March 2011: Betchworth Castle: Martin Higgins

We expected the story of Betchworth Castle would be an interesting one – and it was.  But we had not anticipated what else we would learn: for example that Westcott was the home of one of the few fortified manor houses in Surrey, a house known as Black Hawes.  And it seems that much of the stone for Betchworth Castle when it was built around 1377 could have come from Westcott.  But that is a bit of a parochial view of the exciting story of a ‘castle’ that rose, declined, and rose again, with famous names like Sloan and Hope passing through the narrative.  Martin Higgins gave us a fascinating insight into what it is to be the owner of a local castle “bought for” £1!