Orford Castle (England)
Robert Malet was a Norman nobleman and important landowner in the late 11th century. Around 1100, he founded the town of Orford on the Suffolk coast near a projecting stretch of land now called Orford Ness. This piece of land created a naturally sheltered harbour, and Orford flourished as a port.
When Malet died in 1105 his lands in England passed to King Henry I, who in turn gave them to his nephew Stephen de Blois in 1113. Stephen declared himself king in 1135 when Henry I died, and the country descended into civil war. The Earl of Suffolk, Hugh Bigod, sided with Matilda, Henry I’s only surviving legitimate child, and tried to use the war to bolster his already considerable power in East Anglia.
Stephen declared his own son, William, Earl of Suffolk, and gave him land in the county including the Honour of Eye (a large collection of estates) which contained Orford. Though the war ended in 1153 with Stephen remaining king but recognising Matilda’s son as his successor, the two groups in East Anglia remained at loggerheads.