The Remarkable Story Of Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire.

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Welcome to Tattershall Castle which we visited on Saturday, and as the guide book mentions you are now looking at the finest medieval brick built castle in England.  Built in 1434 by Ralph Lord Cromwell, who was Treasurer to Henry VI.  The first castle on the site was built in 1231 by the 2nd Robert de Tateshale who had a licence to build a stone fortified house or castle at Tattershall.  In 1434 to 1446 Sir Ralph rebuilt the castle in brick and enlarging the buildings with a keep, stable, gatehouse and kitchens.  When Sir Ralph died, having no direct heir, the castle passed through many royal hands and in 1693 the Earls of Lincoln were the last people to live in the castle.

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Now it gets interesting……..from 1694 to 1910 the castle was abandoned, left to become derelict and ruinous.  It became the ‘Romantic Ruin’ and visited by many tourists on a day out, not dissimilar to our visit on Saturday.  A farmer had bought the castle for the land to grow crops and used the castle as a cattle shed.  The following photos are from a display in the castle and I think they are from this time period.

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In 1910 the castle was sold to an American consortium.  The fireplaces were ripped out, to be shipped over to an American collector and the castle was to be demolished.  When I read that….demolished, how could that have got even that far, but it happened in those day……but not to this castle, as a hero stepped in to save it….Lord Curzon of Kedleston visited the castle and within 24 hours had purchased the castle by telegram and then set about restoring it.  He even found the fireplaces at Tilbury docks and returned them to Tattershall after a huge procession through the village.  There followed a period of restoration and you can see from the following photos some of the work which was carried out.

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So we have the wonderful Lord Curzon to thank for still being able to visit the castle, which he open to the public in 1914 four days after the announcement of the First World War and it stayed open all throughout the conflict.  In 1925 Lord Curzon died and the castle was bequeathed to the National Trust.  The castle closed for a short time during the 2nd World War and was home to the Home Guard, at the end of the war Tattersahll Castle opened its doors once more and has stayed open ever since.  But how different the out come could have been, but because of Lord Curzons efforts to save the castle ‘The Ancient Monuments Act’ was passed.  This act meant the state could protect any monuments deemed important and prosecute anybody attempting to damage them.

Last visit to the castle will be the interior, with the remarkable nearly lost fireplaces.

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7 comments

  1. Gosh Lynn! These are the most detailed and varied photos I have seen of Tattershall~ You most often see the shot taken from the front of it only~ rarely from the back or side , interior or even a glimpse of the moat. Wonderful to see so much of it . Another one of those places I hoped to see and several times so close in proximity to it but other obligations ect. Love your own personal photos here but all of them fascinating. Thank you.

    1. Hi Valkrye, I’m just so glad Lord Curzon saved it for me to take photos 🙂 It would have been awful if it had been demolished. I would have taken lots more photos but there was a storm going on, but I’m glad you like what I managed to take. You must visit it, because there is the beautiful church next door, which I will post when I have finished the castle and you would love that. Its funny because Steve choose it to visit, he likes castles more than churches, and as it had a castle for him and a church for me it was ideal. I loved the idea that it was saved, just in the nick of time 🙂

  2. What a wonderful story! Thank goodness for Lord Curzon! It sometimes needs a visionary with the available wealth and energy to step in and save the day, and that was certainly a last minute reprieve. Those are amazing old photos, and I didn’t realise the castle was moated. And a cattle shed – those cows must have thought they were going up in the world! I bet they lorded it over all the other cows in the district. Great story and pics, Lynne!

    1. Thank you Jo, I’m glad you liked it, yes we have Lord Curzon and his money to thank, thank goodness he saved the day, he also restored Bodiam Castle in Sussex, I think I went many years ago, but I would like to have another look. When the cattle were living in their prestige accommodation the moat had been filled in and it was reinstalled when they were carrying out the the restoration work. I think they did a wonderful job, it just looks like it has not changed for centuries 🙂

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