Crook House & Gardens~ November 2019

On a rather miserable showery day, Sophie and I went off to Framwellgate in County Durham, to visit Crook Hall. As always, I will edumacate you firstly with….

The History Bit ☕️ 🍪

Crook Hall was built around 1217 and is one of the oldest inhabited houses in Durham City. The oldest part is an open hall, built in sandstone and with a Welsh slate roof. In the 17th Century the hall was extended forming a Jacobean manor house, and in the 18th Century a large brick Georgian house was appended to the Jacobean part. A fair hotchpotch that.

Originally known as the Manor of Sydgate it was initially granted to the Archdeacon of Durham’s son Aimery, who, in 1286 passed it on to Peter del Croke, hence it’s new name, Crook Hall. (Not much difference between Croke and Crook I suppose). Peter died in 1320 when the hall passed to his son, also called Peter who died in 1343 and passed it to his son Richard. Here we are going to do a little shimmy and a side step because during Richard’s tenure, a chap called John de Coupland stayed at the hall, where he met and fell in love with Richard’s daughter Joan, whomst he later married.

John was a squire from Northumberland, and on his way to fight in the Battle of Neville’s Cross. Now, the Battle of Neville’s Cross was part of the 2nd Scottish Wars of Independence, (they still have not given up on that!) and on 17th October 1346, the Scottish King, David II brought his army of 12,000 pesky Scots half a mile to the west of Durham where they got absolutely mullered by 6-7,000 English chaps led by Lord Neville, Ralph to his pals. The Scots made their stand on a hill where stood an Anglo-Saxon stone cross, and after the battle Ralph paid to have a new one erected.

King David was badly wounded, having had two arrows to the face, and hid under a bridge over the River Browney, but his reflection in the water was noticed by a detachment of English soldiers, lead by our John, who promptly took the king prisoner. Mind you, the king knocked John’s teeth out in the process, he probably felt better for that. Edward III who was the English King at that time, ordered John to hand over King David, which he did, and was rewarded with a Knighthood and a yearly sum of £500 for life! £470,000 per year in 2020 terms, I’d give up a few teeth for that!

John continued in King Edwards service and became Constable of Roxburgh Castle and Sherriff of Roxburgshire, his other posts were Custodian of Berwick-on-Tweed from 1357-1362 with an interruption in 1362, then Escheater (someone who collects the assets of dead people who don’t have relatives) for the county of Northumberland 1354 & 1356, Sherriff of Northumberland in 1350, 1351, 1353, 1354, 1356 and had custody of David, who was imprisoned in England for 11 years, in 1351, 1352, 1353 and 1356 and Deputy Warden of East March-1359. There were gaps in his service, for unknown transgressions, but he was never publicly disgraced. After the war he had married Joan and lived at Crook House until about 1360. John was ruthless and ambitious in his aquisition of land, revenues and power in the North and made many enemies through being so inclined. In 1362 he was ambushed and killed while crossing Boldon Moor by nine lance holding chaps and eleven archers, and whilst the King had his murder investigated and found out who the perpetrators were, by then they’d scarpered over the border to Scotland and couldn’t be arrested.

So on to 1372. The Hall at this time had been owned by John de Coxhoe, the nephew of Joan De Coupland, having been given it by his dad William. A family called Billingham, descended from a man called John De Cowhird, lived at Billingham and had taken their surname from the place.  De Coxhoe granted them posession of the hall, and in they moved. Alan and Agnes were the first of a family that lived there for nearly 300 years, and passed through many generations. In 1426 Thomas Billingham was the first man to give Durham Market Place a water supply from a well on the Hall’s ground.

