All posts by aboyington

The Mighty Arundel Castle

ARUNDEL CASTLE

Arundel Castle, located in the town of Arundel in West Sussex, has stood proudly next to the River Arun since the 11th century.  Originally built by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel, it has since descended through some of the most powerful families in English history including the d’Albinis and the Fitzalans in the 13th century and then the Fitzalans and the Howards in the 16th century.   It has been the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Norfolk for over 850 years and is currently occupied by Edward Fitzalan-Howard, the 18th Duke of Norfolk and his family.

The old motte and bailey.
The old motte and bailey.

Originally built as a motte and bailey castle in 1068, the 100 feet high motte still stands, surrounded by a dry moat.  The second oldest feature is the gatehouse, which dates from 1070.  The stone shell keep placed high upon the motte was built by William d’Albini II to strengthen deferences.  Upon his death in 1176 the castle reverted back to the crown, whereupon Henry II greatly extended and improved the building.

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The Howards of Arundel, from the 15th to the 17th centuries, were one of the most powerful and prominent families in England.  One of the most famous members was Thomas Howard (1473 – 1554). Thomas was a ruthless character, determined to raise the fortunes of his family, and as uncle to both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard (both Queens to Henry VIII) he succeeded in doing so.  Thomas was instrumental in securing the marriages and enjoyed a considerable rise in power and status as a result.  He managed to weather the wrath of the King when Anne and Catherine were subsequently accused of adultery and executed.  Despite being sent to the Tower on numerous occasions he was never severely punished and always succeeded in being restored to his original position of power. However, eventually the King’s patience waned and Thomas was sentenced to death, from which he was only saved because Henry VIII died the night before his execution.

Another famous member of the Howard family was Lord Howard of Effingham, who successfully repelled the Spanish Armada in 1588, with Sir Francis Drake.

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During the Civil War (1642-45), the castle was besieged twice.  First by the Royalists who managed to take control and then later by Cromwell’s Parliamentarians led by William Waller.  Consequently, the castle was severely damaged, but nothing was done to restore the building until 1718 when the 8th Duke (1683-1732) commissioned James Gibbs to supply plans for restoration.  It was not until the 11th Dukes (1746-1815) occupation that further restoration took place.

The Royal visit of 1846 prompted the 13th Duke to make further alterations in preparation for the three day visit of Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert,  The Duke commissioned the complete remodelling of the Queens’ apartment, including a complete refurnishing, commissioning finest Victorian furniture and a portrait of the Queen herself.  The Royal visit was a great success.

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The final phase of restoration was carried out by the 15th Duke (1847-1917), during which the main purpose was to modernise.  As a result Arundel was one of the first country houses in England to be fitted with electric light, comprehensive fire fighting equipment, central heating and even service lifts.  The 16th Duke (1908 – 1975) nearly signed over his family’s magnificent castle to the National Trust, but he died before such plans were finalised. The 17th Duke cancelled the negotiations with the National Trust and set up an independent charitable trust to ensure Arundel Castle’s continued survival throughout the 21st century.

The Inner Court.
The Inner Court.

Arundel Castle is open to the public and is such a treat to visit.  It’s impressive structure cannot fail to impress. The extensive layers of history are neatly interwoven into the very fabric of the building.  Whether you are interested in the medieval knights of old, or the sieges of the Civil War, or the lavishness of the Victorian interior, there is something for you. The gardens, which have been open to the public since 1854, are a delight to explore.  And of course, one must not fail to visit the Fitzalan Chapel, founded in 1380, located within the eastern end of the church building.

For more information, please visit: http://www.arundelcastle.org/

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Secrets of the South Downs: Parham House & Gardens

PARHAM HOUSE & GARDENS

South elevation of Parham.
South elevation of Parham.

