Prudhoe Castle remastered ~ May 2015 part 1.

Another delve into the archives, and this time I’m revamping a post that no-one who follows this blog has seen before, except Francis. Another outing with Sophie and the erstwhile Mike.

The castle is a ruined medieval English castle situated on the south bank of the River Tyne at Prudhoe, Northumberland, England. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building. That’s its credentials so let’s get on with

The History Bit ☕️ 🍪

The castle started life as a Norman motte and bailey built somewhere about the middle of the 11th Century.

Small digression ~ Back in the medieval Duchy of Normandy, Pesky French, Pesky Gallic-Romans and Pesky Norse Vikings got all jiggy together and intermingley which resulted in an ethnic and cultural “Pesky Norman” identity in the first half of the 10th century, an identity which continued to evolve over the centuries.

The Norman Conquest, led by the Duke of Normandy who then became William the Conqueror (a man far beyond pesky) happened, and after all that malarkey the wonderfully named Umfraville family took control of the Castle. Robert d’Umfraville was formally granted the barony of Prudhoe by Henry I, but had probably been granted Prudhoe in the closing years of the 11th century. The Umfravilles (probably Bob) initially replaced the wooden palisade with a massive rampart of clay and stones and subsequently constructed a stone curtain wall and gatehouse.

Now Bob, whilst holding the lordships of Prudhoe and Redesdale for King Henry I, also acquired interests in Scotland. He seems to have been pals with King David I and his son Henry, and was granted lands in Stirlingshire. Bob died around 1145 and his son Odinel I succeeded him, also being active in Scotland and being all pally with King David and his grandson who went on to be King Malcolm IV.

We’ll skip a couple of unimportant Umfs and move along to 1173 which is when William the Lion of Scotland, (a Pesky lion at that) invaded the North East to claim the earldom of Northumbria. Sigh. By this time Odinell II is head honcho of the Umfs.

I feel we should digress here, and have a quick look at William the Lion, who was actually a bloke. Willy became King of Scotland in December 1165 aged 25 and reigned for 48 years until 1214, the second longest reign in Scottish history. On the whole it seems he was a conscientious and good King, but, and this is a big but, he was stupidly obsessed with Northumbria. And he was an argumentative sort of chap to boot. We have to turn the clock back a bit here, to 1113 when King Henry I gave a defunct Earldom, that of Northumbria, to David I, Willy’s grandfather. More on that shortly. Ish. Willy spent time at King Henry II’s court, but quarrelled with him and in 1168 arranged a treaty of Scottish alliance with France, the first ever between the Main Peskies. In 1173/4 a revolt against Henry kicked off with Henry’s three sons and their mother against him with short lived assistance from Le Pesky Louis VII. That went on for 18 months, to no avail, but our Willy was a key player in the revolt. At the Battle of Alnwick the daft bugger recklessly charged the English troops by himself, shouting, “Now we shall see which of us are good knights!” As you do. Anyway at that point Ranulf de Glanvill and his troops unhorsed and captured him, took him in chains to Newcastle, then Northampton, and then to Falais in Normandy. Henry then sent an army into Scotland and occupied it. As ransom and to regain his kingdom, Willy had to acknowledge Henry as his feudal superior and agree to pay for the cost of the English army’s occupation of Scotland by taxing the Scots. The cost was equal to 40,000 Scottish marks (£26,000). I can’t find out how much that is in todays money, but it’s quite a sum as it is! The church of Scotland was also subjected to that of England. William acknowledged this by signing the Treaty of Falaise, and was then allowed to return to Scotland. In 1175 he swore fealty to Henry II at York Castle. If only he’d just stayed in the line…🤷‍♀️

