Raby Castle ~ revisted ~ August 2022

Sophie came. back to England for a few days with her hubby Mentat, and we had decided to take Mentat to Raby Castle as it’s just about the most spectacular one. We also love the formal walled garden for the amount of butterflies and bees that grace the flowers, and the chance of seeing deer is pretty high too, so lots to see and admire. Phil came too.

Well, what the website doesn’t tell you is that the grounds of Raby Castle are undergoing monumental upheaval and they’ve completely dug up the formal garden,

This is a little of what is lost.

Formally developed into a pleasure garden for the family, the existing ornamental garden will be redesigned to provide an outdoor space where visitors can move through planting or attend performances and events.” Performances and events, no doubt for which you pay extra.

The café we usually go to which was in the old stables is also undergoing renovations.

café no more

The buildings, designed by architect John Carr in the 18th century are Grade 2 listed, will be restored and repurposed to provide retail and interpretation spaces.” Not sure what interpretation spaces are, but I sure know what ‘retail spaces’ means!

There’s also going to be a Play Area :-
A new feature, the play area will offer play for children aged 4-10 years old and will be built within the original Christmas Tree plantation to the north of the Castle, Park and Gardens”.

Now Sophie and I do comprehend that people who own small people have to take them out and about at weekends and school holidays, especially in the nice weather. We just don’t like it when they take them out to places we visit. On the whole the small things are pushy, noisy, ill mannered and immune to any attempts at control by their owners (if indeed the owners bother) so this is not good news.

There’s a lot more to it, the development is called ‘The Rising’ and will take 2 years to complete.

The castle will remain as it is, and the deerpark, but according to Lord Barnard who owns Raby :-

Raby Castle has welcomed visitors since the 18th Century, but felt it was “still very much under the radar, and it has a huge amount to share.”

His motivation for the scheme, he said, “is to really open up the castle and the estate to a great many more people to enjoy.”

“With a new generation it is time for a new beginning, and we want to make sure that Raby is preserved for future generations to enjoy as well as our own.”

Which is all poshspeak for ‘not enough people visit to pay for the upkeep of it all’, so I don’t suppose I can blame him, it must cost a fortune to run. The total investment will be in the region of £14 million and paid for by proceeds from new housing developments in Gainford and Staindrop, consisting of 151 houses :-  including 3-bedroomed family, 2-bedroomed cottages, single storey dwellings and apartments. I don’t think they will be ‘affordable housing’ sites!

Anyway, disappointed as we were about the garden, which was shut off, we went inside the castle and had a walk through the deer park, and had lunch in the new Yurt Café.

Yurt Café

I didn’t take any pictures inside the Castle, I’ve already done a 7 part post on Raby which starts HERE if you haven’t seen those and want to, which is quite comprehensive. Also when I’m out with non-photographers the dynamic for photography just isn’t the same, but I did take a shot of the Castle and we came across some deer.

He has a hairy willy, that must tickle.
lady deer
the White Queen

Sophie and will go back in 2 or 3 years and see what’s become of it all so stay tooned for that! 🥴

all pictures are clickable & embiggenable

more information:-

Raby Castle Revisited Again! – August 2019

The thing with some places, like Raby Castle, Alnwick Castle, and a few other sites not part of English Heritage or National Trust but run privately, is that you buy a ticket to get in to the place, which isn’t always cheap, but allows you to visit as many times as you like within a year of buying it. Raby Castle is well worth a few visits and though we’d been back in May, we wanted a return trip to do the butterflies in the beautiful gardens there, always a spectacle.

This year was the year of the painted ladies invasion. The butterfly migrates to the UK each summer where its caterpillars feed on thistles. Every ten years or so there is a “painted lady summer” when they arrive en masse and 2019 was it.

But it wasn’t all painted ladies…


Small white

Red Admiral


Meadow Brown

and the ladies

and it wasn’t all butterflies..

Not sure if these are wasps or hoverflies and I didn’t hang about to find out! 🙂

I was amazed at how much pollen a bee can collect and still fly!



Raby has a wonderful herd of deer, and we were lucky to get close to these guys again

The chaps

there’s always one….

all pictures can be embiggened with a click
full album of pretty pictures HERE

stay tooned folks!

