The History Bit ( not too long but still worth a ☕️ & 🍪)
This time we’re all about Frank Green and The Treasurers House. York Minster, the whopping great Cathedral that I’ve yet to remaster the post on, first had a treasurer in 1091. Thats 932 yrs ago! Not surprisingly the original building is gone apart from an external wall from the 12th century. In 1547 The Reformation put paid (pun intended 🙂 ) to the job of treasurer and the house was given to The Archbishops of York. Thomas Young who was Archbishop between 1561 and 1568, and his descendants are responsible for the structure of Treasurer’s House as it is today. In the early 17th century the Young family added the symmetrical front and almost entirely rebuilt the house. The Treasurer’s House played host to royalty when Sir George Young entertained King James 1st in 1617. The house then passed through a number of private owners.
Frank Green was a wealthy collector, and owned Treasurer’s House between 1897 and 1930. He demolished the additions made to the building in the 19th century and restored the house to what he thought was its original shape. He turned Treasurer’s House into a stage for his collection, designing rooms of different periods to display his antique furniture. It was at this time that Treasurer’s House received a second royal visit, in June 1900. Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited as Prince and Princess of Wales along with their daughter Victoria. It was in their honour that the King’s Room, Queen’s Room and Princess Victoria’s Room were so named.
Frank Green was a very precise man, in both his own appearance and the way he ran his home. He was a bit of a ‘dandy’, neatly dressed and often seen wearing a floppy silk bow tie. He had studs fixed to the floor in the rooms of Treasurer’s House so the house maids knew exactly where furniture should stand. Frank was also careful about the state of his house; signs can be seen at Treasurer’s House with careful instructions to the staff. He left curt little notices dotted about the house – notices which are still there to this day. “All workmen are requested to wear slippers when working in this House. By order Frank Green,” says one.A former kitchen maid told how Frank would inspect the kitchen, turning out any drawers he thought were untidy. Frank Green retired to Somerset in 1930 and gave Treasurer’s House to the National Trust, complete with his vast collection. It was the first historic house acquired by the Trust with its contents complete.
Frank decorated the rooms to match the collected artworks that he had obtained on his work travels, but this hall was done in faux medieval style.
artwork in the hall,
This next room was all done out to match the painting of a lady in a blue dress. I think it was my favourite room, loved all the ornate furniture and oriental vases.
This marble topped table had intricately carved wooden legs, but they looked like metal.
we went upstairs through another hallway
more artwork on the way upstairs
Frank decorated for the King’s visit, and this is the bed Edward VII slept in, hope they changed the sheets.
Finally, this is something I read on wiki, made me smile 🙂
“In 1953 local 17-year-old apprentice plumber Harry Martindale, was repairing pipe work in the cellar, the National Trust having decided to remove the coal-fired central heating installed by Green. After about four hours of work at the top of his ladder Martindale became aware of a musical sound, resembling a series of repeated single trumpet-like notes. The sound grew in intensity until, just below his ladder, Martindale reported that said he saw a soldier wearing a plumed helmet emerge from the wall, followed by a cart horse and about nine or ten pairs of Roman Soldiers. He fell, terrified, from his ladder and stumbled into a corner to hide. The soldiers appeared to be armed legionaries, visible only from the knees up, in a marching formation, but were “scruffy”. They were distinctive in three ways: they carried round shields on their left arms, they carried some kind of daggers in scabbards on their right side and they wore green tunics. When they descended to the level of the Roman Road, on which Martindale had stood his ladders, he was able to see that they wore open sandals with leather straps to the knees.
The experience was so frightening for Martindale that he suffered a nervous breakdown for several months and never returned to his job as a plumber. Many years later excavations in the city revealed that the descriptions of the soldiers dress given by Martindale, at first dismissed as anomalous, in fact matched those of local reserve soldiers who took over the Roman Garrison when the regular soldiers began returning to Rome in the fifth century. During the course of his long life Martindale recounted his experience many times, but never changed any of the details and always refused any payment”.
You all will know, of course, of Barnard Castle, the place where a certain government advisor riddled with Covid, during lockdown, had a day out with his family and when caught said he was testing his eyesight for driving. But Barnard Castle is much more than a substitute optician, as you will find out in
The History Bit ☕️ 🍪 *Long post alert*
We’re going way back in time now, just after the the Norman Conquest (the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Norman, Breton, Flemish, and Pesky French troops—all led by the Duke of Normandy, later styled William the Conqueror, or Willy the Conk as he is known to this blog) so there are a fair few “probably” ‘s in this potted history.
As with many medieval castles, it occupies a site that had been strategically important for a few thousand years. The plateau on which the castle stands commands the crossing point over the river Tees of a major Roman road across the Pennines, and is still an important communications route today. The castle was probably first established by a Pesky Frenchman from Picardy called Guy de Balliol. He had supported King William II (Willy the Conk’s son) in the suppression of a rebellion in Normandy in the 1090s, and received estates in north-eastern England as a reward. This early castle, whose site is now occupied by the inner ward, contained a stone gatehouse, but was otherwise a timber structure.
Guy died in 1133 and it was his nephew Bernard de Balliol who succeeded him, and enlarged the castle to its present extent. He began to rebuild it in stone, and founded the town that surrounds the castle on its south and east sides ~. Castrum Bernardi, or Bernard’s Castle. Berny died somewhere between 1154 and 1159, and was succeeded by his son, another Guy, and almost immediately afterwards by his second son, Bernard II. Berny 2 oversaw the construction of most of the important buildings and may have over-reached himself financially as at the end of the 12th century the castle briefly passed into the hands of the Bishop of Durham as security for debt.
In 1205 Hugh de Balliol inherited the castle, being the son of a cousin of Berny 2. It was Hugh that continued the modernisation of the castle and probably from this period came the rebuilding in stone of the hall in the inner ward, and the addition of the great chamber and round tower at its northern end.
1216 was a busy year for the castle. We’ve come across King John the lecherous (as he’s known to this blog) many times in our History Bits and he makes an appearance at Barnard Castle in January 1216, after leading a military campaign against northern rebels. He died in October the same year and though his son Henry 3rd succeeded him he was only 9 years old at the time so many of the barons of the land were in open rebellion. Much of southern England had been invaded and occupied by the pesky French Army whilst at the other end of the country King Alexander II of pesky Scotland moved into northern England, supported by northern barons. A veritable Pesky sandwich!
Now, do you remember our lesson from Alnmouth a few weeks back when we learned about Eustace de Vesci, who thwarted King Johnny the Lech’s attempt to kidnap Eustace’s Missis by substituting a lady of the night for her? If not HERE is a reminder for you. Anyhoo, Eustace, being the brother-in-law of King Alex 2 was part of Alex’s incursion into the North. At Barnard Castle he sadly met his end when he got too close to the castle walls where he was shot by a crossbowman from the garrison, and died of his wounds. The loss of this champion at Barnard Castle set back the cause of the northern rebels. In the following year, the various invaders and rebels were routed by armies loyal to the new king, Henry III.
Throughout the 13th century the castle remained in the Balliol family which included John, 5th Baron de Balliol. He married Devorguilla of Galloway a pesky Scottish lady, who obviously went native and depeskified when she married John in 1223 aged 13, and moved into Barnard Castle. Gilly, as she is known to this blog, became very wealthy through family inheritances which allowed Balliol to play a prominent public role. On Henry III’s instructions he served as joint protector of the young king of the pesky Scots, Alexander III. He also served as one of Henry III’s leading counsellors between 1258 and 1265. Following a dispute with the Bishop of Durham, he agreed to provide funds for scholars studying at Oxford. Support for a house of students began in around 1263 with further endowments after his death by Gilly, resulting in the establishment of Balliol College. She established a permanent endowment for the College in 1282, as well as its first formal Statutes. The college still retains the name Balliol College where the history students’ society is called the Dervorguilla Society and an annual seminar series featuring women in academia is called the Dervorguilla Seminar Series.
