Skipton Castle

No rain and clear skies and no horse duties for Julie today, Nikki had the keys and was taking LIGHTENING out for the day! We sat having breakfast and Julie said “how about Skipton Castle?”

It was a clear but cold day, the Landi is with Rob Drysdale at present getting an electrical upgrade and an armoured chin fitted down at his place at Whitley Bridge near Askern, Doncaster just off the A19. For you Land Rover folk who don’t know him he can be found at  www.rdlandroverspecialists.com or..01977661496 /07881 476717…and if you come on the right day I’ll be there to make a nice cup of coffee with chokki biscuit!

We were cruising along the empty M62 in Julie’s car towards the Bradford exit for the M606, at junction though we turned onto A58 towards Halifax onto Queensbury..Mountain..Denholme and to Keighley. We went up the M606 through Bradford once but its a sprawling traffic halting metropolis shit hole! Sorry to you English folk living there but thats what I thought of the drive, as for you Asians who live there it probably fits in with Grandads stories of Calcutta or Bombay? Its shorter in miles maybe but its all stop start stop start and all the green lights go to red and the red lights stay on red for ages Grrrrrrr! Trust me its quicker driving through London and thats a lot bigger. Besides, going the other way is cross-country, greener and more pleasing to the eye…and gearbox!

The sky turned grey as the road climbed higher and higher, the school at Mountain is supposed to be the highest in England, the 30 mph signs flash and the yellow “ker-ching” cameras line everyone up even though its Sunday, cars have no option but to dawdle through the soulless empty high street. The temp gauge blinked at 1 degree, it had started in Doncaster this morning at 3 degrees.

Fog lay in the distant valley off to the right and obscured the usually panoramic view over Bradford. Looking into the horrible grey stuff its understandable why some folk get a bit depressed as it stiffles the air and mutes the sounds of nature, the horses thundering hooves the bird song the cow moo and the thumping rabbits foot, even the faint jet noise high above are all crushed into silence.The damp “clag” clings and wets ones clothes it wets the skin and hair even making eyelashes heavy with the moistness and makes a terrible mess of ladies hair! I know its part of Mother Nature but I’ve no idea what useful part it plays….Oh well it is part of winter and we have it to endure I suppose.

An hour later we  parked the car in a bustling Sunday lunchtime in Skipton, we walked up the hill in the town centre to the castle which is right behind the big church, it’s not a tall imposing type ruin of a  castle, more of a thick low squatting sturdy “hard as bstrd nails” type structure, obscured for the most part by the church and the colourless trees and shrubbery…that’s another thing the grey stuff stifles…colour!

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                                                    Skipton Castle

    The Lab is waiting for the Mr to return, Julie waits for me…

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Julie bought a small book and basically it states….The castle was originally a motto and bailey castle built-in 1090 by Robert de Romille. The earth and wood castle was rebuilt in stone to withstand attacks by the Scots.When the Romille line died out in 1310 Edward II granted the castle to Robert Clifford who was appointed Lord Clifford of Skipton, he ordered many improvements to the fortifications, but died in the Battle of Bannockburn when the improvements were barely complete. During the English Civil War the castle was the only Royalist stronghold in the north of England. After a three-year siege, a surrender was negotiated between Oliver Cromwell and the Royalists. Cromwell ordered the removal of the castle roofs. Legend has it that during the siege, sheep fleeces were hung over the walls to deaden the impact from the rounds of cannon fire. Sheep fleeces feature in the town’s coat of arms Skipton remained the Clifford’s principal seat until 1676. Lady Anne Clifford (1590–1676) was the last Clifford to own it. After the siege, she ordered repairs and she planted a yew tree in the central courtyard to commemorate its repair after the war. Today Skipton Castle is a well preserved medieval castle and is a tourist attraction and private residence…..

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We have to settle for a couple of brass cartridge cases by the living room fire. But in their day they had a couple of modest sized captured Scottish cannon….well ard!

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                         Proper stone floors…. not yer MFI rubbish!

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Not quite your Belfast sink, but this still works and its over 300 years old! Note the lead drain pipe underneath!

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The inner courtyard with the 300+ year old Yew Tree as the centre piece.

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                                                A man-sized fireplace!

In their day the kitchen was no place for women, in fact they were not allowed there. The work was very heavy hot and hard. Bread making for example, the hot coals or charcoal was shovelled to the front to make way for the bread dough to be laid against the hot stone walls at the back and the side.

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                                               The stairway down to Ye Dungeon

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The prisoners had it cushy on those days looking at the ample space they had compared to todays prison cells!

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                                                                   What??

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Sat on said Garderobe thinking “What ferkin lump of moss??”

The following is basically what the pamphlet states…….The castle was originally a motte and bailey castle built in 1090 by Robert de Romille, lord of the multiple estates of Bolton Abbey. Shortly after 1102 Henry I extended Romille’s lands to include all of upper Wharfedale and upper Airedale.The earth and wood castle was rebuilt in stone to withstand attacks by the Scots.  When eventually  the Romille line died out in 1310 Edward II granted the castle to Robert Clifford.  Robert Clifford ordered many improvements to the fortifications, but died in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 when the improvements were barely complete.

During the English Civil War the castle was the only Royalist stronghold in the north of England. After a three-year siege, a surrender was negotiated between Oliver Cromwell and the Royalists. Cromwell ordered the removal of the castle roofs. Legend has it that during the siege, sheep fleeces were hung over the walls to deaden the impact from the rounds of cannon fire. Sheep fleeces feature in the town’s coat of arms. Lady Anne Clifford was the last Clifford to own it. After the siege, she ordered repairs and she planted a yew tree in the central courtyard to commemorate its repair after the war…….

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 A “selfie”  taken near the front door of a very quiet Skipton Castle today Sunday 12 January 2014.

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