Ludlow Castle, Ludlow, Shropshire


Ludlow Castle
c.1910 (photo is from 1892)
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

Google Street View.

Ludlow Castle is first referred to by chroniclers in 1138, but its date of origin is not certain. The architecture suggests that the curtain wall of the inner bailey, its flanking towers and parts of the gatehouse-keep date from the late 11th century. The site of Ludlow was in a corner of the important manor of Stanton, held since 1066 by the de Lacy family. The level building surface and the steep slopes to the north and west made this a fine defensive position. The rivers Teme and Corve gave further protection. Most of the castle was built of chunky Silurian limestone quarried from its own site. It was one of a line of Norman castles along the Marches, built to pacify the countryside and hold back the unconquered Welsh.
Castles of Wales

Walter de Lacy, a trusted member of the household of William fitzOsbern arrived in England with the conquering army of William in 1066. FitzOsbern was rewarded for his loyal part in William’s victory with an Earldom over the lands of Hereford. After three years of local resistance, fitzOsbern was able to claim his Earldom and planned to keep his new acquisition secure by developing a string of castles along the border of England and Wales. Walter’s sons, first Roger and then Hugh built the earliest surviving parts of the Castle that we can still see today, and the de Lacy family retained lordship until the end of the 13th century.

Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, Ludlow Castle was held by the Crown, except for a brief time during the Civil War and the Commonwealth. It enjoyed great status as the centre of administration for the Marches shires and for Wales – court sessions and the Prince’s Council were held here. This led to massive refurbishment of the buildings and the castle became styled more in the way of an Elizabethan stately home.
Ludlow Castle

The construction of the Ludlow Castle started around 1085, with many later additions in the following two centuries. It is one of the most interesting castles in the Marches, in a dominant and imposing position high above the river Teme. It features examples of architecture from the Norman, Medieval and Tudor periods. The building of the castle led to the development of Ludlow itself, at first grouped around the castle; the impressive ruins of the castle occupy the oldest part of Ludlow.In the late 12th and early 13th centuries the castle was extended, and part of the grid pattern of streets immediately to the south was obscured by the enlarged outer bailey. From 1233 onwards the town walls were constructed; Ludlow Castle stood within the circuit of the walls.
Ludlow


Ludlow Castle, Doorway of Keep
c.1910 (photo is from 1903)
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

Access to the upper floors of the [Great Tower] is by a spiral stair to the east, reached by an ornamented doorcase, the Tudor arch having a trefoiled lintel flanked by cusped panelling and trefoiled lintel, which also gives access to rooms in the [16h Cenutry] Judges’ Lodgings
Historic England

Google Street View. (at rear)


Ground Floor Plan, “Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II“, George Thomas Clark, 1884

The keep, which stands on the highest part of the ground, and consists of a basement and three floors, was probably built by Roger de Lacy, and forms on its S. face part of the wall of the ward ; it is rectangular, and has had later constructions added to it on the E. and W. The basement is vaulted, and has an arcade of Norman work. A newel stair conducts to the several floors ; the first being a room 30 feet by lyi feet, having a mural chamber and a garde- robe, and the stair communicates on both sides with the walls, an unusual feature in a keep. The floors were of timber, and Tudor windows have replaced the Norman lights.

The salient is formed by a group of towers with wondrous thick walls, having the buttery below, and giving exit to a large sewer. Set against this is a second tower, half octagonal, from which stretches S.E. a strong short wall forming the W. end of the great hall, of which the curhiin continuing is its N. side, pierced with three tall Early English windows on the exterior. Below this wall on the outside is a broad platform, whence a second steep slope descends to the fields beneath. Beyond the Hall are the state apartments, and attached to these, projecting from the wall, is an immense garderobe tower of five stages. Then come the private lodgings, of Decorated style, with much Tudor alteration and insertion.
The castles of England, their story and structure“, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896 p.142

Arundel Castle, Arundel, West Sussex


Arundel: the castle
“Published by the Photochrom Co., Ltd., London and Tunbridge Wells
Passed for publication by the Press Censor, September 1917.”

Google Street View.