Then came Cuthbert Billingham who was a highly strung chap with a bad temper, often quarelling with his Mum and his sister, and he decided to cut off the water supply that Thomas had sorted, and redirected it to supply his own mill. Needless to say the fine citizens of Durham were in uproar, had him arrested and put in prison until he promised to put it back to rights! Apparently there is a ghost at the Hall, The White Lady, a neice of Cuthberts who, it is rumoured, he killed in a temper tantrum, but who knows? 🙂

The next family to take posession was the Mickletons. Christopher Mickleton (1612-1669), was attorney at law, of Mickleton, Yorkshire and had a flourishing practice in Durham. He moved into the hall in 1657 and was undersheriff and clerk of the peace. He was briefly deprived of his posts but was reinstated and became prothonotary of the Durham court of common pleas and deputy registrar of the Durham chancery court. After moving in he suffered again under the parliamentarian regime, becoming only deputy to his old post of prothonotary at the Restoration, and even that post he soon lost. However, his posts had given him access to many legal records and he began the family tradition of manuscript collecting. These manuscripts are from the later 13th century to 18th century, mostly later 17th century. Original manuscripts and transcripts relating particularly to the history of North-East England, with much of national interest, from the Middle Ages to the early 18th century. The collection includes substantial 17th century correspondence, and much material on the administration of the palatinate of Durham and the working of the palatinate courts. There are 103 volumes & 3 rolls in Latin and English, with occasional French and Greek held at Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections. Christopher passed the hall on to his son James as a wedding gift to him and his wife Francis, and it is they who built the Jacobean part in 1671. By 1720 it was in the hands of John Mickleton who had to sell the place to pay for his debts.

The Hopper family of Shincliffe took over the building in 1736, and added the Georgian west wing. Between 1834 and 1858 they leased the property to Canon James Raine, an antiquary and topographer. He married Margaret, the daughter of Reverend Thomas Peacock, in 1828 and they had three daughters and one son; a Reverend of the same name. James Raine the son was most famous for his controversial account of the excavations of 1827 of St. Cuthbert’s Shrine in Durham Cathedral (J. Raine, St. Cuthbert: with an account of the state in which his remains were found upon the opening of his tomb in Durham Cathedral, in the year 1827  (Durham, 1828)). He was frequently visited by the romantic poet Wordsworth and his wife, and also by John Ruskin,  a leading art critic, patron, draughtsman, watercolourist and philanthropist. James Raine died at Crook Hall in 1858.

In 1859 the Hall was lived in by James Fowler, his wife Mary and their children Hannah, Anne, Elizabeth, James, John and Matthew. He originally worked for his brother James as a sales representative, but after Mary died in 1862 John began his own business as an ale and porter merchant. As well as his flourishing beer bottling service he also had an additional venture selling animal feed in the Market. He did his beer bottling in the medieval hall, after knocking a hole in the north wall so the carts could deliver beer straight to the room. He died in 1888 and the house then went to Matthew as all the other kids had left home by then.

Matthew. 🙄 Sigh. Like any typical 28 year old unmarried male with a substantial inheritance, he partied and drank himself daft, and though he did take over Dad’s business, he lost more money than he made. Took him 2 years to drink himself to death. Matthew’s older brother James returned to Crook Hall with his family, and gave up Dad’s (ruined) business and instead dealt in milk and farming with his other brother, John. James lived there until 1922, when at the age of 68, he died, and his family couldn’t maintain the business, so The Fowlers left Crook Hall.

The Hall changed hands a good few times after the Fowlers left, there were The Pereiras in 1926 who levelled part of the garden to make it a tennis court, then the Hollidays in 1930 who sold it to John Cassells and his wife who developed a lot of the gardens. Then in 1976 Colin and Suzanne Redpath came along and modernised the Georgian wing.

In 1979 major restorations were carried out when  John and Mary Hawgood bought Crook Hall, and it was brought back to it’s former glory. Ian Curry, the Consultant Architect for Durham Cathedral, along with his associate Christopher Downs, directed the restoration of the medieval and Jacobean parts of the house with the work being carried out by Brian Nelson. The main work was to the medieval hall, and windows were restored and the north wall was rebuilt. The Jacobean part was returned to it’s original arrangement, and a new staircase was built in keeping with its medieval and Jacobean surroundings, whilst a turret was constructed to allow the old wooden stairs to be exhibited as a feature. The old Coach House was also restored and converted into a self-catering holiday flat in 1985.  English Heritage donated towards the costs of the restorations.

In 1995 Keith and Maggie Bell bought the Hall and still live there today. A year later they renovated the coach house, to use as their office, and also in 2018 the Coach House Appartment to rent out as a self catering holiday let. They bought the meadow next to it in 1996 and created a maze as a central feature of the gardens, and opened it up to the public. It’s been a great success and in 2015 added a new entrance and a cafe.