Back to Prudhoe and back to 1173, I presume prior to joining or during the revolt, Willy decided to invade Northumberland and reclaim the Earldom. He was a busy chap. Odinell II refused to support him and so Willy and his Scottish Army attacked Prudhoe Castle, but failed to take it as they were not prepared for a lengthy siege. The following year he tried again, but Ody was a canny chap and had strengthened his garrison. The Pesky Scots tried a siege, but gave up after 3 days, and Ody further improved the defences of the castle by adding a stone keep and a great hall. I mean, what was Willy thinking? I can vouch for Northumbrians not wanting to be Scottish, they don’t even want to be English! They have their own flag and everything! Ody died in 1182 and was succeeded by his son Richard. By this time King John the lecherous was in charge of everything and he wasn’t well liked. Dicky came under suspicion of treachery, and in 1212 had to hand over to the king his sons and his castle of Prudhoe.The Baronial revolt kicked off in 1215-17,and in 1216 our Dicky joined the rebels fighting John and so then his lands were forfeit as well. They remained forfeited until 1217, the year after King John’s death. He later made peace with the government of King Henry III and died in 1226. He was succeeded by his son Gilbert II,and he in turn was succeded by his son Gilbert III in 1245. Gill 3 inherited the title of Earl of Angus with vast estates in Scotland, but he continued to spend some of his time at Prudhoe. It is believed that he carried out further improvements to the castle.

We are back to the Scottish Wars of Independence now, which we left behind in Lanercost Castle a couple of weeks ago, and though Gill 3 was Earl of Angus, he actually fought on the English side in the first war until his death in 1308. His heir and second son Robert de Umfraville IV came next and he also sided with the English but ended up surrendering to the pesky King Bobby the Bruce during the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. King Bobby did release Bob 4th who then treated with the Scots for peace with England. He was ultimately disinherited of his titles, no surprises there! In 1316 King Edward granted Bob 4th 700 marks to maintain a garrison of 40 men-at-arms and 80 light horsemen at Prudhoe. In 1325, Bob 4th died and his son another bliddy Gilbert IV took over the Barony, and was the last of the Umfravilles to do so. He’d married twice and had a son guess what they called him? hint- begins with R ends in T and has OBER in the middle. 🙄 Anyway, that Bob died, Gill didn’t have any more kids, and when he died in 1381 his 2nd wife remarried into the mighty Percy family, to Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland, (will definitely be digressing him!)and when she died in 1398 Prudhoe Castle went to him. So we will say goodbye to the Umfravilles, whose dynasty continued, but without our castle.

Oh My Days! how bliddy confusing all the Gilberts and Roberts and Odinells I had to make sense of. More Umfravilles than you can shake an Englebert at! What a nightmare. Any hoo, I’m going to leave you hanging in 1398 now, until next week, because there’s still a few hundred years until we get to the end, and you’ll need another cup of tea and more biscuits for that! Bet you can’t wait!! 😃

On with the pictures!!

The view from the road as you walk up to the castle.

Prudhoe Castle & Mill pond, iPhone 6 panorama

Built in 1150, the Gatehouse also incorporated the chapel.

The Gatehouse

The Outer Bailey where lower service buildings and the great hall stood. The East Tower is to the right. People lived in it until the 1990’s!

The Outer Bailey and East tower.
Steps to the East Tower

The Inner Bailey was enclosed by the first stone curtain wall of the mid 12th century but had to be rebuilt in the 14th century after subsidence.

Inner Bailey

The Keep. The west wall of the keep shows the scar of the gable end of the Norman roof, indicating the great height of the open-roofed upper hall. Within the west wall a flight of stairs goes up to the battlement level walk. The south and east walls are no longer there so no other Norman features remain.

Norman Tower stairs

The remains of the base of the south drum tower (home to a huge conservatory in the early 1900s); and the north-west drum tower, which still dominates this end of the castle. The open grassy area to the south-west of the castle formed the pele yard, a service area for the castle which was also the site of St Mary’s Chapel, built in the 1200s but long gone.

north west & south drum tower (iphone6 panorama)

So that’s it for this time, but we’ve more yet to see so

📷 😊

No apostrophies were harmed in the making of this post, but some may have gone out to play, and others could be playing somewhere they’re not supposed to be.

