St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Launceston Cornwall


Launceston, St Mary’s Church
c.1911
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co

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St Mary Magdalene in Launceston is the most impressive and beautiful late medieval church in Cornwall, featuring superb carved detail on the exterior and a wealth of historic memorials and woodwork inside. In 1353 Edward, the Black Prince, was named Duke of Cornwall. Around 1370 Edward built a chapel a short distance from Launceston Castle. All that remains of that 14th-century chapel is the imposing west tower of St Mary Magdalene church, built of Polyphant stone, 20 feet square at the base and rising 70 feet to an embattled top. The tower was originally used as a watchtower, with a single bell to warn of attack, not to call worshippers to service.
Britain Express

The intricately worked granite blocks, which give the church its unique carved exterior, were originally intended for a mansion at Trecarell, Trebullett for Sir Henry Trecarell. The reason for this is said to be due to his infant son drowning in his bath and the grief-stricken Sir Henry switched the stone to ecclesiastical use as he decided to build the church instead. How true this story is, is open to conjecture, but what is most certain is that the present church owes its existence to Sir Henry. (Although widely called Sir Henry, there is no record of him actually being knighted). This was in 1511 and was to be the third church dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene on this site which at that time contained the Parochial Chapel of the Blessed Mary Magdalene of the 14th century along with tenements which were attached to the said chapel. These were purchased and removed so that the site was free for the new construction. As previously mentioned the present tower survives from one of the earlier churches, being built by Edward the Black Prince, who became the first Duke of Cornwall in 1337 and whose capital was Launceston. This explains the fact that the body of the church is not directly connected with its tower, which indeed is on a different line. Between them lies what is now the choir vestry, but at one time, there were two cottages between the church and the tower.
Launceston Then

The church of St Mary Magdalene was built in the early 1500s, but inside the Victorians have left almost nothing from the original period. The pulpit is one of the few survivals. It was covered with pitch during the civil war and only restored as to its current condition in 1970. The chancel screen is designed by Edmund H Sedding and carved by Violet Pinwill. It dates from 1911 and depicts eleven saints with Mary Magdalene at the centre.
Reed Design.includes panorama)

Font, St Martin’s Church, Canterbury, Kent


Canterbury. Font St Martin’s Church.
c.1910
Publisher: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

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This is an example of a Norman tub font, and quite a few have survived in churches to this day. St Mary’s Chadwell has a similar though less impressive example of arcade decoration. One theory (which was either told me by a church guide, or in a printed guide leaflet) is that it consists of stacked “baptismal tubs”; whereas the Kent Churches website claims it is carved from a single block. But most sources including the parish website agree that it consists of several stone blocks (22 is a figure often quoted). Whichever is correct, it is agreed that it is made of Caen stone, carved with intersecting and interlocking patterns.
Geograph

The Church of St Martin is an ancient Church of England parish church in Canterbury, England, situated slightly beyond the city centre. It is recognised as the oldest church building in Britain still in use as a church, and the oldest parish church in the English-speaking world, although Roman and Celtic churches had existed for centuries. The church is, along with Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey, part of a World Heritage Site. . . . St Martin’s was the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent (died in or after 601) before Saint Augustine of Canterbury arrived from Rome in 597. Queen Bertha was a Christian Frankish princess who arrived in England with her chaplain, Bishop Liudhard. Her pagan husband, King Æthelberht of Kent, facilitated her in continuing to practise her religion by renovating a Romano-British building (ca. AD 580). The Venerable Bede says the building had been in use in the late Roman period but had fallen into disuse. As Bede specifically names it, this church was dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, a city located near where Bertha grew up. Although Bede implies that the building in Roman times had been a church, modern scholarship has questioned this and also whether it was a former Roman structure at all, suggesting that it could have been sixth century but built in the Roman way.
Wikipedia.

Historically, this is the most important church in Kent. St Martin’s is the building in which Queen Bertha and St Augustine worshipped together in the closing years of the sixth century, making it the oldest parish church in England that is still in use. Furthermore it is built of large quantities of Roman tile mixed with local flint and ragstone. The exterior shows typical Saxon buttresses and long and short work, but there are no Saxon window openings still in use. However, the west wall inside has been stripped of plaster which allows us to see very early blocked windows. Apart from the great age of the walls there is little of visual interest – with a fourteenth-century tower at the west end and a rather severe atmosphere resulting from the drastic nineteenth-century restoration that saw the insertion of dreadful ‘catalogue’ stained glass. Were it not for the early history of this church the font would be its outstanding feature. It is of Norman date and is carved from a large block of Caen stone. Tall, solid, and eminently decorative it has intersecting circlets in two lower levels, and arcading of Romanesque arches above, topped by a rim of rolling swags. 
Kent Churches

