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. 😃
It is amazing wandering around York and seeing all the medieval old shops and churches. It’s quite staggering they remain standing, some of their walls are so wonky, I guess there’s an invisible army of restoration people who manage the upkeep of them.
Although I love York’s Olde Worlde streets it’s worth noting some of the more modern, but still architecturally delightful, buildings in York. One of the first buildings we saw was The York Art Museum. Created for second Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition of 1879 within the grounds of the medieval St Mary’s Abbey known as Bearparks Garden and designed by York architect Edward Taylor. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go in, but is definitely on the list for a return visit.
I liked the water feature in front of it
Another striking building belongs to Barclays Bank! The bank was built in 1901 to a design by Edmund Kirby (though subsequently altered) and is now Grade II Listed. The decorative brick work is amazing, click on it to see it bigger, it’s worth it. 🙂
Betty’s Tea rooms looked cool, and I like the little history about it-
In 1936 the founder of Bettys, Frederick Beaumont travelled on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary. He was so enthralled by the splendour of the ship that he commissioned the Queen Mary’s designers and craftsmen to turn a dilapidated furniture store into his most sophisticated branch yet – an elegant café in the land-locked location of St Helen’s Square. Today, as you sit in Bettys, surrounded by huge curved windows, elegant wood panelling and ornate mirrors, you can almost imagine yourself aboard a luxury liner.
The art deco elegance of the Queen Mary is particularly evident in the first floor Belmont Room which was inspired by one of the cruise liner’s state rooms. A few years after Betty’s opened its doors in York war broke out, and Betty’s – in particular the basement ‘Betty’s Bar’ – became a favourite haunt of thousands of airmen stationed around York. ‘Betty’s Mirror’, on which many of them engraved their signatures with a diamond pen, remains on display today as a fitting tribute to their bravery. Would have loved to go in but there was a long long queue to get in. And I don’t do queues. That’s all the people in the bottom of the picture!
We had a walk down to the river and see the central bridge, which is called The Ouse Bridge (over the River Ouse surprisingly 😉 ) There has been a crossing of sorts here since the founding of the city by the Romans. By the medieval period, the bridge was very crowded with buildings. A flood in 1564 caused the central span to collapse; along with the bridge, 12 buildings were also destroyed. The replacement bridge was built 2 years later, with 5 spans, including one large central span, which was one of the longest in Europe at the time. The current bridge was built in 1821, and was a lot flatter in profile than it’s predecessor. And probably boring in comparison.
St. Wilfrid’s is a Roman Catholic church located in the centre of York, in the shadows of York Minster. A Church dedicated to St.Wilfrid has stood in York since medieval times. Catholics call it the “Mother Church of the city of York.” It is in Gothic Revival style. The Arch over the main door has the most detailed Victorian carving in the city. The present Church was completed in 1864 and it was considered to be one of the most perfectly finished Catholic Churches in England, rich in sculptures, paintings and stained glass.
A sneaky History Bit 🙂 Considered one of the greatest and most controversial English Saints, Wilfrid (634-709) directly influenced the move away from Celtic to the more orderly Roman church practices and is best known for championing and winning the case for the Roman, as opposed to the Celtic method of calculating the date of Easter at the famous Synod of Whitby in 664. He became Bishop of York with a See covering the whole of Northumbria, built magnificent stone churches at Ripon and Hexham. He acquired vast landholdings and established monasteries in Northumbria, Mercia, Sussex and the Isle of Wight and converted Sussex, the last vestige of paganism, to Christianity. He was the confidant of kings and queens but made many powerful enemies and was twice banished from Northumbria. He made three journeys on foot and horseback through Europe to Rome and was not afraid to seek papal jurisdiction over both crown and church where he felt badly treated. His life was threatened many times being shipwrecked and nearly killed by natives off the coast of Sussex, they’re a feisty lot down there, imprisoned in Northumbria by the king and twice nearly murdered whilst travelling abroad. He was a bit of a lad, they should make a movie!
Not all the shops and cafe’s etc are medieval, we had our lunch in the square..
We had a better dinner though. Ish.
can’t really recommend either, but as my hubby says, ‘it filled a hole’. 🙂 Back to medieval times next time so
As I mentioned in PART 1 the priory was home to the De Brus family cenotaph. That has since been removed and placed in St.Nicholas Church just by the priory. After we’d been around the priory Sophie and I toddled off to the church and were hugely disappointed to find that it was closed. I think that’s a first for us, so far all our church visits have had open doors. I suppose that’s because they’re mostly rural, so no-one around much whereas St. Nicholas is in a town. So we decided instead to go to lunch and I took a few pictures on our walk to the café.
