Monday, October 10, 2011

Kenilworth Castle

I'm back once again with more pictures of jolly ol' England, this time from the Midlands.  Our GPS sometimes cracks me up; you know the part in the movie A Bug's Life (I think it's that one, what was the other bug movie that came out around that time?) where something falls in the path of a line of ants carrying leaves, and the ant right behind the obstruction starts caterwauling "I'M LOOOOOST!!!"  So we had some trouble finding our hotel in Warwick using the address or post code until we remembered that the GPS also has hotels loaded into it, so we got it that way.  The silly thing navigated us right to the hotel but once we got in the parking lot it decided it was lost and couldn't find anything else.  We couldn't get directions to anywhere unless we waited to program it when we were on the highway (obviously I did that while Lee drove).  Every time we went back in that parking lot, the GPS got lost again.  Weird, since it's the one that took us there in the first place, but there you have it.

The first place we went in Warwickshire was Kenilworth Castle, which started as a Norman stronghold in the 1100s and was enlarged and refortified several times over the centuries, but is now most associated with Queen Elizabeth I, who gave the castle to her favorite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.  I never made the connection before between Robert Dudley and Lady Jane, the Nine Days Queen:  Jane was married to Robert's brother Guildford.  Jane, Guildford, and his father the Duke of Northumberland were all later executed for treason when Bloody Mary took the throne. I know I've talked about Lady Jane before; she's always been interesting to me and I always pitied her for really getting the short end of the stick.  So anyway, Elizabeth having such an attachment to Robert Dudley was a bit of a scandal not just because Robert was already married but because of his recent family history.

Anyway, photos.

Once again, I had charge of the camera, and Lee kind of rolled his eyes that there were like four people on the castle grounds when we got there (including us) and I got one of them in my picture.  He always wants pictures with no people in them which just isn't possible sometimes, and I'm not as picky about it as he is : )

This is the old stables, which now houses a little cafe (which I find amusing) and an exhibit about the castle's history.

This is the Great Tower, which was built in the 1120s by Geoffrey de Clinton and remodeled by Robert Dudley in 1570.

This is Leicester's Building, which was built by Robert Dudley in the 1570s to house Queen Elizabeth and her retinue when they visited the castle.  Elizabeth liked to travel and during the first half of her reign, she would make progresses through the country, staying at the homes of nobles along the way.  She stayed at Kenilworth three times during her reign, the last time for 19 days, longer than she ever stayed anywhere else while out on progress.

These are the ruins dating back to the time of John of Gaunt, in the 1370s.  And I think the ground slopes to the left so maybe this picture isn't as crooked as you might think ; )

I think this is the south side of the Great Tower that faces the courtyard, across from Leicester's Building.  John of Gaunt's Great Hall forms a third side of the courtyard.

More ruins from John of Gaunt's time.

There's my sweetie pie!  Isn't he cute : )

Ruins of one of the towers.  I like the stone they used on this castle, it's got a nice warm color to it.

This is the Great Hall; the hall itself would have been on the second floor and the first floor (ground level) would have been storage.  The Brits call the first floor above ground level the first floor whereas Americans call it the second floor.  Does that make any sense?  Americans go from ground/first floor to second, whereas Brits have a ground floor, a first floor, and a second floor for three total stories.  Not sure I'm explaining this well, but let's move on nonetheless.

Those are some gigantor windows.  We were wondering if they had just plain glass in them or maybe some stained glass, because stained glass would have been beautiful especially in the evening since these windows face west.

Great Hall taken from the second floor.  Or is it the first floor?  Now I'm confused.

Got a bit of lens flare in this one but I kind of like the effect.  Pictures usually come out better if you've got the sun behind you when you take them, though--colors are richer where if you're shooting towards the sun everything looks more washed out.  See?  I have learned something about photography!

View over the countryside from the Great Hall.  In medieval times, several streams were dammed to create a lake that came up right next to the castle on two sides, and a moat encircled the rest of the castle.

One more just 'cause I liked this picture.  I've got a few more pictures to share for next time before we move on to the next place.  For now though, I'm going to go write out a shopping list and maybe try to work on Sarah's baby book, which is still not finished.  I need more peanut M&Ms.  Believe me, those two thoughts are related.


CCsMom said...

Woo hoo! More beautiful pictures. I need to have time to read this, though. Can't wait to see these things in person. Hope you are doing better today -- rested. LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU!!!

Giffysk8s said...

Loving your historical narratives!

Loved the variation in colors and shadows on the photo of the Great Tower. I really loved the one of Leicester's Building. The shadow of the tree on the building is so cool! And then I saw the photo of the ruins from the 1370s. I think I fell in love lol. The juxtaposition of light and dark is stunning! You are totally rocking this photography thing!

I'm guessing stained glass for the windows. Stained glass windows always seem to be shaped exactly like those. How beautiful those must have been!

And for what it's worth, I totally agree with you: Lee IS cute and Peanut M&Ms make everything better!

CCsMom said...

Does Lee ever get tired of seeing ruin after ruin? Just curious.