Panorama of town, showing castle

There are nearly 1,000 years of history at this great castle, situated in magnificent grounds overlooking the River Arun in West Sussex and built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. The oldest feature is the motte, an artificial mound, over 100 feet high from the dry moat, and constructed in 1068: followed by the gatehouse in 1070. Under his will, King Henry I (1068-1135) settled the Castle and lands in dower on his second wife, Adeliza of Louvain. Three years after his death she married William d’Albini II, who built the stone shell keep on the motte. King Henry II (1133-89), who built much of the oldest part of the stone Castle, in 1155 confirmed William d’Albini II as Earl of Arundel, with the Honour and Castle of Arundel.
Arundel Castle

William de Albini died in 1176 and Arundel Castle once again reverted to the Crown. Henry II made numerous modifications to the site including adding a new residential range in the southern bailey. Eventually he returned the castle to William’s son and it remained with his heirs until it passed through marriage to the FitzAlan family in 1243. They built new lodgings in the south bailey to replace the domestic accommodation on the motte but also upgraded the defences including adding the Barbican and Beaumont Tower.

The castle was slighted in 1653 to prevent future military use and this partial demolition included destruction of the residential portions. Accordingly the site was not used until 1708 when Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk restored the South Range for use as an occasional residence. However, towards the end of the eighteenth century Charles Howard, eleventh Duke of Norfolk commenced rebuilding and remodelling the site in a Gothic theme. His efforts were not appreciated however, with Queen Victoria describing it as “bad architecture”, and accordingly Arundel Castle was substantially restyled again between 1875 and 1900. This work was undertaken by Henry Fitzalan-Howard, Duke of Norfolk who recruited architect Charles Buckler to rebuild the castle in a gothic revival style creating the structure visible today.
Castles Forts Battles


The Keep and Drawbridge to Arundel Castle.
(no details on back)

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Kenilworth Castle, Kenilworth, Warwickshire


Kentworth Castle | Warwick
[Kenilworth Castle]
c.1910
Publisher: Woolstone Bros, London

Google Street View.

Kenilworth Castle, in the town of Kenilworth in Warwickshire, England, was founded during the Norman conquest of England; with development through to the Tudor period. It has been described by the architectural historian Anthony Emery as “the finest surviving example of a semi-royal palace of the later middle ages, significant for its scale, form and quality of workmanship”. Kenilworth played an important historical role: it was the subject of the six-month-long siege of Kenilworth in 1266, thought to be the longest siege in Medieval English history, and formed a base for Lancastrian operations in the Wars of the Roses. Kenilworth was the scene of the removal of Edward II from the English throne, the perceived French insult to Henry V in 1414 of a gift of tennis balls (said by John Strecche to have prompted the campaign that led to the Battle of Agincourt), and the Earl of Leicester’s lavish reception of Elizabeth I in 1575. It has been described as “one of two major castles in Britain which may be classified as water-castles or lake-fortresses…”.

The castle was built over several centuries. Founded in the 1120s around a powerful Norman great tower, the castle was significantly enlarged by King John at the beginning of the 13th century. Huge water defences were created by damming the local streams, and the resulting fortifications proved able to withstand assaults by land and water in 1266. John of Gaunt spent lavishly in the late 14th century, turning the medieval castle into a palace fortress designed in the latest perpendicular style. The Earl of Leicester then expanded the castle during his tenure in the 16th century, constructing new Tudor buildings and exploiting the medieval heritage of Kenilworth to produce a fashionable Renaissance palace.
Wikipedia.


Kenilworth Castle Plan, 17th centry
from Wikimedia Commons

  • The first castle was established in the 1120s by the royal chamberlain, Geoffrey de Clinton, who built most of the Norman keep.
  • In the early 13th century King John added an outer circuit of stone walls and a dam to hold back a great lake, so creating one of the most formidable fortresses in the kingdom.
  • In 1266 Simon de Montfort held Kenilworth against the king through an extraordinary six-month siege – the longest in English medieval history.
  • In the 14th century John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III, developed the castle into a palace, building the great hall and lavish apartments.
  • The castle was a favoured residence of the Lancastrian kings in the later Middle Ages – Henry V even built a retreat here at the far end of the lake.
  • In 1563 Elizabeth I granted the castle to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who transformed Kenilworth into a magnificent palace. Famously he entertained the queen here for 19 days of festivities in 1575.
  • The castle’s fortifications were dismantled in 1650 after the English Civil War. Later, the ruins became famous thanks in part to Walter Scott’s 1821 novel Kenilworth, which romanticised the story of Robert Dudley, his wife Amy Robsart, and Elizabeth I.

