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The original castle at Nottingham was a wooden structure built in the earliest Norman times, on the high crag above the town. In 1068 William the Conqueror, on his way to suppress a revolt in York, passed through Nottingham where he ordered his son William Peveril to build a motte and bailey castle. The rock's location provided an easily defensible site commanding the crossing of the River Trent that linked the main road between London and the north. Nottingham Castle became the principal royal fortress for the next five centuries. Despite being defended on the south side by the River Leen, King Henry I felt it prudent to replace the curtain wall with stone in 1170. The whole structure followed this same route under Henry II and by the 13th century it was a powerful midland stronghold. Prince (later King) John spent a lot of time here while his brother, Richard I, was away on Crusade. From the battlements, he hanged two Welsh boys whom he was holding as hostages and a curse has hung over the building ever since. Richard I, on returning from Crusade, turned up here unannounced, only to be sent away by the disbelieving garrison. He laid siege to the castle but soon gained entry and hanged most of those who had opposed him. Edward II also stayed there during his Northern perambulation. It is not however, the King, whom Robin Hood usually encountered at the Castle, but the Sheriff of Nottingham. Despite being engrained in the modern legend, the Constable of Nottingham Castle may be meant here, for the castle was not the domain of the Sheriff. Legend has it that it was also here that Robin was taken after his capture at St. Mary's Church, but Little John & Much the Miller's Son tricked their way into the Castle and rescued him. Little John also spent some much time here serving the Sheriff in the guise of one Reynold Greenleaf. He made friends with the Cook and they plotted together, emptied the Sheriff's treasury and ran off into Sherwood. The only ancient part of the castle still standing today is the, mostly 14th century, gatehouse. It was extensively restored in Victorian times and now houses the castle shop. There are also excavated foundations of the Round Tower (1270), middle bailey curtain wall and King Richard's Tower of Care (15th century). By the time of the Civil War, the buildings were already in a ruinous state due to their being built of poor local sandstone. After the restoration of King Charles II in 1660, title to Nottingham Castle passed to the Duke of Newcastle whose ambition was to erect a new and modern building. Although over 70 years-of-age he began the project with enthusiasm. Every remaining stone of the old Castle was removed and several feet of rock itself cut away as a platform for the new house. The Duke only lived long enough to see the start of his mansion though his son carried it on to completion in 1679. Built in the form of an elongated oblong, the mansion had two wings running westwards. The principal rooms on the first floor were the State Rooms for royalty, a hall, drawing room, library, dining room and gallery and so the regal splendour of the old Castle returned for a time, providing residence for Queen Anne and successive Dukes of Newcastle, one of whom became Prime Minister twice. With the industrialisation of the town the mansion's attraction gradually diminished and by 1750 the Duke's visits had come to an end. Converting the building into apartments, the Duke rented them off to wealthy tenants. This is the state of the 17th century palladian mansion which is seen here. It was gutted by fire (see NTGM002805 for an illustration of this and details of the circumstances which caused it to happen) in the 1830s, burnt by a rioting mob and was not rebuilt until 1877. It now houses the Nottingham City Museum & Art Gallery.