A small digression. Gilly was one of the three daughters and heiresses of the Gaelic prince Alan, Lord of Galloway, and through her mother’s line was descended from the Kings of Scotland, including David I. On the death of her Dad she inherited lands which she bequeathed to her descendants, the Balliol and the Comyns. Her son, John of Scotland briefly became King of Scotland 1292-96. He was known as Toom Tabard which is how pesky Scots refer to a ‘puppet king’ as it’s literal translation is ’empty coat’. This is not surprising as he was chosen to be King by a bunch of noblemen lead by King Edward 1 ~’The Hammer of the Scots’. Eddy 1 managed to take the position of Lord Paramount of Scotland which made him the feudal superior of the realm and he used this position to steadily undermine Johnny’s authority, demanding homage to be paid towards himself, legal authority over the Scottish King in any disputes brought against him by his own subjects, contribution towards the costs for the defence of England, and military support was expected in his war against the Pesky French. He treated Scotland as a feudal vassal state and repeatedly humiliated the new king. Naturally the pesky Scots were not happy with this set up one bit, so the direction of affairs was taken out of Johnny’s hands by the leading men of the kingdom, who appointed a Council of Twelve—in practice, a new panel of Guardians—at Stirling in July 1295. They went on to conclude a treaty of mutual assistance with Pesky France—known in later years as the Auld Alliance. (Auld is how pesky Scottish people spell ‘old’. )
Now Eddy was not happy one bit and retaliated by invading Scotland, which kicked off the Scottish Wars of Independence, resulting in Johnny abdicating in July 1296 and where the arms of Scotland were formally torn from Johnny’s surcoat, resulting in the ’empty coat’ Toom Tabard moniker. Initially imprisoned in the Tower of London, he was allowed to go to France in July 1299. When they checked his baggage, they found he’d snaffled away the Royal Golden Crown and Seal of the Kingdom of Scotland, many vessels of gold and silver, and a considerable sum of money 🤣. They let him keep the money for his journey. They gave Johnny into the custody of Pope Boniface VIII and around the summer of 1301 he was released and lived the rest of his life on his family’s ancestral estates at Hélicourt in Picardy where he died in late 1314.
Back to the castle! With Johnny’s fall from power, Barnard Castle was seized first by Bishop Antony Bek of Durham, and in 1306 by King Eddy I. The following year, the dying king bequeathed the castle to Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, whose descendants held it for the next 164 years.
In 1315 the heir to to the Earldom was just a baby, so King Eddy 2 gave the castle to a pesky Irishman, John le Irreys to look after. John promptly raided the nearby Bowes Castle where Lady Matilda Clifford, a widowed and wealthy lady lived. He abducted her, took her to Barnard Castle and raped her. Eddy sent an army to rescue her and relieve le Irreys of his command. Matilda fell in love with one of her rescuers and married him. Sir Robert de Welle from Worcestershire was a knight but not necessarily a suitable husband for someone who held important political connections, lands and was a wealthy woman in her own right so Eddy was none too pleased and took Matilda’s dower lands and all the goods in them. They were returned following payment of a large fine (£100).
In 1329 Thomas de Beauchamp came of age to inherit the castle, and he held it for 40 years, modernising the great hall, which was by then over a century old, and improving the kitchens and other service buildings in the inner ward. But in 1446 the Beauchamp line had no males available to inherit the castle, so it passed into the hands of the Nevilles, namely Richard through the Beauchamp heiress Anne, to whomst he was married. Richard was known as ‘Warwick the King-maker’ because he swapped about his support of the Yorkist Edward IV and the Lancastrian Henry VI during the Wars of the Roses. Richard died at The Battle of Barnet in 1471 fighting for the Lancastrian side and his two daughters, Anne and Isabel inherited his estates. Anne then married the younger brother of King Eddy 4, Richard Plantaganet, who became Duke of Gloucester and then, in 1483, King Richard III. Dicky P owned the castle from From 1471 and undertook several repairs and alterations during his period of lordship until his death in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the last decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, which marked the end of the Middle Ages in England.
Barnard Castle was given to the new Tudor king, Henry VII and was henceforth placed in the hands of keepers, notably members of the Bowes family. In 1536 whilst Sir Robert Bowes had the castle, there was a popular uprising against Henry VIII and ostensibly a protest against the Suppression of the Monasteries. Sir Bobby managed to support both sides by surrendering the castle to the rebels without a fight, becoming one of their leaders, after which he reverted to the king’s service and restored royal control in the neighbourhood.
We’ll move on 30 years now to 1596 when The Rising of the North happened. This was an unsuccessful attempt by Catholic nobles from Northern England to depose Queen Elizabeth I of England and replace her with Mary, Queen of Pesky Scots. It concerned an 11-day siege of Barnard Castle in December, and was the last significant action in the castle’s history as a fortress. Sir George Bowes (1527–80) was keeper of the castle and resolved to hold it in support of Lizzy. His garrison held 7-800 men but the Catholic rebels sent 5000 to attack them. The rebels captured the outer bailey after six days, soon followed by the Town Ward, leaving the defenders confined to the inner ward. Sir George saw increasing numbers of his own men defect to the rebels, and risked running out of water after the rebels destroyed the pipes from a reservoir, so had to negotiate his surrender. He died in 1580 and was commemorated as ‘the surest pillar Her Majesty had in these parts’.
Another 30 years later the damage caused by the conflict still had not been repaired and in 1603, the castle passed out of the Crown’s control when James I granted it to his favourite, Robert Carr, later Earl of Somerset who doesn’t seem to have had much to do with it being too busy with intrigues and power struggles at court and an affaire de coeur with a married lady.
So now we get to Sir Henry Vane the Elder, Member of Parliament and important member of Charles I household, at first as his Governor and later his Treasurer. He purchasedRaby Castle, and Barnard Castle with it’s Estate for £18,000 round about 1640. He chose to make Raby his principal home and de-roofed and removed stone from Barnard Castle to repair and maintain Raby.
In October 1896, the ruins were badly damaged in a severe gale, prompting the latest owner Lord Barnard to organise repairs.
Finally, Between 1841 and 1845 a man called Frank Shields, who was short and with a bushy beard and had been an ostler (a person hired to look after horses) moved in to the round tower and declared himself a ‘recluse, antiquary and artist in painting’. He’d been inspired by the castle’s history and romantic associations and dressed up in a monk’s habit and guided visitors around the castle. He was evicted in 1859 after having a barney with a neighbour and took up at Egglestone Abbey ruins (which we’ll be visiting next time) instead. Sadly he became more and more obsessed with ghosts and was put in a lunatic assylum in 1874, where he died in 1881.
In 1952, Lord Barnard placed the ruins in the guardianship of the Ministry of Works, the predecessor of the Department of the Environment, and since 1984, English Heritage has run the site.
Well done if you made it through all that! And now some pictures. Sophie and I visited in February, the weather wasn’t too bad, and I had my Contax Aria loaded with Cinestill 400 and also my FujiX100F loaded with pixels. 😃
Last weekwe looked at the history of the castle between sometime in the mid eleventh century up to 1398, when the castle changed hands. Out with the Umfravilles and in with the Percy’s. So on with the next
History ~ Bit ☕️ 🍪
Firstly though, there are several Henry Percys Earls of Northumberland in this post, we will begin with HP1 for Henry Percy 1st Earl of Northumberland then onwards from there.
And so, in 1398 Prudhoe Castle came into the hands of Henry Percy, the 4th Baron Percy and the 1st Earl of Northumberland. He added a great hall to the castle as soon as he took possession of it. A bit of yoyo~ing then occurred as HP1 rebelled against the King, at the time Henry IV, at the Battle of Shrewsbury. This resulted in him being attainted, which meant losing the castle and his lands in forfeit to the Crown in 1405. The King gave the castle and lands to his son John, the future Duke of Bedford, who hung on to it until he died in 1435.
The Percys were not happy about losing it, and after a prolongued legal battle, in 1440, they got it back. By this time HP3 was head honcho but then he went and fought in the Wars of the Roses for the Lancastrians and was killed at the Battle of Towton in 1461 which we learned about at Lanercost Priory the other week. Edward IV was King by then and in 1462 and he gave Prudhoe Castle to George, Duke of Clarence, who was his younger brother. That didn’t last long though and Eddy then gave it to John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu, the Nevilles being the Percy’s major regional rivals.
By 1470 the castle was yet again in the custody of the Percy’s this time HP4. The Percy’s principle gaff was and still is, (the 12th Duke lives there now) Alnwick Castle, so they rented Prudhoe out to tenants. However in 1528, HP6 was resident at the castle with his bro Sir Thomas Percy. These two were heavily involved in the rebellion of the North against Henery the Eighth’s break with the catholic church along with the dissolution of the lesser monasteries, and the policies of the King’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, as well as other specific political, social, and economic grievances. The revolt began in Yorkshire in 1536 and was known as the Pilgrimage of Grace. The upshot was that HP6 and Tommy were convicted of treason and executed. Yet again the castle was forfeited to the crown. At this point the castle was reported in August 1537 to have habitable houses and towers within its walls, although they were said to be somewhat decayed and in need of repairs estimated at £20, about £12,421.91 in today’s money.