English Heritage


The Gatehouse and Entrance to Kenilworth Castle
c.1900
(The space for the stamp says “Write with the Waverley Pen”)

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Restormel Castle, Cornwall


Restormel Castle
Gateway
c.1940
Publisher: Ministry of Works

Lying at the heart of Cornwall, Restormel is one of the most remarkable castles in Britain. The present circular structure, built in the late 13th century, was a luxurious retreat for its medieval owners, with a large hunting park. In the 14th century the Black Prince, Edward III’s son, stayed there twice. At this time Restormel and nearby Lostwithiel were a centre for the highly lucrative tin industry, from which the Duchy of Cornwall drew much of its wealth. Ruined since the 16th century, the castle was briefly garrisoned by a Parliamentarian army during the Civil War.
English Heritage

The standing ruin of Restormel Castle, formerly the castle’s inner ward or enclosure, is highly distinctive. It takes the form of a low curtain wall enclosing buildings ranged around a central courtyard. Its plan is almost perfectly circular
. . .
The levels of first floors can be reconstructed from sockets and ledges in the outer and inner walls and in the radial walls dividing the rooms from one another. The range’s inner wall is fragmentary at first-floor level and some parts are entirely missing, but the positions of most windows and doors remain visible. Moving anticlockwise from the kitchen, the main first-floor rooms were a hall; an inner hall or solar; the ante-chapel; and then two further rooms, thought to be the great chamber and a wardrobe, or storeroom. The hall, ante-chapel and great chamber could be entered directly from wooden stairs rising from the courtyard. All the first-floor rooms communicated directly with adjoining spaces apart from the wardrobe at the north-west corner. This was accessible only by a stone stair against its gable wall. The ground-floor spaces were all unheated and most were probably storerooms.
English Heritage

The keep’s inner wall is 1m thick and lies 5.6m inside the outer wall. The space between is divided into rooms, which consequently have curved walls either end. The largest room is the 19m great hall, which once had a timber roof structure. The north east wing is 9.3m wide and contains a chapel with windows to three sides on the upper level. The chapel measures 7.6m by 5.5m wide internally. The end wall to the east is just 1.1m thick. Its window was blocked up with masonry during the Civil War when the wall was adapted to support a cannon platform overlooking the river. The gatehouse probably dates from the early 13th century. Its inner gateway is flanked by stone stairs leading to the upper floor. The remainder of the structure is likely to be late 13th century. The whole complex was rendered and would have been limewashed, making it white.
Engineering Timelines

The site was acquired by Richard, earl of Cornwall (d. 1272) and was rebuilt by his son, Edmund (d. 1299), whose chief Cornish residence it became when he moved the earldom’s administrative centre from Launceston to Lostwithiel. He converted the 11th -12th century castle, comprising a ringwork with a rectangular bailey, into a magnificent new residence but no written record of his works survives.

Works on buildings in the bailey are recorded in 1343-1344, and repairs are documented through the 14th and 15th centuries. By Leland’s day, however, the site had become neglected and major decay followed. The most important written source for understanding the site is a survey of 1337, when the Duchy of Cornwall was created, which identified some of the fabric being in need of repair. It was described as “well walled round” with a hall, three chambers with cellars, a chapel, a stable for six horses, and three chambers above the gateway. Outside the gateway, stood a hall with two cellars and a kitchen, a chapel, three chambers with cellars, a bake-house, and two old stables for twenty horses. A lead conduit system brought water into the castle.