Raby Castle Revisited – May 2019

Back in August 2018 Sophie and I went off to visit Raby Castle and had a great time chasing deer around the place. When you buy a ticket to get in there, it lasts for a whole year, so we revisited in May when the spring flowers were popping up.  The castle itself is a grand castle, so much to see, so much history, and a deer park in the extensive grounds and I did a 7 part series on it last year.  The history of the castle, and the Neville and Vane families who held it, is quite fascinating, and for a potted version, you can read my original post HERE.

On this occasion though, we didn’t go into the castle, but spent the morning photographing flowers and a few other bits and bobs. So no more preamble, on with the show!


Pink and Blue

Iris to be and greenflies

I’m not great at remembering flower names

Big round things



Daisies, I think

The bonkers hedge

❤ ‘s

Peony bud

Floppy flower

An exotic flower in the conservatory.

So that’s all this time, though we’ll be back later in summer to do the butterflies.

Stay tooned for next time when we visit the Bowes Museum.

Raby Castle ~ August 2018 ~ The Deer Park.


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

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

INTERIOR…….PART 3 HERE ~ Blue bedroom, Servants bedroom, Kitchen, Servants dining room.


We are finishing our time at Raby with a walk around the estate to see the deer, but first, we went to lunch.  The Stables have been converted into a cafe

at the troughs

and Sophie and I had a table in one of the horse’s booths or whatever they’re called. Stalls maybe I think. Anyway, I had a very trendy lunch of avocado and poached egg on wholemeal toast.  (I know it’s trendy because I’ve seen it in a magazine where they did a restaurant critique of a place in London). (It also had twiddly greenery bits on top of it which was another clue).

le lernch a la trend.

Seriously most places we go have a cafe but all serve similar stuff, homemade soup of the day, panini’s, chips, toasty sandwiches, you know the kind of thing, good, but easy. It was nice to see them make an effort to be a cut above.

After lunch we went and looked at the carriages for a few minutes

but were too excited to go and find the deer to stay very long there.

So off we went on a deer hunt. We started walking through the grounds, and in the distance, we could see the herd ~ we were creeping through the grass so they wouldn’t be disturbed

The unsuspecting

by chance I looked to our left and spotted these 3 herberts

They wandered off and we concentrated on creeping up to the herd. Of course they spotted us a mile off, we were as quiet as a buffalo on acid, and Sophie was wearing red 😀 😀


We slowly crunched forward through the grass, keeping low, and the deer slowly edged off to our right and to the side of the copse of the trees you can see

are they still coming for us?

we kept moving towards them and the stag of the group must have said ‘Right my bitches, those red and green blobs are getting nearer, let’s scarper! and so they all went around the back of the copse, and then legged it up the hill and away.


Stag and his bitches off and away.

Sophie and I were undaunted. The estate is a huge place but fenced all round so the deer had to be there somewhere, and we set off in the direction the deer had gone. As I got to the top of the hill, and turned the corner, I came to a standstill, I’d found one!


They’d stopped as they’d got around the corner, and when Sophie and I got there they had to scarper again!

They’ve found us! Run for your lives!!!

They ran a fair distance then tried to hide under some trees

They’ll never see us here. Will they??

So onwards ever onwards, Sophie and I determined to get some good pictures! I hid in an old dead bush to get a bit closer

It’s in that bush you know!

As we studied the herd it became apparent that there was only one stag, surrounded by a harem of lady deers.   (? does as in doh a deer but who knows?)

You can make out his antlers if you embiggen the picture.

Mr.Big and his harem


it didn’t take long before they all ran off again.  We spotted a white calf (I think they’re calves, or maybe fawns, that sounds weird though) which seemed odd as there were no white lady deer and the stag was definitely big and brown.

Run Forest Run!!

We decided not to pursue them any further, we’d got some nice shots, and it was a long walk back.  But on the way back we did find a few more that didn’t seem to be part of that group, or could be playing truant!

drink up girls, no-one knows we’ve gone and we need to get into the woods!

And then the best bit, further on we came across these

Young Guns


and these are the chap-babies who’ve grown into young bucks, and are therefore competition for Mr.Big and so not allowed to be in amongst his harem.  But if you look to the right you’ll see a white face there,


who has obviously succumbed to one ladies charms when Mr.Big has been busy elsewhere, hence the white calf/fawn thing.  These lads didn’t run away, they let us get quite close which made our day!

so there ends our trip to Raby castle, what a great day out!

A full album (yes there’s loads more! 🙂 of pictures can be found HERE

Information about the castle came from the following sites




Stay tooned, we’re back at Cheeseburn Sculpture park next time, some new art and some we’ve seen last time, but differently!