Moving on to 1557 and yet again the Percys held the castle and this time HP7 was the one to go off cock and he took part in the Rising of The North, a rebellion of the Northern Catholic nobles to depose Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Pesky Scots. That went well didn’t it? HP7 was captured, escaped, recaptured and executed in 1572. The castle was let out then to many and various tenants, but not used as a residence after 1660. A hundred and so years down the line in 1776 it was reported to be a ruin.
But then, another Percy to the rescue, this time Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland. He carried out substantial repairs to the ancient fabric and replaced the old dwellings within the walls with a Georgian mansion adjoining the keep. In 1996 the castle was returned to the Crown, and now English Heritage are the custodians.
The Percys eh? A feisty lot to say the least. Let’s have a look at the First of the Feisties, Henry Percy 1st Earl of Northumberland, and his number one son, Henry ‘Hotspur’.
HP1 started out a follower of King Edward III and did well for position at a young age. He was made Warden of the March in 1362 with authority to negotiate with the Pesky Scottish Government and in February 1367 he was entrusted with the supervision of all castles and fortified places in the Scottish marches, where peskiness abounded. He got the Earlship (possibly earldom?) from Richard II on his coronation in 1337 and had the very important title Marshal of England which is a whole other thing which we won’t go into because he only had that for a short time. Between 1383 and 1384, he was appointed Admiral of the Northern Seas. But then he got miffed when King Dicky promoted HP’s rival Ralph Neville to be Earl of Westmoreland in 1397. So he and his son, another Henry who was known as Hotspur, joined a chap called (yet another 🙄) Henry Bolingbroke, the grandkid of King Eddy III, in his rebellion and usurption of the throne in 1399. He was crowned Henry IV. So many Henrys, 😮💨.
Henry IV was so chuffed with HP1 that on his coronation day he made him Constable of England, an even more important position than Marshal of England. Though I think Marshal sounds better than Constable, well I’d rather wear a stetson than a British bobby helmet anyhoo. HP was also given the Lordship of the Isle of Man. At this point the Pesky Welsh were doing the rebellion thingy, led by a chap called Owain Glyndŵr, who sounds like he should have been in Lord of the Rings, and King HIV ( 🙄 not the best initialism I’ve ever come up with) asked HP1 and Hotspur to go and sort it out. He wasn’t best pleased with their attempts to make peace though.
In 1402 HP1 and Hotspur took part in the Battle of Homildon Hill. Now that’s a whole nother post so we’ll just say the battle was against the Pesky Scots and resulted in the capture of very many Pesky Scottish Nobles. The policy back then was to ransom the nobles for money, but Henry IV was very worried that releasing all these captives back to Scotland would cause him future trouble so just wanted them kept imprisoned. Plus he was a bit broke. The Percy’s were not happy about this so they joined forces with Owain Glyndŵr and went into open rebellion. Hotspur defied the King and released all his prisoners anyway as he wasn’t going to get remuneration for them, and many of them joined him in the rebellion. A Pesky Scottish & Feisty English fusion no less! Happy Days!
Unfortunately it all fell apart at the Battle of Shrewsbury. Hotspur died whilst doing a charge to kill the king, reputedly shot in the face with an arrow when he opened his visor. Stupid boy. Anyhoo this battle was a bit all over the shop, no-one really won it, the King’s forces sustained greater losses than the rebels, and Henry IV very nearly lost both his life and his throne. But, that was that and King Henry prevailed.
Henry Hotspur was initially buried next to his maternal first cousin,with honours, but rumours soon spread that he was not really dead. In response the King had him disinterred. His body was salted, set up in Shrewsbury impaled on a spear between two millstones in the marketplace pillory, with an armed guard. Later it was quartered and put on display in Chester, London, Bristol and Newcastle Upon Tyne. His head was sent to York and impaled on the north gate, looking toward his own lands. In November his grisly remains were returned to his widow Elizabeth.
HP1 had not been directly involved with that rebellion so wasn’t tried for treason, though he did lose the Constable of England position. He did rebel though in 1405, signing The Tripartite Indenture which was an agreement made in February 1405 among Owain Glyndŵr, Edmund Mortimer VI, and himself, agreeing to divide England and Wales up among them at the expense of Henry IV. And again in 1405 he supported the Archbishop of York – Richard Scrope in the Northern Rising after which HP1 fled to Scotland, and his estates were confiscated by the king.
He still didn’t give up, our HP was nothing if not tenacious. In 1408 attempting one last time to seize the throne, he gathered together an army of lowland Scots and loyal Northumbrians and marched south once more toward York. At Bramham Moor, south of Wetherby, (which has an excellent service station on the A1 motorway), HP1’s army was met by a force of local Yorkshire levies and noble retinues which had been hastily assembled, led by the High Sheriff of Yorkshire Sir Thomas Rokeby. HP1was defeated, and he died fighting a furious rearguard action as his army was routed. Very few of his soldiers escaped the pursuit and returned to Scotland and surprise surprrise, HP1’s body was hanged, drawn, and quartered; his head was placed on London Bridge, with other parts of his anatomy displayed elsewhere.
Gone but not forgotten, you can find him in Shakespeare’s Richard II, Henry IV, part 1, and Henry IV, part 2 and he inspired the character of Lord Percy Percy, heir to the duchy of Northumberland in the historical sitcom The Black Adder.
Phew! Well done if you actually read all through that, and I forgive you skimmers. 😊
Some Photos then! Last time we looked at the Castle itself and this time we’ll look at a few details
So that’s it for this time, but
for wherever next!
No apostrophies were harmed in the making of this post, but some may have gone out to play, and others could be playing somewhere they’re not supposed to be.
Another delve into the archives, and this time I’m revamping a post that no-one who follows this blog has seen before, except Francis. Another outing with Sophie and the erstwhile Mike.
The castle is a ruined medieval English castle situated on the south bank of the River Tyne at Prudhoe, Northumberland, England. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building. That’s its credentials so let’s get on with
The History Bit ☕️ 🍪
The castle started life as a Norman motte and bailey built somewhere about the middle of the 11th Century.
Small digression ~ Back in the medieval Duchy of Normandy, Pesky French, Pesky Gallic-Romans and Pesky Norse Vikings got all jiggy together and intermingley which resulted in an ethnic and cultural “Pesky Norman” identity in the first half of the 10th century, an identity which continued to evolve over the centuries.
The Norman Conquest, led by the Duke of Normandy who then became William the Conqueror (a man far beyond pesky) happened, and after all that malarkey the wonderfully named Umfraville family took control of the Castle. Robert d’Umfraville was formally granted the barony of Prudhoe by Henry I, but had probably been granted Prudhoe in the closing years of the 11th century. The Umfravilles (probably Bob) initially replaced the wooden palisade with a massive rampart of clay and stones and subsequently constructed a stone curtain wall and gatehouse.
Now Bob, whilst holding the lordships of Prudhoe and Redesdale for King Henry I, also acquired interests in Scotland. He seems to have been pals with King David I and his son Henry, and was granted lands in Stirlingshire. Bob died around 1145 and his son Odinel I succeeded him, also being active in Scotland and being all pally with King David and his grandson who went on to be King Malcolm IV.
We’ll skip a couple of unimportant Umfs and move along to 1173 which is when William the Lion of Scotland, (a Pesky lion at that) invaded the North East to claim the earldom of Northumbria. Sigh. By this time Odinell II is head honcho of the Umfs.
