Castle on the Hill

Album: ÷ (2017)
Charted: 2 6

Songfacts®:

  • Ed Sheeran spent most of his childhood years in the English countryside town of Framlingham, Suffolk, before moving to London at the age of 17 to pursue a music career. He pays homage on this nostalgic pop-rock number to his upbringing in the provincial Eastern England town.

    I miss the way you make me feel, and it's real
    We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill


    Sheeran said when introducing the track on BBC Radio 1's Breakfast Show: "This is a love song for Suffolk, because I don't think anyone has ever done that."
  • The small market town of Framlingham is centred around a medieval castle, which Sheeran alludes to in this song. Constructed by Roger Bigod, the 2nd Earl of Norfolk about 1190, it was unusual for the time in having no central keep. Mary Tudor was living at the castle when her half-brother Edward VI died in 1553. When she seized power, Mary collected her forces there before successfully marching on London. Today Framlingham Castle is a popular tourist attraction.
  • Sheeran penned this tune with pop producer Benny Blanco, with whom he also wrote 2014's "Don't."
  • Sheeran told Carson Daly on 97.1 AMP Radio why he chose to pen a song in which he reflects on his upbringing.

    "There's a lot of positivity in my hometown, but like, there's also a lot of sadness as well," he explained, "whether it be people not coming back or people passing away or people not achieving what they could've achieved, so I just wanted to touch on it a little bit, I guess."
  • The nostalgic George Belfield-directed video was shot in Ed Sheeran's hometown of Framlingham in Suffolk. It is a snapshot into the singer-songwriter's carefree teenage years featuring students from Thomas Mills High School, the educational establishment where he studied. One of them is a young Ed look-a-like.
  • Ed Sheeran's doppleganger is played by Framlingham student Hugo Fairbanks Weston. Asked by Billboard magazine what the most fun part of the shoot was, he replied:

    "There was a car scene where we were sort of being driven around in Fram, given a speaker and just told to listen to the music and have fun in the car really. We just had a laugh in the car, we weren't told to do much else."
  • Speaking to Beats 1's Zane Lowe about the track, Sheeran said:

    "What I liked about the song is there's so much stuff that's happened to me in the last five years that I haven't really been able to talk about and put on a record. Cause I'm not a rapper I'm not someone who constantly talks about my life. My songs, my love songs will be like a snapshot of a time whereas this I could really have a verbal vomit on a song. And say everything that was in my heart that wasn't about a relationship. Cause in the songs I had previously [rapped] before apart from like 'You Need Me' or whatever. This one feels like I could vent."
  • Sheeran doesn't tend to spend hours labouring over the lyrics with a notebook and that includes this song. "I never write anything down," he told the BBC. "That was literally just done line by line, just then and there with a microphone. I put down things that rhyme in my head, and then it forms into a song."

    "Listening back to it, I was like, 'Oh wow, it actually makes a lot of sense,'" Sheeran added. "But that isn't how I approached it at all."

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