You reached the end of the history lesson, well done!! You really are my favourite visitor! 😘

Now on with the pictures!

First, the Hall

Entrance to the hall

We went in the medieval part first, it was cold in there!

From the hall you can see into the Jacobean part across a corridor

It was warmer and very cosy, the original staircase is on the right.

there was real fire on the go, it smelled lovely!

there are little details everywhere,

and a view of Durham Cathedral.

one of the Georgian Dining rooms next

We went upstairs to the Attic room

it had a great view of the Cathedral and overlooked the front garden.

Also upstairs is the Minstrels Gallery which overlooks the medieval hall

On the table we found one of Mrs.Bells scrapbook diaries, lovely to see and read.

So that’s all I got in the hall, next time we’ll have a look around the gardens, so stay tooned!

refs:-

http://crookhallgardens.co.uk/history/

Blood, Sweat and Scones: Two Decades at Crook Hallhttps://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QlY1DwAAQBAJ&pg=PA187&lpg=PA187&dq=Alan+and+AGnes+Billingham&source=bl&ots=n86XXnehzt&sig=ACfU3U2fTA5pOB6sWZxfd8C_RcjxkdlnaA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi2ovWeyuXoAhWhQhUIHf1gD2AQ6AEwAXoECAoQKQ#v=onepage&q=Alan%20and%20AGnes%20Billingham&f=false

Durham University Library Special Collections Catalogue

http://reed.dur.ac.uk/xtf/view?docId=ark/32150_s1w37636792.xml#node.1.4.3.1

https://web.archive.org/web/20121009000019/http://www.crookhallgardens.co.uk/pages/history.htm

 

Newcastle- Sept 2019 – St.Marys Cathedral

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle is a grade 1 listed building, catholic cathedral and the mother church of the Dioscese of Hexam & Newcastle and seat of the Bishop of the diocese. The cathedral was designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, an English architect, designer,artist and critic and was a pioneer of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. He designed many churches in England, Ireland and as far as Australia, but also the interior of the Palace of Westminster, and its iconic clock tower, later named the Elizabeth Tower which houses the bell known as Big Ben.

Construction of the cathedral began in 1842 and was completed by 1844 except for the spire and the tower which were added in 1872.

Sophie and I had been meaning to visit when we were in Newcastle, so this day was our chance.

View down the nave to the east window.

The East Window showing the Tree of Jesse (the genealogy of Jesus from Matthew’s gospel), showing kings and prophets of the Old Testament. The High Altar and Golden Crucifix.

The East window was designed by Pugin and made by renowned glassmaker William Wailes.

The High Altar

Blessed Sacrament Chapel screen: it bears the Latin words Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)

There are some fab stained glass windows creating some lovely light in the cathedral

Blessed Sacrament Chapel window: Jesus the Bread of Life with Seraphim

North-East industrial heritage

Lady Chapel window: Our Lady, St George and St John the Apostle

South Aisle

Ambo or lectern (originally part of the pulpit)

Looking back down the nave towards the entrance. At the top is the Organ (built by Kenneth Tickell of Northampton in 2012–13) and choir gallery.

We really loved the light and colours in the Cathedral, it is a nice blend of modern and original features, and well worth a visit.

Stay tooned for more out and about in Newcastle.

Newcastle Upon Tyne ~ September 2019 ~ 2

Part 1 HERE

After our somewhat disappointing ‘tour’ around All Saints, Sophie and I went off to find an interesting building Sophie had spotted from a train. According to Sophie it wasn’t too far away, so we left All Saints and headed down to the quayside.

All Saints church from the quayside.

We walked down the quayside and I was amused to see that a temporary beach had been set up for summer.

The Quayside Seaside. And Elmer.

You may notice an elephant in the middle of the picture, this is something that happens every year in the North East, and will have a post of it’s own next time.  In the mean time, back to our quest for the Oriental roofed building. We came across a few interesting bits and pieces along the way.

“As I came thro’ Sandgate, I heard a lassie sing ,O, weel may the keel row, that my laddie’s in.”

