The Castle on the Hill…

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle, Dorset

Not the traditional view of Corfe Castle, but one I think, that illustrates its strong strategic location. 

Built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror.  He chose the location well.  High on a hill, easy to defend on all sides. It also provided great unobstructed views over the Isle of Purbeck, to the coast and inland over the Dorset marshes and countryside.

These extensive ruins stand above the town of Corfe.  Both Town and Castle are a must to be included on any tour of Dorset.

One day we will be able to tour again….  until then…

Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

19th March

(C) David Oakes 2021

Portside…….

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The Port of Ravenglass, Eskdale, Cumbria

In the shadow of the Cumbrian Mountains, one the northern edges of Morecambe Bay and overlooking the Irish Sea, can be found the old Port of Ravenglass.   It doesn’t look much like a port, just a few hints that relate to its past maritime history….. but make no mistake that this was once a very busy Port.

From Roman times, through to at least the 1940’s, Ravenglass was a Port of some importance.  At both ends of that time spectrum it has been a vital strategic and then commercial link, though its fortunes did fluctuate.   There is no harbour infrastructure, no docks.  Vessels were sailed in on the high tide and left beached as the tide went out.  It was then a frantic exercise to either unload or load the vessel before the tide came in on its twice a day cycle.

The Romans built a road from Ravenglass, up through Eskdale, to link into their major highways they had built through Britain. They also built a Fort and Bath House “Glannoventa” at Ravenglass.

In 1875 a narrow gauge steam railway was built to carry minerals from the Cumbrian Fells.  Today that Railways is a major Tourist attraction now carrying visitors on a dramatically scenic ride through Eskdale.

A visit to Ravenglass is a step back in history……   all peaceful now, but once a centre of much activity.

Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

18th March

(C) David Oakes 2021

Silent Sunday…. a Hall with a Chapel

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Haddon Hall, Derbyshire……  standing high above the River Wye

Over 900 years Haddon Hall has towered over the River Wye.  It has withstood all the turmoil and dangers that time and English history has endured over the intervening centuries. 

It is also one of the oldest  Houses in the country.  Surprisingly Haddon Hall is still owned by the Manners Family over all those years….  it has also remained very much as it was built, avoiding all the fashionable Georgian and Victorian restyling that many other old houses have undergone.

Stand in the Lower Courtyard, you can literally drink in the historical atmosphere created by the passage of time…

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Like so many Castles and Country Houses, Haddon has its own Chapel.

The Chapel may well be small… but it is well worth a visit in its own right.  It is an intriguing Medieval Chapel.  Wooden  Box Pews and Carved Screen, Flagged Stone Floor, Exposed Timbered ceiling, Coloured Glass window, and even more stimulating the rather stylish 15th century fresco wall paintings.  A design ,that would not be out of place, on a designer wall covering in the 2021’s

If your visit is a summer visit, then you can also enjoy the bonus of a walk arround the Terraced Rose Gardens…..  a treat in their own right.

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Haddon Hall is a worth inclusion on any tour….but until we can all start planning such trips…

Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

7th March

(C) David Oakes 2021

Wordless Wednesday…… Another Favourite Place

Bamburgh

Location:-  A weather change at Bamburgh on the Northumberland Coast

Wherever you are…..

Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

3rd March

(C) David Oakes 2021

It might have been very different….

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Charles Edward Stuart   —-   Bonnie Prince Charlie

Standing in the shadow of  Derby Cathedral*, is this statue to commemorate the visit to Derby of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745.  I say visit, but really it was his Army’s Occupation (all be it briefly) of the Town of Derby.

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It was all to do with the Jacobite Uprising in Scotland in 1745….known simply as the 45.  It started in August at Glenfinnan, when Prince Charlie started  to amass a Jacobite Army in Scotland.  The plan was to march to London and retake the Crown of Britain for his Father Charles Francis Edward Stuart, who expressed Claim to the Throne.  Support was substantial and he marched south.  Taking Edinburgh, defeated English Troops at the Battle of Prestonpans.  Crossed the Scottish border into England secured Carlisle Castle and marched on south. Prince Charlie arrived in Derby on December 4th 1745.  Not a bad achievement for a large army that had to travel by foot.

It was here in Derby that things changed.  Many suggest that if Charlie had stuck to his plans the History of the British Throne could have been so much different.  But his pause at Derby allowed time for his advisors to gather up-to-date intelligence of what might lie ahead for the Jacobite Army.  True, the British Army was being organised and a fighting force built to repel the Jacobite’s.  Maybe Charlies advisors were correct in persuading him to rethink his plans, maybe if he had gone forward his Jacobite Army could have overcome that anticipated resistance. Who really knows what that outcome would have been.

What we do know is that 2 days later on the 6th December 1745, Prince Charlie made the decision to return to Scotland.

It was along slow return journey.  His army became demoralised.  The slow progress gave the British Army time to build and pursue the Jacobite’s.  They caught up with them at Culloden.  On April 16th 1746, The Duke of Cumberland engaged the Jacobite Army. It was by all accounts a massacre.  The British Army had superior numbers, they had Cannon Power and highly maneuverable Cavalry.  The Battle of Culloden was won by the stronger British Forces. The Jacobite Rebellion was over.

_DOI0577qqq Despite the bloody and crushing defeat, Charles Edward Stuart has remained in the hearts of many.  Despite the blood shed and failure the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie has been and still is romanticised…. folk lore, legend, tragedy and the real history all blending together… the lines of truth becoming blurred.

I say, romanticised as Bonnie Prince Charlie is immortalised in the famous Scottish Ballard… ‘The Skye Boat Song‘.

” Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be king
Over the sea to Skye “

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So Charles Edward Stuart made his escape.  The British Army began building extensive defences across the Highlands to deter  a further uprising. Those tensions around identity continue today.

  •   I mentioned Derby Cathedral.But in 1745 it was called All Saints, Derby’s Parish Church.  All Saints was only made a Cathedral in 1927.

Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

23rd February

(C) David Oakes 2021