This early 18th century building was a hotel called The Buck (hence the deer on top of it’s porch) before the Solicitors moved in.
Formed in 1849 The Zetland Masonic Lodge is still going strong today. I was never sure what Freemasons are all about but learnt a fair bit from Fred and Barney 🤣
Smokin’ Joe’s cocktail bar only opens at 4pm sadly, or I’d have been in like Flynn.
We had lunch outside by what I think was a rivulet coming out from under the road and going through a channel next to a footpath, I should have taken a picture but it was a bit grim, and after a nifty panini and cappuccino went back to the car to head for the Owl Center . As I drove down the road past the church I noticed the front door was open. Luckily there were a couple of parking spaces right by the church so I quickly parked up and Sophie and I hot footed it to the church. We met a chap inside and found out he was an electrician fixing something and the church wasn’t really open. I gave him the googly sad eyes thing and explained we’d come a long way to see the cenotaph and he said we could stay a little bit to photograph it. Which was cool, but we didn’t have time to explore the church.
The De Brus Cenotaph was possibly erected by Margaret Tudor, the Queen of Scotland, to mark the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Gisborough Priory. It was erected inside the priory church in memory of the De Brus family of Annandale and Skelton. Made of marble quarried at Egglestone, it takes the form of a Renaissance altar table, with exquisitely carved sides.
The north face of the cenotaph is carved with five figures of De Brus family members from Skelton, separated by the Four Doctors from the Bible; Jerome, Gregory, Ambrose, and Augustine. In spite of a childhood where Sundays were church~school days, I can’t remember ever hearing of the four doctors. I think maybe they were Catholics and we didn’t do them. So I’ve looked them up and in early Western christianity they were not Doctors of medicine or surgery, but rather great teachers of faith. (Edit:- the Doctors were not in the bible -thanks April- so that’s why I don’t remember them!)
The south face shows five de Brus family members of Annandale, separated by the Four evangelists; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I do remember them, just about.
The east end shows a prior with kneeling canons. The west end has been damaged, and I couldn’t get round to photogrpah it, but historians think it may have depicted a king, possibly King Robert Bruce of Scotland.
On the floor next to the cenotaph is a collection of medieval mosaic floor tiles found in the grounds of Guisborough Priory.
And that is the end of our day out in Guisborough. Stay tooned for wherever we go next!
(photographs taken in Guisborough with my Contax Aria loaded with Portra 400, photographs in the church taken with my fuji XT2.)
At last Sophie and I did an outing together yesterday, and we went on our 2nd Art Trail gleaned from the Art UK website, this time South of the rivers, and starting out in County Durham at a place called Ferryhill where we were to find 3 artworks. It’s a nice little town, built around the mining community in the early 1900’s. Of course the mining industry went tits-up ages ago, and the last mine at Ferryhill closed in 1968.
Our first ‘artwork’ on the list is Cleves Cross and I would beg to differ in it’s designation. It’s not an artwork in my lexicon, such as it is, as we’re looking at a lump of sandstone.
However, the lump of sandstone is a fragment of a 12thC medieval cross, set in the ground near the original site, and roughly shaped and with pecked marks. So there’s that. Several theories exist as to how Ferryhill got its name and the most popular theory is that in the 13th Century, Sir Roger De Ferry (or Ferie), killed the last wild boar near Cleves Cross – certainly the seal of Sir Roger De Ferie still exists and shows a Boar passant. We parked up in De Ferie Court and saw these road signs ~ which do look more like artwork but are not listed on the Art UK site.
Our next artwork, has the lofty name of ‘Beacon of Europe’. Commissioned by the town council, designed by Robert Olley and Bill Kataky then built by the North Eastern Granite Company Ltd. Bearing in mind that County Durham voted overwhelmingly to Leave the EU, I found it rather sad.
