Tong Castle in the late 13th century
This article forms part of Alan Wharton's Report No. 4 on the Tong Castle excavation published in September 1986. The text and illustrations do not form part of the Discovering Tong book.
There was a further increased need for a more residential use of the castle as both the home for the Lord of the Manor and for entertaining visiting Courts and their entourage. This would have been necessary when, in July 1296, a fourth Inquisition sitting was held at Tong to decide as to who held the Manor of Tong, and this would have placed considerable demands on the buildings and the resources at Tong Castle in order to cope with the numbers of people involved in the holding of the sitting.
The curtain wall across the north end of the inner ditch was widened and strengthened so that a building could be built on top of the wall, with the east end being filled in to provide a rough buttress for supporting the end of the building. The building was presumably used to accommodate the number of attendant and the general domestic rubbish in the inner ditch fill from the building, and against the base of the building wall, reflected this occupation.
To erect the buttress building along the eastern edge of the inner ditch and onto the Keep building, necessitated the cutting through of the south inner ditch curtain wall, and from the evidence of the hearths against the inside of the curtain wall, it would suggest that the inner ditch at the south end was partly filled in at this stage. The ashlar faced stonework and the corner buttress especially along with stonework excavated from the inner ditch adjacent to the building shows the building architecturally to be of the c.1280 period.
Excavation along the Keep outer wall produced painted glass suggesting the use of the building as a chapel or for other religious purposes which would be in line with the architectural form. A further small stone building was located behind the north east round watch tower of the Keep area, but there was nothing to suggest its use and the artefacts were generally of the late 13th century.
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