After we left Stonehenge, we drove into a town whose name escapes me at the moment and had lunch at a Gucci Pizza Hut. Lee and I both graduated from Baylor University, and there are three HEB grocery stores near the campus, which are nicknamed the Ghetto HEB (closest to campus), Gucci HEB, and Taj maHEB (and you pronounce HEB not as initials but "heeb"). So that's what I'm referencing when I say Gucci Pizza Hut : ) Missy will get it!
After lunch, we set out for Old Wardour Castle which is 15 miles away from Stonehenge. Once again we thought our GPS had lost its marbles, but it turns out this castle is just kind of out back of beyond--the GPS got us close enough to the castle that we were able to follow signs to it when the GPS started telling us to go weird directions. You have to drive up a couple of miles of narrow windy roads, narrow enough that it can be difficult to pass someone going the opposite direction, and you don't really see the castle until you're practically on top of it. But the area is beyond gorgeous so it was a pleasant drive for all that, and here's what you see from the small parking lot when you get there:
I chose a tree branch shot for you, Miss Vicki : ) The sunlight was coming from the wrong direction to make this picture look really good, but we did get some very nice shots from the other side of the castle. This one was never a residence of royalty; it was initially built by John, the fifth Lord Lovel, in the late 1300s, and then acquired later by the Arundell family and updated and altered in the 1570s. Lord Lovel's wife, Maud Holand, was related by marriage to the royal family, and they were able to use that connection to increase their own money and power.
Again, not the best angle for the shot, but hey, it's proof that we were there. The castle is an unusual hexagon shape; the back side of the castle was destroyed during the English Civil War in 1644. Wardour didn't really have any tactical value, but was attacked because the Arundell family supported the Royalist cause and the neighboring Hungerford family (or at least part of it) supported the Parliamentarians. (If you don't remember, the English Civil War kind of boiled down to the question of whether the king had "divine right" to rule any way he wished, or if he should be subject to the consent of Parliament. The Parliamentarians eventually won and England became a Commonwealth with Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector, who later canceled Christmas. True story.) So Hungerford attacked the castle more to keep the Arundell family from using their wealth and power to support the Royalist cause; Hungerford won the castle in 1643 and Lord Arundell besieged it in an attempt to win it back, so he was the one who blew the wall off his own castle by accident.
This is a view of the lake with the castle's back side directly behind us. Told you it was a pretty area.
After it was rendered uninhabitable, the Arundell family eventually built a new (much smaller) house a couple of miles away and used Old Wardour as a "romantic ruin". They landscaped the area to make it look pretty because in the 1750s, romantic ruins were very popular not just with the artistic set, so this was kind of like a mini theme park. I do have to say that the ruination of the castle does make for some interesting pictures, and the castle has also been used for films. Go watch the beginning of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (I'll wait), and the castle where Robin's dad lives is Old Wardour. Cool, huh? So no King Arthur connection for this place, but Robin Hood is fun too.
The shadow on the ground is from the small Banqueting Hall that was added to the grounds when the "romantic ruin" thing was so popular; I just liked the pattern of the shadow on the grass.
I took lots and LOTS of pictures, like over 80, so of course I won't share *all* of those with you ; ) but I couldn't pick just a few favorites.
Lee loved the lawn here, and wishes that our lawn was like this. Won't happen as long as we have two nutty dogs who don't confine themselves to a single patch of grass when they relieve themselves though.
K, too much shadow in here for a really good shot, but that's Lee looking in the well inside the castle courtyard. When it was intact, the castle was 4 or 5 stories tall and the courtyard was completely enclosed, so it would have been *really* dark back in the day. I think they used the courtyard for the part where Robin finds his dead father.
Kind of gives you a sense of how tall the walls are with Lee standing there. Since he insists that I take most of the pictures now, he's in a lot more of them than he used to be, haha. He didn't consider that consequence when he said I had to take almost all the pictures from here on out.
I don't know exactly why, but I just loved this castle, it's one of my favorites thus far. I like all the details like the arches on the doors and the carving everywhere; on behalf of English Heritage I was irritated to discover how much graffiti there is inside the castle. The stones are relatively soft, so people have carved their names and stuff all over the place, which is just...argh. Why do people do that?
Another courtyard shot. Geez, I really thought I skinnied down the queue of pictures but it seems like I don't catch some similar shots until I've got them on the blog. Well, whatever.
One of the many stairways in the castle, we liked how this one started out going to the left and then curled up to the right. It seemed like there were stairs everywhere, I think my confusion with the layout is due to all the alterations to the original design in conjunction with the damage sustained in the Civil War. Plus I really do think there were stairs everywhere : ) I have more pictures from Old Wardour but I'm going to wait to post the rest just because I like to drag things out a bit, ha!
I still haven't given Lee the chance to edit any pictures either, so the only thing changed on these is that I shrunk 'em down a bit to upload faster on here. I'll just make sure Lee edits pictures how he wants them before I print them out for scrapbooks if I *ever* get back to my own books. Guess I'd better go work on those baby books a little more today...TTFN!