The Keel Row is a traditional Tyneside folk song evoking the life and work of the keelmen of Newcastle upon Tyne. The opening lines of the song set it in Sandgate, that part of the quayside overlooking the River Tyne to the east of the city centre where the keelmen lived and which is still overlooked by the Keelmen’s Hospital. The Keelmen of Tyne and Wear were a group of men who worked on the keels, large boats that carried the coal from the banks of both rivers to the waiting collier ships.

Keelmans Hospital

In 1699 the keelmen of Newcastle decided to build the Keelmen’s Hospital, a charitable foundation for sick and aged keelmen and their families. The keelmen agreed to contribute one penny a tide from the wages of each keel’s crew and Newcastle Corporation made land available in Sandgate. The hospital was completed in 1701 at a cost of £2,000. It consisted of fifty chambers giving onto a cloister enclosing a grass court. One matter of contention relating to the hospital was that the funds for its maintenance were kept in the control of the Hostmen, ( a cartel of businessmen who formed a monopoly to control the export of coal from the River Tyne) lest they be used as a strike fund by the keelmen. Nothing really changes does it? The hospital building still remains in City Road, and was used for student accommodation until recently. The building is now on the Heritage at Risk register. It has stood vacant since the closure of the student accommodation, and was added to the register in 2009.

River Siren by Andre Wallace

After the decline of Newcastle as an industrial centre, in recent times this area of the river bank known as the Quayside and more specifically Sandgate at this point underwent a major redevelopment project. As part of this the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation funded a number of pieces of sculpture and public art including this one. Taking the theme from the sea and rivers the statue is of a female siren, who famously lured sailors away from their intended course. (Because of course statues make up for the loss of industry and jobs).

The Barley Mow

Just before we got to City Road we came across this derelict building.  Once a pub, the Barley Mow and then the Frog and Firkin it has lain empty since 2010, and has been hit by arson twice in the intervening years.

We kept walking along City Road, expecting Sophies building to appear around the corner, but as we got to Ouseburn there was still no sign of it! On we went.

Ouseburn Mission / residential flats.

A Former Wesleyan Mission House dating to 1867, it’s been converted into flats but retains much of its architectural integrity. The plaque on it’s wall relates to Gladstone Adams (1880 1896). Born just around the corner from the mission he attended Gosforth Academy. Adams served an apprenticeship in Tynemouth with photographer William Auty and opened his own studio in 1904. In April 1908, he drove down to Crystal Palace Park in a 1904 Darracq-Charron motorcar to see Newcastle United play against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup final. It was such a novelty to see a car in those days that it was put into a car showroom window while he was there, because so many people wanted to see it. On the way back from the cup final, snow kept getting on the windscreen and Gladstone had to keep getting out of the car to clear it. This experience led to his invention of the windscreen wiper. In April 1911, Gladstone patented the design of a windscreen wiper with Sloan & Lloyd Barnes, patent agents of Liverpool. Gladstone’s version of the windscreen wiper was never manufactured, however. His original prototype can be seen in Newcastle’s Discovery Museum. In World War I, Adams served in the Royal Flying Corps, the forerunner of the RAF, as a photograph reconnaissance officer. One of his duties was to prove the death and then arrange the burial of Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the ‘Red Baron’, after he had been shot down and killed.

The Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company / Hotel du Vin

Four companies came together in 1904 to form the Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company. These were: The Tyne Steam Shipping Co. Ltd, The Tees Union Steamship Co. Ltd, The Free Trade Wharf Co. Ltd and Furness Withy & Co. Ltd. The Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company provided shipping services in the United Kingdom from 1904 to 1943. Two of their ships were sunk – one by torpedo in 1917 with the loss of 8 crew members and another hit a mine in 1915 with a loss of 2 of the crew.  According to the Hotel du Vin website the building has now been converted into “42 timelessly styled bedrooms, trademark bistro, intriguing Laroche tasting room, two stunning private dining rooms, Bubble bar, courtyard for alfresco dining and an outstanding wine cellar”.  A bit of posh then.

The Malings

Looking over from City Road you can see The Malings, a residential development by the architects Ash Sakula on the banks of the river Ouseburn. Named after the Malings Pottery dating back to 1817, the scheme comprises 76 low energy and eco-friendly homes, with commercial units for local business and community uses. It was named “Supreme Winner” at the 2016 Housing Design Awards.