The gem of the Church and one of the gems of England is this world-famous Font, tub-shaped, consisting of a plain stone base, three tiers, and a rim. The base is a recent addition to the font, probably in the middle of the last century, when the font was moved to its present position from the centre of the Nave. The three tiers are made up of some 22 separate stones, and not out of a single block as was usual with early fonts. The two lower tiers are adorned with groups of intertwining circles. The third tier is completely different, namely intersecting arches. The rim is the same design as the two lower tiers with the exception of one stone which has a pattern not unlike dog-tooth work or stars cut in half. The two lower tiers and the rim are said to be Saxon, and the Normans requiring a higher font inserted the arches to raise same, and in so doing broke the rim, and added the one odd stone to make it complete. The lead lining is also of Norman date and still retains the marks of the hinge and staple from the days when the font had a locked cover.
Canterbury Buildings

The Tribunal, Glastonbury, Somerset


Glastonbury, The Tribunal
c.1910
Publsher: The Pictorial Stationery Co., London

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The Tribunal in Glastonbury, Somerset, England, was built in the 15th century as a merchant’s house. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building. The history of the building is not well documented, although the majority of the present stone house was constructed in the 15th century on the site of a 12th-century wooden building. The current front wall was added in the 16th century. It has been used as a merchant’s house and possibly a shop and school. It was thought that it was the venue for court proceedings, hence the title Tribunal, however there is no evidence this ever occurred. One of the ground floor rooms still has the window and ceiling panels from the Elizabethan era. The front room upstairs has an arched braced, wooden, truss roof. . . . The house owes its name to the fact that it was formerly mistakenly identified with the Abbey’s tribunals, where secular justice was administered for Glaston Twelve Hides. The name may have been first used by John Collinson in his History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset in 1791, however when investigated by Richard Warner in 1826 he could not identify where the name had originated. It was also thought to be the site of trials by Judge Jeffreys for the Bloody Assizes after the Monmouth Rebellion.

The current building was constructed in the 15th century on the site of a wooden building dating from the 12th century. In the 16th century a new facade was added to the original building. It is possible that the stonework and window of the front wall were removed from the abbot’s lodgings behind the great kitchen of the Abbey as similar features can be identified in a 1712 engraving, and it is known that the building was ruined and without its front wall by 1723. The door is original and above it are a Tudor rose and the arms of Richard Beere who was Abbot of Glastonbury from 1493 to 1524.
Wikipedia.

The well-preserved Glastonbury Tribunal is thought to have been a 15th-century merchant’s house and a residence for one of Glastonbury Abbey’s officials.
The name ‘Tribunal’ comes from the belief that the building once housed the abbey’s tribunals, a courtroom where justice was administered for managing the abbey’s vast estates. More recent historical research suggests that the building was not, in fact, used as a tribunal, but the name is so well-established that it will probably be known as the Glastonbury Tribunal as long as it stands.

The facade facing onto the High Street is typical of late medieval and Tudor houses at ground level. A projecting bay was added at first-floor level in the early years of the 16th century and you can clearly see where the addition joins to the older medieval stonework. Over the doorway are heraldic shields carved with symbols of the Tudor rose and the arms of Abbot Beer, who died in 1524. The ground floor has internal divisions added in the centuries following construction. One ground-floor room retains its fireplace and you can see linenfold panelling below the window opening. You can easily spot places where corbels helped support an upper floor, and where the medieval stairs stood. The rear ground-floor chamber has a panelled ceiling.
Britain Express

The building is a typical late medieval house, with a separate kitchen block at the rear. A passage leads from the front door through to the courtyard at the back. The present façade with its projecting first-floor bay was added in the early 16th century: the construction joints are clearly visible in the masonry. The Tudor rose and the badge of Abbot Beer (died 1524) have been reset over the entrance to the passage. Within the house, several internal partitions were added when the building was let to different tenants later in its history.

The ground-floor front room retains its arched fireplace with recesses on either side, and below the window the wooden panels, carved to imitate linen folds, date from the 16th century. Scars on the wall show the location of the medieval stairs, and corbels or supports mark the position of an upper floor. The room at the back was the main chamber and has a fine panelled ceiling; the four-light window in the north wall is original, while those in the east and west walls were inserted in the 17th century. The kitchen block at the back of the house is a separate building added in Elizabethan times. The first floor, which now houses the Lake Village Museum, repeats the arrangement of the ground floor. The main room at the front extends over the entrance passage and retains its fine original open roof.
English Heritage

Brougham Castle, Cumbria


Brougham Castle
c.1910
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

In a picturesque setting beside the crossing of the River Eamont in Cumbria, Brougham Castle was founded in the early 13th century. This great keep largely survives, amid many later buildings – including the unusual double gatehouse and impressive “Tower of League”. Both a formidable barrier against Scots invaders and a prestigious residence, the castle welcomed Edward I in 1300. 
English Heritage

