24 October, 2007

Photos of the Marches (6)

Ludlow Castle, Shropshire








































Ludlow Castle was built (or rather, begun to be built) by Walter de Lacy in 1086. Later, it passed from the Lacys to the Genevilles, and then to Roger Mortimer, who married Joan de Geneville in 1301. In the fifteenth century it passed to Richard, Duke of York, the son of Anne Mortimer, and then to his son King Edward IV, when it became Crown property. Edward IV's son and heir the future Edward V lived at Ludlow in the 1470s and early 1480s, as did Edward IV's grandson Arthur, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, at the beginning of the 1500s, with his wife Catherine of Aragon. Arthur died here on 2 April 1502, at the age of only fifteen and a half, less than six months after his wedding to Catherine. His funeral, which lasted two days, was held in the church of St Lawrence in Ludlow. His heart was buried in the church, and his body was taken in solemn procession the thirty-five miles to Worcester Cathedral, where his chantry chapel still exists.

A couple of the steep, narrow, winding stone staircases at Ludlow. The castle has lots of these, and I climbed nearly all of them, which is no mean feat when steep, narrow, winding staircases bring you out in a cold sweat.











Here's a couple of photos of the large outer bailey, taken from the keep, or Great Tower. In the Middle Ages, this area would have contained the stables, workshops, storerooms, etc.





















Next to the tree in the second photo, you can see the remains of a chapel founded by Roger Mortimer in 1328, to give thanks for his escape from the Tower of London in 1328. Two chaplains were hired to celebrate daily service for the souls of King Edward III, Queen Philippa, Queen Isabella, the Bishop of Lincoln, and "the said Roger and Joan his wife".




This is the round chapel of St Mary Magdalene, probably built in the early 1100s, in the inner bailey. In Tudor times, a chancel was added which connected the chapel to the wall - you can still see the marks on the ground.















Two figures on the wall of the chapel - I wonder if Roger Mortimer and Joan de Geneville looked at these while they were worshipping?












The thirteenth-century Mortimer's Tower, in the outer bailey, and the moat surrounding the inner bailey. The moat was always dry, and filled with sharp stakes, bramble bushes, etc.












Entrance to the inner bailey, originally twelfth century, and much added to in later centuries. The gables were cut in the wall in the sixteenth century.


















Just inside the inner bailey, on the right of the gate above (where the gables are) the Judges' Lodgings were built in the 1570s and early 1580s, up against the original wall, when Ludlow was used as the headquarters of the Council of the Marches, disbanded 1641.


That's me, peering inside one of the buildings.

















Above: the splendid Northern Range was built in the 1280s, i.e., around the time that Edward II and Roger Mortimer were born, by Roger's father-in-law Peter de Geneville (died 1292). In the middle, with the steps leading up to it, is the Great Hall, with an undercroft beneath it. On the left, the orginal solar block. The upper floor is a later addition - you can see the difference in the stone - and is known as Prince Arthur's Chamber.

After 1320, Roger built a magnificent new solar block to the right of the Great Hall. This conveniently solved a thorny problem in 1328, when Roger and his mistress Queen Isabella came to Ludlow to celebrate the wedding of two of Roger and Joan's daughters, along with fifteen-year-old Edward III and Queen Philippa. Normally, poor Joan would have been forced into the humiliating position of having to cede precedence and give up the best chambers to Isabella, her husband's mistress - in her own castle! However, the arrangement allowed her to remain in her own chambers while Isabella was accommodated in the other block. How Joan and Isabella felt about the situation cannot of course be known, but there's a situation crying out to be written up in fiction. (And I'd give a lot to know where Roger slept that night.)

There are two buildings, a solar block and the Garderobe Chamber, built outside the curtain wall. The buildings on the far right date from Tudor times, and you can see the battlements clearly in that photo, too.























The Garderobe Tower, accessed from the solar block, was luxurious. Every chamber had its own garderobe (toilet), a great luxury in the early fourteenth century.
The door on the left is the entrance to the chamber, while the one on the right leads to the garderobe...





The door leads to a flight of steps, with a window [right]...










And at the top, there's the garderobe. The blurry photo (it was pretty dark in there) shows the garderobe in another chamber, with the window to one side instead of behind, as in the photo with the steps.

I'm sure there was some kind of plank or rug arrangement - it hardly seems likely that people had to sit on the bare stone!



Ludlow Castle was besieged by King Stephen in 1139. It was besieged again in 1646, during the Civil War, by a Parliamentary force, a mere half a millennium later. The castle was abandoned in the late seventeenth century, and in the 1760s, the government considered demolishing it. Fortunately for posterity, it was decided that this would be too expensive, and it was leased to the Earl of Powis instead.

Some more photos of Ludlow:



































































I have a few dozen more pics, so if anyone's interested in seeing them, just let me know.

12 comments:

Susan Higginbotham said...

Beautiful pix! I am SO taking the camera away from my daughter the next time I go to the UK.

Kate Plantaganet said...

Oh the photos are just wonderful! Thank you. I almost feel as if I have been there with you.

The garderobes were impressive... nicer than some "port a loo" 's I have had the misfortune of having to visit!

I am sure there must have been a wooden 'lid' so they did not sit on stone - imagine in winter! And the drafts *laughs*.

I am trying to picture Roger Mortimer scurrying between bedrooms...

Alianore said...

Thanks, both! Kate, it would have been great (no rhyme intended!) if you'd been there with me. And yes, I doubt Roger and his guests were expected to perch their noble backsides on bare stone..;)

Forgot to point out that you can see the tower of the church where Arthur's funeral was held, in the small photo of the moat (click to enlarge).

Daphne said...

Great pictures - I am so jealous! Thanks for sharing. If I can't go there myself, I might as well live vicariously through someone else!!

Gabriele C. said...

Wow, that's one big castle.

*adds to list of things to see next time she scraps together some money for travelling*

Alianore said...

Gabriele: yup, it's enormous. :) And lots of those narrow winding staircase thingies. *Shudders*

Thanks, Daphne! Maybe you'll make it there one day...

Paul said...

Great pics! What a sin to contemplate demolishing the place, I can't stand local governments. I was at the Alamo in San Antonio and there was a plaque for the woman who 100 years before had saved it from being turned into a carpark. Good job she did, it's the only thing in San Antonio worth parking your car for!

Alianore said...

Thanks, Paul! I like to think that there's a special place in hell reserved for people who demolish ancient buildings and historical sites...

Paul said...

Hopefully in that particular corner of hell they are cowering in a crumbling corner being deluged by falling lumps of ancient masonry, stone blocks, keystones, gargoyles, etc....

Carla said...

What a splendid castle! I wonder if it was the model for Sir Ector's castle in The Once and Future King? The descriptions would fit pretty well. It's lucky that it wasn't quarried for building stone in the 1700s.

Paul - how about making them spend all eternity rebuilding the crumbling masonry and putting the gargoyles back up?

Alianore said...

Carla, it really is the most amazing place. I'm so glad it wasn't demolished in the 1600s or 1700s, and it makes me sad to think of all the great castles that were - Pontefract and Wallingford being two of them, demolished after the Civil War.

Paul said...

The Civil War, Henry VIII and the Reformation certainly have a lot to answer for.