Before the present house existed, there was once a fortified medieval house, and some of this building was incorporated into Parham’s east wing. Parham Manor, later owned by the Abbey of Westminster, was granted by Henry VIII to Robert Palmer in 1540 following the Dissolution of the Monasteries.  Thirty seven years later the foundation stone for the Elizabethan house was laid by Robert’s two-year old grandson Thomas.

Part of the north and west elevations.
Part of the north and west elevations.

The house is built of stone rubble with stone quoins, with a Horsham slab roof, and many brick chimneys.  The main elevation is south facing and is built to the traditional E plan, with a central hall with a two storey porch, flanked at either end by two gabled cross-wings.  The porch, which was probably the original entrance, has a doorway which is flanked by pilasters, and surmounted by a cornice and a cartouche.  Such classical detailing would have been an expression of the owners taste and learning.

The Stables and Laundry Wing built in the 18th century.
The Stables and Laundry Wing built in the 18th century.

At the beginning of the 17th century the estate was sold to Sir Thomas Bisshopp (also spelt Bysshopp), whose descendent Sir Cecil Bisshopp became the twelfth Baron Zouche in 1815.  During the 18th century Sir Cecil Bisshopp, the 6th Baronet, built the current Stables and Laundry Wing to the north of the house.  The Bisshopp family remained at Parham for over 300 years until it was eventually sold to the present Pearson family in 1922.  The Hon. Clive and Alicia Pearson set about carefully restoring the beautiful old house to its former glory.  Both they and their daughter Veronica amassed a fine collection of sympathetically chosen furniture, paintings and textiles to fill the house.  Alicia opened the house to the public in 1948 following the end of the Second World War.

One of the beautiful greenhouses.
One of the beautiful greenhouses in the garden.

The Great Hall is a spectacular example of how a wealthy, ambitious courtier wished to show off his status.  The tall mullioned windows fill the huge two-storey room with light.  The decorative panelling reaches to the first floor, and is filled with classical pilasters and arches.  Parham’s most fabulous treasure is hidden in this room: Robert Peake’s portrait of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, riding a white horse.  This portrait, of James I’s eldest son, portrays him as the popular, strong, war-like, intelligent heir to the English throne that he was considered to be.  He is shown to be pulling the winged figure of Father Time by the forelock, possibly symbolising Henry’s capability of  “taking opportunity by the forelock” (a contemporary saying).  It was not until the portraits restoration in the late 1980’s that the figure of Father Time, the plumed helmet, lance and brick wall were revealed for the first time to modern eyes.  They had been painted over in the late 17th century.  Unfortunately, all the hopes and dreams that had rested on Prince Henry wilted away when he died tragically young at the age of 18 from typhoid fever.

One of the entrances to the Walled Garden.
One of the entrances to the Walled Garden.

Parham consist of seven acres of Pleasure Grounds and four acres of wonderful gardens.  The current Walled Garden originates from the 18th century and is a delightful mixture of vibrant colours, ornamental statues, box hedges, herbaceous boarders and interlinking paths,  There’s a romantic orchard with a range of fruit trees, a herb garden which harps back to Parham’s Tudor roots, a Wendy House built in 1928 by Clive Pearson for his three daughters, flower-filled greenhouses, and an 18th century Orangery.  The Pleasure Grounds consist of sweeping lawns and pathways, a tranquil lake and specimen trees dating from the 18th century, a classically inspired Summer House called Cannock House from the early 19th century, and Veronica’s maze created in 1991.  On a warm summers day, there really is nowhere better to escape to.

One of the many ornamental statues.
One of the many ornamental statues.

Parham Park comprises 875 acres, including an historic deer park with approximately 350 fallow deer, a fine dovecote dating from the 18th century and the church of St. Peter which lies south-west to the main house.

The lake and boathouse.
The lake and boathouse.

Parham is still enjoyed by the Pearson family and as such it’s opening times are restricted.  This should not deter you as it still retains its family feel and makes a visit feel all the more special.

