Penhurst Place

At the heart of this great mansion is one of England’s finest medieval manor houses. Sir John de Pulteney, four times Lord Mayor of London, built it after he purchased the manor about 1338. His house conforms to the usual domestic layout of the later Middle Ages, the hall being flanked on one side by service rooms and on the other by the solar block. Porches from both north and south lead into the screened passage of the hall. This magnificent chamber is virtually untouched by time, and its chestnut roof is one of the glories of medieval carpentry. Its main beams are supported on carved figures, other authentic features being the tiled floor, the step up to the dais …

Dartmouth Castle

Dartmouth, on the beautiful estuary of the River Dart, was a flourishing port from the twelfth century. When the Hundred Year War made legitimate trading difficult, the inhabitants turned to piracy to boost their profits. Their unfortunate targets were the ports across the Channel. In 1404, the Bretons land in force and attempted to sack the town in revenge, but the inhabitants drove them off with great loss to themselves. According to French sources a second attempt was more successful. Dartmouth Castle is actually a mile southeast of the town, at a point where the estuary narrows. A fortification first rose here about 1388 in response to the threat of invasion from France. It was built at the instigation of …