Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time Part 3

Alnwick Castle was first constructed in 1096 to protect the English border from Scottish attacks and border reivers. Reivers were cattle and sheep rustlers as we would call them. At times in history, reiving has been considered a right of passage and a heinous crime. I suppose it depended on the which side of the reiving you were on.

The castle is owned by a family and thus a private residence and we weren’t allowed to take photos inside but it has been used in numerous television programs and movies, including the Harry Potter series, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth, and the latest Robinhood movie.

On the far left of the picture is a sentry tower. Behind the wall is a stone parapet walk that leads along the top of the wall and allowed guards to walk and patrol an area of the castle battlements . To the right is the entrance to the bailey or the open courtyard that allows access to the castle buildings and the keep.

This is the entrance to the curtain wall where guards would have been posted and would question you about your business inside. Instead we had someone who checked our ticket.

Just ahead is the entrance to the Keep.

This is the courtyard that leads into the keep.  The archways you see create a covered Portico that forms a cressant along the back wall. It is beneath this where the entrance is.

Notice the light fixture mounted on the corner. I was facinated by it. This is the entrance.

What I remember most about the interior of the castle is the wonderful Library. I’d have moved in and stayed. The library was two storied. With a railed walkway suspended around three quarters of the room that allowed access to the upper story of books. Scholars often visit the castle after securing permission to use the library for their research.

The ceiling was constructed in a series of decorative shadow boxes in a Rococo design painted in blues and rich maroons. Couches, Settees, and chairs were set about the room. And lights were suspended from the walkway around the walls.

The dining room also stood out in my mind, set for dinner with exquisite china and crystal so fragile it made me nervous just breathing near it.

Two of the rooms had had the silk wall coverings replaced. One with red and one with green. The original design of the silk had been recreated specifically for this.

The gardens were extensive and you could buy a ticket just to view them.  The day we were there it hailed and we didn't think that would be such a good idea, but we did get to see some of the gardens and the treehouse restaurant that is just outside the entrance to the complex.

I love this image of the castle. I wish it were my own but it's borrowed.
It was a wonderful experience and England and Scotland are so fortunate that so many of their castles are actually used as residences and are shared with people like you and me.
Until next time.
Teresa Reasor


Keena Kincaid said...

Lovely photos. Even with the hail, I bet the gardens were beautiful.

Jody said...

That light fixture is fascinating. Did they date if for you? Was it lit by gas or my candle? The courtyard is very interesting.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Your tour was better than the one my dh and I took. Well, we did get to see inside two castles and one was fascinating--complete with a ghost of the lady in green. Lovely photos.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

WOW is all I can say. What a grand castle and how wonderful your photos are!!! Thank you!

Teresa Reasor said...

Thanks so much for your comments. And no they didn't date the light fixture. It had at one time been lite by gas I believe so that would have probably been during the Victorian Era. I'll have to do some research on that and find out.

Teresa R.

Nicole North said...

Fantastic photos! I also enjoy your detailed commentary.

Nancy said...

Beautiful! So gald you had a good time and thanks for sharing.

Annabelle Ambrosio said...

What a beautiful experience to view the pictures. thank you for posting them and your comments on the places you visited.