Mound Trust Lecture


Monday 13th September 2021, Ellis Theatre

Marlborough as a Royal Castle

Introducing a new history of the Marlborough Mound and Marlborough Castle edited by Dr Richard Barber

In 2022, a new history of the Marlborough Mound and Marlborough Castle will be published, with contributions from experts who have given previous Mound lectures.

Writing about the medieval history of the castle is difficult as historians of the period tell us very little and there are almost no remains at all of the castle itself. Instead, we have a mass of entries in the royal accounts, which have been specially transcribed for the Mound Trust. These were expected to produce new information about the buildings. Unexpectedly, there is far more information about the use of the castle by the king in the 12th and 13th centuries, so this talk will focus on the activities of King John and, particularly, of Henry III.

The result is a history of the castle in terms of the people who lived there, rather than its architecture, which is a highly unusual approach: few other castles have been portrayed in this way. There are some intriguing scenarios – John assembling his treasure at Marlborough to compile a list of his wealth, Henry III reshaping the royal chambers after his marriage to his beloved Eleanor of Provence, the garden he built for her, and even the fishponds which became a considerable local industry.

The new book captures the systematic restoration of the Marlborough Mound under the auspices of the Mound Trust and explores the history of this most remarkable of monuments