Please refer to the link for more information: http://www.parhaminsussex.co.uk/index.html

Secrets of the South Downs: Hinton Ampner

HINTON AMPNER

A view from the terraces looking back towards the principal front.
A view from the terraces looking back towards the principal front.

Of all the secrets that the South Downs possesses, Hinton Ampner is probably one of the best kept.  I stumbled across this wonderful country house last year whilst enjoying a scenic drive en route to Goodwood House (where I was doing an Internship at the time).  What a marvellous find it was!  2014 has been a rather difficult year for Hinton, and it is only now after many months, that the house has been reopened to the public following restoration to the roof after it suffered severe damage in the February storms.

The north front, and main entrance.
The north front, and main entrance.

Hinton has had a rather colourful past.  The original Tudor manor that once stood near to the site of the current house was pulled down as it was believed to be haunted in 1793.  A Georgian house was built, and this was later enlarged in 1864. The house that stands today is principally the sole vision of its last owner, Ralph Dutton, Lord Sherbourne (1898-1985), who had a great passion for all things Georgian.  Consequently, on his inheritance in 1935, he swept away the dark and oppressive Victorian interiors and replaced them with lighter, fresher and arguably more elegant neo-Georgian interiors.  Guided by his architects Lord Gerald Wellesley and Trenwith Wells, he sought to rediscover and breath life into the original 18th century decorative scheme that had been hidden for the past century or so.  Disastrously, a major fire in 1960 destroyed most of Dutton’s hard work, and much of the collection was lost in the flames.

A view from the terraces looking out over the South Downs.
A view from the terraces looking out over the South Downs.

Dutton, determined not to be beaten, decided to rebuild and recreate the 18th century interiors. Dutton had an appreciation for the style advocated by Robert Adam and consequently saved, bought and relocated many original Adam fixtures and fittings. Dutton even rescued an original Adam ceiling from 38 Berkeley Square, before its destruction, and reinstalled it in the Dining Room.  This was destroyed by the terrible fire, so Dutton had the ceiling recreated. The Sitting Room has a fireplace from Adam’s demolished Adelphi Terrace, and the Dining Room has a giltwood pier glass (one of a pair) designed by Adam in 1773 for Derby House, Grosvenor Square.

The stunning little temple in the gardens,
The stunning little temple in the gardens,

Dutton was a great collector of Georgian and Regency furniture, as well as 18th century Italian paintings, including Esther fainting before King Ahasuerus by Francesco Fontebasso (Venice 1709 – Venice 1769) and David kneeling in his Palace before the Prophet Nathan by Tobias van Nijmegen (b. Nijmegen c.1665).  His interests included high quality ceramincs, and there are fantastic examples of Sevres porcelain and Staffordshire figurines.

The gate into the walled garden.
The gate into the walled garden.

The beautiful gardens at Hinton were recreated alongside the house, and as such demonstrate the same good taste and style favoured by Dutton.  Consisting of manicured lawns, terraces with hedges, topiary, ornaments, a dell, a fabulous little temple and wonderful mature trees and planting, one cannot help but marvel at the beauty and tranquillity.  The restored walled garden is delightful, as is the short stroll to the parish church of All Saints, dating from the 13th century, which really cannot be missed.

The walled garden.
The walled garden.

If ever you are travelling through the South Downs and need a quick stop to recollect your thoughts and to restore your inner calm, then make sure that you discover Hinton Ampner as I did.  Although recreated interiors are not usually my ‘thing’ it must be said that Hinton has something quite special to offer.  It is a house that everyone could imagine living in.  It has that wonderful balance of elegance and homeliness that makes it infinitely welcoming to weary travellers and visitors alike.

Beautifully manicured lawns and hedges, with the medieval church in the distance.
Beautifully manicured lawns and hedges, with the medieval church in the distance.