Raby Castle ~ August 2018 ~ Interior part 3


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 2


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


The small drawing room, (which is quite large really) is decorated in the Regency style and has lots of paintings of horses and sporting stuff, but also some decorative bits and bobs.

Small Drawing Room

a lovely ornate clock

French ormolu clock purchased at the Paris Exhibition in 1861.


and an oriental thingy, we see a lot of these in castles and stately homes ~ must have been a thing.

Oriental thingy


In 1848, the Scottish architect William Burn used castle records to restore and to re-create one of the most striking and instructive interiors of a period that loved rich and colourful effects. The Octagon Drawing Room is a rarest survivor of an 1840’s room with unchanged decoration, displaying lavish textiles: gold silk lines the eight walls, and the curtains and elaborate swags are of crimson and gold silk.

The Octagon Room

In 1993 the 11th Lord Barnard commissioned a 5-year restoration programme,. Much of the original room’s paintwork, moldings and gilding were cleaned and conserved. Where necessary, new silk panels and curtains, which matched the originals, were woven on the only 19th century handlooms still in commercial use in England.

Pineapple chandelier.

The pineapple was an exotic and rare fruit back in the day and having them showed off your wealth, so they were incorporated into decorations.

The ceiling was bonkersley ostentatious, but I like that!


The Dining room has red walls and a plaster ceiling. The table extends to fill the room and is laid with a dinner service which had belonged to Queen Victoria and was given to the Raby estate by Edward VII. Sideboards had small warmers to keep food warm a marble-topped buffet was used for cold food.

Dining in style


Food warmer


wood paneling window frames.

I think that’s enough for now, there’s still a lot more to see at Raby so 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.


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.

Raby Castle – August 2018 – Exterior~part 3

Part 1 HERE 

Part 2 HERE

Now the history is out of the way, lets have a few more pictures around the outside of the castle.

The south front of the castle has views over the lake


and from the terrace we could also see some of the deer grazing


as we walked up to the castle, looking back we could see the greenhouse

and a little cottage perhaps for the groundsman

we also saw some more deer in the distance

The castle has a huge herd of deer on the estate, which Sophie and I decided to hunt for after we’d done the inside of the castle, and had our lunch!

A couple more of the entrance

the other side

The rear aspect of the castle

Next time we’ll have a trog around the inside of the castle, so stay tooned folks!

Raby Castle ~ August 2018 ~ Exterior~Part 2

Part 1 Here

The history bit

After the decline of the Nevill Family (see part 1) the castle became the property of the Crown for more than forty-three years before being bought by Henry Vane the Elder. A Member of Parliament and important member of Charles I household, at first his Governor, later his Treasurer, he purchased Raby Castle, Barnard Castle and Estate for £18,000. He chose to make Raby his principal home and de-roofed and removed stone from Barnard Castle to repair and maintain Raby.

Barnard Castle

Old Henry had a long career as a politician, and then (as now I think) parliament was a place of backstabbing and jostling for position.  While Henry was close to the King for a long time, eventually he was relieved of his titles and ended up on the side of the opposition called Roundheads, Charles 1 supporters being known as Cavaliers. Vane was nominated as lord lieutenant of Durham (10 February 1642). When the civil war broke out, Durham, which was predominantly royalist in feeling, fell straight away under the control of the Royalists, and Vane exercised no real authority there till after its reconquest at the end of 1644. Charles 1st was executed in 1649, and Vane argued against that. He continued to sit in Parliament but because of opposition to Cromwell’s policies, stopped taking an active part. He died at the age of about 66 in or around May 1655.

Henry had a son also called Henry (of course!) the Younger, but luckily for us was called Harry to distinguish him from Old Dad. He rejected his privileged life, believing in the free will of the people rather than the absolute Monarchy of Charles 1st. At twenty-two and a bit fed-up, he went off to live with his co-religionists in Massachusetts, one of the newly established American colonies where he was elected governor. But he really didn’t get on with the rigid dogma of the Dissenters so he didn’t get re-elected and came back to England.  He was a leading Parliamentarian during the English Civil War and worked closely with Oliver Cromwell but played no part in the execution of King Charles I and refused to take oaths that expressed approval of the act.
The period between the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 and the arrival of his son Charles II in London on 29 May 1660 (which marked the start of the Restoration of the Monarchy) was known as the Interregnum and during this period England was under various forms of republican government.

