Suffolk, a 12th century castle , the outer walls and 13 towers still remaining almost unchanged, was built by the Bigod earls of Norfolk as a fortified residence, belonged in 16th century to Queen Mary Tudor and was later used as a school and also as a poorhouse; now a museum
Alcester, Warwickshire, has been the home of the Throckmortons since the 15th century and still is – the present Tudor house was built in the 16th century. There are lots of memorabilia of the family in the house and an exhibition of the Gunpowder Plot, which the house has a strong connection with.
South Wales; this originally a Norman castle is one of the most magnificent castles of south Wales in the flat land around the tidal Carew river. The Castle was greatly improved and extended in the beginning of 16th century to Elizabethan manor; partly destroyed during the Civil War and finally abandoned in 1686. Next to the Castle there is the Carew Tidal Mill also from the 16th century, even though the present building dates from the early 19th century. PHOTO GALLERY
Banbury, Oxfordshire, for over 600 years the home of the family Fiennes – Lord and Lady Saye and Sele; the original Manor House was built in about 1300 and the present Castle in the second part of the 16th century: location for a part of the movie ‘Shakespeare In Love’.
Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, started as a Roman castle and the building on that site started again in the 12th century, the Keep was built in 1170 in the ownership of King Henry I. The Castle site was granted to Robert de Vipont in 1203, and the Castle passed to the Clifford family in 16th century for 400 years. Lady Anne Clifford, one of the greatest names in the history of Westmoreland, undertook in the 17th century extensive rebuilding photo of the Castle.
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.
In the 15th century, Edward IV granted Ashby De La Zouch Castle to Lord Hastings who converted what was no more than a fortified manor house into a grand castle, adding a chapel, and the Hastings Tower. Now partly ruined, this tower remains indicative of the presence it held over the castle site, soaring to the great height of 80ft. The main part of the tower is rectangular in plan and four storeys high, with a smaller rectangular structure, attached to the eastern wall, built to the same height but containing seven levels within. Surviving parts of the tower that stand to full height offer wonderful views across Leicestershire, as well as providing close-up inspection of the decorative semi-octagonal turrets on the remaining corners of the tower.
Not being centrally located, as was more usual, Hastings Tower looks across the ‘wilderness’ – an area of land used as castle gardens in the 16th century – to the two smaller towers built in the south east and south west corners of this area. Ashby de la Zouch Castle – The ruins of the south-west towerEach tower is quite different, one being octagonal in shape, and the other a quatrefoil. Some of the earliest buildings on the site, dating from the 12th century, can be seen in sections of wall that belonged to the Norman hall, buttery and pantry.
The hall, the oldest existing structure, has undergone many changes since it was originally built but there is plenty of evidence from the early period. Similarly with the buttery and pantry, even though only the north and east walls are still standing.
To the west of the hall is a much later kitchen, with 15th century windows and doorways remaining, and the passageway used to connect the North and South Courtyards either side of the original buildings. A solar, situated to the east of the hall, was extended at about the same time and still contains a 15th century fireplace.
A very impressive ruin just asking to be explored. From the depths of its dark, underground passageways to the energetic climb to the top of Hastings Tower, Ashby del la Zouch is a fascinating castle. Even its proximity to a modern housing estate really does not detract from the pleasant and peaceful atmosphere within the walls.