Leeds Castle, Kent


Leeds Castle | near Maidstone
1900s

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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

Old Manor House, Sheffield, South Yorkshire


Sheffield: The Old Manor House.
1910s
Publisher: The Photochrom Co Ltd, London & Tunbridge Wells

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Sheffield Manor Lodge, also known as Sheffield Manor or locally as Manor Castle, is a lodge built about 1516 in what then was a large deer park southeast of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, to provide a country retreat and further accommodate George Talbot, the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, and his large family. . . . The remains of Sheffield Manor Lodge include parts of the kitchens, long gallery, and the Grade II* listed Turret House (also called “Queen Mary’s Tower”), which contains fine sixteenth-century ceilings. Some evidence points to the Turret House being built by 1574, when the Earl of Shrewsbury’s accounts record payments for masonry work on the “Tyrret” at Sheffield Manor. It has three storeys of two rooms. The stair at one corner rises above the building onto the roof. This seems to have been designed as a viewing platform and is comparable with the “Hunting Tower” at Chatsworth House. . . After Sheffield Manor fell into the hands of the Duke of Norfolk, it was neglected, sold to tenant farmers, and largely dismantled in 1706. Some remaining walls and a window were removed to the grounds of Queen’s Tower in Norfolk Park by Robert Marnock in 1839.
Wikipedia.

The early hunting lodge was regularly extended – at least six building phases have been identified prior to the early 16th century. George Talbot, the fourth Earl of Shrewsbury, was the first Lord of the Manor to take an active personal interest in local affairs, and expanded and upgraded the existing lodge considerably, so that by the beginning of the 1500s quite an extensive complex of buildings, a grand Tudor manor house, was in existence. . . . During the 1570s, the sixth Earl and his wife undertook a major programme of remodelling the manor house, adding a new prestigious brick wing and, in 1574, the Turret House – a new gatehouse and the only building that remains today.
Sheffield Manor Lodge

After the death of George Talbot, the Earls rarely visited the site and the land was leased to tenant farmers. It fell to the Duke of Norfolks in 1660 who have owned the land ever since. In 1708 most buildings were demolished and used for local building works. One tower stood until 1793 when it collapsed during a storm. The Turret House remains to this day having been used as part of farm buildings. . . . In the 1870s, the 15th Duke of Norfolk restored the Turret House, removing the surrounding farm buildings. The stained glass windows on the upper floors date from this Victorian restoration.
Sheffield Manor Lodge


Sheffield: Queen’s Room, Old Manor House
1910s
Publisher: The Photochrom Co Ltd, London & Tunbridge Wells

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The principal remains at Sheffield consist of a few walls and chimney stack and the so-called Turret House, the building especially erected by Shrewsbury in 1574 for, it is believed, the safe keeping of the Queen. It was restored by the late Duke of Norfolk in 1872, after it had been discovered among some farm buildings. It is square, three storeyed, and stands outside the defences of the Castle. Tiles of French origin were discovered here round the fireplace of what has long been known as Queen Mary’s Room. This battlemented Tudor building, with a lead-covered roof, has a turret from which it takes its name and three chimney stacks. It faces the main entrance to the Manor Lodge or House. A stone stairway leads from the ground floor to the turret. Mary would be under constant observation in this compact dwelling and also separated from Shrewsbury’s household. During the early part of her stay in Sheffield she was free of the splendid park, but afterwards took her exercise on the leaden roof.
“In The Steps of Mary, Queen Of Scots”, Marjorie Bowen (1952)

Moot Hall, Adeburgh, Suffolk


Moot Hall, Aldeburgh
c.1910
Publisher: Shurey’s Publications (1903-1927)
On back: This beautiful Series of Fine Art Post Cards is supplied free exclusively by Shurey’s Publications, comprising “Smart Novels,” “Yes or No.” and “Dainty Novels.” The finest 1d. Magazine is “Weekly Tale-Teller.”

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The Aldeburgh Moot Hall is a Grade I listed timber-framed building, used for council meetings for over 400 years. The Town Clerk’s office remains there and it houses the local museum. It was built in about 1520 and altered in 1654. The brick and stone infilling of the ground floor is later. The hall was restored and the external staircase and gable ends were rebuilt in 1854–1855 under the direction of R. M. Phipson, chief architect of the Diocese of Norwich, in which Aldeburgh then stood.
Wikipedia.

The Moot Hall in Aldeburgh is believed to be one of the best preserved Tudor public buildings in Britain. . . . There is no exact date for the construction of this building, but best-guess estimates put it at 1550. Moot Hall sits on the seafront in Aldeburgh, with a huge pebble beach behind it stretching out to a cold, grey sea. It is quite remarkable to look at, with its timber frame, red bricks and tiled roof looking somewhat incongruous next to the colourful seaside villas and wooden shacks, lobster pots and fish stalls that fill the area. Now famous as a music and arts holiday destination, Moot Hall harks back to a time when Aldeburgh was a prosperous Tudor town of traders and ship builders.
Archaeology Travel

The term ‘Moot Hall’ was used only from the nineteenth century as part of the Victorian mock-Tudor restoration. The building was always referred to in earlier documents as the ‘Town Hall’. The word ‘Moot’ derives from the Saxon word for ‘a meeting’. . . .In the 16th century an open-sided polygonal market cross stood across to the North of the Moot Hall, and there was also a large market hall nearby. Fresh food and other everyday commodities would have been sold from these stalls by peripatetic traders: vegetables and fruit, bread, meat and fish. Although no one knows exactly what was sold from the Town Hall shops, records number several shoemakers and tailors working in the town, together with barbers, coopers, grocers, beer-brewers a shipwright and a ‘hockemaker’ (the maker of those all-important hooks for suspending vessels over the fire). The original layout of the ground floor included dividing walls between six shops – each shop would have been self-contained and entered by its own door. Large arched windows which contained no glass but were closed by inside shutters at night provided necessary light.
Suffolk Secrets