The central, surviving structure, it has been observed, was not designed by earl Edmund for defence but for display and comfort. Although its wall-walk was (and is) crenellated, this may have been – in this case, but certainly not at all castles by this date – a repetition of what had become a traditional element in the repertoire of castle design. The lord’s chamber (the most “private” room in the castle, see below) had its own stairway to the wall-walk, suggesting that the latter’s use was mainly for “promenade” and for enjoying views over the deer-park.
Castle Studies Group: Shell Keeps – The Catalogue (pfd) (includes floor plan)


Restormel Castle
Gateway & Internal buildings
c.1940
Publisher: Ministry of Works

Chepstow Castle, Chepstow, Wales


In the keep, Chepstow Castle
c.1920

Google Street View (exterior)

Chepstow Castle at Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain. Located above cliffs on the River Wye, construction began in 1067 under the instruction of the Norman Lord William FitzOsbern. Originally known as Striguil, it was the southernmost of a chain of castles built in the Welsh Marches, and with its attached lordship took the name of the adjoining market town in about the 14th century. In the 12th century the castle was used in the conquest of Gwent, the first independent Welsh kingdom to be conquered by the Normans. It was subsequently held by two of the most powerful Anglo-Norman magnates of medieval England, William Marshal and Richard de Clare. However, by the 16th century its military importance had waned and parts of its structure were converted into domestic ranges. Although re-garrisoned during and after the English Civil War, by the 1700s it had fallen into decay.
Wikipedia.

Building was started in 1067 by Earl William fitz Osbern, close friend of William the Conqueror, making it one of the first Norman strongholds in Wales. In turn William Marshal (Earl of Pembroke), Roger Bigod (Earl of Norfolk) and Charles Somerset (Earl of Worcester) all made their mark before the castle declined after the Civil War. These magnates and power-brokers were constantly on the move. Chepstow was just one residence in their vast estates – an impressive shell into which they would bring their gold and silver vessels, rich silk and brightly painted furniture.
Cadw


The store chamber, Chepstow Castle
c.1920

Google Street View

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh


Edinburgh Castle.
1900s

Google Street View

Set upon its mighty rock, Edinburgh Castle’s strategic advantage is clear. Seeing the site’s military potential, Iron Age people built a hill fort on the rock. Early medieval poetry tells of a war band that feasted here for a year before riding to their deaths in battle.

As well as guarding great moments in history, the castle has suffered many sieges. During the Wars of Independence it changed hands many times. In 1314, the Scots retook the castle from the English in a daring night raid led by Thomas Randolph, nephew of Robert the Bruce. The castle defences have evolved over hundreds of years. Mons Meg, one of the greatest medieval cannons ever made, was given to King James II in 1457. The Half Moon Battery, built in the aftermath of the Lang Siege of 1573, was armed for 200 years by bronze guns known as the Seven Sisters. Six more guns defend the Argyle Battery, with its open outlook to the north.
Edinburgh Castle: History of the castle

Virtual Tour

3D Model/Walkthrough


Edinburgh Castle and the Esplanade
On the back:
The Castle, which stands at a height of 443 feet above sea level, has an area at the top of about 7 acres. The records show that the Picts took possesion of it in the 7th century, and in the year 1004 Malcolm Canmore occupied it as a royal residence. In 1174 the castle was taken by the English, but was restored after 12 years.
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

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Windsor Castle, England


East Terrace, Windsor Castle
Published: E. Marshall, Castle Hill Ltd/Valentine & Sons

Street View

Official site

The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle’s lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as “a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste”. Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George’s Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be “one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic” design.

Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons’ War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become “the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England”.[6] Edward’s core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.

Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II’s palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign.
Wikipedia

Street View (overview)


Long Walk. Windsor Castle.
Postmarked 1907.
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

A dramatic first impression is exactly what Charles II intended when he created the Long Walk between 1683 and 1685. As part of a major programme of improvements to the Castle, the King restored Windsor’s Great Park, which had been divided and sold off by Parliamentarians during the Civil War. By planting trees, taking land out of arable use and bringing in over 500 deer from Germany and Richmond Park, he turned the land south of the Castle back into a great royal hunting forest. To connect the Castle and the Great Park, he ordered a ruler-straight avenue of four rows of elms stretching for two and a half miles.
Royal Collection Trust

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Portchester Castle, Portchester, Hampshire


Portchester Castle, Saxon tower and wall
1910s
Publisher: A.H.S, Southsea (possibly A.H.Sweasey)

Google Street View.

