Castle Baynard

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Castle Baynard

On the north bank of the Thames, immediately below St. Paul's, in the line of Upper Thames street, stood two Castles, all traces of which have long since disappeared, with the exception of the name of one of them which is still known as Castle Baynard, in which it was situated.

Castle Baynard was so called after its founder, William Baynard, a nobleman and lord of Dunmow, who came in with William the Conqueror. Fitzstephen, who wrote in the reign of Henry II., describes it as a considerable building in his time; and Gervasius of Tilbury, a contemporary writer, speaks of two castles, built with walls and ramparts, one belonging to Baynard, the other to Baron Montfichet.

The Castle of Montfichet stood to the west of Castle Baynard. It was founded by Gilbert de Monfichet, a native of Rouen who was related to the Conqueror. He brought with him a great force and fought at the Battle of Hastings. This tower was demolished by King John in 1213, after banishing Richard, successor to Gilbert, the actual owner. The materials were reused in 1276 to construct the monastery of Blackfriars.

Baynard, the founder of Castle Baynard, dying in the reign of William Rufus, left the castle to his son Geoffrey, from whom it came to William Baynard. William forfeited his barony of Little Dunmow, and "honour of Baynard's Castle" and both were conferred by Henry I. on Robert Fitzwalter, the son of Gilbert, Earl of Clare, in whose family it remained for three centuries.

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