We started working our way back up to Sunderland, (where Sophie lives when in England) with our first stop being at the little village of West Cornforth, known locally as “Doggie” though where that name came from is anyone’s guess. It may relate to the fact that dog irons were made there at one time, which seems good enough to me. We were looking for an artwork called Past and Future, by artist Philip Townsend, which turned out to be two large blocks of buff sandstone that are carved on their front faces with depictions of life in the mining community, set in what looked like a kids playground. “The block entitled ‘Past’ is inscribed at the top with the words, ‘the past we inherit’.This sculpture, shows a ‘worm’s eye’ view of a scene from the past in which a miner, just returned from work, with his whippet at his feet, is about to release a racing pigeon into the air. In the foreground, sitting on the pigeon basket is his young daughter who is tempting another bird with bread, while to the left a factory chimney releases its swirling smoke, encircling the scene. The block entitled ‘Future’ is inscribed at the top with the words, ‘the future we build’. In this second sculpture, we have a ‘bird’s eye’ view: the years have passed and the young girl is now an elderly lady but still tempting the birds with her bread, while her skateboarding grandson has a pigeon feeding from his uplifted hand.~ Art UK “(He’ll be eating it next at the rate our country is going to the dogs). I’m glad they put that on the website as I wouldn’t have worked it all out for myself!
Not listed on Art UK, but in the same park as the Past and Future, there was this..
So off we went to our next place, Quarryington Hill, another mining village ( there’s a lot in County Durham!) for another mining related artwork, though this one was quite spectacular and informative. As with Past and Future, ‘Into The Depths’ is also by Philip Townsend, and the sculpture comprises two massive triangular blocks of Dunhouse Buff sandstone, base-heavy and tapering in thickness, which sandwich a central Iroko hardwood column.
Back up to Sunderland, we went looking for ‘Delegation’, a sculpture by Tord Kjellstrom with glasswork by Creative Glass Ltd, of seven towering figures; the highest being 7.9 metres tall. Each is capped with a glass light box and shaped face. You would have thought 7.9 meters tall would be easy to spot, but it wasn’t. We went to the given postcode and ended up in the carpark of a business park. A little man in a yellow coat came out to see if we were lost, (um possibly) and when asked about the sculptures directed us to a wildlife park which had to cast iron obelisks at it’s entrance, which were not photographically pleasing. We did some more searching on the interweb, and headed back to the carpark to start again, but spotted them whilst we were on the way. Apparently “the sculpture really comes into its own at night, when the light boxes illuminate the eyes on the faces.” ~ Tony Campbell, managing director of Creative Glass. Might be easier to find as well!
We then went off to Doxford Business Park on the outskirts of Sunderland, to track down two artworks, Quintisection by Robert Erskine was the first. It’s a large, polished stainless steel sculpture based on the cross-section of a ship.
We couldn’t find the other one in spite of driving and walking around the park, so that will have to be tracked down on another day.
Our last art work isn’t on the Art UK site, but Sophie had spotted it whilst walking to work at the university. There isn’t any information about it, it’s just appeared without fanfare in the garden area of the art department there, so Sophie thinks maybe it’s a student thing. The plinth is permanent, but the statue is new. It is quite powerful, it would be good to know the thoughts behind it, but then again, you can have your own.
All pictures embiggenable with a click!
And that, dear reader, is that. Stay tooned for whatever comes next!
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!
The last church on our list that we visited is actually in Rock, and our favourite café is 2 minutes away so it had to be done. Unfortunately it isn’t open to the public. A notice on the front door says “A recent electrical inspection of the church building has revealed significant failings in the electrical wiring to the extent that it is not safe to use. Until the church can be rewired, the building will remain closed”. That notice was put up on 1st December 2021 and 5 months down the line it’s still closed, so the job must be quite extensive and expensive.
Still, we had a wander around the outside, and there’s a little history we can look at.
The History Bit ☕️ 🍪
The church was constructed in or about 1176, and consisted of a chancel and a nave with a rood screen at their junction. Unfortunately it fell into disrepair and by the end of the eighteenth century was in such a dilapidated condition that no services could be held. Luckily a chap called Charles Bozanquet rebuilt it at his own expense in 1806. In 1855 the Rev. R. W. Bosanquet (Charles’ son) decided that further improvements should be carried out, and the architect employed was Anthony Salvin, then residing mainly at Alnwick to supervise the Duke of Northumberland’s alterations at Alnwick Castle. The principal works were the construction of the semi-circular apse at the east end of the chancel, the rebuilding of the vestry, and the restoration of the old Norman and Early English windows, In 1866 an aisle was added on the north side of the nave, the architect being F. R. Wilson. The north wall was moved stone by stone, including a Norman window and the corbel table.