Wikipedia.

Saxon Shore forts were heavily defended later Roman military installations located exclusively in south east England. They were all constructed during the third century AD, probably between c.AD 225 and AD 285. They were built to provide protection against the sea-borne Saxon raiders who began to threaten the coast towards the end of the second century AD, and all Saxon Shore forts are situated on or very close to river estuaries or on the coast, between the Wash and the Isle of Wight. Saxon Shore forts are also found on the coasts of France and Belgium. The most distinctive feature of Saxon Shore forts are their defences which comprised massive stone walls, normally backed by an inner earth mound, and wholly or partially surrounded by one or two ditches.
Historic England

Portchester Castle was begun as a Roman fort, one of the series of coastal forts now known as the Forts of the Saxon Shore. These forts were built over the course of the 3rd century, to meet the threat presented by Saxon pirates who were then raiding the south coast of Roman Britain.

The walls of the Roman fort seem to have housed a community for most of the long period between the end of Roman rule and the Norman conquest of 1066. Evidence of four huts with sunken floors, a well, and signs of ploughing, datable to the 5th century, has been found. In the 7th to 9th centuries a number of timber houses and ancillary buildings were built, perhaps forming two residences. Around the end of the 9th century there seems to have been a break in occupation, with extensive dumping of rubbish over the sites of earlier buildings. In 904 the Bishop of Winchester gave the fort to the English king Edward the Elder (reigned 899–924). Following this, the fort became a burh – one of a series of fortified places which protected the kingdom from Viking attack.
English Heritage

English Heritage: Floor plan

Following the Norman Conquest, Portchester was granted to William Maudit and it was probably he who raised the castle. The Roman Walls were utilised to form the perimeter around the Outer Bailey whilst a moat and timber barrier were used to separate the north-west corner of the fort which then became the Inner Ward. When William died in 1100 the castle passed to his son, Robert Maudit, but he was killed in the White Ship disaster in 1120. Thereafter the castle passed through marriage to William Pont de l’Arche. William commenced rebuilding the Inner Ward defences of Portchester Castle in stone including raising the Great Tower during the 1120s and 1130s. William also built St Mary’s church to serve an Augustinian Priory he founded within the walls although by 1150 this community had relocated to Southwick.
Castles Forts Battles


Layout of castle. (From Wikimedia Commons.)


Portchester, Castle [keep from inside]
Dated & posmarked 1906
Publisher: J. Welch & Sons

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Caernarfon Castle, Wales


Carnarvon Castle
Postmarked 1910.

Approximately here.

Caernarfon Castle (Welsh: Castell Caernarfon) – often anglicized as Carnarvon Castle or Caernarvon Castle – is a medieval fortress in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, north-west Wales cared for by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service. It was a motte-and-bailey castle in the town of Caernarfon from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began replacing it with the current stone structure. The Edwardian town and castle acted as the administrative centre of north Wales and as a result the defences were built on a grand scale. There was a deliberate link with Caernarfon’s Roman past and the Roman fort of Segontium is nearby.

While the castle was under construction, town walls were built around Caernarfon. The work cost between £20,000 and £25,000 from the start until the end of work in 1330. Despite Caernarfon Castle’s external appearance of being mostly complete, the interior buildings no longer survive and many of the building plans were never finished. The town and castle were sacked in 1294 when Madog ap Llywelyn led a rebellion against the English. Caernarfon was recaptured the following year. During the Glyndŵr Rising of 1400–1415, the castle was besieged. When the Tudor dynasty ascended to the English throne in 1485, tensions between the Welsh and English began to diminish and castles were considered less important. As a result, Caernarfon Castle was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Despite its dilapidated condition, during the English Civil War Caernarfon Castle was held by Royalists, and was besieged three times by Parliamentarian forces. This was the last time the castle was used in war. Caernarfon Castle was neglected until the 19th century when the state funded repairs.
Wikipedia


Carnarvon Castle

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