Friday, September 24, 2010

Medieval Monasteries & More

On our medieval castles website we cover many other related topics. One of these is medieval worship. The owners of medieval castles generally had strong ties with the local place(s) of worship, often having their own family crypt within local medieval monasteries, churches or abbeys.

A good example of this is the medieval Lanercost Priory. The De Vaux, Dacre and Howard families (powerful, landowning families in the immediate area over the centuries) have all played a major part in the history of this medieval place of worship. The De Vauxs built Lanercost Priory and the Dacres built Naworth Castle with the Howards later becoming the castle's owners. Members of all 3 families spanning several generations are buried either within the priory itself or its grounds.

There are many other medieval churches, abbeys and even cathedrals with similar stories to tell and I will endeavour over time to cover more of these in posts on this castle blog.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Medieval Yew Tree

In the last post I wrote about medieval castle gardens making a special feature of Berkeley Castle. That, however, was not the first time I have written about medieval gardens.

Back in 2008, I listed a number of castle gardens. These included Arundel Castle, Leeds Castle and Naworth Castle. The latter not only has a beautiful castle garden (sadly not open to the public) but also some wonderful woodland including an historic tree. It is a yew tree believed to be at least 750 years old - which makes it a medieval tree. Now I'm sure there are plenty more medieval trees out there but this is a first for me so I was very excited to be able to take this photograph.

Looking at the tree close up there is a definite sense of tangible history about it. Just think what events in world history have happened during that tree's lifetime so far ... from the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 where William Wallace defeated the English army of King Edward I, to the birth of Da Vinci in 1452, to the English Civil War 1642-1651 ... and more. This is a yew tree with truly historic roots (pardon the pun!).

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Medieval Castle Gardens

The gardens and grounds of medieval castles are always something I enjoy walking amongst. Centuries of love, care and attention have, after all, been invested by many people in a single medieval garden; countless hours spent tending flower beds, herb patches and planting trees.

Whatever the reason, if you have never visited a medieval castle garden .... you should!

The gardens and grounds of Berkeley Castle are delightful. Nothing pretentious or ostentatious, just a big, beautiful green space broken up by dashes of colour from flowers here and there.

According to history, Queen Elizabeth I was a regular visitor to Berkeley Castle and enjoyed many hours walking the gardens and grounds.

There certainly is a great sense of history as you walk on the grass, looking up at the massive stone walls of the castle.

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