Visit: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner/

Secrets of the South Downs: Petworth House

PETWORTH HOUSE

Petworth House is located in the charming village of Petworth, West Sussex. The main body of the current house was commissioned by the the sixth (or “Proud”) Duke of Somerset between 1688 and 1696.  However, Petworth’s origins stretch as far back as the 12th century when the estate was gifted to Jocelin de Louvain, by his half-sister Adeliza of Louvain (widow of Henry I).  Jocelin married into the powerful Percy family whose stronghold was based in the north.  In 1309, Jocelin’s descendent Henry de Percy, 1st Baron Percy of Alnwick (1273–1314), obtained a licence to crenelate.  The Percy family were elevated to the Earldom of Northumberland during the 14th century, but it was not until the lifetime of the 8th Earl that Petworth saw a substantial rebuild between 1576 and 1582.  This was primarily due to the fact that queen Elizabeth I was suspicious of the Percy’s allegiance to Mary, Queen of Scots, so confined them to their southern estates.  The 9th Earl, also known as the ‘Wizard’ Earl due to his scientific interests, remodelled part of the house after 1621, of which part of the walls survive to the north of the building.

View from the landscaped park towards the principal front.
View from the landscaped park towards the principal front.

In 1682 Lady Elizabeth Percy, the heiress of the Percy estates, married Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset.  Together, they set about remodelling the largely outdated Petworth in the most fashionable style of the day: the Baroque.  It is debated whether the architect was Pierre Puget or Daniel Marot, but in truth, there is not enough evidence to conclusively say.  The house is 322 feet long and the main front has two principal storeys each with 21 large sash windows, and an attic storey with 21 smaller windows, thus creating an impressive elevation.  Above the first floor there is a heavily moulded cornice which runs the length of the elevation, and above the second floor (attic storey) there is a second cornice, with parapet and a decorative balustrade, to hide the roof.  The central three bay ground floor windows as well as the three at either end of the elevation are picked out with extra decoration: each have cornices with consoles.  The three windows at either end are also surmounted by busts.

Close up of the main elevation, showing the busts above the ground floor windows.
Close up of the main elevation, showing the busts above the ground floor windows.

The interiors followed in the Baroque taste and perhaps the most impressive of which is the Carved Room: the specacular work of Grinling Gibbons.   A fire in 1714 is said to have triggered the building of the Grand Staircase.  A breathtaking sight with its murals painted by the famous Louis Laguerre, it is even possible to spot Elizabeth, the Percy Heiress, riding in a triumphal chariot.  When the 6th Duke died in 1748, quickly followed by his son in 1750, the titles and estates were divided.  His son-in-law took the Northumberland estates and titles, and his nephew, Charles Wyndham (1710-1763) took Petworth and the title 2nd Earl of Egremont.  It was this heir who commissioned ‘Capability’ Brown to sweep away the formal gardens and re-landscape the park.  He also commissioned what is now regarded as one of the finest examples of an English Rococo state bed.  Attributed to James Whittle and Samuel Norman and dated to the 1750s, it is riot of detail, including a Chinese dragon, shells and a small squirrel  eating a nut.

View of the principal front.
View of the principal front.

The 3rd Earl of Egremont was a patron of the arts, and it is during his lifetime that he collected some of the finest art in existence.  Amongst his friends he could count JMW Turner and John Constable.  He added extensively to Petworth’s collection as a whole, and today the art collection is considered one of the best owned by the National Trust.  With works by Lely, Van Dyck, Turner, Titian, Kneller, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Claude, to name but a few.

Rotunda in the gardens.
The Ionic Rotunda in the gardens.

The National Trust was gifted Petworth in 1947 as the family were lumbered with extortionate death duties.  The current Lord and Lady Egremont continue to live in part of the house.

The beautiful parkland.
The beautiful parkland.

Petworth Park is a stunningly beautiful place to experience, dating back nearly 1000 years.  The park is home to a 900 strong herd of fallow deer which can often be glimpsed in the distance as they graze.  The serpentine lake, designed by Brown offers a lovely vista from the House.  Strolling through the Pleasure Grounds offers even more delightful views, such as the marvellous Ionic Rotunda, and the graceful Doric temple.