The Simpsons

You can see this graffiti on the other side of the road behind The Malings on the yet-to-be-developed-site.

Sailers Bethel / SLR Consulting

At the junction of City Road an Horatio Street, you can see the Sailers Bethel which was opened on the 12th of April 1877. Designed by the architect Thomas Oliver Junior it cost £2000 to build. This building has been used as a nonconformist chapel, a community centre, a Danish seamen’s church and now, finally, offices. The word Bethel is hebrew for House of God. In the 1800’s a lot of trade between Newcastle and Denmark occurred, resulting in cargoes of fresh meat, eggs and butter, which all arrived at the mouth of the Ouseburn river. The Bethel was where the Danish sailors stayed overnight whilst their cargo was unloaded.

It was quite a long walk to get there but eventually Sophies building appeared in front of us, easily spotted by it’s weird rooftops, which Sophie had thought of oriental design, so we were not sure what kind of building it was.

AT LAST!! Ouseburn School / Newcastle Enterprise Centre

The rather flamboyant Ouseburn School on Albion Road, facing City Road was built in 1891-93 at the considerable cost of £17,000. The listed school closed in 1977 and lay empty for years until it was converted into a business development centre, providing 50 offices and workshops. Designed by F W Rich  in 1893  it is characterised by Dutch type gables, decorative moulded brickwork and pagoda-style turrets in the style of those found on Burmese Temples. It’s rumoured that industrial giants, Armstrong and Vickers, gave hefty donations towards the building as they were trying to impress the Japanese Navy who visited Tyneside with a view to buying battleships with steam generators. Hence the pagodas.

Mission accomplished and we turned back to the quayside and the centre of Newcastle. Stay tooned for part 3 when we’ll look at the elephants of Newcastle.

reference sites:-
http://www.wikipedia.com
http://www.waymarking.com
http://www.brinkburnbrewery.co.uk
http://www.thejournal.co.uk
http://www.co-curate.ncl.ac.uk
http://www.newcastlephotos.blogspot.com

all pictures by me and embiggenable with a click!

Seaton Delaval Hall~ Feb 2019 ~ Part 2

Part 1 HERE

The marble floor in the great hall was open to the elements after the fire of 1822,the slabs were loose and the underneath screed worn away. They have all been uplifted, the screed replaced, and the tiles put back in their original position. The cracked ones have been bonded back together with resin adhesives mixed with pigment and stainless steel dowels have been added to give them strength. Some were too damaged and had to be replaced, but they managed to find Carrera Marble and black limestone that seems to match the originals closely.

Marble tile floor

There are 3 lead statues at the hall, David & Goliath, Samson slaying a philistine, and the goddess Diana. Made in the 18th century they are rare to see these days, and also have to have conservation work applied.

David & Goliath

Samson & Philistine (May 2012)

I’ve yet to find the goddess 🙄

There is a fabulous spiral staircase connecting the basement to the upper areas

and down below is the servants quarters and cellars.

At the minute they’re closed off due to all the rain we’re having!

Outside the courtyard canopy is fab for photography

There’s a lovely old willow in the outside area too, some of the branches are on props

Willow (May 2012)

The garden is lovely, especially in proper weather!

May 2012

May 2012.

You can embiggen the pictures by clicking on them if you like.

I was a bit bling back in 2012!  That’s all from Seaton Delaval, but if you want to see more of it the 2012 album is HERE

and the 2019 one is HERE

refs- Wiki, 

National Trust

National Trust blog. (not updated recently)

The Art of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne – Jan 2019

Back in January Sophie and I decided to visit a couple of the art galleries in Newcastle, The Biscuit Factory –  the biggest commercial art, craft and design gallery in the UK, and The Laing, home to an internationally important collection of art, focusing on British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver, and glassware.

But before we get to the galleries, we must get off the metro at Central station and walk to Ouseburn, there’s plenty of photo ops along the way.  We get to the crossing over the central motorway, and before the crossing, we see The Oxford.

£134 per week.

