CASTLE RISING, a village of Norfolk, England, 4 m. by road N.E. of King’s Lynn. The Norman castle for which it is famous stands on slightly elevated ground overlooking, to the west, the low marshy coast of the Wash. Its site is enclosed by artificial ramparts of earth and a dyke which is crossed by an ancient bridge. The keep is square and massive, and fairly perfect, and it is not difficult to reconstruct the arrangement of the rooms. In some parts, especially the entrance, the Norman carving is very rich. The foundations of a small chapel with apsidal eastern termination have been discovered outside the castle. The village of Castle Rising is the decayed remnant of a town of no little importance. Its church of St Laurence is late Norman, with much rich ornamentation; it shows traces of considerable alterations in the Early English period, but is an admirable example of the earlier style.
It is a matter of dispute whether Rising was or was not an early Saxon settlement; in Domesday Book the manor is given as having belonged to Archbishop Stigand, from whom it had passed to Odo of Bayeux, whose estates were confiscated in 1088. Granted to William de Albini, whose son built Rising Castle, it passed first to Robert de Montalt, and then by sale to Isabel, queen of England, in 1332, remaining in the possession of the crown until Henry VIII. exchanged it for other lands with the duke of Norfolk. In 1269 an inquisition found that the lord had the return of all writs. In 1275 Robert de Montalt died seised of the manor and vill with the assize of bread and ale. An inquisition of 1379, although it makes no mention of the borough, states that the lord has the rents of assizes, and perquisites of the courts with view of frank-pledge. A mayor is first mentioned in 1343, and a borough existed in the 15th century. A survey of 1589–1590 declared that Castle Rising was an ancient borough by prescription according to the grant made to Hugh de Albini by Henry III. In 1589–1590 the recorder was chosen by the lord of the manor. The mayor, the only member of the corporation, whose sole duty was the holding of the assize of bread and ale, was chosen by the burgesses and presented at the court leet for confirmation. Castle Rising became a parliamentary borough in 1558, but was disfranchised in 1832 and the corporation abolished in 1835, although a mayor was elected for special purposes until 1883. Having no manufactures, the trade of the town depended entirely on its fairs and markets; but these have been long obsolete.