Shrewsbury~ Nov 2018 ~ part 3

The main recreational park in Shrewsbury is called The Quarry. Created in 1719 and encompassing 29 acres it’s in a location within easy walking distance of Shrewsbury town centre, Shrewsbury Sixth Form College and Shrewsbury School, it is the most heavily used public park within the county. Who knew that measuring park usage is a thing?? Is someone in every park in Shropshire sitting counting how many people are there all day, every day? Well anyway, the centrepiece of the Quarry is called The Dingle, a former stone quarry, but now a landscaped sunken garden.

The Dingle



I think only my British readers will recognise the name of Percy Thrower (MBE) who was a gardener, horticulturalist and broadcaster He became nationally known through presenting gardening programmes, starting in 1956 with the BBC’s Gardening Club, then the BBC’s Gardeners’ World from 1969 until 1976. His final career move was to Shrewsbury in 1946, as the Parks Superintendent, becoming the youngest parks superintendent. He had a staff of about 35. He had reached the top of his profession at just 32 years of age and it was his sole ambition in life. He expected to stay only four or five years, but in fact remained in post until 1974.

The Shoemakers’ Arbour associated with the pre-Victorian town festival, and originally sited in Kingsland, was moved to the Dingle in 1879. It dates from 1679 and includes statues of Crispin and Crispinian, the patron saints of shoemakers.

Shoemakers without feet!

A statue of the goddess Sabrina was presented by the Earl of Bradford in 1879. The inscription on the statue is based on a poem by John Milton (1608–1674). In myth, Sabrina was a nymph who drowned in the Severn.


Shrewsbury’s main civic war memorial, the focus for Remembrance Sunday, is situated within the Quarry. near St Chad’s Terrace. It consists of a bronze winged and armoured statue of St. Michael under a canopy designed like a classical Greek temple in the form of six Ionic columns supporting a circular dome. It is inscribed: ‘Remember the gallant men and women of Shropshire who gave their lives for God, King and country 1914-18 and 1939–45.

St Chad’s Church was built in 1792, and with its distinctive round shape and high tower, it is a well-known landmark in the town. It faces The Quarry area of parkland, which slopes down to the River Severn. The church is a Grade I listed building.



The River Severn (Welsh: Afon Hafren, Latin: Sabrina) is the longest river in Great Britain at a length of 220 miles (354 km), and the second longest in the British Isles after the River Shannon in Ireland.


School & Boathouse

Stay tooned, see you next week!

St.Pauls Church and Monastery~ November 2017

Following on from visiting Bede’s Museum and the Anglo~Saxon farm and village  Sophie and I walked down the road to visit St.Pauls Church and Monastery ruins.  The monastery site is under the care of English Heritage, but the church is still in use.

A bit more history 

St Paul’s Church and Monastery was built on land given by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria in AD681.It was founded by Benedict Biscop, who seven years ealier had built the church and monastery of St. Peter’s at Wearmouth (Sunderland).The chancel of St. Paul’s is the original Saxon church, built as a separate chapel and possibly dedicated to the Virgin Mary.A large basilica was built on the site of the present nave and dedicated on 23rd April AD685.The present nave and north aisle are the work of the Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott.The monastery to which the Venerable Bede came as a boy, thrived in the 7th and 8th centuries. It was here that Bede lived, worked and worshipped. His bones now lie in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral. In AD794 the Vikings sacked the church and monastery.In 1074 the church was repaired and the monastery refounded by Aldwin, Prior of Winchcombe Abbey in Gloucestershire. The monastery then became a daughter house of the Benedictine Community at Durham.  At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, St. Paul’s became a Parish Church.

And English heritage have Kindly put up a plaque to show which bit of the church is which.