Surrounded

The Oxford Galleries dance hall on Newcastle’s New Bridge Street opened in 1925 and was one of the most popular venues of its time. Over the years it went through many reincarnations and was known to generations of dancers and partygoers as Tiffany’s, Ikon, Ritzy’s and Liquid Envy. In 2017, the building was converted into student accommodation with only its listed frontage remaining. There’s progress for you.

Looking back when crossing the motorway we see

Dereliction

am not sure but think this used to be a Premier Inn.

Over the motorway crossing, we can see the reason for so much student accommodation,

Northumberland University – City Campus East

City Campus East, designed by Atkins, opened in September 2007, winning awards from The Journal newspaper and the Low Carbon New Build Project of the Year accolade. It t is home to the Schools of Law, Design and the Newcastle Business School.

Crossing over the central motorway, the Tyne Bridge & Newcastle Cathedral in the distance

There’s a saying in England- “It’s grim up North”…

Under the flyover

As we walked past the college we realised there was a football match imminent.

Jolly Boys

There are a fair few historic buildings in this area of the Toon (as Newcastle is called by natives)

The Dispensary was established in April 1777 and funded through subscriptions, gifts and legacies. Its first site was in The Side but in 1782 or 1783 it moved to Pilgrim Street where it remained until 1790. For the next fifty years, the Trustees leased a building in Low Friar Chare. At the expiry of the lease, the Dispensary moved to 14 Nelson Street, where it remained until 1928. Its final move was to 115 New Bridge Street which was still its home when it finally closed in 1976.  Now a Chinese store.

Public Washery

This former municipal washhouse and baths are located on the corner of Gibson Street and New Bridge Street in Newcastle. It was built in 1907 and designed by F H Halford. The baths had separate men’s and women’s entrances and are notable for its ornate tiles. The baths were closed in 1965 after which the pool was boarded over, and sometimes used as a badminton court. During the Second World War, the pool was used by the Fire Service as a reservoir, for water used to put out fires caused by air raids. The former baths are a Grade II listed building.  I would love to go in as I’ve seen pictures of the inside, the tiles are gorgeous, but the council is trying to sell it off so it’s unobtainable for now.

next to it is St.Dominic’s Priory.

A Roman Catholic church, by Dunn and Hansom, it has a foundation stone dated 1887 and is a Grade II listed building.

Back over the road where there is more rather gaudy student accommodation

It’s not easy being green

Got the blues

we saw a student at the window 🙂

Maggie

and finally, we get to the Biscuit Factory

The gallery’s home is a former Victorian warehouse, constructed in 1870. Prior to 2002, the Building was used in the manufacturing of biscuits.  Surprise surprise!

But that’s enough for today, stay tooned for next time when we will go and see the beautiful artworks and craftworks the gallery holds.

 

Shrewsbury ~ November 2018 ~ part 1

A little break from our North Eastern adventures, as Phil and I went off to Shrewsbury to a model show Phil wanted to attend, and we took an extra day there for me to wander around Shrewsbury and take some photos of course.

Shrewsbury is a market town, on the River Severn, 9 miles from the border with Wales.It has a largely unspoilt medieval street plan and over 660 listed buildings, including several examples of timber framing from the 15th and 16th centuries, so I knew it would be a fab place to photograph.

The (potted) History Bit

Originally the capital of The Kingdom of Powys in the early middle ages, it has been the site of many conflicts between the English and Welsh, with The Angles, under King Offa of Mercia taking possession in 778.  William the Conqueror held off the Welsh hordes who besieged the town in 1069 and 5 years later William gave the town as a gift to Roger de Montgomery who built the castle in Shrewsbury.  Between 1135 and 1153 a civil war raged in England and Normandy, known as The Anarchy, by which time Empress Maud, who wanted to rule England, had installed her own man in the castle at Shrewsbury, William FitzAlan, a nobleman of Breton ancestry. He was a major landowner, a Marcher lord with large holdings in Shropshire, where he was the Lord of Oswestry, as well as in Norfolk and Sussex. However, King Stephen put paid to that as he had already claimed the throne and successfully besieged the castle during the war.

It was in the late Middle Ages (14th and 15th centuries) when the town was at its height of commercial importance. This success was mainly due to wool production, a major industry at the time, and the wool trade with the rest of Britain and Europe, with the River Severn and Watling Street acting as trading routes.