Charles was born on 23 July 1769 at Forest House, Essex, the second son of Samuel Bosanquet and Eleanor Hunter. He was educated at Newcome’s School and then in Switzerland. He married Charlotte Anne Holford on 1 June 1796 and fathered seven children, three of whom survived him. He served as sub-governor of the South Sea Company from 1808–38, and governor from 1838–50. From 1823–36 he was chairman of the exchequer bill office. He served as Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Northumberland, and was High Sheriff of Northumberland in 1828. In 1819 he was lieutenant-colonel of light horse volunteers, later rising to colonel. He maintained a London residence at the Firs, Hampstead, and spent his later years at his estate of Rock Hall near Alnwick in Northumberland. He died there on 20 June 1850, and is buried in the church.
I did read up on Charles and he was an anti- bullionist economist who got into a row with some chap called David Ricardo who was a pro- bullionist and a) I didn’t understand a word of it and b) got bored trying to, so we’ll park that.
The Bozanquets are still in Northumberland at Rock Hall, which is a private residence, sadly for us. The Notice on the church door is signed by Jay Bozanquet and the church history on the website is written by the latest Charles J Bozanquet in 2012.
So onto the pictures!
The west door, with its rich zig-zag work, and the north wall of the nave are, from the outside, much as they appeared about 1176.
There is a fine Norman chancel arch, partly moulded and partly zig-zag. The outer order is cut away at the top centre, and on the surface (facing the floor) can be seen a rough outline of a dove, incised with a knife or small axe, as was sometimes done in the mid-twelfth century. On the floor of the chancel is an interesting grave cover, showing a floriated cross between a sword and an axe. The font near the west door is partly ancient.
There’s a lot more to see inside the church, but I like to have pictures to go with my descriptions, so I’m going to leave this as a kind of part 1, and hope they get their fingers out and get the bliddy electrics sorted so I can go back and do a proper job!
This is the last of my outings with Sophie for now, but stay tooned for some Fraggle Curateds and other stuff until we get out and about again.
After we had visitedSt.Maurice’s Church we drove up the road 15 minutes and turned down a narrow country lane to find the rather lovely Holy Trinity Church settled in a secluded glen.
The History Bit 🍪 ☕️
( Actually a lot of this is supposedly, and apparently, so there’s history and a bit of lore.)
The oldest part of the mostly Norman Church is believed to be 12th century and built by the monks of Tynemouth after Queen Maud ~ (Matilda of Scotland who was the wife of the Henry I ) gave the Manor of Bewick toTynemouth Priory in 1107. She did so in memory of her royal father Malcolm Canmore (or Maol Chaluim mac Dhonnchaidh in his native tongue), King of Scotland, who was slain at the Battle of Alnwick in 1093 and buried at Tynemouth. He had snatched the crown of Scotland from Macbeth (the one from Shakespear) in 1054, and in 1091 brought an army south across the border, laying waste to much of Northumberland. Due to the ongoing battles with the pesky Scots in the late 13th century, the church was damaged but restored in the 14th century. There is a possibility that the restoration was done by the husband of a lady who’s effigy can be found in the chancel. She is wearing C14th century costume, and is thought to be the work of sculptors who had a workshop near Alnwick until about 1340. But it is also said to be of Matilda, aka Queen Maud!
A bell dated 1483 was found in the rubble of the vestry suggesting that at this time it had a tower or belfry. Inside the church and porch are several examples of C13th and C14th tomb slabs. Although the church went through more damage around 1640, Ralph Williamson, Lord of the Manor, restored the nave. However, early in the next century, the roof was blown off and the chapel fell to ruin although still used for burials. In 1866 Mr J C Langlands (whose monument stands at the end of the lane) had the church restored, and it opened for services in 1867.
As usual we went hunting for interesting gravestones and found a few..
Someone took the trouble to work this out!
“In the year of our Lord God 1720, here lieth the body of Roger, who departed this li(f)e at bueck (Bewick) mill race, muera (?died ~ possibly meant mori, latin or less possibly muerte, Spanish) 1720″.
This seemed sad,
Grand Master Burdon and his wife, the last surviving daughter of Major Thomas Packenham Vandeleur of Belfield, Co. Limerick.
The bushes behind the robin on a cross are not bushes, that’s a full length fallen tree courtesy of Storm Arwen, and a few of the headstones got battered.
Going inside there are both anglo saxon and Norman features
The church was re-roofed in Victorian times, thanks to Mr J.C. Langlands.
So that’s the end of our initial foray into the churches nearest our favourite café in Northumberland. The following week we did two more, and had lunch again 😊 and they’ll be up in the next couple of posts. I bet you’re all agog so stay tooned!
clickable pics for embiggerment.
Full album HERE for last week and this weeks posts.
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