Stokesay Castle, Stokesay, Shropshire


Upper room in priest’s tower, Stokesay Castle
1950s (earlier photo)
Publisher: Walter Scott

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Stokesay is one of the first fortified manor houses in England: almost all the surviving house was completed by 1291. Its walls and moat (the former demolished in the 1640s) outside, and strongrooms within, provided a degree of security, though in reality its military appearance was superficial: it could never have withstood a serious siege, as the expansive windows on both sides of the hall make clear. Meanwhile the symmetry of Stokesay’s layout – with a tower at each end of the residential complex and a regular sequence of gables and windows in the hall between them – bears witness to the taste, wealth and importance of its owner.
English Heritage

Stokesay Castle is a remarkable survival, a fortified manor house which has hardly altered since the late 13th century. The house was built by Lawrence Ludlow, a leading wool merchant of his day, who created a comfortable residence combining an aesthetically pleasing design with some defensive capabilities. In doing so, he took advantage of the newly established peace on the Welsh border following Edward I’s defeat of the Welsh prince Llywelyn the Last. This enabled him to build a large hall, comfortable solar, or private apartment, with windows on the outside world, without fear of attack.
Castles of Wales


Plan of Stokesay Castle (from Wikimedia Commons).

The three-storey north tower is reached by a 13th-century staircase in the hall, which leads onto the first floor. The first floor was divided into two separate rooms shortly after the construction of the tower, and contain various decorative tiles, probably from Laurence’s house in Ludlow. The walls of the second floor are mostly half-timbered, jettying out above the stone walls beneath them; the tower has its original 13th-century fireplace, although the wooden roof is 19th-century, modeled on the 13th-century original, and the windows are 17th-century insertions.
Wikipedia.

Abottsford, Melrose, Roxburghshire


The Library, Abbotsford
c.1920
Publisher: W. Ritchie & Sons (“Reliable series”), 1902-28

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Abbotsford is a historic country house in the Scottish Borders, near Galashiels, on the south bank of the River Tweed. Now open to the public, it was built as the residence of historical novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott between 1817 and 1825. . . . The estate and its neo-Medieval features nod towards Scott’s desire for a historical feel, but the writer ensured that the house would provide all the comforts of modern living. As a result, Scott used the space as a proving-ground for new technologies. The house was outfitted with early gas lighting and pneumatic bells connecting residents with servants elsewhere in the house.
Wikipedia.

The library at Abbotsford is entirely the creation of Scott: it begins with the chapbooks he collected as a child and continues through the small volumes of poetry he annotated as a schoolboy.
Abbotsford: the home of Sir Walter Scott

From this you pass into the largest of all the apartments, the library, which I really must say, is really a noble room. It is an oblong of some fifty feet, by thirty, with a projection in the centre, opposite the fireplace, terminating in a grand bow window, fitted up with books also, and, in fact, constituting a sort of chapel to the church. The roof is of carved oak again a very rich pattern I believe chiefly a la Roslin; and the bookcases, which are also of richly carved oak, reach high up the walls all round. The collection amounts, in this room, to some fifteen or twenty thousand volumes, arranged according to their subjects : British history and antiquities, filling the whole of the chief wall ; English poetry and drama, classics and miscellanies, one end : foreign literature, chiefly French and German, the other. The cases on the side opposite the fire are wired and locked, as containing articles very precious and very portable. One consists entirely of Books and MSS. relating to the insurrections of 1715 and 1745; another (within the recess of the bow window), of treatises de re magice, both of these being (I am told, and can well believe) in their several ways, collections of the rarest curiosity. My cicerone pointed out, in one corner, a magnificent set of Mountfaucon, ten volumes folio, bound in the richest manner in scarlet, and stamped with the royal arms, the gift of his present Majesty.