It cannot be denied that Petworth is a special place. Its beautiful setting, its fabulous collections, its delightful gardens, its charming restaurant, its tranquil park all serve to make it the perfect place to restore ones energies.

Secrets of the South Downs: Uppark House

UPPARK HOUSE & GARDENS

View of the south and west elevations.
View of the south and west elevations.

Uppark is located in the heart of the South Downs National Park, West Sussex.  It is happily situated on the top of a great hill commanding spectacular views over the surrounding countryside.  Built in 1689 by Ford Grey, 3rd Baron Grey of Warke, later created Earl of Tankerville in 1695.  Lord Grey lived a dangerous life; he was arrested in 1683 for his involvement in the Rye House Plot against King Charles II, but managed to escape to France.  Two years later he became one of the main leaders of the Monmouth Rebellion, leading the cavalry, but was defeated and condemned for high treason.  Remarkably, he escaped death by turning against his former conspirators.  Earlier, in 1682 he was even accused of seducing his wife’s sister, Lady Henrietta Berkeley, for which he was found guilty, but again, escaped punishment!  It is, therefore, remarkable that he ever found the time to build himself a country house at all.  The design of Uppark has been attributed to William Talman, which may explain its exemplary symmetry and simplicity.  It is constructed from red brick and comprises two main storeys, with attic and basement.

View of the principal elevation.
View of the principal elevation.

In 1747 the house was sold to Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh and his wife Sarah, and it is their coat of arms that is displayed prominently in the pediment on the south front.  They were also largely responsible for the delightful interiors, commissioning the extensive redecoration in the mid 18th century.  Sir Matthew and Lady Sarah embarked on a two year Grand Tour of Europe whilst work was being carried out and during this time they purchased much of collections that now fill Uppark.  The crowing glory of Uppark’s fabulous 18th century interiors must be the Saloon, which is attributed to James Paine, who also built Dover House in Whitehall for Sir Matthew.  Sir Matthew also commissioned the building of two balancing blocks located behind Uppark, an elegant stable block to the north-west and a service block containing a laundry and kitchen to the north-east.  Both are constructed of matching red brick and are adorned with decorative features, such as pediments and turret cupolas.  These service wings are both connected to the main house via underground tunnels, which enabled the servants to go about their work without being seen by their employers.

The edge of the south front with the stable block in the distance.
The edge of the south front with the stable block in the distance.

On the death of Sir Matthew in 1774, his only son and heir Harry inherited Uppark.  Sir Harry was a true Regency playboy and is well known for his friendship with the Prince Regent and his liaison with Emma Hart (who later became Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson’s lover).  He scandalised society in 1825, by marrying his young dairymaid at the age of 70!  Nonetheless the marriage was very happy and lasted 20 years until his death at the age of 90.  Sir Harry commissioned Sir Humphry Repton to partially update Uppark in 1810, including the addition of a stone colonnade to the north front, a dairy and the landscaping of the gardens.

A closer view of the south front of the stable block.
A closer view of the south front of the stable block.

Tragedy struck Uppark on 30th August 1989 when a fire broke out, caused by builders using a blow torch for repairs up on the roof.  It destroyed the upper two storeys completely, but thankfully due to the dedication of the fire-fighters, staff, family and members of the public, as much of the collection that could be saved from the lower storeys were saved.  Although the main ground floor interior wasn’t gutted by fire, it was still damaged by the water, smoke and soot.  Amazingly, although Uppark came close to demolition at this point, the National Trust decided to embark on its largest conservation project to date.  Calling on skills and expertise from accross the country Uppark underwent an estimated £20 million restoration plan.  Such has been the success of the project that when walking around the house today it is nearly impossible to conceive that a fire ever ravaged the building.

