Thursday, May 28, 2009

Medieval Castle Bed Breakfast

There was a fascinating tv series aired recently called "Grand Designs" and one particular episode was dedicated to a 14th century, medieval castle restoration. It told the story of how it had been the dream of an English couple, Francis and Karen Shaw, to one day own and live in a castle. The cameras must have been with them on and off for a long time as it showed what they had initially purchased - just crumbling ruins with no roof and trees growing inside it - through the process of acquiring planning permission for the restoration and then finally to the building works actually taking place with the help of six, specialist stonemasons.

It offered a great insight not only into the difficulties and costs associated with a castle restoration project but also into what the original medieval stonemasons worked with and how they achieved their goals.

Despite setbacks and taking much longer to complete than originally anticipated, Peel castle which stands in a wonderfully secluded and picturesque part of West Yorkshire is now the Shaw's family home. However, in order to cope with their mortgage and the high maintenance costs, the family also offer part of the castle's accommodation as luxury bed and breakfast.

So if you are ever in that part of the world you can enjoy a unique 'medieval' stayover courtesy of the determination of Francis and Karen Shaw to make their dream come true.

Read more on this amazing story of medieval castle restoration.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Best Of The Web On The BBC -

This last week has been incredibly exciting for us here at We have received many complimentary emails from medieval history fans as well as requests from castle owners to be considered for inclusion in the site - and all because of the BBC.

On 1 May the BBC's flagship technology program 'Click' did a review of "Best Of The Web". Their reviewer Kate Russell selected 4 websites .... just 4 from the 1 trillion unique URLs* that currently exist on the Web. Out of those 4, one was on medieval castles - and it was! If you missed the tv show just follow the link to watch the tv clip.

Kate was very flattering to the site and gave it the kind of review that money cannot buy. Here's a line extracted from her comments:
"This site is a must for architecture and history fans alike"

All we can say is 'Thank you Kate' - your endorsement restores our faith in reviewers. (Well, let's face it there are some real cynics out there when it comes to reviewing websites!) The reaction from the public too has been equally strong. There are clearly many, many people out there who love medieval history and in particular medieval castles and that's great news in this day and age. History is truly alive and kicking!

For our part we take all of this as a thumbs up for the further development of the site. So please keep revisiting to see what's next on the agenda.

* = this is according to Google who in July 2008 claimed to have seen a trillion unique URLs. Moreover, the number of web pages is, they claim, growing by several billion per day! Read more:

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