Day Trip 3

It’s Wednesday everyone! Which means it’s time for Rambler5319 to take over with another story from his holidays. Enjoy.

I thought I’d do another of my days out from a recent holiday.

This time I was visiting Castle Rising just a few miles north of King’s Lynn in Norfolk. The castle in the village of the same name has a very interesting history going back to about 1138 and its current owner is actually an ancestor of the original builder! That’s nearly 900 years of ownership!

It is the place where, in the 14th century, Queen Isabella (wife of Edward II) was moved after some problems with the monarchy and its (including her) allegiances.

Cutting a very long story short it goes like this. Isabella was brought to England as a 12 yr old from Paris. Her marriage, in 1308, to Edward II (of England) had been arranged some years before by her father. As was the case with many royal marriages it was meant to try and overcome conflicts between warring countries or sides in an argument. In this case the dispute was over French lands which had been captured by England. In 1312 the future Edward III was born. In 1324 Edward II & his supporters began to confiscate Queen Isabella’s lands. Because of hostilities with France, and Isabella being French, Edward II put people in to run the royal household as well as putting her French staff in prison. Her youngest children were taken away from her. She then went to her brother King Charles IV of France and began to take back lands which Edward owned in France. She started bringing together opponents of Edward II in France, some of whom were English, to form an army. At this point she formed an alliance with and later took as a lover, Roger Mortimer. (He had previously escaped from prison in England in 1322.) Isabella betrothed her son (future Edward III) to Philippa of Hainault (an area of Belgium which bordered France) and with the dowry was able to raise a mercenary army. They came back to England and forced Edward II to give up the throne. (Some believe Isabella was later responsible for Edward’s murder.) Isabella became regent and she and Mortimer ruled for 4 years until 1330. During this time both had amassed large amounts of money and land and two years prior to this Edward had married Philippa of Hainault. Edward III, then deposed Mortimer and put him on trial for treason and had him executed. Isabella escaped punishment by apparently being portrayed as the innocent party. After being under house arrest at Windsor Castle until 1332 Isabella was moved back to her own place at Castle Rising. Even though she had lost her lands she was still given a large income to live off. She was able to employ a good number of staff and enjoyed other luxuries. She remained at Castle Rising until her death in 1358.

Before setting off for my tour of the castle I decided to get one of those audio guide things. Naturally you had to leave a deposit but I was given an unusual choice – either £20 or my car keys! I worked it out that £20 was probably a better deal. It turned out to be really good as instead of just wandering round looking at the bare signs and stone walls you had the commentary going on and it was very well done I thought.

Ok so here we go with the pics:

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Note it’s rather cube-like appearance which just goes to show that sometimes medieval architecture could be rather uninteresting just like some of today’s “modern” buildings. You can see the entrance at the bottom right corner in the lower section.

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This was looking back down towards the front door.

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Remember we learnt about what garderobes are on 19.6.13 in 10 Words (Part 3). What is interesting is the location of them in this castle: although you can’t see it in the pic I was standing in the kitchen, the next room to them!

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In the pic above you can see the two places where users have to crouch down with the dividing wall for a bit of privacy. I was curious as to what happens when say the person in the far one finishes first and has to walk past the other one which may still be being used. Maybe there were curtains or something. Hmmm….. And I suppose you’re wondering where the waste goes. Check out the next pic.

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The two arches in this picture are where waste (no.2s especially) from those using the garderobes inside would drop down – quite a height! No flush toilets in their day.

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This pic is showing what would have originally been the basement area but the upper floors have rotted away. The hole you can see with the grill was actually a well and here’s the sign.

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The next pic shows clearly a number of arched windows at different levels which must have been for each of the floors.

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In the castle grounds there are also remains of a Norman Church which was built in the 11th century

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And a view of what remains of the inside

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Here’s a view looking back towards the castle through the gatehouse entrance.

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And just in case you were wondering how they cut the grass round the moat and fields around the castle – here’s the answer:

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I returned to the ticket/shop place to hand in the audio guide machine. I was asked if I paid £20 or left my car keys. When I claimed I’d left the keys to the Rolls Royce now in the car park it didn’t work but at least I got my £20 back.

I did buy something in the shop. I don’t know about you but I struggle to remember more than a few significant kings and queens of the past 1,000 years so I thought something to help me remember them would be useful. I bought this:

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Now check out the other side of it

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You might have to enlarge it a bit but it’s really useful.

So, if you’re ever in the King’s Lynn area I would recommend a trip to Castle Rising but don’t forget to pick up one of the audio guide things as it makes it so much more interesting.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Fascinating story about Isabella. What a life! Thank you for that insight into Castle Rising. Great post.
    I couldn`t see the picture of that ruler you mentioned. Is it somewhere else? Sounds like a great idea for kids learning their history-or any of us really!

    Reply

    • Posted by Rambler5319 on August 7, 2013 at 20:12

      Maybe LLM could try to email the picture. Can you see all the other pics? I know when I logged in this morning I could only see one pic. Had to close Internet connection and re-open and then they all appeared.

      Reply

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