Monday, June 09, 2008

Bamburgh Castle

When the walking got a bit too "up and down", my dad and I headed East to the coast of Northumbria. We went to Bamburgh Castle, voted "Britain's favorite view".
Really?
It's that famous?
I'd never heard of it.
We went as a result of chance.
Flicking through a magazine of B&B listings just before setting off on a walk, I saw a picture not dissimilar to the one above. When we arrived the sky was clear, and the castle jumped out at us, both from the village green and bluffs along the beach.
It's a spectacular block of stone. Built in the 11th Century, the Normans erected the core of the present building on the site of a Saxon fortress. After an unsuccessful siege, it succumbed to William II who had captured its owner Robert De Mowbrey, the Lord of Northumberland. The hapless gent had sponsored a revolt against the King. With the threat of her husband being blinded by a mightily pissed off King, Lady De Mowbrey surrendered the castle. It then passed to the English crown and Henry II built the keep which stands today.
Robert made good an escape from the royal clutches dressed as a woman. His wife had made a habit of visiting him at the jail with her maid. One day she visited him alone, and waiting for the guards to change shift, she unburdened herself of a full change of gear tucked under her skirts.
The new guards who were accustomed to seeing two women come and go from visiting Robert let the lady and her husband in drag walk out the front door of the prison.
He buggered off to France and vanished.
Improbable I know but according to the guide books, true.
Bamburgh became an important English outpost and successfully shrugged off occasional raids from Scotland.
It was the first castle to fall to artillery during the War of the Roses, and its downfall signalled the end to the strategic importance of such structures.
The next 400 years saw an unbroken governorship of the Forster family. It then fell into ruin after the bankruptcy of John Forster in 1700.
The industrialist William Armstrong bought it and restored it to its present condition.
On the tour inside, the Armstrong family figures prominently, even with the inclusion of modern day pictures of the children and family weddings.
A tad egotistical I thought.
It was a family home until 1999 when the matriarch of the family finally died.
The day after we arrived the weather changed to a misty but warm haze.
I've included a mixture of pics from both days.

That's it for today.
Love T

6 comments:

sarah_500 said...

The escape sounds very Monty Python-esque, only the Brits.............

Anonymous said...

You say this used to be a family home until 1999. It's so difficult to imagine a modern man living trapped like that in such a mammoth structure. I wonder what the interior was like... And is there a town nearby?
Curious Lennie

Terry said...

It was pretty luxurious.
The town of Bamburgh lies at the castles feet and is full of twee shops and hotels. Cool place for a romantic weekend methinks.
Reccomended to one and all but a long haul from London.
The weather is suitably English in that you can get rain, mist hail and sunshine in the same afternoon.
Are you the lennie of Kassy/ Crux and Flux fame?

Anonymous said...

Same one, yes.

Terry said...

That's rather cool.....glad you stopped by.....

Anonymous said...

Have also been looking at some old posts. A futile attempt to catch up. It's fun.