Vane served on the Council of State that functioned as the government executive during the Interregnum, but split with Cromwell over issues of governance and removed himself from power when Cromwell dissolved Parliament in 1653. He returned to power during the short-lived Commonwealth period in 1659–1660, and was arrested under orders from King Charles II following his restoration to the throne. Vane was denied the amnesty granted to most people for their roles in the Civil War and Interregnum, and although he was formally granted clemency by Charles II, he was charged with high treason by Parliament in 1662. In a court proceeding in which he was denied counsel and the opportunity to properly prepare a defense, he was convicted by a partisan jury. Charles withdrew his earlier clemency, and Vane was beheaded on Tower Hill on 14 June 1662. Fickle buggers our Kings.

After Harry’s death, Christopher Vane, his son, inherited Raby Castle, Durham & the Fairlawne Estate, a 1,000-acre landed-estate which stretches from Shipbourne into neighbouring Plaxtol in Kent. He was raised to the Peerage in 1698 as the 1st Baron Barnard. On 9 May 1676, he married Elizabeth Holles, daughter of Gilbert Holles, 3rd Earl of Clare. They had three children: Henry Vane who died in infancy, Gilbert Vane, 2nd Baron Barnard, married to Mary Randyll, (mother of Anne, who was the mistress of Frederick, Prince of Wales) and William Vane, 1st Viscount Vane married to Lucy Jolliffe.

They were a squabbling lot, with Christophers Missis Elizabeth fighting with Lucy Jolliffe and it ending with Christopher giving Williams inheritance of Fairlawne over to a couple of his pals. William took a lawsuit over the inheritance to the House of Lords, which I presume he won as William and his wife lived at Fairlawn where he died in May 1734.

Later on, Elizabeth quarreled with her other daughter-in-law Mary which forced Christopher and Elizabeth to move back to Fairlawne. They were not happy that Mary’s daughter Anne was a mistress to Prince Freddy, and assumed she took after her ‘scandalous’ mother. In a fit of pique in 1712, Christopher hired John Proud, the steward of Raby Castle, to engage 200 workmen to strip the castle. Owen Stanley Scott described the way that the castle was stripped: “of its lead, glass, doors, and furniture, even pulling up the floors, cutting down the timber, and destroying the deer, and ‘of a sudden in three days’ did damage to the tune of £3000, holding a sale at which the household goods, lead, etc., were sold for what they would fetch”. And again in response, Gilbert sued Christopher for the damages to the castle in the case Vane vs. Lord Barnard 1716 and Dad had to cough up for the repairs. No cure for stupid.

Gilbert’s first son was born in about 1705. Another Henry, he became the second Baron Barnard of Raby Castle, and was Vice Treasurer and Paymaster General of Ireland between 1742 and 1744 and became a Privy Counsellor (Ireland) in 1742. From 1749 to 1755, he was a Lord of the Treasury, Lord Lieutenant of Durham between 1753 and 1758 and Joint Paymaster of the Forces between 1755 and 1756. In 1753, he became 3rd Baron Barnard on the death of his father and was created 1st Earl of Darlington and 1st Viscount Barnard a year later. Earls, Viscounts and Barons, 🙄 I am not going to go into the differences, basically, they are all posh knobs and he was one three times over. Anyway regarding Raby Castle-Henry began a programme of restoration, under the guidance of the architect James Paine and carried out the greatest changes to the interior of the South and West ranges of the castle.

Henry married Lady Grace Fitzroy, daughter of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland, (son of King Charles II by his mistress Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland).  Mistresses were a thing back then! Mind you, they probably still are , *cough* Camilla *cough*.  They had seven children, one of whom was Henry (groan) the 2nd Earl of Darlington and he instigated the second period of renovation at Raby in 1768, engaging John Carr to carry out improvements inside and outside the Castle, and on the Estate. The carriageway through the Entrance Hall, with its Gothic vaulting, was constructed at this time causing much damage to its medieval fabric, and a round tower built on the South front to replace one burnt down earlier in the century. By the end of the 18th century, not only Raby Castle but also its setting was considerably altered: the moat was drained, the Park landscaped, the High and Low Ponds excavated, the Garden laid out and the Stables and ancillary buildings constructed.

