Sherborne Old Castle

It is so called to distinguish it from the ‘new’ castle, a great mansion first built by Sir Walter Raleigh but much enlarged since. Roger de Caen, Bishop of Salisbury, the most magnificent prelate of his age erected the old castle. He lost his influence and possessions for supporting the Empress Matilda against King Stephen, and despite the protests of subsequent bishops, the castle stayed in royal hands for the next two centuries. In 1592, it was leased to Sir Walter Raleigh, who started to modernize the castle before opting to erect its successor nearby. The abandoned castle was reoccupied on behalf of the King during the Civil War. It was stormed by Sir Thomas Fairfax after a two-week siege …

Wolvesey Castle

As the capital of the kings of Wessex, who brought the whole of England under their sway in the tenth century, Winchester enjoyed the status of capital long into the Norman period, though eventually the pull of London proved too strong. It is therefore inevitable that William I should have founded a castle here soon after the Norman Conquest. The castle occupied a curiously elongated site on high ground at the western edge of the walled city. It received stone buildings in the twelfth century but much restoration was necessary following the city’s capture by Dauphin Louis in 1216.The early history of the castle is confused because a royal palace with another Norman keep stood near the cathedral. It existed …

Tonbridge Castle

Guarding a crossing over the River Medway, the important castle of Tonbridge was founded by Richard Fitz Gilbert. It existed by 1088, when Rufus stormed the castle with the help of a native English army raised to quell the rebellion of Bishop Odo of Bayeux. Despite his involvement in this revolt, Fitz Gilbert retained possession. The castle is an impressive example of a Norman motte and bailey – a layout curiously rare in Kent. On top of the great motte are the lower courses of a round shell keep. The bailey curtain dates from thirteenth century, probably from the time of the earlier Gilbert de Clare or his son, Richard. Owing to later stone robbing, it is now very ruinous …

Raby castle

Raby Castle stands within a vast park to the north of Staindrop. Despite the alterations inevitable in a castle that has become a stately home, Raby ranks among the finest of later medieval fortified mansions. It reflects the aspirations of the Neville family, who became the most powerful of the Bishop of Durham’s vassals. Ralph, Lord Neville, commanded the English forces at the Battle of Neville’s Cross and probably started building here. His son John obtained a license to crenellate in 1378, but the castle was probably nearly complete by then. The irregular layout suggests a piecemeal development around an older residential core. On the east side of the courtyard is a hall range, with a small tower – the …

Lumley Castle

Lumley Castle, in spite of later remodeling is one of the finest examples of a fully developed quadrangular castle with ranges of buildings on all sides. Bolton Castle is the best-known Northern example and Lumley resembles it quite closely. It has the same oblong corner towers, each one a tower house in its own right, and the same attention to defense within the courtyard as well as outside. But whereas Bolton is largely a ruin, Lumley has come down to us intact and is merely disfigured by some eighteenth-century alterations. The castle stands a mile east of Chester-le-Street on high ground, which suddenly drops to the stream known as Lumley Beck. Ralph, Lord Lumley, obtained permission to crenellate his house …

10 Must-Dos When In Barcelona

High spirits and vitality govern in abundance when in Barcelona. This infectious capital of Catalonia, and second largest city in Spain, exudes soul and energy, living life to the full. Barcelona’s verve is matched by its magnificent architecture, characterised by one man’s signature, Antonio Gaudi. 1. Las Ramblas Running from seafront through to Placa de Catalunya, Las Ramblas is a fusion of market stalls and street entertainment. Watch out for the mime artists, though keep a hand on your wallet. 2. Sagrada Familia Church In progress since 1882, La Sagrada Familia is perhaps Antonio Gaudi’s most magnificent achievement. As yet unfinished, the ongoing construction of this gothic masterpiece is financed through tourism. 3. Picasso Museum Born in Malaga, Pablo Picasso …

Colchester Castle

Colchester reached the peak of its importance before the Romans came. A city for veterans of the Roman army was established here, dominated by a temple of the deified Emperor Claudius. Queen Boudicca razed it to the ground in AD 61 but a new city soon rose from the ashes. Colchester Castle, near the center of the walled town, has by far the largest ground area of any keep in England, measuring 150 by 110 feet. William the Conqueror founded a castle here soon after the Norman Conquest and the keep may have been started following a Danish raid on the town in 1071. The masonry is certainly early Norman – note for example the herringbone work in the fireplaces. …

Buckden Palace

Buckden Palace was a residence of the medieval bishops of Lincoln, allowing a midway break on the journey from London to their cathedral city. This Episcopal palace was entirely rebuilt in brick by Thomas Rotherham, who became bishop in 1472. After his transfer to York in 1480, it was completed by Bishop Russell. The dominant feature is a tower modeled on the great brick tower at Tattershall Castle. Buckden’s tower house is oblong in plan with octagonal corner turrets rising above parapet level. However, it is less ambitious in scale and lacks the machicolated crown, which gives Tattershall such distinction. The broad chimneybreast is a prominent and altogether domestic feature. Another obvious weakness is the tower’s proximity to the steeple …

Durham Castle

In the year 995, monks from Chester-le-Street brought St. Cuthber’s body here to protect it from the Danes. They chose the naturally fortified site within an incised loop of the River Wear as the setting for their new cathedral. As late as 1075 it rebuffed a Danish attack. The only landward approach to the promontory is guarded by Durham Castle, which was established by William the Conqueror in 1072 but was soon given to Bishop Welcher. The castle remained the chief seat of the bishops of Durham until 1836, when Bishop Van Mildert gave it to the newly founded university. It now serves as University College. As seen from across the Wear, castle and cathedral form a magnificent spectacle. It …