The Church wasn’t open, so we wandered the site of the Monastery ruins just behind where I stood to shoot the church. The monastery’s reputation had spread throughout Europe, chiefly because of the scholarly writings of the Venerable Bede. Bede entered St Peter’s in about 680 at the age of seven, and spent his life in the twin monastery of Wearmouth–Jarrow, which he described as ‘one monastery in two places’.

Unfortunately we were not alone,  two ladies (I use the term loosely and have deleted my original description) and their loud and (deleted) children were also enjoying the site, they on their smart phones, the children clambering over the ruins.

they didn’t seem to be going anytime soon so I took my shots with them in it as the light was going. I suppose they give it scale 😀

The River Don runs along the side of the Monastery, so we wandered down to the river to take a few shots before going home (and to escape the shouty brats)

and were lucky to find a bevy of swans on the river

and it was lovely and peaceful, until guess who turned up and started yelling and throwing sticks in the water, not at the birds at least, the swans and us  made a rapid exit and Sophie and I went home.

Over the past 3 posts I’ve used the following pages for reference

Jarrow Hall

and there are extra photo’s from all 3 posts on my site HERE 

Hope you stay tooned for the next adventure when we’ll be visiting the Diwali Festival in Sunderland.




Jarrow Hall, Anglo Saxon village and Bede Museum ~ November 2017 ~ Part 1

The History Bit

Known as The Venerable Bede,(AD 673-735,) Bede was an author, scholar, skilled linguist and translator who also composed works on astronomical timekeeping and the motions of the sun, Earth and Moon. He was widely regarded as the ‘father of English history’ as his most famous work, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People is one of the most important original references on Anglo-Saxon history. This work also played a key role in the development of an English national identity. He was an English monk who lived at the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Wearmouth-Jarrow, a double monastery at Jarrow and Monkwearmouth, England. and the Bede museum  tells the story of Bede and his time, from the beginnings of the Anglo-Saxon period through Bede’s life, death and extraordinary legacy.

Sophie and I wanted to go somewhere nearby, and as the museum had recently been reopened after a year of being shut down for lack of funds, this is where we went.

When we arrived the chap at reception asked us if we’d come to hear the lecture on that day, we hadn’t known there was one but said yes anyway and went in to see what it was all about. It was a fascinating talk by the Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of York and director of the Sutton Hoo Research Project Professor Martin Carver, and his talk was on the Anglo Saxon buriel site at Sutton Hoo. He was really interesting and humorous with it. Afterwards we had lunch at the cafe and then went around the Bede Museum itself.

The Venerable Bede


The museum takes you through the times that Bede lived in

One of the statues by a timeline display showing Bede’s vision of English origins.


6th-century inhumation grave from Norton, Cleveland,


replica of anglo Saxon helmet


replica of the Codex Amiatinus, the earliest surviving manuscript of the nearly complete Bible in the Latin Vulgate. Three versions were originally produced in the double monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow in around 700AD, and it is believed Bede had a personal involvement in their creation.  Commissioned by Ceolfrid in 692  the double monastery raised 2000 head of cattle to produce the vellum pages of these huge, beautifully illuminated manuscripts. Two versions have been lost and the only survivor, from which the Jarrow Hall copy and only one other have been made, now resides in the Laurentian Library in Florence.


The Franks Casket is a small Anglo-Saxon whale’s bone chest from the early 8th century, The casket is densely decorated with knife-cut narrative scenes in flat two-dimensional low-relief and with inscriptions mostly in Anglo-Saxon runes. Generally reckoned to be of Northumbrian origin, it is of unique importance for the insight it gives into early Anglo-Saxon art and culture. Both identifying the images and interpreting the runic inscriptions has generated a considerable amount of scholarship. The imagery is very diverse in its subject matter and derivations, and includes a single Christian image, the Adoration of the Magi, along with images derived from Roman history (Emperor Titus) and Roman mythology (Romulus and Remus), as well as a depiction of at least one legend indigenous to the Germanic peoples: that of Weyland the Smith. It has also been suggested that there may be an episode from the Sigurd legend, an otherwise lost episode from the life of Weyland’s brother Egil, a Homeric legend involving Achilles, and perhaps even an allusion to the legendary founding of England by Hengist and Horsa. The inscriptions “display a deliberate linguistic and alphabetic virtuosity; though they are mostly written in Old English and in runes, they shift into Latin and the Roman alphabet; then back into runes while still writing Latin”. Some are written upside down or back to front. This is a replica, the original being in the British Museum.