Of course, yet another Henry was begotten. A politician, as was his father and ancestors, he also took the titles of 3rd Earl of Darlington, Viscount Barnard, with the addition of Marquess of Cleveland and Duke of Cleveland. And to add to that he joined the British Army eventually rising through the ranks as a lieutenant-colonel in the 75th Regiment of Foot in 1824, major-general in 1851, lieutenant-general in 1857 and finally a general in 1863. In 1842, he inherited his father’s titles and was also appointed a Knight of the Garter that year. Henry instigated a period of rebuilding began when he invited William Burn to begin work on the Castle in 1843. Burn continued working at Raby over the next decade, boldly converting the relatively recent south facing round tower into the magnificent Octagon Drawing Room which has recently undergone faithful and extensive restoration, commissioned by the 11th Lord Barnard.

After the death of the fourth and last Duke of Cleveland in 1891, the 9th Lord Barnard, after his accession in 1891, added touches to further enhance its architectural merit, but since then the Castle has remained little altered.

Well now my head is spinning with all the names and titles, so there we will leave the history and get on with some pictures!

After Sophie and I had perused the gardens we walked up to the castle, taking in the views as we went.

The entrance is quite imposing

The 14th century Gatehouse, with its stone figures standing on the battlements, once guarded a drawbridge over the now dry Castle moat which was drained in the 18th century.


Guardians of the Galaxy

We walked around the outside before going in and sections of the castle are dated so you know which era they belong to


At the south east corner of the Castle stands the unusual five-sided Bulmer’s Tower, named after the Norman Knight Bertram de Bulmer, its base dating from the 11th century. Designed to provide the best defensive solution at that point, it is unique in England, the only other tower of this shape being in a castle on the island of Funen in Denmark.








The Nevill Gateway is the main entrance to the Castle, which allowed horse-drawn carriages into the courtyard, through the Entrance Hall and out through the Chapel Tower on the east front.

into the courtyard now




Time Zones

Well done anyone who got through all that history! You are people of great stamina and fortitude. Next time we’ll just do the pictures! 😀

Stay tooned!

Raby Castle -August 2018 – Exterior ~part 1

Raby Castle was one of the highlights of Sophie & I’s outings with cameras. There’ll be a few posts as there’s lots to see, but first

The History Bit


Raby castle has been around for about 1000 years, and to be honest, it’s history and that of the Nevill family who are integral to it is BLOODY HUGE quite daunting, though also quite fascinating. This then is a VERY skimmed potted version, which leaves out much and much more.  Any proper historians out there feel free to correct me or add to it in the comments!

Ra-bi is actually two Danish words, Boundary & Settlement and the reason it started out with a Danish name is because King Cnut II the Great (as he was known) owned the place back in the 11th century.  The Viking King probably built a manor house on the site where the castle now stands, but it was the Nevills who built the 14th-century castle we see now.  The Nevills were a noble house of early medieval origin and a leading force in English politics in the later Middle Ages.

It started out back in 1131 when the Prior of Durham granted the manor of Raby to a chap called Dolfin (yes really! 🐬) who was the son of Uchtred (and descendant of Malcolm II, King of Scots). Dolfin married Adelicia, niece of Bishop Flambard, who built Durham Cathedral. Dolf and Licia got it on and had a son Maldred, who then had a son called Robert who married Isabel Nevill, a great Norman heiress. She eventually inherited the Manors of Sheriff Hutton near York and Brancepeth, together with lesser lands and manors. Bob & Belle in turn, produced a son called Geoffrey, who took his mother’s last name and was the first Nevill owner of Raby. It continued in the possession of this family, at one time the most powerful in England, until 1569.

Geoff’s son Robert held high office and supported the king during Henry II’s war with the Barons, of Bamburgh, Scarborough and Newcastle. The Nevilles also held administrative office under the prince-bishops of Durham, so they were really going up in the world. Robert died in 1282 and his grandson Ranulf took over the reins at Raby. He was one of the founding members of the Peerage of England, being summoned to sit in the House of Lords at its establishment in 1295, and thus initiating the line of Barons Neville de Raby. It wasn’t long before he too succumbed to the grim reaper and in 1331 was succeeded by his 2nd son Ralph. Why didn’t his first son get it? Because he was a bit of a rogue ~ Robert Nevill, known as the Peacock of the North, was slain at Berwick in 1319 by the Black Douglas. (If you want to know more about Black Douglas, here’s a LINKRalph, who was at the same battle didn’t get killed but was captured by the Black Douglas in the same fray. He was ransomed and fought in further campaigns against the Scots and was the victor of the Battle of Neville’s Cross at which he took  David II, King of Scotland prisoner.  Much kudos from the King. He was a great benefactor of the Church, and when he died in 1367, was the first layman to be buried in Durham Cathedral.