I feel we should digress here, and have a quick look at William the Lion, who was actually a bloke. Willy became King of Scotland in December 1165 aged 25 and reigned for 48 years until 1214, the second longest reign in Scottish history. On the whole it seems he was a conscientious and good King, but, and this is a big but, he was stupidly obsessed with Northumbria. And he was an argumentative sort of chap to boot. We have to turn the clock back a bit here, to 1113 when King Henry I gave a defunct Earldom, that of Northumbria, to David I, Willy’s grandfather. More on that shortly. Ish. Willy spent time at King Henry II’s court, but quarrelled with him and in 1168 arranged a treaty of Scottish alliance with France, the first ever between the Main Peskies. In 1173/4 a revolt against Henry kicked off with Henry’s three sons and their mother against him with short lived assistance from Le Pesky Louis VII. That went on for 18 months, to no avail, but our Willy was a key player in the revolt. At the Battle of Alnwick the daft bugger recklessly charged the English troops by himself, shouting, “Now we shall see which of us are good knights!” As you do. Anyway at that point Ranulf de Glanvill and his troops unhorsed and captured him, took him in chains to Newcastle, then Northampton, and then to Falais in Normandy. Henry then sent an army into Scotland and occupied it. As ransom and to regain his kingdom, Willy had to acknowledge Henry as his feudal superior and agree to pay for the cost of the English army’s occupation of Scotland by taxing the Scots. The cost was equal to 40,000 Scottish marks (£26,000). I can’t find out how much that is in todays money, but it’s quite a sum as it is! The church of Scotland was also subjected to that of England. William acknowledged this by signing the Treaty of Falaise, and was then allowed to return to Scotland. In 1175 he swore fealty to Henry II at York Castle. If only he’d just stayed in the line…🤷♀️
Back to Prudhoe and back to 1173, I presume prior to joining or during the revolt, Willy decided to invade Northumberland and reclaim the Earldom. He was a busy chap. Odinell II refused to support him and so Willy and his Scottish Army attacked Prudhoe Castle, but failed to take it as they were not prepared for a lengthy siege. The following year he tried again, but Ody was a canny chap and had strengthened his garrison. The Pesky Scots tried a siege, but gave up after 3 days, and Ody further improved the defences of the castle by adding a stone keep and a great hall. I mean, what was Willy thinking? I can vouch for Northumbrians not wanting to be Scottish, they don’t even want to be English! They have their own flag and everything! Ody died in 1182 and was succeeded by his son Richard. By this time King John the lecherous was in charge of everything and he wasn’t well liked. Dicky came under suspicion of treachery, and in 1212 had to hand over to the king his sons and his castle of Prudhoe.The Baronial revolt kicked off in 1215-17,and in 1216 our Dicky joined the rebels fighting John and so then his lands were forfeit as well. They remained forfeited until 1217, the year after King John’s death. He later made peace with the government of King Henry III and died in 1226. He was succeeded by his son Gilbert II,and he in turn was succeded by his son Gilbert III in 1245. Gill 3 inherited the title of Earl of Angus with vast estates in Scotland, but he continued to spend some of his time at Prudhoe. It is believed that he carried out further improvements to the castle.
We are back to the Scottish Wars of Independence now, which we left behind in Lanercost Castle a couple of weeks ago, and though Gill 3 was Earl of Angus, he actually fought on the English side in the first war until his death in 1308. His heir and second son Robert de Umfraville IV came next and he also sided with the English but ended up surrendering to the pesky King Bobby the Bruce during the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. King Bobby did release Bob 4th who then treated with the Scots for peace with England. He was ultimately disinherited of his titles, no surprises there! In 1316 King Edward granted Bob 4th 700 marks to maintain a garrison of 40 men-at-arms and 80 light horsemen at Prudhoe. In 1325, Bob 4th died and his son another bliddy Gilbert IV took over the Barony, and was the last of the Umfravilles to do so. He’d married twice and had a son guess what they called him? hint- begins with R ends in T and has OBER in the middle. 🙄 Anyway, that Bob died, Gill didn’t have any more kids, and when he died in 1381 his 2nd wife remarried into the mighty Percy family, to Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland, (will definitely be digressing him!)and when she died in 1398 Prudhoe Castle went to him. So we will say goodbye to the Umfravilles, whose dynasty continued, but without our castle.
Oh My Days! how bliddy confusing all the Gilberts and Roberts and Odinells I had to make sense of. More Umfravilles than you can shake an Englebert at! What a nightmare. Any hoo, I’m going to leave you hanging in 1398 now, until next week, because there’s still a few hundred years until we get to the end, and you’ll need another cup of tea and more biscuits for that! Bet you can’t wait!! 😃
On with the pictures!!
The view from the road as you walk up to the castle.
Built in 1150, the Gatehouse also incorporated the chapel.
The Outer Bailey where lower service buildings and the great hall stood. The East Tower is to the right. People lived in it until the 1990’s!
The Inner Bailey was enclosed by the first stone curtain wall of the mid 12th century but had to be rebuilt in the 14th century after subsidence.
The Keep. The west wall of the keep shows the scar of the gable end of the Norman roof, indicating the great height of the open-roofed upper hall. Within the west wall a flight of stairs goes up to the battlement level walk. The south and east walls are no longer there so no other Norman features remain.
The remains of the base of the south drum tower (home to a huge conservatory in the early 1900s); and the north-west drum tower, which still dominates this end of the castle. The open grassy area to the south-west of the castle formed the pele yard, a service area for the castle which was also the site of St Mary’s Chapel, built in the 1200s but long gone.
So that’s it for this time, but we’ve more yet to see so
No apostrophies were harmed in the making of this post, but some may have gone out to play, and others could be playing somewhere they’re not supposed to be.
Following on from last weeks pictures of the prioryHERE, today we’re going to investigate the contents of the tombs within.
Hubert de Vaux’s eldest son Robert de Vaux was the founder of Lanercost Priory, and for centuries the de Vaux remained important benefactors of the priory. In the north transept, the oldest tomb of the priory is one of the Roland de Vaux lords from the fourteenth century. Unfortunately the knight’s effigy and tomb decorations are mostly now gone, but surviving fragments of the effigy from the top of the tomb are now in store.
I managed not to take a picture of Roly’s tomb, so asked permission to link to this one I found on Flickr.
Next up we have the first Dacre tomb, the tomb of Sir Humphrey (1424–85), 1st Baron Dacre, and his wife, Mabel Parr (d. 1510), stands in a chapel off the north transept. The visible sides are covered with heraldic imagery, showing the various families who had married into the Dacre line. This tomb was erected by their son Thomas. Sir Hump was a soldier, landowner in Cumbria, and peer, and stayed loyal to King Henry VI at The Battle of Towton during the War of the Roses. The battle took place in 1461 and was fought for ten hours between an estimated 50,000 soldiers in a snowstorm on Palm Sunday, with the Yorkist army achieving a decisive victory over their Lancastrian opponents. As a result, Edward IV deposed the Lancastrian Henry VI and secured the English throne. Our Hump was attainted, which meant he lost everything, his property and titles, but managed to keep his life.
He must have been a wiley old fox as he was later pardoned, regained the family estates, summoned to parliament as a baron, attended the coronation of Richard III, and was appointed Governor of Carlisle and Warden of the West Marches. His Missis, Mabs, was the great aunt to Catherine Parr, Ol’Henery the eighth’s last Missis, and the only one to survive marriage to him.
Thomas, 2nd Baron Dacre (1467–1525), and his wife, Elizabeth Greystoke (d.1516), are buried in the second large chest tomb, which stands in the south transept, under an early 19th-century stone canopy. The tomb was erected by Thomas during his lifetime. The arms of the Dacre and Greystoke families are set within garters, so the tomb must date from after 1518, when Thomas was made a Knight of the Garter.
Hump and Mabs, had 9 children, the eldest being Tommy who succeeded Hump as Baron Dacre of Gilsland. He too was a soldier but fought on the Yorkist side in the Battle of Bosworth, the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, which took place on August 22nd 1485. Dicky III was on the throne at this point, but was defeated and killed in the battle, with the Lancastrian Henry Tudor being the winner taking all. Like his Dad, Tommy managed to suck up to the victor and earned himself some kudos with Henry Tudor who had now ascended the throne as “King Henry VII of England” and who would continue to trust Tommy’s services for the remainder of his reign. Henry made Tommy a Knight of the Bath in 1503.
I think a small digression is worthy here, to explain that during the middle ages, knighthoods were often conferred with elaborate ceremonies. (Blokes!!🙄) The chap being Knighted would first have to have a bath and not the kind where you chill out in candlelight with nice smelling bubbles and a waterproof book, nope, instead he had senior Knights instructing him in his Knightly duties. I bet the water went cold. Then he’d be clothed in a special cloak and music would play whilst he was taken to a chapel to pull an all nighter vigil. At dawn he’d have to make a confession and go to mass, after which he was allowed to go to bed for a snooze until it was fully daylight. Lastly he was taken to see the King who instructed two senior Knights to strap spurs to the chaps heels, and then the King fastened a belt around the guy’s waist, and then smacked him on the neck with his hand or a sword. The chap was then a Knight. 🤷♀️ Nowadays the Monarch just has them visit Buckingham Palace and taps the persons shoulders with a sword, job done, no messing about with baths and spurs.
Our Tommy then declared loyalty to the next King, the Eighth Henry. He did well too and by 1509 was Lord of all The Marches. The Lord Warden of the Marches was an office in the governments of Scotland and England. The holders were responsible for the security of the border between the two nations, and often took part in military action. He had an illustrious military career, being in charge of the “Border Lancers” at the Battle of Flodden in 1513 where the invading army of James IV was crushingly defeated and its king killed. Tommy found him and transported him to Berwick on Tweed. Henery made Tommy a Knight of the Garter in 1518 and he was present, with all the other Garter Knights, at the meeting in 1520 between Henry VIII and the Pesky French King Francis I, you may know of it as The Field of The Cloth of Gold. Anyhoo, Tommy died on the borders on 24 October 1525, killed by a fall from his horse, a bit of an ignominius ending I feel,and was banged up in the tomb below.