There are several pieces of medieval stonework on display

This is a fragment of cross arm and cross head dating from the first half of the 8th century.


as well as stained glass from the same time period.

Next time we’ll visit the Anglo Saxon farm and village, so stay tooned!

Pow Hill Nature Reserve ~ Sept 2017 ~ Part 1

Pow Hill is set in moorland overlooking the Derwent Reservoir. The word Pow comes from Old English and means ‘slow moving stream’ which refers to the waterlogged boggy area in the north of the site. Conserved for its special wildlife interest, the area is home to goldcrests, coal tits, roe deer and red squirrels. The western end of the lake is protected as a nature reserve although there is access to the water’s edge in some places.

Needless to say Sophie and I went for a visit here, though we didn’t spot any red squirrels sadly, plenty of sheep though!

We parked in the carpark and followed the signs to walk around the lake, passing some beautiful heather on the edge of the path

It was a warm day and we were hounded by squadrons of mosquito’s hovering around the pathways waiting to dive bomb any walkers in the vicinity, so kept ourselves covered and got to open space as quickly as possible.

The park is pretty popular, lots of people enjoying the fishing opportunities.


Sophie and I were a bit disgruntled that only fishing people are allowed at the water’s edge, so we had to deploy the telephoto lenses.  There seemed to be lots of activity at the Sailing Club on the far side of the lake..

but only one boat on the water.

The water was so pretty it was hard to remember the scenery behind us, but when we did we were treated to bunny rabbits.

and sheep

We got to the far end of the lake where the ‘Pow’ meets it

There’s a picnic area and another car park

and views across the moors to the heather covered meadows.

so we turned around and walked back, following some dog walkers.

Stay tooned for the return journey and further explorations.










Day 225~366

Yellow is the most luminous of all the colors of the spectrum. It’s the color that captures our attention more than any other color.

In the natural world, yellow is the color of sunflowers and daffodils, egg yolks and lemons, canaries and bees. In our contemporary human-made world, yellow is the color of Sponge Bob, the Tour de France winner’s jersey, happy faces, post its, and signs that alert us to danger or caution.

It’s the color of happiness, and optimism, of enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring.

Lurking in the background is the dark side of yellow: cowardice, betrayal, egoism, and madness. Furthermore, yellow is the color of caution and physical illness (jaundice, malaria, and pestilence). Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the sources of yellow pigments are toxic metals – cadmium, lead, and chrome – and urine.

Global Meanings of Yellow

In almost every culture yellow represents sunshine, happiness, and warmth.

Yellow is the color most often associated with the deity in many religions (Hinduism and Ancient Egypt)

Yellow is the color of traffic lights and signs indicating caution all over the world.

Unique Meanings of Yellow in Different Cultures

In Japan, yellow often represents courage.

In China, adult movies are referred to as yellow movies.

In Russia, a colloquial expression for an insane asylum used to be “yellow house.”

Bright “marigold” yellow may be associated with death in some areas of Mexico.

Those condemned to die during the Inquisition wore yellow as a sign of treason.

A yellow patch was used to label Jews in the Middle Ages. European Jews were forced to wear yellow or yellow “Stars of David” during the Nazi era of prosecution.

(info from


Day 47~ 366

Had to work in Cumbria again today, 7 hours driving in total, so a tiring day. I didn’t have time really to stop and do good photo’s but I pulled off on the A66 to get a shot of the bit of sunlight that was shining on the snowy mountain.


