Fyvie Castle in Scotland


Grampian, Scotland, was started in the 13th century, but the south front’s five round towers were each built in a different century by one of the families who lived there; this glorious castle has fashionable plasterwork and panelling, the famous haunted Wheel Staircase and there are portraits by Romney, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Hoppner, and Raeburn; in 1889 Alexander Forbes-Leith, later Lord Leith of Fyvie, used the fortune he had made in the American steel industry to buy the estate and restore Fyvie to be one of the richest castles in Scotland.

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Castell Carreg Cennen

Carreg Cennen_52d09c132a

South Wales, on a remote crag about 100 meters above the river Cennen in the Breacon Beacons National Park, was started in 13th century as an English outpost by one of Edward I’s barons. The natural cave beneath the castle rock, perhaps a prehistoric refuge, is incorporated into the defenses via a gallery passage and can still be explored with torches. During the War of the Roses (1455 – 85) it became a base for Lancastrian, who terrorized the country around. The castle was taken by the Yorkists in 1462, this “robbers den” was laboriously dismantled by 500 men with picks and crowbars. The ruins are still very impressive and the views from the hilltop are magnificent. [photo gallery Carreg Cennen Castle]

Athelhampton Hall


On a bend in the road between Puddletown and Bere Regis the average motorist is liable to miss one of the most interesting homes in England hidden behind the trees.

Athelhampton Hall is one of the finest examples of 15th century domestic architecture in the country. Essentially a medieval house, surrounded by walls and courts, with a great hall, an oriel window, and a unique timbered roof. Athelhampton has been a family home for centuries. A new wing was built at the beginning of the 16th century. Thomas Hardy painted a water colour of the buildings and his father probably worked on the restoration of the fine timbered roof in the Great Hall.

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