English Heritage: Top 10 Castles

Bolsover Castle © David Gill

English Heritage has been asking its members for its top 10 castles. The list consists of: Dover, Kenilworth, Tintagel, Bolsover, Portchester, Warkworth, Dunstanburgh, Carisbrooke, Middleham and Beeston.

Many of these would be in my personal top 10 English Heritage castles especially Bolsover. But what would I want to include? Leaving aside the artillery forts like Pendennis and Tilbury, I would want to consider:

Peveril Castle, Castleton, Derbyshire © David Gill

One of the most dramatic castles is Peveril standing above the Derbyshire village of Castleton famous for its Blue John mines.

Scarborough Castle © David Gill

Scarborough Castle has dramatic views over the bays on each side. It also contains a Roman signal station.

Brougham Castle © David Gill

Brougham Castle lies on the site of a Roman fort on the Roman road that crossed the Pennines.

Farnham Castle © David Gill

Farnham Castle dominates the town.

Castle Rising © David Gill

Castle Rising has a wonderful keep standing within earthworks.

Orford Castle © David Gill

Orford provides magnificent views over the Suffolk coast.

Hadleigh Castle © David Gill

Hadleigh Castle provides dramatic views over the Thames estuary.

Helmsley Castle © David Gill

Helmsley Castle lies on the edge of the Yorkshire market town.

Bolsover Castle: Manège

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Bolsover Castle, Riding House Range © David Gill

The Riding House Range at Bolsover Castle was built c. 1660. This reflect’s William Cavendish’s interest in Manège. Note the viewing gallery above the riders.

English Heritage has tried to recapture the way that this part of the castle was conceived by using this space for displays of dressage.

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Bolsover Castle, Riding House Range © David Gill

Top 10 Heritage Sites in England

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St Paul’s Cathedral from Tate Modern © David Gill

Historic England has issued a list of the Top 10 Heritage Sites in England (Mark Brown, “New top 10 of heritage sites maps out the history of England”, The Guardian 12 June 2018).

The sites are:

      • Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
      • Angel of the North, Gateshead
      • St Paul’s Cathedral
      • Coventry Cathedral
      • Tate Modern
      • the Barbara Hepworth museum and sculpture park, St Ives, Cornwall
      • the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield
      • Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire
      • Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
      • the Minack theatre, Cornwall

     

What would be in your top 10 sites for England?

Leading Visitor Attractions 2016: English Heritage

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Pendennis Castle © David Gill

The 2016 list of Leaving Visitor Attractions in the UK has been published. The top English Heritage site continues to be Stonehenge (at no. 23) with 1,381,855 visitors, with a modest 1.1 % increase on 2015 figures.

The remaining English Heritage properties are (with overall ranking):

  • Dover Castle (no. 98): 333,289
  • Osborne House (no. 116): 265,011
  • Tintagel Castle (no. 125): 229,809
  • Audley End House and Gardens (no. 149): 165,799
  • Whitby Abbey (no. 151): 151,810
  • Clifford’s Tower (no. 154): 146,703
  • Battle Abbey (no. 160): 137,771
  • Kenwood (no. 161): 134,416
  • Carisbrooke Castle (no. 164): 127,012
  • Wrest Park (no. 166): 124,305
  • Kenilworth Castle (no. 169): 107,993
  • Housesteads Roman Fort (no. 172): 102,004
  • Eltham Palace and Gardens (no. 176): 94,635
  • Bolsover Castle (no. 179): 91,880
  • Walmer Castle and Gardens (no. 180): 91,752
  • Pendennis Castle (no. 191): 73,907

The major increase in visitors were seen at Osborne House, Tintagel Castle, Audley End House and Gardens, Battle Abbey, Carisbrooke Castle, Wrest Park, Walmer Castle and Gardens. There was a significant downturn in visitors for Kenwood.

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Walmer Castle and Gardens © David Gill

Roman inscription at Haddon Hall

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Inscription at Haddon Hall © David Gill

A Roman altar is displayed in the porch of Haddon Hall, near Bakewell in Derbyshire (RIB 278). It is reported to have been found prior to 1695 (its first known mention in Camden’s Britannia) by the river in the grounds of the hall.

The altar is dedicated to Mars Braciaca by Q. Sittius Caecilianus, prefect of the First Aquitanian cohort.

The same unit is attested at Brough on Noe (Navio; near Castleton, Derbyshire) c. AD 158, during the reign of Antoninus Pius and the governorship of Iulius Verus (RIB 283). Prior to this (probably during the governorship of Sextus Iulius Severus, c. 130) the unit seems to have been located at Carrawburgh on the line of Hadrian’s Wall (RIB 1550).

Anthony Birley has suggested that the Sittii family could be from the area of Cirta in Africa, and that Caecilianus “may also be regarded as a Numidian”.

Big Butterfly Count and Heritage Sites

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Small tortoiseshell at Castle Acre © David Gill

The UK Big Butterfly Count started on 15 July and runs until 7 August. On Thursday evening the pits at Grime’s Graves were alive with Meadow Browns.

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Meadow Brown at Grime’s Graves © David Gill

On Saturday there was a particularly fine Small Tortoiseshell in the reconstructed herb garden at Castle Acre.

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Medicinal herb garden at Castle Acre © David Gill

In previous years I spotted a Small White on the lavender in the gardens of Bolsover Castle.

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Small White at Bolsover Castle © David Gill

Why not take a pen and paper (form available) or download the app, and record how many butterflies you spot when you next visit a heritage site? Then upload it to the Big Butterfly Count.

Leading Visitor Attractions: English Heritage

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Stonehenge © David Gill

The Visitor Figures for 2015 are now available (ALVA). The top English Heritage attraction is Stonehenge with 1.3 million visitors (no. 21) and showing an increase of 2.0% on 2014.

This is followed by:

  • no. 89: Dover Castle (331K)
  • no. 107: Osborne House (248K)
  • no. 133: Tintagel Castle (193K)
  • no. 144: Kenwood (159K)
  • no. 151: Audley End (150K)
  • no. 152: Whitby Abbey (146K)
  • no. 153: Clifford’s Tower (144K)
  • no. 162: Carisbrooke Castle (112K)
  • no. 163: Wrest Park (108K)
  • no. 166: Housesteads (107K)
  • no. 167: Battle Abbey (106K)
  • no. 168: Kenilworth Castle (106K)
  • no. 171: Eltham Palace (95K)
  • no. 176: Bolsover Castle (88K)
  • no. 180: Walmer Castle (76K)
  • no. 182: Pendennis Castle (73K)

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Bolsover Castle © David Gill