Edlingham Castle ~ May 2022

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.

Edlingham Castle

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.

Edlingham Castle and viaduct.

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.

📷 😊

all photos embiggenable with a click.

full album HERE

refs:-
https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/edlingham-castle/history/
https://great-castles.com/edlingham.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_William_Felton
http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1386-1421/member/felton-sir-john-1339-1396

Castles ~ part 2

Happiness is always the inaccessible castle which sinks in ruin when we set foot in it” ~ Arsene Houssaye

Prudhoe Castle, Northumberland, 2015

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

Ravensworth Castle, North Yorkshire, 2015

You don’t need planning permission to build castles in the sky” ~ Banksy

Warkworth Castle, Northumberland, 2015

“All British castles and old country homes are supposed to be haunted. It’s in the lease.” ~ Bob Hope

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, 2016 (Britains ‘Most Haunted Castle‘ 🙂

“We admire the castles, because we admire the security!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan

Bishop Auckland Castle, County Durham, 2017

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

Lançut Castle, Poland, 2017

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

Raby Castle, County Durham, 2018

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

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, 2019 (Alnwick Castle starred as the magical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the 2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the 2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets).

Nothing will turn a man’s home into a castle more quickly and effectively than a dachshund.” ~ Queen Victoria

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, 2019

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

Dunstanborough Castle, Northumberland, 2019

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

Belsay Castle, Northumberland, 2021

C’est finis! That’s all my castles curated, stay tooned for who knows what next time!

🏰 😊

St.Philip and St.James Church ~ Rock ~ March 2022

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.

West Door

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.

church interior picture by Simon Cotterill
exterior of the semi-circular apse
old and new
you CAN see the join.

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.

📷 😊

Holy Trinity Church Old Bewick ~ March 2022

After we had visited St.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 to Tynemouth 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.

Sophie entering the church grounds. (Contax Aria, Kodak UM 400)

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,

so young
? Cap’n Jack 🏴‍☠️

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.

Snowdrops and Robin

Going inside there are both anglo saxon and Norman features

the Norman arches of the chancel and apse.
apse

The church was re-roofed in Victorian times, thanks to Mr J.C. Langlands.

nave, roof, and font at the end.
effigy of a lady ? Queen Maud.

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.

refs- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_of_Scotland
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_III_of_Scotland
https://www.northernvicar.co.uk/2019/10/26/old-bewick-northumberland-holy-trinity/

Castles ~ part 1

It’s been a (long) while since I did a Fraggle Curated post, so as I have a spare day off this weekend I thought why not do an extra post and add to the other ones which, if you haven’t seen them before can be found HERE.

Castles are Forrests of stones” ~ George Herbert

Penrith Castle (and a very small Ben) Wales 1994

“Even castles made of sand, fall into the sea, eventually.” ~ Jimmy Hendrix

Ben & his castle, Seaburn England 1995

“Don’t live in the castles; freedom is in the fields! But I can also say: Don’t live in the fields; security is in the castles!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan

Marseille
Chateau d’If, Marseilles, France 2000

“There is no castle so strong that it cannot be overthrown by money“. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Kolossi Castle, Cyprus 2006

“A ruin should always be protected but never repaired – thus may we witness full the lingering legacies of the past.” ~ Walter Scott

Urquhart Castle, Scotland, 2006

“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

Château d’Aubry-en-Exmes – Orne, France 2007

“It is as easy to create a castle as a button. It’s just a matter of whether you’re focused on a castle or a button” ~ Esther Hicks

Château Saumur, France 2009

“If you are delighted to be in ancient ruins, you are either a curious historian or a romantic person!”~ Mehmet Murat ildan

Barnard Castle, Co.Durham, England, 2012

“The splendour falls on castle walls And snowy summits old in story: The long light shakes across the lakes, And the wild cataract leaps in glory. Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying”. ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

Raby Castle, Co.Durham, England 2012

The home to everyone is to him his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence, as for his repose. ~ Edward Coke

Warkworth Castle, Northumberland, England 2013

Have fun storming the castle.” ~ William Goldman (The Princess Bride)

Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire, England, 2013

There’ll be a part 2 at some point 🏰 🙂

St. Maurice’s Church, Eglingham. March 2022

Sophie and I love pottering about in old churches, so much history can be found within and in their graveyards. We also love a certain café in Northumberland, and as lunch is also an important part of our day we decided to do a few churches around the area thus enabling our visitations to the aforementioned café.

Saint Maurice. This was a first for us, Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s churches are all over the shop up here, but this was the first time we heard of a Saint Maurice, you possibly have, but I’ll do a little bit on him in case you haven’t.