View from the dairy towards the east front of Uppark.
View from the dairy towards the east front of Uppark.

Highlights of the collection include a magnificent 18th century dolls house with all of its original fixtures and fittings.  It is a remarkable sight because it is so interesting to glimpse the fashions and tastes prevalent in that era.  There are an array of fabulous paintings including works by Batoni, Zuccarelli and Vernet.  If the life of the servants is of interest, then the basement won’t disappoint with its wonderfully preserved and presented servants quarters, including the Housekeepers Room, Butlers Pantry and Beer Cellar.

View from Uppark looking out over the South Downs.
View from Uppark looking out over the South Downs.

Before you leave Uppark make sure that you: take a stroll around the gardens, enjoy the views of the South Downs, find the Gothic Seat designed by Repton, indulge in a tasty afternoon tea at the restaurant and browse the well-stocked gift shop!

Please visit: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/uppark/

The Beauty of Lavenham

LAVENHAM

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited to join a site visit with the 4th cohort of the MSt in Building History course.  I went on the same site visit three years ago so it was fascinating to look at the timber-framed buildings with better trained eyes!  We went to the beautiful Suffolk village of Lavenham, famous for its stunning 15th century church and numerous medieval timber-framed buildings.

Guildhall of Corpus Christi.
Guildhall of Corpus Christi.

Lavenham established itself as one of the most prosperous vvillagesin England during the 15th and 16th centuries.  It’s wealth derived from its successful wool trade, exporting its famous blue broadcloth to mainland Europe.  Consequently, numerous merchant families sprang up and demonstrated their wealth through architectural display.  Following the traditional Hall structure, families built increasingly elaborate timber-framed buildings, incorporating expensive features such as jetties, close-studding, oriel windows and exquisite carvings.  In 1464 Lavenham Wool Hall was completed and in 1529 the impressive Guildhall of the wool guild of Corpus Christi was built.  Such buildings were demonstrations of the villages wealth and prestige.  In 1487, however, Henry VII visited and was reputedly unimpressed with the ostentatious De Vere family, so fined them accordingly!

Guildhall of Corpus Christi.
Guildhall of Corpus Christi.

By the late 16th century the wool trade was in sharp decline as Lavenham was unable to keep up with competition in the UK or abroad.  As a result, most of the buildings declined in status and by 1578, when Elizabeth I visited while on her Royal Progress, most of the guildhalls had been reduced to work houses to accommodate the poor.  Consequently, the amazing medieval buildings have been ‘frozen in time’ throughout the centuries as there wasn’t enough money to knock them down and rebuild in later tastes and styles.

Lavenham Little Hall.
Lavenham Little Hall.

On our site visit we went to Lavenham Little Hall which was first built in the 1390s for the Causton family.  Designed in the typical Hall house format, it had a service end, upper end, cross passage and hall.  In the 1550s it was enlarged again.  However, mirroring the fortunes of the village, by the 17th century the status of the house declined significantly and was divided to provide homes for six families!

Ornate carvings to the dragon post.
Ornate carvings to the dragon post supporting the internal dragon beam of the Guildhall.

Next we visited the Guildhall of Corpus Christi, located on the edge of the market place, it was probably one of the most important out of the five guilds.  It was once an impressive setting for meetings and is now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.  It is a striking two-storey timber-framed building with a jetty and ornate porch.  It is embelished with fantastic medieval wood carvings.  Inside, there were further examples of wealth including the dragon beam, which is located in the corner to carry the joists where the two jetties meet.

The dragon beam in the Guildhall.
The dragon beam in the Guildhall.
 A fine example of linen fold panelling is evident in the upper story of the porch.
Linen fold panelling.
Linen fold panelling.

An interesting discovery was that of a mummified cat that was discoverd in the walls of a neighbouring cottage and is now on display at the Guildhall.  As a precaution against witches and evil spirits cats (usually already dead) or objects such as shoes were often hidden in walls as a means of distracting the spirits away from the occupants of the house.  Taper marks and various symbols were also made around fireplaces, staircases, doorways and in attics as further protection against evil.