Town Hall, Fordwich, England


Town Hall, Fordwich

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Fordwich Town Hall was built in 1544 as a meeting place for the council of England’s smallest town. It has served continuously in this role for nearly 500 years. Fordwich – population less than 400 – is legally a town because in 1184 King Henry II granted it a “Merchant Gild Charter”. This reflected its importance as the nearest port to Canterbury.
Wheels of Time

St John’s Gate, Canterbury, England


Canterbury. St John’s Gate
c.1910
Publisher: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

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The hospital of St. John is situated on the west side of Northgate Street, and is entered by a fine wooden arch, under an interesting house.
“The archaeological album; or, Museum of national antiquities”, Wright, Thomas, 1845

St John’s Hospital
Northgate

This is possibly the oldest group of almshouses in England as it was founded by the first Norman Archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc, in about 1085. It was originally built for around 80 inmates, drawn from the lame, the weak and the infirm, who would have been cared for by the priests from the nearby priory of St Gregory the Great, no longer existing. The splendid gatehouse fronting Northgate dates from Tudor times and inside, the charming green is surrounded by four 19th century houses accommodating 24 residents

Canterbury History and Archaeological Society

Haddon Hall, Bakewell, Derbyshire


The Courtyard, Haddon Hall.
c.1910
Publisher: G. Marsden & Son, Wirksworth

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Haddon Hall, the private residence of Lord and Lady Edward Manners, is set in the Peak District in the valley of the River Wye. With nine hundred years of history, it is one of the oldest houses in the country and moreover one of the only houses in England to have remained in one family’s ownership for its entire existence. Haddon is unique as it remained empty for nearly two hundred years. This extraordinary period, when time stood still in the Hall, allowed it to remain unaltered during the modernising period of the Georgians and Victorians. So venturing into Haddon is like stepping back in time, since from the 1700s the family preferred to live at their main seat, Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire.

The Medieval Banqueting Hall remains furnished with its original Dais table, behind which hangs a tapestry gifted to the family by visiting Henry VIII.
Haddon Hall 


Haddon Hall, Banqueting Hall
Dated on back: 12 July 1920
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

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Balcomie Castle, Crail, Scotland


Balcomie Castle — Crail

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Balcomie Castle is a 16th Century L-plan tower house of five storeys and a garret, to which has been added an 18th century house. It consists of a main block and offset square wing, which only joins the main block at one corner. A small stair tower is corbelled out in one re-entrant angle, linking the first and second floors. Two two-storey bartizans, both with shot-holes, crown the wing’s gable. The small gatehouse also survives. There is a walled garden.

The fine plastered ceilings from here were taken to Dean Castle, near Kilmarnock. The lands were held by John de Balcomie in 1375, although nothing of the surviving castle is earlier than 16th century. The property passed in 1526 to the Learmonths of Clatto. Mary of Guise stayed at Balcomie after landing at Fifeness on her way to marry James V. Sir James Learmonth of Balcomie was one of the Fife Adventurers who, in 1598, tried to take land on Lewis and was slain for his pains. In 1705 Balcomie passed to the Hopes, then later to the Scotts of Scotstarvit, then the Erskine Earls of Kellie. The castle is now used as a farmhouse.
Scottish Castles Association

Hampton Court Palace, England


Hampton Court Palace,  West Front
Postmarked & dated 1905.

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The original Tudor Hampton Court Palace was begun by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century, but it soon attracted the attention of Henry VIII, who brought all his six wives here. Surrounded by gorgeous gardens and famous features such as the Maze and the Great Vine, the palace has been the setting for many nationally important events. When William III and Mary II (1689-1702) took the throne in 1689, they commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to build an elegant new baroque palace. Later, Georgian kings and princes occupied the splendid interiors. When the royals left in 1737, impoverished ‘grace and favour’ aristocrats moved in.
Historic Royal Palaces

Building of the palace began in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII. In 1529, as Wolsey fell from favour, the cardinal gave the palace to the king to check his disgrace. The palace went on to become one of Henry’s most favoured residences; soon after acquiring the property, he arranged for it to be enlarged so that it might more easily accommodate his sizeable retinue of courtiers. Along with St James’ Palace, it is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many the king owned. The palace is currently in the possession of Queen Elizabeth II and the Crown. In the following century, King William III’s massive rebuilding and expansion work, which was intended to rival the Palace of Versailles, destroyed much of the Tudor palace. His work ceased in 1694, leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque
Wikipedia.


Hampton Court Palace
The Great Gatehouse and the Bridge (Early 16th century), showing the King’s Beasts.
Postmarked 1953
Publisher: Ministry of Works, London

In 1796, the Great Hall was restored and in 1838, during the reign of Queen Victoria, the restoration was completed and the palace opened to the public. The heavy-handed restoration plan at this time reduced the Great Gatehouse, the palace’s principal entrance, by two storeys and removed the lead cupolas adorning its four towers.
Wikipedia.

There are ten statues of heraldic animals, called the King’s Beasts, that stand on the bridge over the moat leading to the great gatehouse. Unlike the Queen’s Beasts in Kew Gardens, these statues represent the ancestry of King Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour. The animals are: the lion of England, the Seymour lion, the Royal dragon, the black bull of Clarence, the yale of Beaufort, the white lion of Mortimer, the White Greyhound of Richmond, the Tudor dragon, the Seymour panther, and the Seymour unicorn. The set of Queens Beasts at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II replaced the three Seymour items and one of the dragons by the griffin of Edward III, the horse of Hanover, the falcon of the Plantagenets, and the unicorn of Scotland.
Wikipedia.

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