The History Bit ☕️ 🍪

Maurice was an Egyptian military leader who headed the legendary Theban Legion of Rome in the 3rd century. Now right there I’m thinking really? Maurice n’est pas Français??  But apparently not. He was born in 250 AD in Thebes, Luxor as it now is and joined the Roman Army at some point when he grew up. He must have been a good soldier as he ended up commander of the Theban legion which meant he was boss of 1000 other soldiers. Somewhere along the line (I know, vague, but we are talking ancient times here peeps) he became a Christian, which wasn’t his best idea as Christianity was in it’s infancy and Rome considered it a great threat to their empire. Still, he wasn’t all holier than thou and was happy enough being pals with pagans as well. Anyhoo, his legion was sent to Gaul (a huge swathe of Western Europe) to assist Emperor Maximian defeat a revolt by the peasants.

Mo and his men,entirely composed of Christians, were sent off to clear the Great Saint Barnard Pass through the Swiss Alps, and before going into battle, they were instructed to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods and pay homage to the emperor. That didn’t go down well and whilst Mo pledged his men’s military allegiance to Rome, he also said service to God superseded all else, and that to engage in wanton slaughter was inconceivable to Christian soldiers. To cap it off he and his men refused to worship the Roman gods. When Emperor Maxi-boy ordered them to harass some local Christians, they refused that as well.

Not surprisingly Maxi-boy was well naffed off with Mo and his not so merry men, and ordered the unit to be punished. In Roman terms that meant the killing of every tenth soldier in the legion, which was known as Decimation. More orders got refused, and another decimation was carried out, and then Maxi got really naffed off and had the whole legion wiped out. This occurred in a place in Switzerland known then as Agaunum, and is now Saint~Maurice, and the Abbey of St.Maurice stands on the site.

So reads the earliest account of the martyrdom of the Theban Legion, contained in the public letter which Bishop Eucherius of Lyon (c. 434–450), addressed to his fellow bishop, Salvius.

Maurice is the patron saint of the Duchy of Savoy (France) and of the Valais (Switzerland) as well as of soldiers, swordsmiths, armies, and infantrymen. He is also the patron saint of weavers and dyers. Manresa (Spain), Piedmont (Italy), Montalbano Jonico (Italy), Schiavi di Abruzzo (Italy), Stadtsulza (Germany) and Coburg (Germany) have chosen St. Maurice as their patron saint as well. St Maurice is also the patron saint of the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a historical military order of unmarried merchants 😳 in present-day Estonia and Latvia. He is also the patron saint of the town of Coburg in Bavaria, Germany. He is shown there as a man of colour especially on manhole covers (strange) as well as on the city coat of arms. There he is called “Coburger Mohr” (“Coburg Moor”).

The picture up there is of a 13th century statue of him in Magdeburg Cathedral, Germany.


In the 12th century Ceolwulf, the Saxon king of Northumbria, granted the hamlet of Eglingham to the monastery at Lindisfarne. A church was built on the site of St.Maurice’s of which only the chancel arch remains today. In the 18th century restoration was carried out by John Green who built the Theatre Royal in Newcastle.

St. Maurice Church and Graveyard

Firstly though we looked around the grave yard for old souls.

William Shell and family.
John Story and family
William Dickson and Mary Bickerton

The west tower is 13th Century and two ancient bells occupy the belfry; one, formerly from Old Bewick Church, is dated 1489.

The tower (contax aria & kodak ultramax 400)

Inside there are some very old features,

the original chancel arch.
15th Century cross-slab
ancient font bowl with stone masons marks.

The octagonal font at the back of the nave is perhaps the church’s oldest feature and thought to be the work of William Butement. It is dated 1663 with the initials C.R. (probably referring to Charles II). It bears several masons’ marks and inscriptions.

st maurices church eglingham
Font

There are some nice stained glass windows, the East window is by William Wales, dated 1908 and depicts the transformation of Christ

and a memorial window for the Collingwood family.

Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood (26 September 1748 – 7 March 1810) was an admiral of the Royal Navy, notable as a partner with Lord Nelson in several of the British victories of the Napoleonic Wars, and frequently as Nelson’s successor in commands. He was born in Newcastle so there are statues and roads and buildings etc all over the shop up here, and any family association is up for grabs, especially as they’re all military chaps.

