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CastleUK Blog
September 2010

The blog page, a place where I can record and then archive my monthly updates and what's new in our hunt for castles UK.

This months Scottish castle, palace, houses, gatehouses and gate, are from Edinburgh and St Andrews.

In August we went to Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park, which is a great site and a good day out. Plus it's free to look round the Country Park, you just pay to park which is fair enough, there's a Gift Shop and the Tithe Barn Restaurant. You have to pay to go into the exhibition, which showcases exciting archaeological objects found at the 15th century battlefield site and reveals the methods used to locate the battlefield, what the evidence tells us about where and how the battle was fought and the implications of this for future study of medieval warfare. There is also a charge for Ambion Parva Medieval Village which is a must, the replica village includes timber framed buildings that are vernacular homes, those for the common people, that would have been used between the 13th and 15th centuries. You can soak up the sights, sounds and smells of medieval England as you step back in time to 1485 and experience life in a soldiers encampment. Discover all about weapons and warfare with regular talks and demonstrations throughout the day, including archery displays and bill drills. Learn more about medieval food from the field kitchen and find out first-hand what life was like for medieval soldiers preparing for battle. We took in the 2km guided walk exploring the Battle of Bosworth, the death of King Richard III and the unlikely victory of Henry Tudor. Now this is my barrow and with the site of the battle changing I was ready to give it to the guide if he made a mistake but he didn't, he knew his onions, got the kids involved and everybody enjoyed the walk. In the gift shop I asked if they had a print out of the location of the battle and the girl showed me where it was on a map, she had a look of pain on her face, which to me was saying this was the site of the battle but everybody's asking where is Bosworth Field. We then we drove down Fen Lane to the battle site to get some pictures, big and flat, with a Roman road in the middle it all makes sense, nearby is Crown Hill, I mean that was a big clue, standing on the field of battle was a great end to a very good day, you must give it a go.
Planning the
Inverness/Culloden monster 6 day castle/battle hunt, carries on, I've listed all the castles (about a 140) and started putting them into days. Far to many castles to see them all, so I think it's going to be the big castles only, trouble is like our mottes and little bits of ruins.

Click on the pictures, for more information.

Scotney Castle Wallpaper
Scotney Castle, OS 188/TQ 689-352 Kent England, is this months wallpaper.
The picture was taken in September 2006 and the view is of the Ashburnham Tower reflected in the moat.
The sun was shining, the light was great and when it's like this the moat just reflects everything, it's got to be one of the best photographic castles in the UK. This is my second Scotney wallpaper, the picture was taken in September, the first wallpaper was September and this one is September, I think it must be a, you've guess it a September sort of picture.
Abbey Pend
Abbey Pend, OS 66/NT 268-739 Midlothian Scotland.
Was an early 16th century stone Gothic gatehouse, founded by King James IV. In 1502 a palace with a gate, were constructed in the outer court of the Augustinian Abbey of Holyrood, which was originally founded by King David I in 1128. The gatehouse was extended from 1647 to 1663 but in 1753 it was demolished, leaving only fragments of its right-hand wing. The site is visible from the road.
Not a lot left here but you can get a close look, before you go into the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Croft an Righ House
Croft an Righ House, OS 66/NT 269-740 Midlothian Scotland.
Is a late 16th or early 17th century stone L-plan laird's house, founded by Alexander Elphinstone. Of two storeys and an attic and a three storey wing, the first floor hall in the main block has a fine plaster ceiling. Bartizans crown three of the angles and one is pierced with shot-holes. The site is visible from the road.
You can see the house from the the Palace of Holyroodhouse, its just around the corner. It's the south region Historic Scotland office but you can't go in or even look around the outside, is there something a little bit wrong with that or is it just me!
Inch House
Inch House, OS66/NT 277-708 Midlothian Scotland.
Is an early 17th century stone L-plan tower house, founded by James Winram. Of three storeys, a garret and vaulted basement chambers, the original entrance was in the square stair tower in the re-entrant angle. Originally on an island and possibly incorporating an earlier building, the low-lying surrounding area was flooded by Braid Burn.
This is a big old house and it's in a park so you can get up close, I didn't, the castle spotter needed to shop in Edinburgh, so I had to be quick.
Palace of Holyroodhouse Palace of Holyroodhouse, OS 66/NT 269-739 Midlothian Scotland.
Was originally an early 16th century stone Gothic palace and courtyard fortress, founded by King James IV. A tower, hall, chapel and gatehouse were constructed in the outer court of the Augustinian Abbey of Holyrood, which was originally founded by King David I in 1128. Only King James IV's tower with its round corner turrets, which now stands on the north-west angle of the palace, survived destruction, in 1544. It was in the Queen’s chambers in 1566, that Lord Darnley help in the murder of David Rizzio, while he was in the presence of Mary, Queen of Scot's. Last admissions are 5:00pm in the summer and 3:30pm in the winter. Closed during Royal visits, in September and December, check the website for dates.
Well here we are in the Queen's palace and very nice it is too, maybe a little to 'new' for us but in King James IV's tower it was great to walk in the footsteps of Mary, Queen of Scot's, the place is full of history.
St Andrews Castle St Andrews Castle, OS 59/NO 513-169 Fife Scotland.
Was originally a late 12th century rectangular earth and timber enclosure fortress, which was founded by and the official residence of Bishop Roger. With a stone gatehouse to the fore, during the Wars of Independence with England, the castle was dismantled in 1310. Rebuilt by the English in 1336, it was captured and dismantled again by Sir Andrew Moray in 1337. Substantially rebuilt in stone by Bishop Walter Trail in the late 14th century. The site is owned by Historic Scotland and is open daily, April to September 9:30-5:30pm, October to March Saturday to Wednesday 9:30-4:30pm.
Well astounding is what I would say about this castle, we've visited some good un's but this one will take some beating. The Visitor Centre is very good with its historical exhibition, after that its the impressive Hamilton Façade that meets the eye and then into the ruined castle with its Bottle Dungeon, one of the most infamous castle prisons in medieval Britain, cut out of the solid rock, John Knox and George Wishart may have been imprisoned in this dank and airless hole, Cardinal Beaton’s body was kept here. Save the best for last, the Mine and Counter-mine are unique underground passages that give visitors a palpable sense of the horrific nature of medieval siege warfare. Just be ready to be blown away!!
The Pends The Pends, OS 59/NO 513-166 Fife Scotland.
Is a mid 14th century large stone gatehouse of the Augustinian cathedral-priory, of St Andrews. This gate-hall was the main entrance to the priory and consists of four bays with a cross-wall between the first and second bays. Now a roofless shell with a large vehicular entrance. The site is part of the road.
Nice big gate to look at, before you go into the cathedral-priory. It's all part of the history of St Andrews, this town's got history in spades.
West Port West Port, OS 59/NO 506 165 Fife Scotland.
Is a 16th century stone town gateway and is one of the few surviving town gates in Scotland. In a building contract drawn up on the 18th May 1589, the gate was to be a copy of Edinburgh's Netherbow Port but in 1843 the port was completely renovated, with some structural alterations. The large vehicular entrance is flanked by two semi-octagonal gun-looped turrets. The site is part of the road.
This town gate is your start to the history and the shops of St Andrews plus golf, its got it all and we know we will be back.

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