There are few living authors of whose works presentation copies are not to be found here. My friend showed me inscriptions of that sort in, I believe, every European dialect extant. The books are all in prime condition, and bindings that would satisfy Mr. Dibdin. The only picture is Sir Walter’s eldest son, in hussar uniform, and holding his horse, by Allan of Edinburgh, a noble portrait, over the fireplace ; and the only bust is that of Shakespeare, from the Avon monument, in a small niche, in the centre of the east side. On a rich stand of porphyry, in one corner, reposes a tall silver urn, filled with bones from the Piraeus, and bearing the inscription, “Given by George Gordon, Lord Byron, to Sir Walter Scott, Bart.” It contained the letter which accompanied the gift, till lately — it has disappeared, no one guesses who look it ; but, whoever he was, as my guide observed, he must have been a thief for thieving’s sake truly, as he durst no more exhibit his autograph, than tip himself a bare bodkin ! Sad, infamous tourist, indeed ! Although I saw abundance of comfortable looking desks and arm chairs, yet this room seemed rather too large and fine for work and I found accordingly, after passing a double pair of doors, that there was a sanctum within and beyond this library. And here you may believe, was not to me the least interesting, though by no means the most splendid, part of the suit.
Sydney Gazette, 16 May 1829


The Study, Abbotsford

The Study was designed as Scott’s private sanctum and was the last room to be completed at Abbotsford in 1824.
Abbotsford: the home of Sir Walter Scott

ABBOTSFORD
AND SIR WALTER SCOTT’S STUDY.

The lion’s own den proper, then, is a room of about five-and-twenty feet square by twenty feet high, containing of what is called furniture nothing but a small writing-table in the centre, a plain arm chair covered with black leather–a very comfortable one though, for I tried it.–and a single chair besides, plain symptoms that this is no place for company. On either side of the fire-place their are shelves filled with duodecimos and books of reference, chiefly, of course, folios ; but except these there are no books save the contents of a light gallery which runs round three sides of the room, and is reached by a hanging stair of carved oak in one corner. You have been both at the Elisée Bourbon and Mulmaison, and remember the library at one or other of those places, I forget which ; this gallery is much in the same style. There are only two portraits, an original of the beautiful and melancholy head of Claverhouse, and a small full length of Rob Roy. Various little antique cabinets stand round about, each having a bust on it : Stothard’s Canterbury Pilgrims are on the mantlepiece; and in one corner, I saw a collection of really useful weapons, those of the forest craft, to wit–axes and bills and so forth of every calibre. There is only one window pierced in a very thick wall, so that the place is rather sombre ; the light tracery work of the gallery over-head, harmonizes with the books well. It is a very comfortable looking room, and very unlike any other I was in. I should not forget some Highland clamorers, cluttered round a target over the Canterbury people, nor a writing-box of carved wood, lined with crimson velvet, and furnished with silver plate of right venerable aspect, which looked as if it might be the implement of old Chaucer himself, but which from the arms on the lid must have belonged to some Indian Prince of the day of Leo the magnificent at the furthest.
Sydney Gazette, 16 May 1829


Ground Plan of House (from Wikimedia Commons.)

Arundel Castle, Arundel, West Sussex


Arundel: the castle
“Published by the Photochrom Co., Ltd., London and Tunbridge Wells
Passed for publication by the Press Censor, September 1917.”

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Panorama of town, showing castle

There are nearly 1,000 years of history at this great castle, situated in magnificent grounds overlooking the River Arun in West Sussex and built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. The oldest feature is the motte, an artificial mound, over 100 feet high from the dry moat, and constructed in 1068: followed by the gatehouse in 1070. Under his will, King Henry I (1068-1135) settled the Castle and lands in dower on his second wife, Adeliza of Louvain. Three years after his death she married William d’Albini II, who built the stone shell keep on the motte. King Henry II (1133-89), who built much of the oldest part of the stone Castle, in 1155 confirmed William d’Albini II as Earl of Arundel, with the Honour and Castle of Arundel.
Arundel Castle

William de Albini died in 1176 and Arundel Castle once again reverted to the Crown. Henry II made numerous modifications to the site including adding a new residential range in the southern bailey. Eventually he returned the castle to William’s son and it remained with his heirs until it passed through marriage to the FitzAlan family in 1243. They built new lodgings in the south bailey to replace the domestic accommodation on the motte but also upgraded the defences including adding the Barbican and Beaumont Tower.