Brougham Castle is a medieval building about 2 miles (3.2 km) south-east of Penrith, Cumbria, England. The castle was founded by Robert I de Vieuxpont in the early 13th century. The site, near the confluence of the rivers, Eamont and Lowther, had been chosen by the Romans for a Roman fort called Brocavum. The castle is scheduled as an Ancient Monument, along with the fort, as “Brougham Roman fort and Brougham Castle”. In its earliest form, the castle consisted of a stone keep, with an enclosure protected by an earthen bank and a wooden palisade. When the castle was built, Robert de Vieuxpont was one of the only lords in the region who were loyal to King John. The Vieuxponts were a powerful land-owning family in North West England, who also owned the castles of Appleby and Brough. In 1264, Robert de Vieuxpont’s grandson, also named Robert, was declared a traitor, and his property was confiscated by Henry III. Brougham Castle and the other estates were eventually returned to the Vieuxpont family, and stayed in their possession, until 1269, when the estates passed to the Clifford family through marriage. With the outbreak of the Wars of Scottish Independence, in 1296, Brougham became an important military base for Robert Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford. He began refortifying the castle: the wooden outer defences were replaced with stronger, more impressive stone walls, and a large stone gatehouse was added.
. . .
Lady Anne Clifford died at Brougham Castle in 1676 and her grandson, Nicholas Tufton, 3rd Earl of Thanet, inherited the Clifford estates. He died in 1679, and over the next five years possession passed through his three younger brothers. Under the youngest, Thomas Tufton, 6th Earl of Thanet, Brougham Castle suffered particular neglect. In 1714, he decided that Appleby Castle was a sufficient residence and sold the contents of Brougham Castle for £570. Only the Tower of League was left untouched, but in 1723 its contents were also sold, for £40[41] By the 1750s, the castle’s only practical use was as a ready source of building material for the village of Brougham, which prospered due to investment from the Earl of Thanet. In 1794, a record of the dilapidated state of the castle noted that “much of the interior walls have lately been removed, also, for the purposes of building houses for the adjoining farmhold”.
Wikipedia.


PLan of Brougham (“The Castles of England: their story and structure”. James MacKenzie, 1897 p. 284)

This large strong, and magnificent edifice–now in utter ruin–stands at the confluence of the Lowther with the river Eamont, about 1½ miles from Penrith, having been in its day one of the most important of the Border fortresses. The entrance to it is along a series of arches by the river-side. One part of the ruin consists of three square towers, with the remains of their connecting wall stretching for a considerable distance towards the S.W., and terminating in a tower. In the centre of the main group rises the keep, “a lofty square tower, frowning in Gothic strength and gloomy pomp.” The turrets on its summit have disappeared, together with the parapet and galleries. The lowest storey has a vaulted stone roof with eight arches, supported by one centre shaft. It is of Norman origin, but the date of its building is uncertain. On the S. are traces of the Roman camp which stood here on the road from York to Carlisle.
From “The Castles of England: their story and structure”. James MacKenzie, 1897 p. 283 (available here

Chester Rows, Chester, Cheshire


The Cross, Chester
1910s
Publisher: Hugo Lang & Co

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Chester Rows are a set of structures in each of the four main streets of Chester, in the United Kingdom, consisting of a series of covered walkways on the first floor behind which are entrances to shops and other premises. At street level is another set of shops and other premises, many of which are entered by going down a few steps. Dating from the medieval era, the Rows may have been built on top of rubble remaining from the ruins of Roman buildings, but their origin is still subject to speculation.
. . .
There are shops on the street level with wide steps leading to the first floor where there on more shops on the Rows. Above this are 2+ storeys in black-and-white architecture. At street level the shops and other premises are similar to those found in other towns and cities, although many of the premises are entered by going down a few steps. On the first floor level are more shops and other premises, set back from the street, in front of which is a continuous walkway. The storey above this overlaps the walkway, which makes it a covered walkway, and this constitutes what is known as the “Row”. On the street side of the walkways are railings and an area which was used as shelves or stalls for the display of goods. The floors above the level of the Rows are used for commercial or domestic purposes, or for storage.

Wikipedia.

The layout of the Rows goes back to the 13th century. There were shops or warehouses at street level, with a long gallery above, reached by steps from the street level. Living quarters are on the gallery level. In the Middle Ages, this would have been a hall, open to the roof and heated by a central hearth. The private rooms, or solar, were above the gallery. In the Tudor and Jacobean period the upper floors were built out over the gallery, supported on long poles down to the street level. Shops at ground level used the space between the posts to display their goods to passers-by.
Britain Express

To trace the original cause of these rows, with any degree of certainty, is no easy task, concerning which a variety of conjectures have been formed. Some have attributed their origin to the period when Chester was liable to the frequent assaults of the Welsh, which induced the inhabitants to build their houses in this form, so that when the enemy should at any time have forced an entrance, they might avoid the danger of the horsemen, and annoy their assailants as they passed through the streets. This opinion seems to be adopted by Webb, and followed by most other writers on the subject. He says, “And because their conflicts with enemies continued long time, it was needful for them to leave a space before the doors of those their upper buildings, upon which they might stand in safety from the violence of their enemies’ horses, and withall defend their houses from spoyl, and stand with advantage to encounter their enemies, when they made incursions”. I am aware that this has long been, and still is the popular sentiment; but I think there is very good reason to question its correctness.
Chester: a Virtual Stroll Around the Walls

Durham Castle, Durham, County Durham


Durham Castle, Courtyard
Postmarked 1907
Publisher: Valentine

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The order for the construction of Durham Castle was given in 1072. The new castle would protect the Norman rulers from the rebellious local population and potential invasions from Scotland. Opposition to the Norman rule was a real threat, and even whilst the castle was being constructed, rebellion was close at hand. Waltheof, the Earl of Northumbria who was tasked with building Durham Castle, rebelled and was later executed.

