Castles

A Wedding, A Poorly Nipper & Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire

We went to Fareham in Hampshire for very special wedding, today 08.08.17, my fathers.  My father who is ninety, married his girlfriend of thirty-four years, his new wife is seventy-two.  The day was beautiful, even though we had some rain, it didn’t matter, the day just shone.  I just wanted to make a note of this special day……so I do not miss their first anniversary, I’m terrible at dates 🙂   Also my oldest dog Nipper is in the vets, we had to rush him there three days ago as he was really very poorly and we found out he has very bad diabetes.  The vets have had to try and level his blood, which we think they have done, although he is still very poorly, he is starting to respond, so fingers cross he will pull though.  Anyway we will continue with the real reason for this post…… Newark Castle in Nottinghamshire.  We visited last year 2016, we had passed Newark several times over the years, but this time we managed to stop.

Newark Castle and Gardens are lovely, formal gardens bordered by the remaining walls of Newark Castle which was partly destroyed in 1646 at the end of the English Civil War. The Castle has stood proudly on the banks of the River Trent for nearly 900 years.

A little history….

The castle’s foundations date back to Saxon times but it was developed as a castle by the Bishop of Lincoln in 1123. Known as the Gateway to the North, the castle endured numerous sieges during the Baronial and English Civil war before it was partially destroyed in 1646.  From the riverside the bulk of Newark Castle looks extremely impressive, looming above the water like a forbidding barrier. It is only when you approach from the town that you realise how ‘one-sided’ the structure is. For on the town side, there are almost no remaining walls, though the towers are still impressive.  

 

 

I also took a mixture of black & white, as the castle grounds are used for weddings and we counted three while we were there.  Although the weather was very cloudy, it was still warm day.

 

 

Balloch Castle Country Park, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Its not often that you get to see a castle being restored, but we did last year 2016.  We had a couple of hours to spare in and around Dumbarton in Scotland, before meeting family, so of course we went off to explore a little.  I had seen a sign for Balloch Castle Country Park, well there must be a castle, so we followed the sign post, and the road went on and on.  Husband started to get a bit twitchy as the road was eating into the little time that we had, and then suddenly there was the entrance.  Couldn’t see any castle from the car park, lots of parkland and beautiful shrubs, but there was no sign for a castle, so maybe there wasn’t one.  Husband went off down a path and I went down another, a shout from husband had me scurrying down his path.  There was the castle, not quite what I was expecting, but non the less quite interesting.

A little history…. The Castle designed by Robert Lugar in 1809 is listed category B, however it is a pioneer of its type and an important house of its date. There are also Stables and two lodges. The site of the 13th century castle is a scheduled ancient monument.

Balloch was for several hundred years the stronghold of the Lennox family. The remains of their old castle, a mound surrounded by a moat, are still to be seen in the south-west of the Park and are scheduled as an ancient monument. In 1390 the Lennoxes moved to the island of Inchmurrin for greater safety but Balloch remained in their ownership until 1652 when the 4th Duke of Lennox sold it to Sir John Colquhoun of Luss. In 1800 the estate was acquired by John Buchanan of Ardoch who commissioned the architect Robert Lugar to build the new Gothic-style castle on the present site. John Buchanan started the laying out of the present landscape, planting unusual trees and shrubs, and his work was continued from 1830 by the next owner, Gibson Stott. Between 1845-1851, the estate was sold again, to Mr A.J. Dennistoun Brown who died in 1890. Glasgow City Corporation bought the 815 acre estate from his Trustees in 1915 in order to improve opportunities for visitors. In 1975, the Park was leased to Dunbarton District Council for a period of thirty years at a nominal rent and in 1980 it was registered as a Country Park

I think a return visit is required, one, to see how the restoration is coming along, two, to see the ancient castle remains and three, to explore the wonderful parkland. 

 

Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe, Scotland

In 2016, I ticked a castle off my wish list, Kilchurn Castle, one of the iconic castles of Scotland.  We have passed by so many times, and each year I wanted to visit, but I wanted a nice sunny day.  Well I got the sunny day in 2016, we parked in the small car park and then walked to the castle.

The closer we go to the castle, the bigger my smile got, finally I was going to explore one of my favourite castles.  We walked up to the door…….it was locked, we tried again, and still it remained firmly locked……no it was suppose to be open, more people turned up, a discussion follow, but still it stayed well and truly locked.  I did find a window to hold the camera up to, to get a shot of inside, as there wasn’t really any other way of seeing the interior, I got a little glimpse, which will have to do until we go back.

 

 

A little history ………Kilchurn Castle is a ruined structure on a rocky peninsula at the northeastern end of Loch Awe, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It was first constructed as a five storey tower house with a courtyard in the mid-15th century as the base of the Campbells of Glenorchy, who extended both the castle and their territory in the area over the next 150 years.

By the 17th century, it was a military barracks and in 1760 it was damaged by fire and abandoned. Kilchurn fell out of use and was in ruins by 1770. It is now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.

After exploring in the sunshine, we made our way back to the car, a little disappointed, but it was still a good visit.  The following photos show you how most people first see the castle from the road, the second is a close up of the same photo, but I have changed it to b&w.

Splendid Pickering Castle, Yorkshire

 

In 2015 we made a visit to Pickering Castle, situated in Pickering, a small ancient market town in North Yorkshire.  Pickering is famous for being the home of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which we had travelled on in the past, but ran out of time to visit the castle.  You catch intriguing glimpses of the castle from the train station, but it took two years to make a return visit and this time we ran of time to see the church……. Anyway back to the castle and a wonderful visit.

A little history………A splendid castle with a rich history, Pickering Castle served as a Northern base for a succession of medieval kings. Originally built after the Norman Conquest, the motte and bailey fortification were extensively developed throughout the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. 
Largely unaffected by the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War, it remains in excellent condition, 
offering stunning views across the Ryedale countryside.

There are two unusual features to Pickering Castle. The first is simply that it has been so little altered since the original wooden castle was rebuilt in stone. The second unusual feature is the layout of the site. Most early Norman castles followed a similar motte and bailey plan, with a timber pallisade atop a high mound, or motte. The base of the motte was surrounded by a large earthwork enclosure, usually with a further timber pallisade on top of the earthen banks. This enclosed area was called the bailey. At Pickering the layout is different; there is not one bailey but two, and the motte with its stone keep stands between the two. The motte is striking, standing 20 metres high, with a base 60 metres in diameter.

Throughout the late medieval period no construction was carried out – and not much in the way of maintenance. In fact, just the opposite occurred, one castle constable, Sir Richard Cholmley, robbed stone from Pickering to build himself a fine new house at Roxby. The castle served no defensive purpose and was used as a prison and local courthouse. Since it was in no fit state as a defensive structure it played no part in the Civil War. The castle was sold into private hands under Cromwell’s Commonwealth government, but returned to the crown when Charles II was restored to the throne. It remained in crown hands until 1926 when it passed into government care. It is now looked after by English Heritage.

Picnic at Pickering Castle, Yorkshire

I found this photo while putting together a post for Pickering Castle, and it was just such a lovely picnic scene of a family enjoying themselves in the castle grounds.  It was really just cake and crisps, but to those children, it would have been a splendid feast in a castle…….ha ha it would still be that for me 🙂

Romantic Castle Pickering, Yorkshire

We visited Pickering Castle in Yorkshire, 2015, and had a wonderful time exploring the extensive ruins.  There will be a post about the castle, but one photo I took reminded me of the water colours that artists use to paint of wonderful ruins covered in ivy. so this is my version but in black & white, with a tint of ancientness.