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Round Tower Church of St Peter & St Paul, Mautby, Norfolk (21)

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The second church on our ‘Round Tower Church Trawl’ was the beautiful church of St Peter & St Paul in Mautby, Norfolk.  The weather at this point of our trip, decided that we needed some rain, to go with the beautiful sunshine that we had earlier and would have again during the day.  Actually the church stood out beautifully against the grey thunderous looking sky, and then it rained, luckily by that time I was inside exploring.

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The round tower is unusually high, at 46 feet & 6 inches tall.  The base is made of capstone and conglomerate and could be early Norman, possibly Saxon and most likely formed part of an earlier Saxon building.  The additional octagonal belfry of flint, was added in the 15th century.  There is a picture inside of the church, which is of a lithograph by Robert Ladbrooke in the 1850’s, and shows a short pyramidal roof on the top of the tower.  However the Victorians removed this and replaced it with a battlemented parapet, which is built of brick, but faced with flints to match the tower.

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The church roof is thatched with Norfolk reed and is continuous, which is a sign of an early church.  The church has been improved  over the centuries, and much of the building is in the Early English style 1200 -1275.  It is possible the original church was older, but the first Rector was recorded in 1307, a Thomas de Hykeling by Sir Thomas de Mauteby.

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The marble tomb and canopy near the lectern belongs to a member of the de Mauteby family, probably Sir Walter who died in about 1248.  The figure is that of a Knight Templar in chain armour, he was a person of some importance and served in the crusades.  He died at home, because his feet are resting on a dog and not a crusaders lion.

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One of the treasures of this church are the small fragments of coloured glass on the north side of the Nave, which are the oldest in Norfolk, dating from the early 14th century.

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There is plenty to explore in this charming church, but we had many more to visit, so it was out into the rain and on to the next one.

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January 2017

Swimmers

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I am sorting through some photos that have yet to see the light of day, when I came across some that I had taken, when we were in Southsea last year.  Southsea is the seafront of Portsmouth, which is in Hampshire on the South Coast of England.  Its a lovely stretch of seafront, but then I’m a little bit bias, as I was born there and spent most of my childhood on the beach.  Anyway back to the photos, it was early in the year and still a little cold, but it didn’t stop these hardened swimmers from taking a plunge.

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By the Seaside

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I really feel like some more sunshine at the moment, we have just had flood warnings, as there is going to be a very high tide tonight from the North Sea….. hopefully it will come to nothing.  Also we could get up to four inches of snow tomorrow, I know that is not much to some parts of the world……but here in the UK that is major……..hopefully it will come to nothing.  My cold, which is now a virus, is in its fifth week and really feels no different than the first, I think you just learn to live with it…… do hope it goes before Easter.  So lots of sunshine is required.  Photos taken last August 2016 at Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire, and it was perfect beach weather.

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Inverlochy Castle, Scotland

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Last May 2016 we visited Inverlochy Castle, just outside of Fort William in Scotland.  The castle has little altered since before the outbreak of the Wars of Independence.  It was built in about 1280 by John Comyn, the Lord of Badenoch and it commanded the strategic southern entrance  the Great Glen and three battles were fought at the castle.

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The stronghold was part of a nationwide network of fortifications that helped to secure the Comyn’s place as one of Scotland’s most powerful upwardly mobile families.  Its ten metre high angled walls, designed to protect against scaling ladders, have survived remarkably intact behind a once deep moat.

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From one of the many information boards dotted around the site, you can see how the castle would have looked in 1280.  Its control of the River Lochy at the southern entrance to the Great Glen brought armies and merchants the Castle.  There was probably a small harbour, supples may have come through a first floor doorway, which is now blocked.  A naval battle was fought close by in 1297.

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Before you is Comyn’s Tower, the strongest point and focus of the castle.  Visitors were entertained in the tower’s first floor hall.  John Comyn’s private apartment was on the floor above, reached by a curving stairs within the wall.

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All did not go well for the Comyns or their castle, according to the following information board.

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After the Comyns were driven out, their castle was no longer a noble home and the castle was virtually left abandoned.  But it remained useful.  It was a court of Justice and in the 1500’s and a storehouse for the Ivergarry Iron Works in the 1700s.

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In 1431, a royal army camped around the castle was routed by a smaller force of Highlanders, some arriving by galley.  Two centuries later, in 1645, Royalist clansmen, mostly MacDonalds, destroyed a Campbell led covenanting army here, after marching through snow clad Highland passes to outflank their enemies.  The bard lain Lorn MacDonald wrote an epic account of the battle.

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The brae of the Castle of Inverlochy:

I saw the army get into order,

And victory on the field was with Clan Donald.

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The castle declined through the ages and in 1873 the Victorian tourists exploring the Highlands were drawn to these romantic ruins.  Queen Victoria herself decided to join them in 1873.  The then owner of the Castle, William Scarlett added battlements and patched up the stonework for the royal visit, but Victoria was unimpressed and thought there was little to see.  The below photo is the castle as seen today and there is ample remains to view, compare to some I have visited….. a few rocks in field some times.  The castle is looked after by Historic Scotland and there is no entry charge and its well worth a visit on a sunny afternoon.

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All the information is from the boards dotted around the site 2016.