Sunday, July 15, 2012

Arundel Castle

Our friend Derrick drove us to Arundel Castle. When you hear that you are going to see another castle, you never know what to expect and I had not really known anything about this castle.

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The car park was already crowded as we walked up to the gate.

Numerous cars were lined up outside the car park, no doubt to avoid the parking fees. Since we paid in the car park I had no idea how long to pay for but Derrick reckoned four hours should be enough.

It was obvious fairly quickly that there would be a lot of flowers here. They grow so well in England.

The gate house.

Marianne supervises the people lined up to buy tickets. We then had to present them to some young bloke who had to stand at the entrance and check that you had a ticket. I suggested he should have a comfy couch and he liked the idea and said he would 'bring it to management's attention'. 

You turn the corner and you start to get some idea of the size of the thing. In fact you are already deceived since the whole thing is much larger.

I liked the rope patterns.

The walls have flints in them to strengthen them.

By now I was starting to get a sense of the size of this thing.

It's really impressive.

While much of the grass was kept short and mowed, vast areas were left uncut. It reminded me of the use of the term 'English Garden' in Germany.

Yet another grand gate.

The Keep at the top left. It's over 1000 years old.

We liked the old fashioned colours.

This is a cork tree. What it was doing here in England, I have no idea.

Shortly after seeing this tree we spent quite a bit of time in the Earl's Garden which I have turned into a separate blog.

After the garden we went to the Fitzalan Chapel. It's worth reading the link since the church is actually two churches with a Catholic half and an Anglican half. The Catholic half holds the tombs of many of the Dukes of Norfolk who owned Arundel Castle. 

So what are the Dukes of Norfolk doing way down here in the south of England? King Henry I seized the property from the Earl of Arundel in 1102 and King Henry II presented it to William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Lincoln in 1155. It all gets complicated, but essentially you were either in favour or out of favour and were rewarded or punished accordingly.

A relatively plain entrance to the church.

A side chapel.

The nave.

The roof.

If you look just above the red curtain, you can see the other half of the church, the Anglican half.

It's worth reading the wiki entry for him, particularly about his winning the Military Cross. His obituary shows what a decent character he was.

And so we left this rather interesting church. However it is difficult to comprehend that it is a church for a single family.

We wondered why there were two fences. Perhaps if the first fence failed to stop the charging deer, the second one would work.

The entrance to the public part of the castle. Since it is so huge, you only get to see a portion of it.

Buggy to transport the disabled up the hill.

There is not much to show of the inside of the castle since photography is not allowed. 

But we can show our lunches. A beef pie for Derrick and myself and pate and salad for Marianne.

Marianne and I agreed that this was the best cider we have ever had. It was a still cider, about 6% alcohol and absolutely delicious. This size bottle (750 ml) costs about three pounds.

The steps to the old Keep. Once up there you had to climb some more very steep steps to get to the top.

The views were worth the climb.

Walkway round the battlements.

The steep steps going down.

There were quite a lot of people wandering around and as we left, several busloads of children arrived. I asked one of the attendants how many people visited each day and just said 'thousands'.

The attendants were usually retired gentlemen and they were all very friendly. Having spent five weeks in Germany, it was a pleasure to be able to speak English to them and to understand what they were saying.

The center courtyard of the castle.

We managed to get back to the car before our four hours were up. It's a pity that taking photos inside is not allowed because the place is really worth seeing. The library is particularly impressive.

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