An edited summary of the article in the first edition of “Years Gone By,” a magazine published on Canvey some years ago.
“Once the property of Hubert de Burgh after Henry III granted the manor of Hadleigh to that famous Justiciar, this Norman Castle stood proud in its day, from its vantage point overlooking the Thames.
Now only ruins of our heritage remain. There is no evidence of fortifications there before 1230 AD. Somewhat surprisingly it appears to have been one of the last Norman Castles to be built; the location being obviously important.
Hubert fell out of favour and Hadleigh was one of the four castles he returned to the King. The Sheriff of Essex surveyed the Castle after the Constable, Stephen de Salines, was replaced in 1256. There had been major damage to roofs and walls.
Work was finally undertaken during the reign of Edward II, to repair the curtain wall, the hall, kitchen, larder and cellar. The barbican was altered and a new chamber installed above the main gate.
For the first 130 years, the Castle probably had an octagonal bailey with a projecting support wall housing small angled towers and an East-facing entrance. The design varied considerably from the motte and bailey structures in areas nearby.
During the reigns of all three King Edwards, Hadleigh Castle was noted in records as being part of the Queen’s dower.
In 1551, it was granted by Edward VI to Lord Rich.”
Full-size oil sketch of Hadleigh Castle for the painting now in the Yale Center for British Art.
John Constable submitted the finished work for the exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1829.