In the spring of 1349, The Black Death plague arrived and took a high toll on the population of Shrewsbury. Records suggest it was devastating. Examining the number of local church benefices falling vacant due to death, 1349 alone saw twice the vacancies as the previous ten years combined, suggesting a high death toll in Shrewsbury.

In 1403 the Battle of Shrewsbury was fought a few miles north of the town centre, at Battlefield; it was fought between King Henry IV and Henry Hotspur Percy, with the King emerging victorious, an event celebrated in William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act 5.

Well, that will do for historical bits, though of course, the town’s history is much more extensive.

We stayed in College Hill Guest House just outside the town centre, it’s a 16th-century dwelling.  Everything was higgledy-piggledy, the floors creaked with every step, the stairs and walls leaned, but you could feel the history.

College Hill Guest House

We made ourselves at home 🙂

So let’s have a wander around.

We came across this rather magnificent terracotta and red brick building

An Eye, ear and throat hospital opened in 1881, now converted into flats.

 

The next interesting edifice we came across was just around the corner.

Town Walls Tower

Town Walls Tower is evidence of Shrewsbury’s history as a strategically important settlement close to the border with Wales. It formed a key part of the defensive walls that once surrounded the town and is now the last surviving example of those defences. The building of Shrewsbury’s perimeter walls is dated to 1220 and 1242. Henry III issued a royal mandate urging the men of Salop to fortify the town, and grants for building walls were made during his reign. The king visited Shrewsbury on several occasions, pursuing his campaign against the Welsh. By the 14th century, the walls had fallen derelict, and Henry IV commissioned further rebuilding. Town Walls Tower was probably added during this time when the town was at risk from attack. A map of 1575 shows the town almost fully encircled by walls featuring several similar towers. They were a means to observe land around the town and river. All gone now except this one.

But today we’re going to walk through the alleyways of Shrewsbury.

 

 

 

 

 

Henry Tudor House is a restaurant and bar located in one of the most historic half-timbered buildings in Shrewsbury, believed to be the place where a beleaguered Henry Tudor sought refuge on his way to the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

 

The Golden Cross is reputed to be the oldest licensed public house in Shrewsbury and records show that it was used as an inn as far back as 1428, some years before the introduction of formal licensing.

Stay tooned and we’ll visit some more medieval buildings next time.

Raby Castle ~ August 2018 ~ Interior part 3

EXTERIOR…..PART 1 HERE   PART 2 HERE.   PART 3 HERE

INTERIOR…….PART 1 HERE ~ Entrance Hall, Chapel, Baron’s Hall.

INTERIOR……PART 2 HERE ~ Small drawing room, Octagon Room, Dining Room

 

Today we’ll start in the Blue Bedroom.

Blue Bedroom

Guess why it’s called the blue bedroom :). This bedroom was added as a guest bedroom by John Carr in the 18thC and has a Four poster bed which was the marriage bed of the Duke of Cleveland,  It has a handmade bedspread made in Turkey.

Big Bed

 

Commode and bath, with screen for privacy

Of course servants quarters would not be so swish, but even so, not too bad,

Servants bedroom

The kitchen in Raby was in use up to 1954, (Not sure where they cook now!) It originally had an open fire in the middle of the room and carcasses of meat would be hung across beams in the ceiling so the smoke would cure it.  Three large fireplaces were installed at various points in its history.  In the Victorian era, a range with a fan turned spit and side ovens

Victorian Range

Another range was added during WW2 when officers were billeted in the castle

and a third which was turned into a sink so that the fire below could heat up the water

 

Some of the display items seem so funny now, but back in the day this was serious advice!

 

Don’t try this at home! 😀

Again the servants dining area wasn’t too shabby either

That’s the best bits of the Interior finished up, next time we’ll visit the stables where we had lunch, and commence the Deerfest!

Stay tooned!

Raby Castle ~ August 2018 ~ Interior Part 1

The History and external shots of the grounds can be accessed thusly:-

EXTERIOR….Part 1 HERE.  Part 2 HERE. Part 3 HERE

Now we get to the inside of the castle and will start off in the Entrance Hall,

Entrance Hall

described as “one of the boldest conceptions of its age and the first truly dramatic interior of the Gothic revival” due to its elegant Gothic vaulting.  I’m not sure why, but it was decided to construct a carriageway through the castle, presume they were too lazy to ride around the outside. John Carr of York got the job and did it by raising the roof, completing it in 1787 when the 2nd Earl of Darlington’s son returned from his tour of Europe, but the construction did affect other parts of the castle.

swords and guns on the wall in the entrance hall

 

Park Carriage parked.