The need to establish and maintain order in the North was crucial. William granted additional powers to the Bishop of Durham, giving them greater authority in return for their loyalty. This was an interesting political tactic that took power away from the local ruling elite and gave it to a representative of the king. They ruled what was effectively a state within a state. Holding the title of Prince Bishop, these powerful leaders could levy taxes, mint their own coins, have their own courts, raise an army and had responsibility for protecting the northern frontier. These were not just men of the church; they were powerful politicians and rulers who were often embroiled with the politics, threats, rebellions and scandals of the day. . . . As Norman rule became more established, the 13th and 14th centuries were relatively calm, allowing the Prince Bishops to enhance their wealth, status and power. The substantial income of the Bishops saw the beginnings of the castle’s evolution into a palatial residence, frequently remodelled to reflect changes in taste and fashion.
Durham Castle (Durham University)

The construction took place under the supervision of the Earl of Northumberland, Waltheof, until he rebelled against William and was executed in 1076. The castle then came under the control of the Bishop of Durham, Walcher, who purchased the earldom and thus became the first of the Prince-Bishops of Durham, a title that was to remain until the 19th century, and was to give Durham a unique status in England. It was under Walcher that many of the Castle’s first buildings were constructed. As was typical of Norman castles, it consisted of a motte (mound) and an inner and outer bailey (fenced or walled area). Whether the motte and inner bailey were built first is unknown. There is also debate about whether or not Durham Castle was originally a stone or a wooden structure. Historic sources mention that its keep (fortified tower) was built of wood, but there is enough archaeological evidence to indicate that even in the late 11th century when it was first built, it had numerous stone buildings.
Durham World Heritage Listing

Durham Cathedral was built between the late 11th and early 12th century to house the bodies of St. Cuthbert (634-687 AD) (the evangeliser of Northumbria) and the Venerable Bede (672/3-735 AD). It attests to the importance of the early Benedictine monastic community and is the largest and finest example of Norman architecture in England. The innovative audacity of its vaulting foreshadowed Gothic architecture. The Cathedral lies within the precinct of Durham Castle, first constructed in the late eleventh century under the orders of William the Conqueror.

The Castle was the stronghold and residence of the Prince-Bishops of Durham, who were given virtual autonomy in return for protecting the northern boundaries of England, and thus held both religious and secular power. Within the Castle precinct are later buildings of the Durham Palatinate, reflecting the Prince-Bishops’ civic responsibilities and privileges. These include the Bishop’s Court (now a library), almshouses, and schools. Palace Green, a large open space connecting the various buildings of the site once provided the Prince Bishops with a venue for processions and gatherings befitting their status, and is now still a forum for public events.
UNESCO World Heritage listing


Plan of Durham Castle, 1892, from Wikimedia Commons

In a volume of the publications of the Surtees Society, Mr. James Raine, the worthy son of a distinguished sire, has given to the archæological world a very curious poem, now first printed, entitled “Dialogi Laurentii Dunelmensis Monachi ac Prioris,” a work of the time, and which records the intrusion of William Cumin into the see of Durham. This was a period of extreme interest in that important see, once including the city of Carlisle and the territory of Teviotdale, and at the date of the poem [c.1149] still holding the Castles of Durham and Norham, fortresses of the first rank, even in a district which contained Bamborough.
. . .
The castle still retains many of the features and some of the buildings described in the poem. The ditch which cut off the fortress from the cathedral is, it is true, filled up, and the pasture ward to the east is built over and obscured, but the south gate, though rebuilt, stands on the old site, and is still the main entrance; and34 the wall on the right on entering still extends towards the keep. The keep itself is a late work; but the mound upon which it stands is a part of the original fortress, and the masonry is laid on the old lines, and in outline the tower no doubt represents pretty clearly the work of Flambard. A strong wall still connects the keep with the lodgings of the castle, and forms the front towards the river. The chapel also remains but little altered, and the walls and arches of the dormitory are original. The well is still seen in the open court, and is, or was recently, in use. Notwithstanding various repairs, rebuildings, and additions, there can be but little doubt that the Castle of Durham resembles in its general aspect the fortress of the Conqueror and of Flambard;