I must mention he married Elizabeth Greystoke, 6th Baroness of Greystoke in her own right, and she was absolutely minted! Tommy abducted eloped with her at night from Brougham Castle where she’d been staying as a ward of the King in the custody of the Baron of Clifford. When they married the extensive lands held by the Greystokes passed to the Dacre family. These included Greystoke Castle and the barony of Greystoke, Morpeth Castle and the barony of Morpeth, along with the lost manor of Henderskelf, which is now the site of Castle Howard. Tommy and Liz had eight children who all became or married, Knights and Earls and Barons but am not sure which of them would have been the ancestor of Tarzan.
Although there were very few family buriels inside the church between the 16th and 18th centuries, in 1708, a 25yr old chap, John Crow of Longlands, died whilst falling trying to climb the ruins, stupid boy, and ended up buried in a re-used 14th Century chest tomb, previous incumbent unknown. ( Stop weeping April 🙂 ) The tomb effigy is the only complete medieval effigy to survive at Lanercost.
In the 19th Century the Priory was in the hands of the Howard family, George Howard (1843–1911), 9th Earl of Carlisle, revived the use of the church as a family mausoleum. His infant daughter Eizabeth died at the age of 4 months in 1883, and he had a terracotta effigy made of her by the famous sculptor Sir Edgar Boehm. George was quite the artist with many of his works in prestigious galleries and museums, the Tate and the Ashmolean being just two.
The Howards lived in London in Kensington, in a house at 1 Palace Green,built for them by Arts and Crafts architect Philip Webb in 1870,and at Naworth Castle. Among their visitors at Naworth were Robert Browning, William Ewart Gladstone, Lewis Carroll, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and many others. William Morris was an intimate friend, well that’s what it says but I think it means in the intellectual sense, and his wallpapers were used in Kensington, at Naworth Castle and at Castle Howard when George inherited it. With Morris and Webb he was one of the founding members of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
George’s eldest son Charles (8 March 1867 – 20 January 1912) became the 10th Earl of Carlisle when Dad expired in 1911 and was also known as Viscount of Morpeth from 1889 to 1911. Another soldier he was firstly a Captain in the 3rd Border Regiment, whereafter he retired from the regular army and went on to serve in the Boer War in South Africa as a Captain in the 5th militia Battalion of the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own). After the war he became the MP for Birmingham South until he got his Earldom in 1911 and joined the house of Lords. He died age 44, and his wife Rhoda Ankaret L’Estrange, with whomst he got spliced in 1894, didn’t join him until 1957 45 years later. They they stuck her in the same tomb with him and she was the last person to be entombed in the priory.
So that’s it for tombs, but there’s a couple of interesting grave slabs to look at.
Firstly the one on the right in this next photograph is possibly from the late 12th century, with a small Maltese cross on the top surface. On its left side is a sword, and on the right are a pilgrim’s scrip (purse or satchel) and palm, suggesting the deceased had been on pilgrimage. Can’t make much out of all that except the palm and the sword.
The next one below is a fragment of a late 14th- or 15th-century floor slab or tomb chest, bearing a cross with fleur-de-lys terminals. On the left is a scallop, part of the Dacre family crest.
And that is the end of our history lesson today 😊
All images taken by me except where stated otherwise, and are clickable and embiggenable. The 2 from Flickr are links from those person’s albums and you can see more of their photos of Lanercost if you click through and scroll about.
No apostrophies were harmed in the making of this post, but some may have gone out to play, and others could be playing somewhere they’re not supposed to be.
Digging back into the archives today, and my visit to Lanercost Priory with Sophie, and our erstwhile companion Mike, in 2014. I did a couple of posts on it back in the day but no-one who follows this blog has seen those (except Stevie), plus I did a rubbishy history bit, so I’m starting over.
The History Bit ☕️ 🍪 *Long Post Alert*
We’re going back in time to 1169 or thereabouts, when a prominent 12th-century English noble called Robert de Vaux founded Lanercost Priory to house Augustinian Canons.
A little digression~ Canons are not Big Guns firing big stone balls, they were originally, back in the 8th century, clerics who lived together, so a bit like monks I guess. Later on in the 11thC some churches had it that these clerics also had to give up all their private wealthand then they became Augustinian Canons Regular. The ones who didn’t give up their wonga were known as secular canons.
Our Bob turned out to be a bit of a useless effort really. He had to pay scutage to Henry II as he didn’t join in the Norman Invasion of Ireland, which cost him 40 shillings, a lot back then. Then he was appointed Sherriff of Cumberland in 1174 and whilst he held Carlisle Castle when the Pesky Scots led by King William I of Scotland invaded Cumberland in 1173, he then surrendered it in 1174 when they came back and had another bash. In 1186 he was fined a hundred marks for a variety of offences including allowing prisoners to escape. Robert died around 1195 and was succeeded by his brother Ranulf as Bob and his Missis Ada only had one lad, and he died young.
Another digression ~ Scutage is a medieval English tax. Under feudalism the king, through his vassals, provided land to knights for their support. The knights owed the king military service in return. The knights were allowed to “buy out” of the military service by paying scutage (a term derived from Latin scutum, “shield”)
Most of the church building dates from the late 13th century, though there is evidence of earlier work. The Priory buildings were constructed, at least in part, from stones derived from Hadrians Wall, including a number of Roman inscriptions that were built into its fabric. Unfortunately the Priory was built close to the border with Scotland, and that determined a turbulent history as it was a target of the Pesky Scots’ attacks in retaliation for English raids.
When the Wars of Scottish Independence broke out in 1296 the Scottish army set fire to Hexam Abbey, then Lambley Nunnery before arriving at Lanercost and encamping there. Luckily they were chased off before they did too much damage. A chap called William Wallace, was one of the blokes in charge of the War, and he was well Pesky. If you’ve seen a movie called Braveheart you might have thought he was Australian, but nope, he was a Scottish Knight though little is definitely known of his family history or even his parentage, so who knows? Anyway he continued to attack and plunder the Priory which naffed off the English who called for reprisals.
I guess I should digress and talk a little about the Pesky Wallace, a revered man of great standing in Scotland (and possibly Australia). There’s statues of him and everything all over Scotland. As I say, no-one has come up with much evidence about his early life, the surname Wallace means he could even have Welsh ancestry. Anyhoo, he was good at War stuff. His first act was to kill William De Heselrig the English High Sheriff of Lanark, in May 1297. He then joined Lord Douglas in the Raid of Scone, one of several rebellions taking place across Scotland, including those of several Scottish nobles and in the north.
On 11 September 1297, an army jointly led by Willy and Andrew Moray won the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Although vastly outnumbered, the Scottish army routed the English army. John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey’s feudal army of 3,000 cavalry and 8,000 to 10,000 infantry met disaster as they crossed over to the north side of the river. It was a complete clusterf**k. The bridge the English were crossing was narrow so the Scots held back until half of them had passed and then killed the English as quickly as they could cross. Then one of Willy’s captains, caused some of the English soldiers to retreat as others pushed forward, and under the overwhelming weight, the bridge collapsed and many English soldiers drowned. Thus, the Pesky Scots won a significant victory, boosting the confidence of their army.Hugh de Cressingham, King Edward I’s treasurer in Scotland, died in the fighting and it is reputed that his body was subsequently flayed and the skin cut into small pieces as tokens of the victory. The Lanercost Chronicle records that Willy had “a broad strip [of Cressingham’s skin] … taken from the head to the heel, to make there with a baldrick for his sword”. (Don’t mess with Willy!! ) Afterwards they made Willy a Knight, and a Guardian of Scotland along with Moray.
After that he went on to cock up the Battle of Falkirk in April 1298 when the English totally pasted the Scots and many of them died, though Willy escaped. He resigned his Governership and went off to France to beg for assistance from the Pesky French King Philip IV, after which he returned to Scotland and got involved in some skirmishes, but in 1305 was captured by a Scottish Knight called John de Monteith, a turncoat who gave Willy up in return for lands and titles from King Eddy. Willy was put on trial for treason and for atrocities against civilians in war, and on August 23rd was dragged naked through London at the heels of a horse to the Elms at Smithfield where he was strangled by hanging, though let down whilst still alive, whereupon he had his specifically male appendages lopped off, followed by disembowelment – the contents of which were set fire to before his eyes. Finally he was beheaded, then his limbs were hacked off and displayed seperately in Newcastle, Berwick, Sterling and Perth. (Don’t mess with King Eddy!!)
OK, OK, hands up. King Eddy was a real bad guy and you can’t blame the Pesky Scots for wanting shot of him. Anyhoo back to the Priory….
