Berkhamsted Castle will feature in the first episode of a three part BBC television series tonight.
From William the Conqueror to Queen Victoria, the BBC 4 series traces the story of Britain’s castles and their unique role in history, art and literature.
Castles have always been romanticised, especially in Britain.
They have been incorporated into folklore, witnessed bloody battles, played host to the great and the good, and been kept alive in the imagination by the world’s great writers and artists.
Always spectacular, it has often been their power to inspire that has made them such special places.
In episode one, historian Dr Sam Willis tells the story of the castle in Britain.
The castle is said to have arrived with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
Soon Norman Motte and Bailey castles were spreading across the land – like the one at Berkhamsted.
The Normans did encounter resistance, like that offered by the walled city of Exeter.
After a siege William took the town and ordered the building of Rougemont Castle.
The keep is one of the oldest Norman structures in country.
Dr Willis finds out about how the castle was home to the new elite and how castles symbolised the new ruling power. During the series he investigates many castles across the country and learns how even the food served in a castle was a reminder of status and power.
The programme airs at 9pm.