That will do I think. It is so peaceful to wander around these old churches, and marvelling at what they could accomplish architecturally speaking 3 or 4 hundred years ago. We love to see graves from the 1700’s and are amazed when someone is buried at an old age, as in William Shell above. Dying at age 84 was some feat for that time! More often we come across young people as in Mary Bickerford who only got to 13 yrs old.

stay tooned for next time when we’ll be popping up the road to Holy Trinity Church.

all pictures clickable to embiggen.
ref: http://www.eglingham.info/st-maurices-church-eglingham

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Maurice

📷 😊

Gibside ~ November 2021

I last did a small post on Gibside back in 2013, that no-one just about has seen. Sophie and I did visit in 2016 but the 365 back then got in the way of me doing a Fraggle Report that time. Anyhoo, in November gone, we went looking for autumn, the best time to visit there.

The History Bit ☕️🍪

Gibside,  a country estate, set amongst the peaks and slopes of the Derwent Valley.  Previously owned by the Bowes- Lyon family. It is now a National Trust property. The main house on the estate is now a shell, although the property is most famous for its chapel. The stables, walled garden and Banqueting House are also intact.  It is also the childhood home of Mary Bowes, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne (24 February 1749 – 28 April 1800), known as “The Unhappy Countess”, who was an 18th-century British heiress, notorious for her licentious lifestyle, who was married at one time the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. She and the Earl are ancestors of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. We’ll get to Mary in part 2.

The Gibside Estate was aquired by the Blakiston Family through marriage around 1540, and Sir William Blakiston (1562–1641) (Willy 1) replaced the old house with a spacious mansion between 1603 and 1620. Jumping forward to 1693, Sir William’s great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Blakiston, married Sir William Bowes (Willy 2) (1657–1707) and as a result the Gibside property came into the possession of the Bowes family in 1713. The joined forces of the two influential families and the aquisition of Gibside gave the Bowes family an even greater influence in the north of the county and a share in the immense wealth that was to be acquired from the coal trade. The Blakiston estate included some of the area’s richest coal seams.

After Willy 2 came George, who inherited the estate in 1722. Dad to Mary, the “Bowes heiress” who married John Lyon, the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. John had to change his surname to Bowes due to a provision in her father’s will that any suitor had to take the family name. This was a device to continue the Bowes lineage in the absence of a male heir. The estate remained in the Bowes and Bowes-Lyon family until the 20th century. In the 18th and 19th centuries though they carried out many improvements including landscaping, Gibside Chapel, built between 1760 and 1812, the Banqueting House, a column of Liberty,a substantial stable block, an avenue of oaks and several hundred acres of forest. The top floor of the main house was remodelled as a giant parapet and the building was also extended to the side.

Following the death of  John Bowes (the 10th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne) in 1820, it belonged to his legitimated son, yet another John Bowes 🙄 until his death in 1885 (he is buried in the Gibside chapel), when under an established trust, it reverted to his cousin Claude the the 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It had been the main residence of John Bowes’ mother, Mary Milner, by then Dowager Countess of Strathmore, and her second husband, the politician, Sir William Hutt, (who had been John Bowes’ tutor), until the latter’s death in 1882, which was the last time it was permanently occupied by the family.

I’ll be using photos from across the 3 visits, as we didn’t do everything everytime.

Gibside Chapel (2013)

The mausoleum chapel at the south end of the ‘Grand Walk’ was built following the death of George Bowes owner of the estate, in 1760. The Greek Palladian-style building was designed by James Paine for Lord Strathmore, who had inherited the estate. George Bowes was finally interred in the mausoleum on its completion in 1812. The building is Grade 1 listed on the National Heritage List for England.

Interior (2016)
ceiling detail (2016)
pulpit (pulpit)

The Banqueting House is an 18th Century gothic folly, built 1751 by Daniel Garrett for George Bowes. Restored in 1980 by Charlewood, Curry ,Wilson and Atkinson and is now a holiday home you can rent from the Landmark Trust, so you can’t go in it unless you book a ticket for one of their public heritage days, hopefully we’ll do that this September. Of course if you have £900 and 3 people to share it with you can have a 3 night stay there. It sits atop a small hill with views over the Derwent Valley, and there’s an octagonal pond at the bottom of the hill.

The Banqueting House (2021)
and in 2013
View of Derwent Valley. (2013)

The ‘Column of Liberty’ was commissioned by Sir George Bowes and begun in the 1750s. It reflected his politics as he was a Whig – a liberal political party in the UK which in the 1680s and the 1850s contested power with their rivals, the Tories -(Conservative Party). Set at the top of a steep hillock, the monument itself is a Doric order column, and topped by a standing bronze female figure, originally gilded, carrying a cap of liberty on a pole.