In August 1311 the Peskiest Scot of all Robert Bruce, King of Scotland turned up and made his headquarters in the Priory for 3 days, “committing infinite evils” according to the Canons, some of whom he imprisoned, though later released. I won’t digress into King Bob’s life, he did what Willy couldn’t and fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland’s place as an independent kingdom. He is now revered in Scotland as a National (pesky) Hero.
Although King Bob and King Eddy III had made a truce in 1328, King Bob died a year later, and later on Pesky King David II arrived in 1346 and he ransacked the conventual buildings and desecrated the church. Fresh from the overthrow of Liddel he and his army “entered the holy place with haughtiness, threw out the vessels of the temple, stole the treasures, broke the doors, took the jewels, and destroyed everything they could lay hands on”. Sigh. The fortunes of the priory were linked to the state of warfare and raids on the border. The priory was in relatively affluent circumstances before the outbreak of the war of Independence in 1296, and the annual revenue of the house was returned at £74 12s 6d in the 1291 valuation of Pope Nicholas IV. But by the taxation of 1318, the value had fallen almost to nothing.
Moving swiftly forward now (phew!) Old Henery the Eighth did his thing with the dissolution of everything churchy in 1538 and the conventual buildings were stripped of their roofs, excepting the church building which continued in use as the parish church. In the late 17th century, as the nave deteriorated, the congregation used just the north aisle which had been re-roofed. In 1747, the nave was re-roofed, but by 1847 the Priory was in a state of disrepair to the extent that the east end roof collapsed. However, by 1849, The church was in use again after a major restoration by Anthony Salvin and in the 1870s, there was further restoration by the Carlisle architect C.J. Ferguson.
At the Dissolution, ownership had passed to the Dacre family, and then in the early 18th century to the Howards. In 1929, the Priory ruins were put into public ownership, and today they are managed by English Heritage.
That’s it! Do you need a toilet break now? 🙂 Well done if you got through all that.
On with the pics!
I think that will do for this week, next time we’ll have a look at some of the tombs and effigies in the Priory and learn about who is buried inside them 😊
Sophie and I do like a good ruin, and whilst not overly spectacular in comparison to Tynemouth PrioryLanercost Priory, or Mount Grace’s Priory, it’s still very much worth a visit. The best bit about it for me, is the history, which has a lot to do with the Pesky Scots, and we’re looking at the ancestry of the Peskiest Scott of all, Robert the Bruce, though he had nothing to do with the priory sadly.
The History Bit ☕️ 🍪 *Long post alert*
Guisborough Priory is a ruined Augustinian monastery founded in 1119 as the Priory of St.Mary by Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale, (1070–1141)a Norman feudal magnate, Lord of Skelton, and one of the largest landowners in the north, owning more than 40,000 acres in Yorkshire alone. The priory became one of the richest monastic foundations in England with grants from the crown and bequests from de Brus, other nobles and gentry and local people of more modest means. The Bruce clan, are all descended from our Bob the 1st.
The family name is derived from the place name Bruis, now Brix, Manche in the arrondissement of Valognes in the Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy. Which means Bob was a Pesky Frenchman before his progeny became Pesky Scotts. Bob was mates with King Henry 1st and had been with him at The Battle of Tinchebray in Normandy, in 1106 which they won. He’s mentioned several times in historical surveys and documents witnessing charters from Lords to churches, and being gifted lands by an Earl and King Henry and it may bore you to death if I list them all but if you’re that way inclined you can click on the details arrow and see that.
What is known clearly is that this Robert de Brus is first mentioned during the period 1094 and 1100, as a witness to a charter of Hugh, Earl of Chester, granting the church of Flamborough, Yorkshire, to Whitby Abbey. Possibly the Earl of Chester in about 1100–1104 pledged Robert of certain portions of his Cleveland fee in Lofthouse, Upleatham, Barwick, Ingleby, and other places. Between 1103 and 1106 Robert de Brus attested with Ralph de Paynel and 16 others a charter of William, Count of Mortain, to the abbey of Marmoutier. In 1109 at a Council of all England held at Nottingham, he attested the charter of King Henry I confirming to the church of Durham certain possessions which the men of Northumberland had claimed. During the period 1109–1114 he appears in early charters in possession of numerous other manors and lands in Yorkshire, and in the same period he attested a charter of Henry I issued at Woodstock, Oxfordshire. He appears in the Lindsey Survey made 1115–1118 in possession of even further lands. There is a strong presumption that the King had given Robert his Yorkshire fee soon after the battle of Tinchebrai (28 September 1106). Robert was present at the great gathering of northern
magnates at Durham in 1121, and sometime during the period 1124–1130 he was with the King at Brampton. About 1131 he was in the retinue of Henry I at Lions, in Eure. At about the same time he attested with three of his personal knights a confirmation with Alan de Percy to the monks of Whitby. It is said that Robert had been given some 80 manors in Yorkshire by King Henry. It is evident that Robert kept up his connexions with other Normans too. A member of the Feugères family, of Feugères, Calvados, arr. Bayeux, canton of Isigny, witnessed charters of this Robert de Brus circa 1135 in Yorkshire.
So our Bob was doing very well for himself in England and France, hob nobbing with Lords and Earls and the King, but had also become a ‘companion in arms’ with a Scottish chappie, brother of the Scottish King Alexander, called David FitzMalcolm, who was in France with Bob and King Henry in 1120. Dave must have got on well with the King as Henry allotted him most of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy. Our Dave then succeeded to the Scottish throne after Alex’s death in 1124, where upon he bestowed the Lordship of Annandale upon his good ol’ battle~pal Bob’s shoulders. There’s no evidence Bob ever lived there though, so he missed out on the Annandale Whisky Distillery and lovely scenery and hills with names such as Devil’s Beef Tub.
Well dear reader now it all goes to ratshit. King Henry died and we get King Stephen who I’ve written of before but here it is again as I know you’ve forgotten him. -Stephen was the grandson of William the Conqueror, and when Willy Conk’s son King Henry 1st died leaving the succession to the throne open to challenge, Stephen hot footed it over the channel to England and with the help of Henry, Bishop of Winchester, took the throne, before Henry’s daughter Matilda got her little graspy hands on it.-
King David was not a fan of King Stephen but supported Matilda so he took advantage of the chaos in England due to the disputed succession there, and he took the chance to realise his son’s claim to Northumberland. Our Bob was very unhappy at this, and the friendship was over, with Bob bitterly renouncing his homage to David before taking part on the English side at The Battle of The Standard in North Yorkshire in 1138. Bob pleaded with Dave, asking him to remember how earlier he and other Normans had persuaded King Alexander to give part of the Scottish Kingdom to him. But to no avail. Bob’s family split, witih Bob and his eldest son Adam fighting for England, whilst his youngest son, Bob 2, with his eye on his Scottish inheritance, fought for Scotland. Though only for 3 1/2 hours as Henry’s forces won that one. Bob took Bob 2 prisoner!
Two years later, at the grand age of 71, Bob died whilst at Skelton Castle. As the founder of Gisborough Priory, he was buried inside the church, in the place of honour between the Canon’s stalls in the Quire. Priory histories record his death and his burial there. He was survived by his wife Agnes, and his children. Robert’s son, Adam de Brus, Second Lord of Skelton, would be buried there in 1143, and his son Robert, Second Lord of Annandale, would be buried there after his death in 1194. Both the Scottish and English sides of the family would be laid to rest there, the last being Robert de Brus, Fifth Lord of Annandale in 1295. Eventually a great Cenotaph would be placed there honoring the Brus Family and commemorating its most famous descendant King Robert Bruce of Scotland, Bob 5’s grandson,
It was a dry day with clouds coming and going and Sophie and I had a good wander around the grounds. Photos taken with my Contax Aria, loaded with a roll of Portra 400.
The priory and the community prospered, rebuilding the priory on a grand scale at the end of the 12th century and again after a catastrophic fire in 1289. Then Henry VIII happened and the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, and Guisborough suffered. The priory buildings were demolished and the stone re-used in other buildings in Guisborough. The east end of the priory church was left standing with its great window forming a distinctive arch, a well-known landmark used as a symbol for Guisborough. It became part of the estate of the Chaloner family, who acquired it in 1550. The east window was preserved by them as part of a Romantic vista adjoining their seat, Gisborough Hall, from which the priory takes its name. It is owned by the Chaloners but is in the care of English Heritage as a scheduled monument
The priory buildings stood at the centre of a walled precinct arranged in two courts, inner and outer with gatehouses at the entrances to both; the remains of the great gate of the inner court are extant but the outer gatehouse no longer survives. The gate comprised an outer porch, an inner gatehall and a porter’s lodge on the ground floor with chambers above the arch. It survived intact into the early 18th century but only the outer porch remains.