The mummified cat.
The mummified cat.

Finally we visited St Peter and St Paul’s Church which is famous as a fine example of Late Perpendicular architecture.  It was completed c.1525-30 to great acclaim – its mighty 141 ft tower of black napped flint dominating the landscape for miles around. The Spring and de Vere families were the main donors, having made their fortune in the wool trade, consequently their coats of arms can be spotted throughout the building.

St Peter and ST Paul's church.
St Peter and St Paul’s church.

Lavenham is a truly stunning medieval town which is fantastically preserved.  It is full of cute little shops, tea rooms and pubs which are wonderful to explore.

Please visit: http://www.littlehall.org.uk/

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lavenham-guildhall/

Lincolnshire Part 2: Tattershall Castle

TATTERSHALL CASTLE

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The silhouetted Tattershall Castle.

Tattershall Castle, built in c.1440, is a remarkable structure, reaching 130 ft to the sky with an impressive six floors.  This castle was the vision and creation of Ralph Cromwell, Lord Treasurer of England, between 1434-1447.  Constructed from red brick (despite an abundance of stone nearby) Tattershall was a statement of great wealth, power and style.  Despite its militaristic features Tattershall was intended as a splendid setting for entertainment, ceremonies and business rather than as a military base.

One of the magnificent fireplaces.
One of the magnificent fireplaces.

On September 19, 1911, Tattershall was sold to an unknown American mimillionaire who immediately ripped out the great medieval fireplaces to send back to America.  His intentions were even more grievous as the plan was to dismatle the entire castle and rebuild it in America.  Such an act highlighted the vulnerability that Britain’s heritage suffered at the lack of protective laws and regulations.  Nonetheless, on September 20 the Council of the National Trust met in Westminster to discuss whether money could be raised to buy back the caste – but this unfortunately came to naught.  Miraculously, Lord Curzon of Kedleston purchased Tattershall at the last minute and set about tracking down the fireplaces to prevent them from leaving the country.  He was successful and was greatly applauded for his efforts in saving the castle and then restoring it, before bequeathing it to the National Trust on his death in 1925.

Another of the rescued fireplaces.
Another of the rescued fireplaces.

The castle contains six floors, ranging from the basement to the battlements, and can be accessed via a spiral staircase containing 149 steps.  Throughout the castle there are plenty of examples of historic graffiti, which although some may find unsightly, I found fascinating.  It proves that people have been attracted to the beauty of Tattershall for centuries and have been so moved as to engrave their initials into the stone as way of proving that they once visited.

Example of some of the historical graffiti.
Example of some of the historical graffiti.

The oldest dated initials that I found:

'IG 1634'
‘IG 1634’

The battlements offer spectacular views of the surrounding Lincolnshire countryside and on a clear day once can see for nearly 20 miles.

The battlements with tower and chimney stack.
The battlements with tower and chimney stack.
View from the battlements looking down on the 15th century  Guardhouse and church.
View from the battlements looking down on the 15th century Guardhouse and church.

One of the architectural gems that must be mentioned is the old Guardhouse which is now used as the Ticket Office and Gift Shop.  Itwas built in c.1440 from the same red brick, in English bond, with a plain tiled roof.  The building consists of two storeys, with both floors retaining original brick arched fireplaces.  There are plenty of delightful architectural details, including an ashlar plaque with heraldic shield above the door.

The delightful 15th century Guardhouse.
The delightful 15th century Guardhouse.

Tattershall Castle is an excellent example of why our heritage needs protecting and should not be taken for granted.  It is quite remarkable that had it not been for Lord Curzon it is unlikely that any of us would have had the opportunity to visit such a rare and spectacular brick castle.

Please visit: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tattershall-castle/visitor-information/