You can see it for miles and here it is, very tiny, seen from the far end of the avenue of oaks known as the Grand Walk.

Column of Liberty. (2021)

Hope you’re not seeing it on a phone screen 🤣

A bit closer then..

And then we’re right there..

Lady Liberty

That will do for today and next time we’ll have a look at the Countess Mary Bowes’ life and times, and see the main house and the orangery.

📷😊

Belsay Hall & Castle~Oct 2021~The Castle

Coming out of the Quarry Garden we get a splendid view of the Castle.

Belsay Castle.

The Castle was built as an extension to a manor in 1390, modified in 1614 with a Jacobean range on the west side, with a further wing added in 1711 or thereabouts, and was abandoned in 1817. It’s had it’s ups and downs since then, but English Heritage are looking after it now.

Front door
It’s missing a floor or two


Spidey Window

There are stairs up to the roof top of the castle’s tower house, and up we went to see the views..

a green and pleasant land

There is a walled area in front of the castle and it has monkey puzzle trees in it..

and one of the walls of the castle has a carved face in the stonework. 😊

Smiler

Finally the rear view of the castle with the imposing tower house built in 1391 by John Middleton.

Stay tooned for next time and the return through the Quarry Garden.

all pictures embiggenable by clickeration.

Further history HERE.

Belsay Hall & Castle~Oct 2020~ part 1

As well as doing the 365 project last year, I did manage to get out and about with Sophie, and as I’ve posted over at Fragglefilm a few from our re-visit of Belsay Hall & Castle, I thought I’d do a post with the Fuji photo’s I took the same day. We last visited in February 2019 but haven’t been in Autumn so wanted to rectify that. I’m repeating the history bit for new followers, and forgetful old followers 🤣

The History Bit

Back in days of yore, the first fortification at Belsay was an Iron Age hillfort, set on a hilly spur known as Bantam Hill.  Not a lot of info on that as no records exist of how big it was, or how long it was occupied, but in 1270 Richard de Middleton, Lord Chancellor to King Henry III had a Manor built there. The Manor stayed in the Middleton family until 1317 when Gilbert de Middleton owned it. At this point in history, Robert The Bruce was on the rampage, and having won a great victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 was raiding into England with impunity. Gilbert raised himself a private army to counter the threat of The Bruce, but stupid Gilbert went a bit OTT and ended up raiding  Yorkshire and extorting money from the Bishop of Durham.  It didn’t take long until he was captured, hung, drawn and quartered, and his Manor confiscated. The Belsay estate was passed around a few people but ended up back in the Middleton clan in 1390, when John Middleton extended the manor and built the castle which is still there today. In 1614 the castle was modified by Thomas Middleton who added a Jacobean range on the west side, probably replacing the old manor. A further wing was added round about 1711, and a walled garden in front of the castle. In 1795 the castle passed into the hands of 6th Baronet Sir Charles Miles Lambert Monck who actually had the surname of Middleton but changed his name to that of his maternal grandfather Laurence Monck of Caenby Hall, Lincolnshire who died in 1798, in order to inherit his estate. Because you can never have enough halls and castles. Charlie had traveled to Greece for his honeymoon and became much enamored of Hellenic architecture, so with the help of John Dobson, the North’s most famous architect, he built a  new manor in the grounds of the castle in the Greek Revival style. He and his family moved into the new building in 1817 and just abandoned the castle. Of course, that fell into disrepair and by 1843 parts of the structure were ruinous.

Luckily Sir Arthur Middleton took it on in 1872 and the 1711 wing was demolished and the manorial house was partially rebuilt so it could be used as a dower house ~ a house intended as the residence of a widow, typically one near the main house on her late husband’s estate~whilst the tower itself was restored in 1897. During the 2nd World War, the military used the castle which led to further deterioration, and by 1945 when the Middleton family got it back, they lacked the funds to sort it out. By 1986 Sir Stephen Middleton owned the estate, but moved into a smaller house nearby, leaving the two properties empty. Both of these were transferred into State ownership in 1980 and the site is now in the care of English Heritage.

Although the castle and the manor are great to photograph, our favourite bit is the walk through the quarry that connects the two buildings. We went looking for Autumn colours and were not disappointed, and the weather was kind to us, always welcome!

Firstly though let’s have a look at the manor.

the manor
the Pillar Hall
wallpaper in the 1800s
fireplace tiles
the library
marble fireplace in library room.

It’s a fair walk from the Manor to the Castle, through the lovely landscape and a quarry walk, so next time we’ll start out and see what there is to see.

Stay tooned dear reader!