. . .
Queen-like the castle sits sublime, and frowns
O’er all she sees, and deems the whole her own.
Straight from the gate the gloomy wall ascends
The mound, and thus the stately keep attains.
A close-built citadel, piercing the clear air,
Outside and inside strong, well fitted to its use.
Its base, of heaped-up earth three cubits raised,
Solid and firm, the floor does thus support;
On which firm base the supereminent keep
Rises, unrivalled in its glittering sheen.
On twice two timbers stayed, are seen to rest
The buildings there, for each main angle one:
While round each half circumference are wings,
Each ending in a formidable wall.
Springing from these a bridge, by easy steps,
To the high battlements an access forms,
Where the broad wall all round gives ample path,
And thus the summit of the keep is gained.
Stately that keep! a circle in its form,
Splendid and strong by art, and by position fair.
Thence, downward to the castle, leads the bridge,
And offers easy access to and fro;
For broad its path with many a shallow step,
The base attaining by a gradual slope.
Hard by, the wall, thrown backwards from the keep,
Faces the west towards th’ encircling stream,
On whose high bank continued, it enfolds
With a bold sweep an ample pasture there;
From parching northern blasts protected thus,
And so curves round to the stern keep again.
Nor does the space within the wall embraced
Stand without buildings: such there are, and good.
Two porches to two palaces belong,
Of which the work to th’ artist brings no shame.
Here, too, a chapel fair six columns boasts,
Nor large, nor small, but fitted to its needs.
Here beds lie near to beds, and halls to halls,
Each for its province suitably disposed:
Robes here, bright vessels there, here glittering arms,
Here bread, there flesh, and tempting coin concealed,
And corn and wine laid down, and barley beer,
And the clear flour here finds its proper bin.
Thus on one side house joins to house, and hall
To hall. The other too is occupied.
The court alone is free, and there is seen
The well, full deep, with water well supplied.

Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II (of 2), by George Thomas Clark, 1884

The original church, which was reared over St. Cuthbert’s grave in 999, was standing when the Conqueror ordered the rebuilding, in 1072, of the palace of the Saxon bishops of Durham, which had been burnt down two or three years before. This edifice did not perhaps suit the taste or requirements of the proud and wealthy prelates who came after, and in 1174 Bishop Pudsey rebuilt the whole, with great additions, in the best late Norman style of military architecture.
. . .
It is built on a high rocky hill of horse-shoe shape, round which the river Wear flows, under steep cliffs, 80 or 100 feet below, serving as a moat to the fortress. The line of walls, with their five gates, extended round that side of the hill not occupied by the cathedral, enclosing the courtyard or bailey. The great N. gate, which flanked the keep to the E., and the space leading down to the town commanded the most important approach, and was rebuilt and much strengthened by Bishop Langley in 1417 ; it had double gates towards the bailey, and one towards the city, with portcullis and battlements. The old gate had a postern and a round tower at the end of the ditch, still existing. The second gate, called the King’s Gate, commanded a ford on the river, but has disappeared. Two others stood where are now Queen Street and Duncow Lane ;and the fifth, or water gate, being that of the outer court, stood in its ancient form until of late years. The mount on which the keep stands is 44 feet high, and was vaulted beneath. The tower was an irregular octagon 63J feet across, and four storeys high, with an entrance on the W.; the eight angles were supported by buttresses, and a battlemented parapet ran round the summit. Nothing, however, remains of this edifice but the mount, the vaults, and the outer shell ;it was probably the work of Bishop Hatfield in the middle of the fourteenth century, who also built the great hall.
The Castles of England: their story and structure, Vol. II, 1897

Whitby Abbey, Whitby, North Yorkshire


Abbey Ruins, Whitby
c. 1940

Google Street View.

Founded by Oswy, King of Northumbria, in about 656, the first abbess being St Hilda. Destroyed by the Danes in circa 870 and refounded for the Benedictines by Reinfrid, one of the soldiers of William the Conqueror. Extensive ruins of the church from early Cl2 to Cl4.
Historic England

In about 1078 a monk called Reinfrid founded a new monastic community at Whitby. At a very early stage in its history this community split and the two parts each developed into a fully fledged Benedictine monastery: one on the headland at Whitby and the other at St Mary’s Abbey, York. The Benedictine monastery initially probably had timber buildings or reused the Anglian ruins on the headland. About 1100 a stone church and conventual buildings were built in the Romanesque style, as well as a large parish church close by. In the 13th century the monastery church was rebuilt in the Gothic style. This was a massive undertaking, including major landscaping of the whole site, though there is no documentary evidence for it. The first building campaign is dated on stylistic grounds to about 1225–50. The eastern arm, the crossing and transepts, a central tower, and part of the nave were built before funds seem to have run out. Work appears to have been resumed on the nave in the 14th century, but it was not finished until the 15th century.
. . .
The shell of the abbey church was substantially complete until the 18th century. It was weakened, however, by erosion from wind and rain. The south transept collapsed in 1736, much of the nave in 1763, the central tower in 1830 and the south side of the presbytery in 1839.
English Heritage


Plan of Whitby Abbey, Whitby Abbey, Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Official Guide-book, 1952