Next up was Ralph’s eldest son John, 3rd Baron Nevill who completed the building of the present castle, having obtained a license to crenelate in 1378, although this probably meant adding fortifications to an existing building. He was a great captain, being appointed Governor of Aquitaine, 1378-81, Lord Warden of the Marches and Joint Commissioner for treating for peace with Scotland. He died in 1388 and was buried in the Nevill Chantry in Durham Cathedral, where his tomb was much mutilated by naffed off Scottish prisoners during the Civil War in 1650.

Now don’t get confused, but English Lordy types are forever naming their kids all after each other, so next to take over at Raby was John’s son Ralph. We’ll call him Ralph(2)! Ralph(2) got a bit of celeb status as he was mentioned in Shakespeare’s Henry V. Anyway, a moot point, on with the history. Ralph(2) was created the 1st Earl of Westmoreland by King Richard III, but rather ungratefully I thought, he joined the Lancastrians and was instrumental in placing his brother-in-law, Henry IV, on the throne. King Henry then created him Earl of Richmond, a Knight of the Garter and Earl Marshal of England, which I suppose trumps Earl of Westmoreland by a country mile. His first wife was Lady Margaret Stafford, by whom he had seven children, and his second Lady Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt, by whom he had a further fourteen children. That poor woman! Still, his kids did quite well for themselves, at least his youngest daughter Cecily did. Known as ‘The Rose of Raby’ (yes really! 🌹) she married Richard, Duke of York, and was the mother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III. Her granddaughter went on to become Elizabeth of York, Queen of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII.

Ralph(2)’s double marriage caused a few problems after he died in 1425, as the kids of both wives wanted to be boss of everything.  His successor, grandson, Ralph(3!), 2nd Earl of Westmorland, engaged in inconclusive private warfare with his uncles of the Earl’s second marriage, over the Middleham Estates, which had been left to them through the influence of their mother, until both sides were commanded by Henry VI to keep the peace. Ralph(3) kicked the bucket in 1484.

Guess what the next successor was called!! Ralph (4) was Ralph (3)’s nephew whose father was killed fighting for the Red Rose (Lancastrians) at the Battle of Towton, 1461.  Nephew Ralph(4)fought in Scotland against Perkin Warbeck, died in 1523, and again was succeeded by a grandson, also Ralph, (AARRGGHH)another energetic warrior against the Scots. He was present at the Field of the Cloth Gold, and was a signatory to the letter of Pope Clement asking for the divorce of Queen Catherine of Aragon from our Henery the Eighth.  Before his death in 1549, the Earl was created a Knight of the Garter. His successor, Henry, (at least he’s not a Ralph) the 5th Earl, as a boy took part in the Pilgrimage of Grace. He was a staunch supporter of Queen Mary Tudor and under her held high office.

The family stuck firmly to the Old Faith, and his son Charles, 6th and last Nevill Earl of Westmorland, was leader, with Thomas Percy, of the ill-fated rebellion, the ‘Rising of the North’, in support of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1569. He fled to Holland where he died in poverty in 1601.  An ignominius end really for such a glorious family history.

Last but not least.

Thus ended the Nevill ownership of Raby, which had lasted for nearly four hundred years. The Castle was held by the Crown until 1626 when it was purchased by Sir Henry Vane the Elder.

That’s enough for now, we’ll do the Vane history next time (betcha can’t wait!)

Some pictures then.. mostly with my FujiX-T2 but also some film shots included.

Entrancing entrance


We decided to do the gardens first, so more butterflies and flowers shortly, but the castle was always in sight

Raby Castle


Bonkers Hedge. (Olympus XA, Kodak portra 400 film)


Being August everything was in bloom and the butterflies and bees were out in force


a comma butterfly on buddleia (butterfly bush)


Green veined white butterfly


Mahoosive Buddleia (olympus XA & kodak portra 400 film}


Jack Reacher 🙂


Garden & fountain, (olympus XA & kodak portra 400 film)


Fountain over petrified alien(?)

So that will do for today, well done those of you who read it all, you are all my favourites 🙂 ♥️

To those of you who skimmed/bypassed and just looked at the pictures, beware the perils of passing up free edumacation. 🤣

Stay tooned, I’ll be back with more from Raby Castle.