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Infrared Images of Odiham Castle ruins, a stronghold built in 1207 to 1214 for King John

A new stronghold built for ‘Bad’ King John, Odiham Castle, near North Warnborough in Hampshire, provided a stopover for the 60-mile ride from Windsor to Winchester. Locally known as King John’s Castle, it’s most likely on 10th June 1215 he rode to Runnymede to meet the Barons, then staying at Windsor before sealing Magna Carta at Runnymede on 15th June 1215.

The images show three different views of the ruins, each captured on different manufactures film emulsion and filter: Kodak HIE infrared 35mm film with R72 Filter, Ilford SFX near-infrared 120 film with Ilford SFX Filter and Konica 750 infrared 120 film with Red Filter.

I was testing three infrared film emulsions that were available at the time, to determine, which I preferred. Comparing the aesthetic qualities produced by the films light sensitive range and lens filter combination I preferred Kodak closely followed by Konica and Ilford. However, I used Ilford SFX for convenience, but switched to Maco IR 820 Infrared film when it became available.

Photo Gallery – Infrared Images of Odiham (King John’s) Castle Ruins

A Brief Introduction to the History of Odiham Castle

From the tenth century, the Anglo-Saxon Kings of England had lodgings and a Place in Odiham enabling them to stopover when travelling between Windsor and the Anglo-Saxon capital of Winchester. Similarly, John Lackland, the last of the Angevin kings who reigned from 1199 to 1216 also had stronghold built near Odiham, the building of which started in 1207 and took seven years to complete. The castle was an octagonal shell keep located on a loop on the River Whitewater near North Warnborough, which along with Odiham became a royal burgh in 1086.

By 1206, King John had lost his French lands including Normandy, Anjou, Maine and parts of Poitou and needed money to regain them. His ruthlessness and harsh taxation caused discontent among the barons resulting in civil war and an invasion by Prince Louis of France albeit at the barons' request.

The French lay siege to the Odiham Castle in July 1216 and the garrison of three Knights and ten soldiers finally surrendered after 15-days. As no repairs were undertaken, the keep needed re-building at some future date. The castle was in use for around three to four hundred years before becoming derelict.

The original site covered some 20 acres and the keep had a network of moats for defence. In 1794, the Basingstoke Canal was completed; it bridged the River Whitewater and cut through the original castle grounds close to the keep, the canal path now provides easy access to the ruins.

Odiham (King John’s) Castle, Hampshire, 1999, Scanned Ilford SFX Near-infrared 120 roll film Odiham (King John’s) Castle, Hampshire, 1999, Scanned Konica 750 infrared 120 film Odiham (King John’s) Castle, Hampshire, 1999, Scanned Kodak HIE Infrared 35mm Negative