The early years of the convent were stormy and its history is confused. The community soon incurred the enmity of the founder and was, besides, set upon and pillaged by sea pirates and local robbers. There was probably a split within the convent itself, one part under Stephen retiring to Lastingham and ultimately to St. Mary’s, York, and the other, under Reinfrid, remaining at Whitby or perhaps temporarily at Hackness. Better times came when Serlo de Percy, brother of the founder, joined the community and became Prior; he was followed by William de Percy, a son of the founder, who became Abbot. From the last decade of the eleventh century, the monastery flourished and became third in value of the Benedictine houses of Yorkshire, after those of St. Mary’s, York, and Selby. In the second half of the twelfth century there were between thirty and forty monks at Whitby. Under Abbot Richard of Peter¬ borough (1148-75) Eystein Haroldson, King of Norway, made a raid on Whitby in or about 1153, burnt the town and laid hands on all the spoil that he could carry off. The only episcopal visitation of the monastery on record is that made by Archbishop Multon in 1320, when the monastery was heavily in debt. Nothing was seriously amiss but the monks were forbidden to go out of the monastery with bows and arrows; furthermore the Abbot, Prior or monks were forbidden to keep their own or other people’s hunting dogs in the convent and if any dog got in, it was to be caught and soundly beaten. By the end of the fourteenth century, the numbers of the convent had fallen off but there were still some twenty monks. The later Abbots had the right to the use of the mitre, ring and staff, and the clear value of the house before the Dissolution was estimated at ^437 2s. 9d. a year. The abbey was surrendered to the King’s Commissioners by Henry Davell, the last Abbot, on 14th December 1539
. . .
There is no direct documentary evidence for the dates of the re¬ building of the Abbey church, which must in consequence be assessed on architectural evidence only. It would seem that the general rebuilding was begun at the east end about 1220. The setting-out was faulty, which led to the marked deviation to the north of the axis of the presbytery from that of the nave. There is little or no difference in date apparent throughout the eastern arm of the church but the north transept, which followed in sequence, is perhaps twenty years later, and with this campaign of building went the south transept, the first three bays of the nave and the central tower. The rebuilding of the remainder of the nave was not undertaken till the fourteenth century and the great west window was a work of the fifteenth century. Samuel Buck’s view of the church (1711) shows that the clerestory of the nave was also much altered or rebuilt in the fifteenth century.
Whitby Abbey, Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Official Guide-book, 1952


General view from west in 1789, before collapse of Central Tower, “Whitby Abbey, Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Official Guide-book”, 1952

Halton Castle, Cheshire


The Ruins Halton
c.1940
Publisher: F Ball?

Google Street View.

Halton Castle itself was built circa-1070 by either Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester or his tenant, Nigel of Contentin, probably in the form of an earth and timber motte-and-bailey fortification. The castle occupied a high promontory that offered a naturally strong defensive position. The only vulnerable approach, on the north-west side, was protected by a deep ditch cut from the rock. The intent behind the castle was invariably to secure control of the important crossing over the estuary (which from circa-1178 was served by a ferry) and to exploit the valuable riverine resources which included an abundant supply of Salmon. . . . It was rebuilt in stone in the late twelfth/early thirteenth centuries with the bailey being enclosed by a substantial stone curtain wall. Towers, a square one on the west side and a later round one to the north, were added in the subsequent years. A substantial Great Hall was built within the castle’s grounds perhaps enhancing a structure that had stood since the fortification was first erected. Foundations of a circular structure may be indicative of a shell keep.
Castles Forts Battles


The South View of Halton Castle in the County of Chester (from Wikimedia Commons).

The present castle dates from the 13th century but it is clear from excavations that it supercedes a motte and bailey castle which occupied the north western side of the site. This form of castle was introduced by the Normans and consisted of a mound of earth capped by a timber fortification. A ditch was cut into the bedrock on the east side and the attached bailey occupied the rest of the crown of the hill. The ruins of the castle at Halton survive well despite the later insertion of a courthouse on the site of the gatehouse and the creation of a folly garden within the ruins. It has within the western half of the interior the buried remains of an extensive range of late medieval domestic buildings as well as the remains of six lock-ups from the 18th century refurbishment of the site as a courthouse and prison.
Historic England

The importance of Halton was recognised at the opening of the Civil War, when a garrison was placed there for the king by Earl Rivers in June 1643, but a year after the post was reduced and taken possession of for the Parliament by the force under Sir William Brereton. Shortly afterwards the castle was dismantled and turned into a ruin. An ancient print reproduced by the Historic Society of Cheshire  shows the old fortress standing on a cliff over the river, with the town below it;the enclosure of high embattled walls is of circular form, holding nine large square mural towers, at intervals,the lower gatehouse being flanked by two of them. On the opposite side of the enceinte is shown a similar gateway, leading probably to an inner ward not seen. Ormerod too gives a sketch of the ruins as they may have been at the beginning of the present century. This view shows half-octagonal flanking towers to the entrance gateway, with the lofty Edwardian windows of John of Gaunt’s period.
The Castles of England: their story and structure, Vol II” James D. Mackenzie, 1897, p.175

Leeds Castle, Kent


Leeds Castle | near Maidstone
1900s

Google Street View.

The Royal Manor was originally built in 857AD and owned by a Saxon royal family. After the Norman Conquest, work began on building the first stone castle on the site. In 1278 the Castle became a royal palace for Edward I and his Queen, Eleanor of Castile. Major improvements were made to the castle during the reign of Edward I. The Barbican, constructed during this time, is unique in that it is made up of three parts, each having its own entrance, drawbridge, gateway and portcullis. The medieval Keep, incorporating the Great Hall, is called the Gloriette, in honour of Queen Eleanor.