The castle was slighted in 1653 to prevent future military use and this partial demolition included destruction of the residential portions. Accordingly the site was not used until 1708 when Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk restored the South Range for use as an occasional residence. However, towards the end of the eighteenth century Charles Howard, eleventh Duke of Norfolk commenced rebuilding and remodelling the site in a Gothic theme. His efforts were not appreciated however, with Queen Victoria describing it as “bad architecture”, and accordingly Arundel Castle was substantially restyled again between 1875 and 1900. This work was undertaken by Henry Fitzalan-Howard, Duke of Norfolk who recruited architect Charles Buckler to rebuild the castle in a gothic revival style creating the structure visible today.
Castles Forts Battles


The Keep and Drawbridge to Arundel Castle.
(no details on back)

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Prittlewell Priory, Southend-on-Sea, England


Prittlewell Priory: Prior’s Chamber
1930s
Publisher/Photo: Trade Studio

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Houses of Cluniac monks: Priory of Prittlewell

Prittlewell Priory was founded by the Cluniac Order in the early 12th century as a cell to the Priory of St Pancras at Lewes, Sussex. It was one of the lesser monasteries housing not more than 18 monks. In 1536 much of the building was destroyed and what remained was much altered during the 18th Century. Alterations were made again in the early 20th Century, when the Refectory was restored and partly rebuilt. A number of original features do survive, including a 12th Century doorway with chevron and dog tooth ornamentation.

After the Dissolution the Priory was a private residence and it was granted to Lord Chancellor Audley, who conveyed it to Robert, son of Lord Rich. It afterwards passed with the manor to various families. The last family to live there, the 19th Century Scrattons, are explored in an exhibition inside the house. In 1917 the building was purchased by Robert Jones, and in May 1922 it opened as Southend’s first museum.
Southend Museums

Southends on sea is a rather built up area today and as far as history goes it is not that old. However not far from Southends town centre lies a park which has been around for 900 years and is the oldest building in Southend which has been continually occupied. Prittlewell Priory has existed since the 12th Century and the land, which now makes up the park, was once all owned and managed by the Clunic monk s who resided there, mainly, in silence. Only parts of the original priory exist today in the form of a very small but informative museum. The Priory grounds are still accessible to all members of the public including the ponds which the Monks used to fish themselves, the refectory, priory chamber, cellar, a 12th century doorway with chevron and dog tooth ornamentation and parts of the wall.
For The Love Of History

The first religious building at Prittlewell, a small wooden oratory, was replaced by a stone church around 1150. This was partly excavated in the 1920s and its outline, 50m-60m in length with an apsidal chancel and side chapels to the south, can still be traced from exposed sections of the foundations which remain on display within the lawns to the north east of the museum. The priory range was enlarged from 1180 onwards with the refectory, chapter house, dorter (monks’ dormitory) and other buildings arranged around the cloister garth at this time. The Priory Museum (a Grade I Listed Building which is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included) retains substantial elements of the priory range – principally the 12th century refectory and 14th century prior’s chambers which, respectively, formed parts of the southern and western arms of the claustral range. The 14th century prior’s chamber, built from local septaria and chalk rubble (mostly refaced with brick in the 19th century) retains an original crown post roof and overlies earlier cellars.
Historic England

York Minster, York


York Minster, West Front
c. 1910
Publisher: Sampson, York

Street View

The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, commonly known as York Minster, is the cathedral of York, England, and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the third-highest office of the Church of England (after the monarch as Supreme Governor and the Archbishop of Canterbury), and is the mother church for the Diocese of York and the Province of York.
. . .
The Gothic style in cathedrals had arrived in the mid 12th century. Walter de Gray was made archbishop in 1215 and ordered the construction of a Gothic structure to compare to Canterbury; building began in 1220. The north and south transepts were the first new structures; completed in the 1250s, both were built in the Early English Gothic style but had markedly different wall elevations. A substantial central tower was also completed, with a wooden spire. Building continued into the 15th century. The Chapter House was begun in the 1260s and was completed before 1296. The wide nave was constructed from the 1280s on the Norman foundations. The outer roof was completed in the 1330s, but the vaulting was not finished until 1360. Construction then moved on to the eastern arm and chapels, with the last Norman structure, the choir, being demolished in the 1390s. Work here finished around 1405. In 1407 the central tower collapsed; the piers were then reinforced, and a new tower was built from 1420. The western towers were added between 1433 and 1472. The cathedral was declared complete and consecrated in 1472

Wikipedia.


