Dirleton Castle: features in the Ruthven lodging

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Dirleton Castle © David Gill

The first floor of the Ruthven lodging at Dirleton Castle is accessed by a circular staircase. Immediately inside is a ‘Wall cupboard once fitted with shelves’.

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Dirleton Castle © David Gill

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Dirleton Castle © David Gill

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Dirleton Castle © David Gill

Kildrummy and Glenbuchat Castles

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1957 (4th ed. 1978)

Kildrummy and Glenbuchat castles are close to each other in Aberdeenshire. The Ministry guidebook was prepared by W. Douglas Simpson in 1957. Simpson had prepared a series of studies on Kildrummy from 1923 to 1937. The guidebook is separated into two parts, leading with Kildrummy; each contains a section on the history and a description of the two castles. A set of black and white photographs of the two castles, and a plan of Kildrummy appear as a block in the centre of the guide; a fold-out plan of Glenbuchat appears at the end.

Old Sarum: guidebooks

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1965

I have noted before the 1922 Office of Works guide to Old Sarum. In 1965 H. de S. Shortt prepared an illustrated guide to Old Sarum for the MPBW in the format that had been produced in the 1950s for other sites in State Guardianship. The cover is based on the 1819 map prepared by Henry Wansey. One of the first features is a double page spread (pp. 4–5) providing a plan for the castle, the outer bailey and the original cathedral. The guide starts with the situation, noting paintings by John Constable (reproduced in the centre pages), before moving into the historical outline with sub-sections on prehistory, Roman-Britain, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and then later periods. It includes reconstructions by Alan Sorrell. There is then a guide to the remains, both the inner bailey, as well as the old cathedral. There are two appendices: A note on the name of Old Sarum; Saint Osmund; Excavaions at or adjoining Old Sarum.

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1994 [2003]

Derek Renn prepared the English Heritage guide (1994). The two main sections are ‘What to see’ (no longer, ‘a tour’ or ‘a description’), and ‘The story of Old Sarum’ (not ‘a history’). A pictorial ‘tour’ is provided in the centre pages. It contains sections on prehistory, Rome, as well as the Normans. One section addresses ‘From city to rotten borough’.

Renn had earlier prepared the MPBW souvenir guide to Shell Keeps in Devon and Cornwall (1969), and the English Heritage guidebooks for Orford and Framlingham Castles (1988), Goodrich Castle (1993).

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2006

The latest English Heritage guide is by John McNeill, with fold out plans inside the front and back covers. The two main sections are the tour, and a history, with features on the demolition of the cathedral and beneath the ramparts, showing some of the early investigations of the site.

Old Sarum: cathedral

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Old Sarum, cathedral © David Gill

The cathedral at Old Sarum was probably started under Bishop Hermann (d. 1078), when the see was moved from Sherborne (in 1075); much of the work was conducted by his successor Bishop Osmund (d. 1099). This structure was placed inside the outer walls of the castle (that follow the line of the Iron Age hillfort), and completed in 1092.

The cathedral was rebuilt by Bishop Roger (d. 1139) and expanded by Bishop Jocelin de Bohun (d. 1184). The foundations of the new Salisbury cathedral were laid in 1220 under Bishop Richard Poore (1217-28), and the remains of the first three bishops of Salisbury were moved from Old Sarum in June 1226. The old cathedral was then dismantled and the stone reused for the new building.

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Old Sarum, cathedral and castle © David Gill

Carisbrooke: “Please do not feed the donkey”

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Carisbrooke Castle © David Gill

The donkey-wheel is an unusual feature of Carisbrooke Castle. A donkey demonstrates for a limited time (c. 30 seconds) how water was drawn by this method. Each is named with a ‘J’: Jack and Jill feature here (see English Heritage).

A Pathé News clip shows the wheel in action. Notice that the Ministry sign has changed during the intervening period.

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Carisbrooke Castle © David Gill

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Carisbrooke Castle © David Gill

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Carisbrooke Castle © David Gill

Carisbrooke: exhibiting guidebooks

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Carisbrooke Castle Guidebooks © David Gill

I was delighted to see that a range of guidebooks for Carsibrooke were displayed in an exhibition relating to the castle. They are an important record of how the castle was interpreted and presented to the visiting public.

The cap worn by the castle’s custodian is also included as part of the castle’s heritage.

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Custodian’s Hat, DOE © David Gill

Visitors to Framlingham Castle

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Framlingham Castle, Towers 7-11 (from right to left) © David Gill

Framlingham Castle has seen a dramatic increase in the number of visitors during the last year. The latest figures show that 106,149 visitors explored the castle in 2017, an increase of 35.9%. It has been suggested that this was due to Ed Sheeran’s allusion through his ‘Castle on the Hill’.

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Framlingham Castle © David Gill

However note that Ickworth, also in Suffolk, has seen an increase of more than 18,000 visitors (compare Framlingham with more than 28,000 visitors). Are we seeing an increase in visitors to Suffolk or has the music drawn in additional footfall?

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© David Gill