In 1321, King Edward II gave the castle to his Royal Steward. When Edwards’ Queen Isabella arrived at the Castle seeking shelter however, she was refused admission and even fired upon by archers. Edward II was not amused and successfully lay siege to the castle. Six years later Edward was murdered but Queen Isabella kept the castle until she died in 1358.
Historic UK

Her grandson was King Henry VII, the first of the Tudor dynasty, and it was his son, King Henry VIII who ordered major alteration to the castle between 1517 and 1523. The castle was hereby transformed from a fortified stronghold to a magnificent royal palace. In 1552, after nearly 30 years of Royal ownership, Leeds Castle was granted to Sir Anthony St Leger for a yearly rental of £10, in recompense for his services to King Henry VIII in subjugating the uprising in Ireland. During the next two centuries, the castle changed its ownership numerous times. Unlike many other castles, Leeds was left relatively undamaged during the Civil War. It suffered however, major damages during the 1660s, as it was used as a place of detention for French and Dutch prisoners of war, who at one point set fire to the Gloriette, causing destruction which was only repaired in 1822.
Castles Today

After the 7th Lord Fairfax’s death in 1793, the castle was passed onto various distant relatives until in 1821 Fiennes Wykeham Martin inherited and commissioned architect William Baskett to survey the castle. The report was devastating. The mill and barbican were in ruins, the gatehouse and inner gatehouse in disrepair, the Maiden’s Tower was in imminent danger of collapse, the main Jacobean house was decaying and the Gloriette was more or less a ruin. Wykeham Martin decided to demolish the main house and replace it with one in the Tudor style. The resulting New Castle, externally changed little today, was finished by 1823, an extraordinarily swift process. The gaping hole that had disfigured the Gloriette since 1665 was repaired and the internal walls rebuilt in stone and the moat was cleared and cleaned. Unfortunately the cost of the rebuild caused Wykeham Martin financial difficulties and he was forced to sell the contents of the Castle at auction.
Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is a very peculiar structure. It stands upon three rocky knolls, of which two are islands in a lake of 15 acres, and the third occupies the central part of the artificial bank by which, as at Kenilworth and Caerphilly, and in some degree at Framlingham and Ragland, the waters are or were retained. . . . The domestic buildings occupied the north end of the two wards, and are replaced by a modern house, excepting only a vaulted cellar, which may be late Norman, and is certainly the oldest known masonry in the place, and a bracket which supported the ancient oven, and is placed near what is described as “Una coquina juxta pedem pontis de la Gloriet,” which kitchen was not long since removed. In this ward also, or rather partly in this and partly in the outer ward, near a building of the age of Henry VIII., is a very remarkable bath,—“balnea domini regis apud Ledes,” as it is designated, which was constructed for the use of Edward I. in 1291–2. This is now used as a boathouse.
Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II, George Thomas Clark, 1884


The Castles of England: their story and structure, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896-7, pp.24

The Leeds Castle which Horace Walpole visited in 1752 is not altogether the place we see now, with its towers and walls rising so splendidly from the lake, which water Walpole, in his misleading way, calls “the only handsom object;” for in 1822, in place of the sixteenth century mansion erected on the central island by Sir Richard Smith, the existing buildings were constructed in the Tudor style, a great part of the inner bailey and of the keep having been the work of Henry YIII. The Len stream flowing through the property afforded the one great element of defence on which our ancestors chiefly relied ; here some twenty acres surrounding the castle might by means of sluices be turned into a lake if occasion required.

The situation of this fortress was a most suitable one in the days of water defence : it occupies two natural rock islands in the lake, a third artificial one being formed at the land end by the bank and sluices which controlled the water, and on which were placed the barbicans and the castle mill. The whole of the centre island was reveted with an outer or curtain wall, 15 feet high, rising from the waters, liaving four rounded bastion towers, and drawbridges at each end, admitting at the S. end from the barbican island, and giving passage at the N. point to the furthermost island, called the Old Castle or ” Gloriette,” which was the keep of the fortress. . . . The domestic buildings, which occupied the N. end of this island, are now replaced by a fine modern mansion, having vaulted Norman cellarage. On the E. side is the Maidens’ Tower of Henry VIII., before alluded to, and also the interesting bathhouse built by Edward I. in 1292, and now used as a boathouse. Baths were an innovation at the close of the thirteenth century, which Edward may have brought in from the East.

Entering the citadel from the modern mansion, one passes by the entrance through the Curfew Tower, which contains an ancient bell, that has sounded the eight o’clock curfew for four and a hall centuries and does so still . . . The bridge had formeiy two openings, with lifting bridges operated on by a central tower of two storeys ; it was called the Pons Glorietta. On the left, in entering the keep, is the chapel, built by Edward I. in 1380, having good Early English windows. The walls of these buildings rise out of the water to a considerable height, and are placed round a small central court. Much of the work is of the fourteenth century. This part was severely injured by a fire during its occupation by Evelyn’s Dutch sailors, so that a good deal is modern. There is, however, the great dining-hall of Henry VlII.’s castle, now converted into the kitchen, while the ancient kitchen has become a larder. Overhead is the Queen’s bed-chamber, with a line mantel- piece and an immense bed.
The Castles of England: their story and structure, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896-7, pp.27-8

Pickering Castle, North Yorkshire


Pickering Castle | Devils Tower & Inner Moat
1950s
Publisher: Ministry of Works

Google Street View.