That was it as far as sunshine went! Loved the sky today though, interesting clouds for most of the day.

Day 46~366

Managed 2 shots while out and about at work. This morning I was in the wild lands Darlington County, seeing people in little villages with miles of surrounding countryside, so a nice drive, though snowy in parts.

Firstly, had to be done, I do love the photogenic qualities of wind turbines.


and later further down the road I got the snowy landscape, but boring sky, and I don’t do replacements!


Day 44~366 Beamish Museum report .

Beamish Museum is a living history museum and there is so much to see and do there. The vision of one man Dr.Frank Atkinson, it illustrates the way of life of “ordinary people” and brings the region’s history alive. It was raining, sleeting, and snowing on and off, but Sophie and I were determined to go out with our camera’s for the day, and at Beamish, the weather doesn’t matter as there’s plenty of indoor stuff to see.

There’s a lot of shots but am putting them in galleries so you can click on the 1st one and scroll through if you want to see them embiggened.

We started out in the 1820’s visiting Pockerley Waggonway and got a ride on Puffing Billy

After our ride, we walked up to Pockerley Old Hall which replicates how tenant farmers would live.

Then we caught a tram (<3 trams!) to 1900’s town and first visited the railway station where we were allowed into the signal box.

Then back up to 1900 Town, and first we had lunch in the Tearooms, lovely Vegetable broth with rustic bread.

Then we visited some of the shops, as it was raining.

Then it was time to go home. Still loads more to go back and visit, there’s a pit village, a farm, &  a colliery we didn’t get round to, and they are now building a 1950’s Town and upland farm, Georgian coaching inn and more.  It is a great place for a day out, all the staff are dressed in period costumes, and they are all really friendly and knowledgeable so we learned a lot on our way round. How to pick one for the daily shot??

Day 43~366 South Shields in the Sun

This morning the sun was out again, and as I had to go and pay some work cheques into the bank, I also decided to visit the junk market, and Phil came along with me. I’ve taken quite a few shots, and found it hard to choose one for the project. Think I’ll go with the ducks.

The Market


This structure with the mirrored ceiling is new, South Shields is undergoing redevelopment at the moment and things are changing.

Had to be done 🙂



The second thing we noticed was a huge new building going up, and assumed it to be a shopping centre.



Have since googled it and it’s not, it’s called ‘The Word’ and according to South Shields Council website…The Word has been revealed as the name of the new library and digital media centre which will be the jewel in the crown of the £100 million regeneration of South Shields town centre.  Have to say the locals are less than impressed.

More shots of the market..


and some people


I was caught in the act!


Some funny ducks


Phil was very excited to revisit his boyhood reading material



After the market we went to lunch.. a valentine Pork Pie 😀


and I took some street shots



I asked the lady what kind of dogs these were and to take a picture, they are Akita’s, there are Japanese Akita Inu’s which don’t have black masks, these two are American Akita’s so have the black masks. Apparently they are docile, intelligent, courageous and fearless. A bit like me then 😀

Walking back to the car I noticed this building in King Street, don’t know how I’d never looked at it before, lovely ornate carvings.



It was originally The Empire Theatre and opened with a variety show on Monday 13th February 1899 so tomorrow will be its 117th birthday. In the 30’s it became a cinema, then a Odeon, then a bingo hall, but all that stopped in the 70’s when it became a place for retail outlets. It’s not in use as anything now sadly, there’s an estate agent sign up on it. The facade though is grade 2 listed, so has to be kept.


Love the wavy rooftops of these shops


Road protector


The gas storage unit is not in use, but has become a bit of an iconic landmark for the locals. This time last year it was earmarked for demolition, but it’s still standing for now.


and it’s a good perch for the seagulls and pigeons



Sometimes there just is no explanation for the sights you see..




The carpark is opposite the backs of some shops, think they’ve had past troubles



and that’s the end of my tour. Changed my mind about the ducks, bird on the gasometer won out 🙂