York Minster, South View
c. 1910
Publisher: Sampson, York


York Minster, The Choir
c.1910
Publisher: Thomas Taylor & Son

Most sung services, including our Evensong service, take place in the Quire. Built between 1361 and the 1420s, much of the original structure was destroyed in a fire started deliberately in 1829.
York Minster


The Choir, York Minster
c.1920
Publisher: Valentine


York Minster, The Crypt
c.1910
Publisher: Thomas Taylor & Son

The Minster has two Crypts, with the Western one rediscovered and brought back into use following a fire in 1829. It houses the tomb of St William of York, the only saint to be buried at the cathedral, who was canonised in 1227.
York Minster

Chatsworth House, England


The Painted Hall, Chatsworth House.
1900s
Publisher: A.P. Co (Artistic Publishing Co?), 9 Bury Court, Mary Axe, London

Chatsworth House is a stately home in Derbyshire, England, in the Derbyshire Dales, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north-east of Bakewell and 9 miles (14 km) west of Chesterfield. The seat of the Duke of Devonshire, it has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549, standing on the east bank of the River Derwent, across from low hills between the Derwent and Wye valleys. The house is set in expansive parkland backed by wooded, rocky hills that rise to heather moorland.

The 4th Earl of Devonshire, who would become the 1st Duke in 1694 for helping to put William of Orange on the English throne, was an advanced Whig and forced to retire to Chatsworth during the reign of King James II. This called for a rebuilding of the house, which began in 1687. Cavendish aimed initially to reconstruct only the south wing with the State Apartments and so decided to retain the Elizabethan courtyard plan, although its layout was becoming increasingly unfashionable. He enjoyed building and reconstructed the East Front, which included the Painted Hall and Long Gallery, followed by the West Front from 1699 to 1702. The North Front was completed in 1707 just before he died.

Wikipedia.

In 1549, at the behest of his wife, Bess of Hardwick, Sir William Cavendish bought the land from the Leche family (relations of Bess’s) for £600. Recent
work for the Chatsworth Master Plan (2005-2018) has uncovered possible traces of this earlier Tudor house in the Baroque building’s northern cellars. William and Bess started construction of their house in 1552, but William did not live to see its completion, as he died in 1557. Although Bess of Hardwick completed the building work, the house was entailed to the eldest son from her marriage to William Cavendish, “my bad son Henry” and she made Hardwick her primary residence in 1590. Henry sold the house to his younger brother William (who became the 1st Earl of Devonshire in 1618). The Elizabethan house was successively rebuilt by the 1st, 4th and 6th Dukes, obtaining its current form with the 6th Duke’s major additions and alterations as designed by Sir Jeffry Wyatville, which were implemented c.1820-1841.

Timeline of the Cavendish amily and some of their major properties” (PDF)


Chatsworth House–Great Hall
c.1910
Publisher: Thomas Taylor & Son
“From Photographs taken by special permission of His Grace the Duke of Devonshire.”

First impressions count. When guests are welcomed to Chatsworth, this is one of the first rooms they see. William, 1st Duke of Devonshire built the Painted Hall between 1689 and 1694, the only original feature is the painted decoration on the walls and ceiling. Whilst still Earl of Devonshire he chose to flatter the monarch by decorating the hall with scenes from the life of Julius Caesar, he was elevated to Duke in the year the room was completed.
Chatsworth House: room cards (PDF)

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Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, England


Anne Hathawy’s Cottage, Startford-on-Avon
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View (exterior).

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is a twelve-roomed farmhouse where Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare, lived as a child in the village of Shottery, Warwickshire, England, about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Stratford-upon-Avon. Spacious, and with several bedrooms, it is now set in extensive gardens. The earliest part of the house was built prior to the 15th century; the higher part is 17th century. The house was known as Hewlands Farm in Shakespeare’s day and had more than 90 acres (36 hectares) of land attached to it; to call it a cottage is really a misnomer, as it is much larger than the term usually means. As in many houses of the period, it has multiple chimneys to spread the heat evenly throughout the house during winter. The largest chimney was used for cooking. It also has visible timber framing, typical of vernacular Tudor architecture.
Wikipedia.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is timber framed (sitting on a limestone plinth) with dormer windows and a thatched roof. The core of the present cottage was constructed as a farmhouse by Old Stratford Manor in around 1463. . . . Originally a three room farmhouse, the family continued to develop its structure to suit their needs.
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust


Ann Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, Stratford-on-Avon
Postmarked 1904
Publisher: Raphael Tuck & Sons


Interior of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
(Parlour)
c.1910
Publisher: Harvey Barton & Son, Bristol

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Cellarium, Fountains Abbey, Ripon, North Yorkshire


Fountains Abbey, Cellarium
c.1910

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UNESCO World Heritage listing

Founded in the 10th century, the ornate religious complex known as Fountains Abbey remained in active use for over 400 years and miraculously continues to stand in much its original form despite being denounced in the 1500’s.
Atlas Obscura

The original abbey church was built of wood and “was probably” two storeys high; it was, however, quickly replaced in stone. The church was damaged in the attack on the abbey in 1146 and was rebuilt, in a larger scale, on the same site. Building work was completed c. 1170. This structure, completed around 1170, was 300 ft (91 m) long and had 11 bays in the side aisles. A lantern tower was added at the crossing of the church in the late 12th century. The presbytery at the eastern end of the church was much altered in the 13th century.] The church’s greatly lengthened choir, commenced by Abbot John of York, 1203–11 and carried on by his successor, terminates, like that of Durham Cathedral, in an eastern transept, the work of Abbot John of Kent, 1220–47. The 160-foot-tall (49 m) tower, which was added not long before the dissolution, by Abbot Huby, 1494–1526, is in an unusual position at the northern end of the north transept and bears Huby’s motto: Soli Deo Honor et Gloria. The sacristry adjoined the south transept.

The cloister, which had arcading of black marble from Nidderdale and white sandstone, is in the centre of the precinct and to the south of the church. The three-aisled chapter-house and parlour open from the eastern walk of the cloister and the refectory, with the kitchen and buttery attached, and are at right angles to its southern walk. Parallel with the western walk is an immense, vaulted substructure serving as cellars and store-rooms, which supported the dormitory of the conversi (lay brothers) above. This building extended across the river and at its south-west corner were the latrines, built above the swiftly flowing stream. The monks’ dormitory was in its usual position above the chapter-house, to the south of the transept.
Wikipedia.

Chepstow Castle, Chepstow, Wales


Chepstow Castle.
c.1910
Publisher: Francis Frith & CO

Google Street View

Chepstow Castle at Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain. Located above cliffs on the River Wye, construction began in 1067 under the instruction of the Norman Lord William FitzOsbern. Originally known as Striguil, it was the southernmost of a chain of castles built in the Welsh Marches, and with its attached lordship took the name of the adjoining market town in about the 14th century. In the 12th century the castle was used in the conquest of Gwent, the first independent Welsh kingdom to be conquered by the Normans. It was subsequently held by two of the most powerful Anglo-Norman magnates of medieval England, William Marshal and Richard de Clare. However, by the 16th century its military importance had waned and parts of its structure were converted into domestic ranges. Although re-garrisoned during and after the English Civil War, by the 1700s it had fallen into decay.
Wikipedia.

Building was started in 1067 by Earl William fitz Osbern, close friend of William the Conqueror, making it one of the first Norman strongholds in Wales. In turn William Marshal (Earl of Pembroke), Roger Bigod (Earl of Norfolk) and Charles Somerset (Earl of Worcester) all made their mark before the castle declined after the Civil War. These magnates and power-brokers were constantly on the move. Chepstow was just one residence in their vast estates – an impressive shell into which they would bring their gold and silver vessels, rich silk and brightly painted furniture.
Cadw


In the keep, Chepstow Castle
c.1920


The store chamber, Chepstow Castle
c.1920

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Kitchen, Mermaid Inn, Rye, England


Old Fireplace, Mermaid Inn, Rye
c.1915
Publisher: Judges Ltd

Google Street View (external).

Website.

The Mermaid Inn is a Grade II* listed historical inn located on Mermaid Street in the ancient town of Rye, East Sussex, southeastern England. One of the best-known inns in southeast England, it was established in the 12th century and has a long, turbulent history. The current building dates from 1420 and has 16th-century additions in the Tudor style, but cellars built in 1156 survive.
Wikipedia.


Rye — A room in “The Mermaid”
1910s
Publisher: “Deacon’s Series, Rye”