Monday, 18 August 2014

The Castle

We awoke to more rain however the weather during the day then alternated between sunshine and rain.

When we went into Skipton we both noted that nb Lakeland (photo below) was still on the 24 hour moorings.  This would be day 3.

But then during our time on the L & L we have seen the same boat moored on two water points, a private mooring and a lock mooring.  If you wanted to write something positive you could state he is consistent!

Jan had some further retail therapy which included me buying a replacement lightweight fleece for the one I bought with me from Oz back in 2011.  It was getting rather thin.  The Yorkshire Rose pub in Coach Street provided our Sunday roast beef lunch.  Nothing special to mention about it!

In the afternoon I went and did a tour of Skipton Castle.  The original castle was built in the Norman style around 1090 as a rammed earth and timber structure before being replaced with a stone version approximately 20 years later.  It’s locally claimed to be one of the most well preserved medieval castles in England.  After examining it I suspect not much of the original structure is Norman and it’s obviously been extended over the centuries.


The castle was the last Royalist stronghold in the north and held out against the parliamentarian forces for three years before surrendering.  Oliver Cromwell then ordered that the walls be reduced to prevent it being fit for cannon.  After the civil war Lady Anne Clifton petitioned Oliver Cromwell for permission to rebuild the castle.  He gave his approval on the condition the new walls were not capable of supporting cannons on the roof.  The difference in wall thicknesses can be seen in the following photo.

The new wall is less than half the thickness of the original

I assume the original rooftop would have been made from stone to support the weight and recoil from the cannons.  The existing roof is held on timber frames which probably means they date from the mid 15th century.

The staircases are all the classic circular clockwise style.

This made it harder for a right handed attacker to go up the stairs against a right handed defender. 

Lady Anne Clifton reputedly planted a Yew tree in the castle inner courtyard on the completion of the rebuilding and this is allegedly the same tree.

However I don’t believe this is the original privy seat.

Only one privy in the entire castle……. at times there must have been a long queue! Smile

The rear of the castle is higher than the front.

That’s the privy on the top right of the photo.  Don’t look up… you might get hit!

The ground leading to the main gate is less steep and therefore more heavily fortified.

The arrow loops (balistraria) provide interlocking arcs of fire and are also strategically placed to cover the main entrance through the gatehouse.

Interestingly wikipedia reports that Norman castles were not built with arrow loops and that they were a later concept.  A quick look at photos of the White Tower at the Tower of London suggest this is correct.  This means that much of the existing Skipton Castle is post Norman.

However there were still plenty of Normans inside the castle grounds.

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