Friday, 23 September 2016

A Tale of Tale of Two Castles Part 1 - Berkeley Castle

In recent weeks I have had the opportunity to visit two castles, both impressive and playing an important part in our history.

First came a visit to Berkeley Castle, normally just a trip down the M5, essential roadworks closing a railway bridge meant a diversion which took very close to Nibley Green, the location of the last private pitched battle fought on British soil. The battle was fought over the ownership of the very castle we were visiting.

Berkeley Castle is the oldest inhabited castle in the UK, it's history dating back to the Normans who built a chain of castles in the Marches to prevent invasion from Wales. Edward II was imprisoned and believed to have been killed here in 1327 on the orders of Roger Mortimer after he was recaptured after an escape attempt.

The castle changed hands a few times during the English Civil Wars eventually being besieged and taken when cannon were fired at point blank range at the walls until breached. Castles were usually raised once taken but it is believed cash changed hands and the castle still stands today.

The breach from outside

And shown from inside

I have included a few shots of the castle, its outer walls and rooms.

Spot the Venetian influence

The castle was expanded over many years and shows many differing styles

A murder hole is located below the middle crenellation and was used to pour hot liquid or sand on to the attackers once they have climbed the stairs which are oddly sized to trip the unwary.

 The minstrels gallery

Jacobite standard taken at Culloden

And another from Flodden

The moat

The former chapel, reputedly the most haunted room in the castle

There is also a great tea shop in a yurt in the grounds along with a butterfly room and the museum of Edward Jenner who used to live in the grounds. Jenner discovered the link between Cowpox and Smallpox and has the distinction of saving the most lives in human history. 

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