Hadleigh Castle Landslip
The ruins of two towers, one almost standing to its original height, and some of its curtain wall are all that remain of Hadleigh Castle overlooking the Thames estuary and Essex marshes.
Hadleigh Castle is situated on the edge of an ancient cliff of London Clay which was cut by the Thames about 27,000 years ago, during one of the coldest periods of the Ice Age. The cliff was abandoned by the river at least 10,000 years ago and since then there have been a considerable number of landslips as the ground attempts to regain a stable slope. The ground is still actively land slipping (the largest slide in historical times occurred in the late 19th century) and it may be at least another 10,000 years before it reaches an angle of stability.
The abandoned cliff line stretches all the way from South Benfleet to Leigh-on-Sea and forms the southern edge of the high ground of the Rayleigh Hills. Landslips occur at a number of places but they are most visible at Hadleigh, and the severe effects on the medieval castle can be clearly seen. Hadleigh Castle therefore provides an excellent example of land slipped ground, in an impressive setting overlooking the Thames estuary. It is a vivid reminder of one of the processes that have shaped, and continue to shape, the surface of the Earth.
To claim this earthcache you will need to perform four tasks:
1. Facing the South West tower (looking north) estimate the angle from the vertical it has slipped.
2. Looking at the mortar, what common (for around here) constituent makes up part of it.
3. What is the type of stone that the castle is built from and where likely is it from?
4. Take a picture of your GPSr at the co-ordinates N51º 32.6702’ E00º 36.5092, looking North, and what is written on the plaque- don’t include this in your photo.
Message me the answers to the tasks at the same time as you log your find. Post your picture with your log.
The construction of the castle began in 1230. It was built for Hubert de Burgh, who had been Chief Justiciar to King John and had acted as regent for the young King Henry III. Hubert's relationship with the young Henry did not remain amicable and Henry confiscated Hadleigh Castle. Henry continued the building work and substantial additions were made in the mid 14th century by Edward III, it is these later additions that are most visible today.
It became the custom for Hadleigh to be granted to a tenant for life, reverting to the King on their death. By tradition the tenants were usually the king's consort, most notably belonging to three of King Henry VIII's wives - Catherine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr. In 1551, King Edward VI sold the property, allowing its stone to be used for other building projects.
Years of neglect and the effects of land subsidence had left the castle in ruins by the 17th century, but two towers constructed in the era of Edward III still remain.One of the three-storey towers at the eastern side built from rubble with ashlar dressings stands to nearly full height and has narrow rectangular windows in the upper levels. The second tower has not fared as well, appearing to have partially disintegrated in the landslip and consequently has lost approximately two-thirds of its form. Some sections of the curtain exist, the foundations of the great hall, two solars, and the kitchen remain. There is also a barbican which once stood adjacent to a swing-bridge.