Land immediately south of the priory was used by the Chaloners for formal gardens attached to Old Gisborough Hall. In the early 18th century they planted an oval-shaped double avenue of trees, the Monks’ Walk, where stonework recovered from mid-19th century excavations was deposited. In between the trees was a manicured lawn used to hold musical and theatrical productions. The Monks’ Walk fell into disuse and became overgrown but is under restoration by the Gisborough Priory Project.
There is an octagonal dovecote just to the west of the grounds, built in the 14th century, it was modified in the mid-18th century with the addition of a pyramidal roof tiled with Welsh slate and capped with an open-sided timber cupola. The original nesting boxes have been removed and the dovecote is used as a garden store.
Well done if you got through all that! Stay tooned for Part 2 next time.
I was recently reminded (thanks Eddie) of a trip to Scotland Phil and I took during the holiday bit of my audiology training. One of the ladies I trained with had a rental flat (appartment) on the Royal Mile and let us use it for a weekend. I was a point and shoot photographer back then, knew nothing about photography and didn’t have a great camera nor any editing software overmuch so the photos are not up to my usual standard, but it doesn’t really matter to me, good memories are enough.
a glimpse of the flat
The flat fronted on to the Royal Mile, but the back of it overlooked a cemetery.
We spent a day wandering about the Mile, and other bits of Edinburgh.
We also decided to climb Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat is a mahoosive ancient volcano, now a big hill, and is named so because of the legends about King Arthur (although King Arthur was mostly Welsh but born in Cornwall by the looks of things, all of which is moot as he wasn’t a real person anyway). Anyhoo I presume in one of the legends he sat on top of this hillock and that was that. You can just about make me out in the first slide, then some views above the city.
Also in 2006, a movie came out based on the controversial novel of the same name by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, and though we hadn’t seen the movie, we had read the book and decided to visit Rosslyn Chapel, which became quite famous because of both the book and the movie. At the time we went the movie had only just been released, so whilst there were a few others there, it was nice to wander around, take photographs and enjoy our time. Unfortunately they were in the middle of renovations so the roof was under polythene, not making the outside of the building very photogenic. Fortunately, the influx of a gazillion idiots movie~tourists meant the chapel could then afford to pay off and finish the restoration. Unfortunately now you have a to book tickets prior to going, currently £9.50 per adult, and can only have a 90 minute time slot, and no photos allowed. Boo hoo. Of course they have a gift shop so you can by postcards of the chapel, and the Dan Brown book, they certainly did not look a gift horse in the mouth!
Here are some reasonably terrible photos of the inside of the chapel, including a couple of the Green Men carvings, of which there are said to be over a 100 at Rosslyn.
Phil wanted to visit the battlefield at Culloden. This was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stuart was decisively defeated by a British government force under Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, a ruthless chap who was known as the ‘butcher’, on Drummossie Moor near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. It was the last pitched battle fought on British soil and, in less than an hour, around 1,600 men were slain – 1,500 of them Jacobites. I am not going to expound on the huge history of it all, you can watch Outlander to get the gist. It started out as a row over who would be King and ended with a terrible aftermath and persecution of anyone with Jacobite leanings.
When we visited we were the only ones there, parked up on a windy rainy day and wandered the battlefield, Phil told me the awful history as we walked round looking at all the commemorative rocks where clan members were buried. It was bleak. They were not so easy to see or find.
One year later the National Trust for Scotland took it over and from the website HERE you can see they’ve done a lot to the place, including an award winning visitor shop (there always has to be a shop) a visitors centre/museum with a roof garden, and a café. They’ve recarved the buriel stones and put up flags to show which clan was where and paths to show you around the field. Of course it would set you back £14 to get in now but I never mind paying when it goes to the upkeep of history. Might get to revisit one day, who knows?
On our way from Edinburgh to Culloden we stopped at some places, firstly we pulled off to see a rainbow over Loch Lubhair
then drove on to Glencoe, where the Glencoe massacre took place in Glen Coe in the Highlands of Scotland on 13 February 1692. An estimated 30 members and associates of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by Scottish government forces, allegedly for failing to pledge allegiance to the new monarchs, William III and Mary II.
Our next stop before reaching Culloden, was at Urquhart Castle, on the edge of Loch Ness. We didn’t have time to explore as this journey was all done in a day, but I did call in to one of the shops and picked up a Nessie.
Then we headed back to Edinburgh, a long old day we had, and then home the next day. We packed a lot in 2 days! I would love to re-do this little holiday, with my Big Girl cameras so it’s on my bucket list!
Stay tooned in case I do somewhere else for next week!
Sophie came. back to England for a few days with her hubby Mentat, and we had decided to take Mentat to Raby Castle as it’s just about the most spectacular one. We also love the formal walled garden for the amount of butterflies and bees that grace the flowers, and the chance of seeing deer is pretty high too, so lots to see and admire. Phil came too.
Well, what the website doesn’t tell you is that the grounds of Raby Castle are undergoing monumental upheaval and they’ve completely dug up the formal garden,
This is a little of what is lost.
“Formally developed into a pleasure garden for the family, the existing ornamental garden will be redesigned to provide an outdoor space where visitors can move through planting or attend performances and events.” Performances and events, no doubt for which you pay extra.
The café we usually go to which was in the old stables is also undergoing renovations.
“The buildings, designed by architect John Carr in the 18th century are Grade 2 listed, will be restored and repurposed to provide retail and interpretation spaces.” Not sure what interpretation spaces are, but I sure know what ‘retail spaces’ means!
There’s also going to be a Play Area :- “A new feature, the play area will offer play for children aged 4-10 years old and will be built within the original Christmas Tree plantation to the north of the Castle, Park and Gardens”.
Now Sophie and I do comprehend that people who own small people have to take them out and about at weekends and school holidays, especially in the nice weather. We just don’t like it when they take them out to places we visit. On the whole the small things are pushy, noisy, ill mannered and immune to any attempts at control by their owners (if indeed the owners bother) so this is not good news.
There’s a lot more to it, the development is called ‘The Rising’ and will take 2 years to complete.
The castle will remain as it is, and the deerpark, but according to Lord Barnard who owns Raby :-
Raby Castle has welcomed visitors since the 18th Century, but felt it was “still very much under the radar, and it has a huge amount to share.”
His motivation for the scheme, he said, “is to really open up the castle and the estate to a great many more people to enjoy.”
“With a new generation it is time for a new beginning, and we want to make sure that Raby is preserved for future generations to enjoy as well as our own.”
Which is all poshspeak for ‘not enough people visit to pay for the upkeep of it all’, so I don’t suppose I can blame him, it must cost a fortune to run. The total investment will be in the region of £14 million and paid for by proceeds from new housing developments in Gainford and Staindrop, consisting of 151 houses :- including 3-bedroomed family, 2-bedroomed cottages, single storey dwellings and apartments. I don’t think they will be ‘affordable housing’ sites!
Anyway, disappointed as we were about the garden, which was shut off, we went inside the castle and had a walk through the deer park, and had lunch in the new Yurt Café.
I didn’t take any pictures inside the Castle, I’ve already done a 7 part post on Raby which starts HERE if you haven’t seen those and want to, which is quite comprehensive. Also when I’m out with non-photographers the dynamic for photography just isn’t the same, but I did take a shot of the Castle and we came across some deer.
Sophie and will go back in 2 or 3 years and see what’s become of it all so stay tooned for that! 🥴
Sophie is back in Blighty and available for a couple of weekends outings with our cameras, so last Sunday we had a trip northwards to visit Morpeth, ostensibly Carlisle Park in Morpeth which has stuff of interest to photograph.
A (very) potted History Bit.