One of the parts of the castle that was affected by this new carriageway was the chapel.

Chapel

So saying, the chapel, originally part of the 14th-century construction, has been messed with on a few occasions.  After John Carr raised the floor 2 1/2 meters for the carriageway to happen, in the 1840’s Scottish architect William Burn was employed and he then lowered the chapel floor by a meter. The window at the south of the altar was covered over in the 17th century and re-opened in 1901 when the 9th Lord Barnard was doing his alterations.

At the rear of the chapel is an arcade decorated with 20th-century portraits of people associated with Raby during the Nevill years, Ralph 1st Earl of Westmoreland, his 2nd wife Joan Beaufort,  Bishop Hatfield who gave them the crenelation license, Lord John Neville, Cicely ‘The Rose of Raby’,  Y’all know who I mean as they all take part in the History bits in parts 1 & 2 which I’m sure you read before starting on this post 🤣.

John, The Bish, Ralph, Joan & Cicily

The likenesses were taken from tomb effigies and stained glass windows.

The Barons’ Hall, where seven hundred knights once gathered to plot the doomed ‘Rising of the North’ in 1569,  was also altered by Mr.Burn.

The Baron’s Hall

He extended the Hall 17m, over his newly created Octagon Drawing Room, and the original hammer-beam roof was replaced with a more elaborate one. However, the Barons’ Hall still retains part of the Minstrels Gallery and a window from the Nevill period.

 

Books in Baron’s Hall

 

Now that’s what I call a candlestick!

There’s also a rather gruesome death mask of Harry George, Duke of Cleveland in the Hall.

definitely dead

Well, that will suffice for now, more to come as it’s a big old place, in fact this might be classed as a serial! Stay tooned for more Victorian and Regency interiors.

Newcastle Guild Hall, and Quayside ~ December 2017

On my last post, The Camel Parade, I said that that was the last report for a while as I’ve posted everything for my outings in 2017. Well I lied. 🙂 Not so much lied really, as completely overlooked mine and Sophies day out to see the Guildhall in Newcastle.  Usually you are not allowed in the building, but there are Heritage Open days where you can get a guided tour of it, and Sophie booked us to go on one.

The History Bit

The building was designed by Robert Trollope and completed in 1655. Trollope was a 17th-century English architect, born in Yorkshire, who worked mainly in Northumberland and Durham. A propos of nothing, he was buried in St Mary’s church Gateshead where he’d designed and built his own monument with statue of himself and inscription that reads
“Here lies Robert Trollop

Who made yon stones roll up

When death took his soul up

His body filled this hole up”.

More Pam Ayres than Wordsworth, but he lives on in his magnificent buildings.

The frontage of the building was rebuilt to designs by William Newton and David Stephenson in 1794. The east end of the building is an extension designed by John Dobson and completed in 1823.

So on with the pictures!

In the stairwell on the way up to the courtrooms

Charles II in Roman Army Gear, who knows why!  His feet look really big to me!

The statue was placed originally placed at the North End of the Tyne Bridge, on the restoration of Charles II to the throne.  It had the motto Adventus Regis solemn gregis. i.e the coming of the king is the comfort of his people.On 15th June 1771 it was moved and placed in a niche on the side of the Exchange (this is what the Guildhall was known as back then).  It was finally moved to where it is now in 1794.  I got this information from a book published in 1826 by John Sykes (bookseller of Newcastle), and the full fascinating story can be found HERE 

The courtroom

In 1649 15 people were hanged on the Town Moor for the crime of Witchcraft, they were tried here.

Mind your head!

The Merchant Adventurers Hall was quite something..

John 21:6 🙂

Ceiling detail

All the mayors coats of arms, from then until now.

Fake fire!

 

Had me fooled! 🙂

 

Stay tooned for part 2, which will be even more stunning than part 1, really! 😀

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