Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Stokesay Castle

Marianne said she wanted to go to Stokesay Castle and I kept wondering why I knew that name. It's a fortified manor house in Shropshire dating from the 13th century.


We took the more southerly route on the way there and the blue route coming back. Both were fairly easy and pretty drives.


After paying a pound at the Pay and Display machine in the parking lot, we headed along the path to the castle. By now I had remembered why I knew the name. Back in the late 70's we lived in Reading Pa and there is a large house on the hill overlooking the city called Stokesay Castle (now wedding reception place) built in 1931 and inspired by the real Stokesay.


Graveyard with some very old gravestones.


Stokesay has two main parts, the old castle on the right and the 17th century brightly coloured gatehouse on the left.


Later additions to the original castle.


There is also a church just outside the moat that surrounds the castle.



Relatively plain except for the canopied pews on the left.


I suppose the idea was that the riff-raff could not see that the lord of the manor had fallen asleep during the sermon.


A rather nice looking small organ.



Ropes for the bell ringers.


I was amused by the flying birds.



That colour of the gatehouse is spectacular.


Notice somebody high up in the keep.


You enter the courtyard through this small door. The hole on the left allowed for a musket to be poked though to shoot at attackers.


At one time, this courtyard would have been filled with smaller buildings such as a kitchen and store rooms.



The defensive gate we had just walked through.




Of course there had to be gardens.


And daisies.


The moat appears to be dry now but would have had water in it at one time.




The windows of the great hall inside.


Entrance to the great hall. We were both given small audio players that played a commentary when you pushed the appropriate buttons.


Inside the great hall. At meal times, the Lord and Lady would have been seated on a dais at the other end.


There was plenty of light but since there was no glass, it would have been a bit chilly in Winter. And summer when it rained.




Although the building was meant to look like a fort, the large doors would have made it very difficult to defend. Perhaps it was all for show.




This circular section was where a large fire was lit to warm the room. There is no obvious chimney so the room must have filled with smoke that oozed out through nooks and crannies.


A basement room. Note the curious floor pattern.


The slits for archers were typical of forts of the time.




A fence to stop you from falling into the pit that you see in the next photo.


Researchers think the pit was used for left over food. They found remains of animal bones down there. If so, it must have been quite smelly.


Some faded decorations on the wall.


The floor with its curious patterns.


To the left you can see what lies underneath the plaster on the wall.


View of the countryside. Danger lay in this direction because that is where the Welsh would have come from.





Really old brick floor.


The stairs up to the next floor. You climbed very carefully since they were very worn.


Notice the arches that hold up the roof of the hall.




A residential section that overlooked the church.






Remains of a fire place and chimney.


Some sort of storage or display nook.



These windows had glass.


Flooring.


Some sort of storage area.




Another basement at the other end of the great hall. They think there was a wall dividing this room.


The circular marks on the wall were probably made by storage barrels.





It is a little known alternative fact that the plastic hairbrush was invented here. This is the original brush, lovingly preserved for posterity.



A set of external steps we had to climb. At one time, they would have been covered to keep off the rain and snow.


This is known as the solar room and was primarily used by the family.


Wall paneling.



They certainly knew how to build large fireplaces in those days.


A couple of people were photographing an actor dressed up in some old fashioned outfit that looked quite spiffy. He had to look like he was reading from a book as well as displaying a shapely calf.



We finally made it into the tower which consisted of large rooms one on top of the other.




The windows were narrow for defensive purposes, but at least you could sit there and get some light in times of peace.




View from one of the windows.



There was a fire at one time.


Stairs leading to the next level. They were very worn and holding onto the railing was vital, particularly coming down.


Because the windows are open to the elements, there are bats.






Marianne listens to the commentary.


The rooms in the tower are quite an odd shape which reflects the outside of the tower walls.



You can see how the wood has worn away over the centuries.


Up at the top. Notice the crenelations or merlons which were really just for show.




And now the view from each gap. Here we have the magnificent parking lot, dating from the twentieth century.


The nearby lake. On the other side is a train line running from Ludlow to Shrewsbury and beyond.



These farm buildings are on the property next door on the other side of the moat.


The gatehouse which looks quite small from the top of the tower.


And finally a small set of steps to the highest point of the castle.


The roof of the great hall.


The highest point.


We descended back to the courtyard.


The well.




More detail of the carvings on the gate house. You don't get to tour the upper levels.


There was a gift shop and tearoom in the gatehouse and since it was lunchtime we enjoyed bowls of delicious tomato and basil soup.

By English standards it was a bit of a long journey to get there but it was well worth it. Since the buildings are only partially restored you get a much better sense of what they were originally like.

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