Pickering Castle is an 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by William the Conqueror. In the late 12th to early 13th century, King Henry II founded the stone castle, when crowning the motte with a shell keep and encasing the inner bailey with a curtain wall, flanked by the Coleman Tower. The restored chantry chapel of 1227 and the foundations of the early to mid 12th century Old Hall, also stand in the inner bailey. In 1324-26 King Edward II replaced the timber palisade which encased the outer bailey with a curtain wall. The wall is flanked by a gatehouse and three rectangular towers, one having a small postern gate at its base, with its own drawbridge to cross the outer ditch.
CastleUK.net

Pickering Castle was originally a timber and earth motte and bailey castle. It was developed into a stone motte and bailey castle which had a stone shell keep. The current inner ward was originally the bailey, and was built between 1180 and 1187. The keep was developed into a stone shell keep sometime during the years 1216 to 1236 along with the chapel – there is a reconstruction of the chapel at the site. Between the years 1323 and 1326 there was an outer ward and curtain wall built, along with three towers. There were also two ditches, one situated outside of the curtain wall and one in the outer ward. After this a gatehouse, ovens, hall and the storehouses were built. The castle is situated in the Vale of Pickering and has a considerably steep cliff on the west side which would have been a great defensive attribute.

The original structure was built by the Normans under William the Conqueror in 1069–1070. This early building included the large, central mound (the motte), the outer palisades (enclosing the bailey) and internal buildings, notably the keep on top of the motte. Ditches were also dug to make assault on the walls difficult. The main purpose of the castle at this time was to maintain control of the area after the Harrying of the North.
Wikipedia.

The use of the castle was in decline by the late fifteenth century although it served periodically as accommodation for royalty who used the adjacent forest for hunting deer and wild boar. However, the defences were neglected and it took no part in the Wars of the Roses. By the Tudor period it was being plundered for its materials and quickly descended into ruin. Although in no fit state to be garrisoned during the seventeenth century Civil War, it was seized by Parliament after the conflict along with the rest of the Duchy of Lancaster. It was returned to Charles II upon the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 but the castle was never rebuilt and, with the exception of the chapel, it remained an abandoned ruin until taken into the care of the Office of Works in 1926.
Castles Forts Battles


“Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II”, George Thomas Clark, 1884

The four mural towers already mentioned are all in the southern ward. They are, Mill Tower, Rosamond’s, the Devil’s Tower, and the Gate Tower. Devil’s Tower contains a postern. . . . The Devil’s, or Postern Tower, that north-east of the keep, is rectangular and of ashlar, and has exterior projection only. It is 22 feet broad by 27 feet deep. The basement is vaulted, and pierced by a postern passage. The inner door, pointed, opens in the bottom of the ditch of the cross curtain; it is now nearly buried. The outer door is walled up. It is pointed, of 3 feet 6 inches opening, and placed in a square-headed recess, 6 inches deep, 5 feet broad by 10 feet high, intended to lodge the bridge when up. At the foot of this door, outside, in two large stones, are two holes, 6 inches diameter and 18 inches deep, which contained the wooden axle of the drawbridge. Above is a central chain-hole for working the bridge.
. . .
No doubt the earthworks were taken possession of and walled, either late in the eleventh or early in the twelfth century, in the Norman period, and the mass of the curtains, with the keep and the Norman door, are probably remains of this work. But the whole fortress was rebuilt in the Decorated period, the mural towers added, the curtains raised, and the place rendered stronger. It is difficult to decide on the age of the gateways. They may be Norman or they may be of the time of Richard II., probably the former. The domestic buildings are said to have been of timber. They are gone. There is no known well. The castle mill was upon the river a little below the castle. The ditch along the south and west has been nearly filled up; beyond it is a hollow way leading down to the river, which may be old, and intended as a second line of defence.
“Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II”, George Thomas Clark, 1884

The castle stands at the N. of the town, on the brow of the hill; the walls of it and the towers being continued round the hill side; in the words of Leland :
“In the first Court of it be 4 toures, of the which one is called Rosamonde’s Toure. In the ynner Court be also 4 toures, whereof the kepe is one. The Castelle waulles and the toures be neatly welle. The loggins that be yn the ynner Court that be of timber, be in mine.” The cross walls divide the area into three courts, and where they meet is the keep, which is multangular, and stood on a circular mound surrounded by a deep ditch. The Mill Tower, on the left of the entrance, and the Devil’s Tower, on the outer wall, close to the moat of the keep, and the Rosamond Tower (so called because Fair Rosamond is said to have been imprisoned there), in the outer court, three storeys high, are tolerably perfect, and are of Edwardian architecture, but there are some remains of earlier Norman work. There is a sallyport in the Devil’s Tower giving to the outer ditch. The chapel is poor. Lovely views are seen from various parts of this castle over the well-wooded country around.
“The castles of England, their story and structure, Vol. II”, James D. Mackenzie, 1897, p. 240