Morpeth is a historic market town in Northumberland, North East England, lying on the River Wansbeck. It’s spelling has been all over the shop, Morthpeth meaning “myriad”, Morthpath meaning “gateway”, Morthpaeth meaning “fodder”. Who the heck knows what’s that about. 🤷♀️ It could have been inhabited during the Neolithic era as a stone axe was found there but that’s about it. No Roman remains have turned up though they were about in Northumberland. It was first referenced in 1080 when William de Merlay was rewarded with “the Barony of Morthpeth stretching from the Tyne to the Coquet” for his part in suppressing the rebellion of Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland against the King, William II. By 1095 Wills had built a motte & bailey castle and in 1138 Will’s son Ranulf de Merlay, lord of Morpeth founded Newminster Abbey (now a grade 2 listed site ~ there’s not much of it left) along with his Missis Juliana. In 1200 King John granted a market charter for the town to Roger de Merlay and by the mid 1700s It became one of the main markets in Northern England, and by the mid 18th century was one of the key cattle markets in England selling cattle driven by drovers over the border from Scotland. There’s still a general market there on a Wednesday, and a Farmer’s market one Saturday a month, but I don’t think a bunch of Pesky Scottish drovers with herds of cattle get to it. In 1215 the First Barons War kicked off, this was a civil war where the major landholders (know as barons) of England rebelled against King John (who was a knob) and Morpeth got torched by the barons to block King John’s military ops. It’s commonly said that John burnt down the motte and bailey castle and a new castle was later built south of the old one in the 13thC by his son Ranulf, but there’s no evidence for that and an alternative report is that the second William de Merlay (Ranulf’s son) completed the second castle in 1170, the same year he died. For some months in 1515–16, Margaret Tudor (Henry VIII’s sister) who was the Queen Consort of Scotland (James IV’s widow), had laid ill in Morpeth Castle, having been brought there from Harbottle Castle. During the 1543–51 we have the war of the ‘Rough Wooing’, when Morpeth was occupied by a garrison of Italian mercenaries, who “pestered such a little street standing in the highway” by killing deer and withholding payment for food. Rough Wooing was originally known as the Eight Years War and was part of the wars of the 16th century between England and the Pesky Scots. The historian William Ferguson contrasted this jocular nickname with the savagery and devastation of the war: English policy was simply to pulverise Scotland, to beat her either into acquiescence or out of existence, and Hertford’s campaigns resemble nothing so much as Nazi total warfare; “blitzkrieg”, reign of terror, extermination of all resisters, the encouragement of collaborators, and so on. This was all down to Henry VIII being a knob. In fact most of our Kings were knobs.
Morpeth has what is reputed to be the tightest curve (17 chains or 340 metres radius) of any main railway line in Britain. The track turns approximately 98° from a northwesterly to an easterly direction immediately west of Morpeth Station on an otherwise fast section of the East Coast Main Line railway. This was a major factor in three serious derailments between 1969 and 1994 when the drivers took the curve at 80miles per hour. The curve has a permanent speed restriction of 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). I’d still advise you to travel by car to visit though! 😊
That’s most of the good stuff, so cracking on with some pictures now!
After we got the car parked, we headed straight for Carlisle Park. The park has the William Turner Garden, an aviary, a paddling pool, an ancient woodland, tennis courts, several bowling greens and a skate park. The park has one of the only four floral clocks in England, which was restored in 2018. In 2018, a statue of Emily Wilding Davison was erected in Carlisle Park, to commemorate 100 years since women were given the right to vote. The park has been awarded the Green Flag Award,the Love Parks Award in 2017, and ‘Best Park’ in Northumbria’s in bloom competition in 2018.
Emily Wilding Davison (11 October 1872 – 8 June 1913) was an English suffragette who fought for votes for women in Britain in the early twentieth century. A member of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and a militant fighter for her cause, she was arrested on nine occasions, went on hunger strike seven times and was force-fed on forty-nine occasions. She died after being hit by King George V’s horse Anmer at the 1913 Derby when she walked onto the track during the race.
Next to Emily’s bit there is an aviary and though they had some plain perspex panels it wasn’t easy to photograph the birds as the panels were a bit mucky, but I got a couple of shots.
Sophie decided we needed to climb the steep hill that leads to Morpeth Castle, I hate hills but did it anyway 😄
There are only remnants left of the castle walls
but the original gatehouse is still intact, though much altered. The one great military event in the castle’s history was in 1644 when a garrison of 500 Lowland Scots held it for Parliament for 20 days against 2,700 Royalists. The castle was held by and passed by the female line through several illustrious families; de Merlay, Greystoke, Dacre and Howard, none of whom resided there for any long period. In about 1860 the gatehouse was restored and converted to provide a staff residence. The Castle was rented on a long-term arrangement to the Landmark Trust in 1988 which undertook a complete refurbishment in 1990, restoring many of the gatehouse’s original historic features and removing the modern extensions and swimming pool. The gatehouse is now available to rent from the Landmark Trust as holiday accommodation.
The Castle isn’t open usually but they did have an open day at one point and i found a short video of the inside of it;
The park runs along side the river Wansbeck so we had a wander along.
There are boats you can hire for a pootle on the river
it’s a tranquil place to read a book too.
So that’s it for this week, next time we’ll have a look at a few bits in the town itself.
After our inspection of St. John the Baptist church, we walked down the path to see the ruins of Edlingham Castle.
The History Bit ☕️ 🍪
This one has been a bit of a nightmare, as researching Sir William Felton has lead to some confusing possible discrepancies, but I’ll do my best to sift through to the salient points.
Although a manor house of the 13th century is probably concealed beneath the later building, the earliest standing remains are those of the hall house, built in 1300 by Sir William Felton at a time when Northumberland was relatively peaceful.
William’s family had estates in Norfolk and Shropshire and was an important family, but William made his fortune independently through military service, royal favour and marriage to a Northumberland heiress, Constance de Pontrop. In about 1340–50 his son, also named William, of course, improved domestic comfort by building a magnificent solar tower, the best preserved part of the castle. The Pesky Scots were still at war with the Irksome English in this era, so Will 2 also strengthened the defences with a gate tower and stone curtain wall. Towards the end of the 14th century William’s grandson, Sir John, completed the enclosure walls and enlarged the gatehouse.
Later owners of the estate included the Hastings and Swinburne families. Sir Edmund Hastings married Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir John Felton, and in In 1514, George Swinburne, constable of Prudhoe, purchased Edlingham Castle from the Hastings family. Upon ownership by the wealthy Swinburne family, the purpose of the castle slowly changed from defense to comfort. Interestingly, ground floor rooms of the hall were converted to lodging for farm animals. Swinburne kin owned the castle until the 18th century at which time both solar tower and vaulting of the lower room began deteriorating. Further ruin and theft of stonework continued into the 20th century. In 1978, English Heritage began excavations of the castle, and a few years later in 1985, secured portions of masonry for safety purposes, as well as prevention of further structure collapse.
Some pictures then..
Two views of the castle from the road towards it.
This railway viaduct is located under half a mile north-east of Edlingham in Northumberland, and close to Edlingham Castle. It was built in c.1885 for the North Eastern Railway Company, as part of the former Alnwick to Coldstream (Cornhill) railway, which opened in 1887. Passenger services on the line were discontinued in 1930, although it was briefly in use during the Second World War, to serve RAF Milfield. The line continued to be used for freight, until finally closing in 1965. The track across the viaduct has been removed and the viaduct is now a Grade II site listed on the National Heritage List for England.
Inside the castle
One of the octogonal corners of the hall house.
Finally here’s a nice little drone take on the castle that I found on youtube, you can really see the shap of things from above.
That’s all this week, but stay tooned for a flowerfest next time when we visit Birkheads Secret Gardens.
“Happiness is always the inaccessible castle which sinks in ruin when we set foot in it” ~ Arsene Houssaye
“Huge knots of sea-weed hung upon the jagged and pointed stones, trembling in every breath of wind; and the green ivy clung mournfully round the dark and ruined battlements. Behind it rose the ancient castle, its towers roofless, and its massive walls crumbling away, but telling us proudly of its own might and strength, as when, seven hundred years ago, it rang with the clash of arms, or resounded with the noise of feasting and revelry.” ~ Charles Dickens
“You don’t need planning permission to build castles in the sky” ~ Banksy
“All British castles and old country homes are supposed to be haunted. It’s in the lease.” ~ Bob Hope
“We admire the castles, because we admire the security!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
“Way back in the old days, say in Europe of the Middle Ages, you had an aristocracy, and they could afford to pay for musicians. The kings and queens had musicians in the castles, and that developed into symphony orchestras and what we call “Classical music” now.” ~ Pete Seeger
“The ideal of happiness has always taken material form in the house, whether cottage or castle; it stands for permanence and separation from the world.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir
“The narrow path had opened up suddenly onto the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.” ~ J. K. Rowling
“Nothing will turn a man’s home into a castle more quickly and effectively than a dachshund.” ~ Queen Victoria
“I passed under an arch out of that region of slabs and columns, and wandered through the open country; sometimes following the visible road, but sometimes leaving it curiously to tread across meadows where only occasional ruins bespoke the ancient presence of a forgotten road”. ~H.P. Lovecraft
“When we look at the ruins, we always get the same feeling: It’s as if the ruin will suddenly come alive and tell its own interesting story!” ~ Mehmet Murat ildan
C’est finis! That’s all my castles curated, stay tooned for who knows what next time!
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