Part 1 HERE
After a good wander around the grounds we went to visit the museums. The first museum we got to was the Armstrong & Aviation museum, which houses some of the stuff that Armstrong produced for WW2, and some stuff from WW1.
Mangled Aircraft Engines
I’m sorry to say I didn’t take notes or many photo’s in this museum, I’m not sure why it didn’t float my boat, however there was a really nice vintage car that I liked.
Armstrong Siddeley 1936
We also visited the Archaeology Museum and saw some nice bling that they had dug up. The pieces were incredibly small, but beautifully decorated, and they were covered by a magnifying glass so you could see the detail. Not easy to shoot through 2 layers of glass so not the best shots ever, but you can see what I mean.
These date between 10th and 12th century A.D. It’s possible that metal work or scrap recycling was going on in the vicinity of where they were found, so could be dated earlier than the layer in which they were found.
The top piece was discovered in 1971 and has been named the Bambugh Beast. It is believed to date from AD 600-AD 700 and is reminiscent of Anglo-Celtic illuminated manuscripts such as the Lindisfarne Gospels. The lower piece was discovered in 2011, it is sheet gold, edged with beaded wire and decorated with small balls of gold.
There is also a Stones museum which we looked into.
The information sign says: “This carved panel displays two ‘Celtic’ heads carved into the front face with long, drooping moustaches. Carved heads are common in Western Europe from the Iron Age to Medieval date. These figures are more suggestive of Irish or French origin than the north of England and will be the subject of further research.”
An anglo-saxon well can also be seen there.
The Victorian Well head on the well dug in Anglo Saxon times. First described by Simeon of Durham in 774, there was originally a church on top of this hill with a spring which was “sweet to the taste and most pure … that has been excavated with astonishing labour.” The well is 44 metres deep and 2 metres in diameter and is located in the bottom of the keep of the castle.
Of course the castle rooms are all home to interesting bits of history
17th century Flemish Crossbow
There’s a nice little keepsake of Queen Mary’s signature from a vist she made there in 1924
Stay tooned for part 3 when we visit the state rooms.