry I of France.
  5. Botreaux
  6. Willoughby

Folkingham, "a small but ancient and well-built market town, is pleasantly situated on the Lincoln and London road, on the southern acclivity of a picturesque valley, 3 miles W. of Billingborough Railway station, on the Bourn and Sleaford branch of the Great Northern system, 9 miles N. of Bourn and S. of Sleaford, and 12 miles E. by S. of Grantham."
SOURCE: White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire, 1872

Each castle and estate carried the weight of centuries of history, and much of Folkingham's history is currently unknown.