Remember - Its not the length of your life that's important - it's the depth.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

More Fun in the Sun

On Monday the fun continued, Lisa and I have been planning to go to Berkeley Castle (where Wolf Hall was filmed) for some time. I was taken as a child (Boring!!! was the verdict back then!) and again when DD was home from University (enjoyed it much more that time) but I had not been back since. After hearing that a 'bloody murder' (*find some 'interesting facts' at the end) had taken place there, Lisa was keen to go. We set off in warm sunshine with Lisa driving as my car decided to get a flat tyre!  (I left DH to deal with that:-))
My pictures will not do the rooms and buildings justice so pop over to the website to get lovely views but here are a couple of things that took my eye.

This splendid fellow greeted us as we entered, dressed in the riding habit of the Hunt 'Whipper In' who is in charge of the hounds during the meets and also in kennels. He wears a yellow coat and breeches with the castle depicted on his legs. Hounds and Horses are still kept at the castle stables/Kennels but since the introduction of the hunting ban they now follow 'fake trails' of aniseed. Its quite a spectacle on Boxing Day here in Thornbury as riders of all ages join with the Berkeley Hunt in their splendid Red riding Jackets and the pack of hounds and is quite a spectacle which people come from far and wide to witness.
Next we went to The Yurt Restaurant for some early refreshment as we arrived just before the castle was open to visitors, and suitably refreshed we visited the walled garden, where the colours of the flowers were amazing!

Now I'm not good with the names of plants, but I think these are Gladiola

and I don't have a clue what these are but they were so pretty!

I liked the contrast between the Lavender alongside more Gladi's. There were also lots of Fruit trees - Apples, Pears, Damsons, Greengages and Plums as well as soft fruits and some veggies.
We made a tour of the Formal gardens as I wanted to see this pool...

which had at some point in history been a swimming pool, but is now a rather lovely Lily Pool which was full of Water Boatman Beetles which I have not seen since I was a child. I especially liked the view of the castle from the little building at the far end.

We then went into the castle 'proper', and we were warned about the 'Tripping Stairs' at the main doorway - built so that the stone steps are different heights, widths and very uneven, built this way deliberately in case the walls were breached and the marauding Armies would fall as they charged up the steps into the building. 
As we made our own way around the rooms rather than take a guided tour I don't think Lisa was disappointed, though she was a little taken aback by the Dungeon some 10 metres deep with no way out and right next to it the little cell where 'The Bloody Murder' was carried out!

There were some beautiful examples of needlework, both Facsimiles but still amazing!

this is one of a pair of Embroidered Gauntlets 

and an Alms Purse as owned by Queen Elizabeth l, both hand embroidered by several Ladies Of Berkeley. 

In another room were these delicate paper slippers

The label to describe thoughts behind them is shown here...but sadly no name for the crafts-person who made them!

Completing our tour of all the rooms including Kitchens, Game Rooms (where the meat would have been hung from large hooks in the ceiling), wine cellars etc we took advantage of lunch, again in the Yurt before going into the Butterfly house where it was hot and steamy and we were surrounded by Butterflies of every colour and hue

and the biggest Moth I have ever set eyes on!

we were informed by a staff member that it is an Atlas Moth. Now I DO NOT like moths but I have to admit this was a beauty so I got very brave and went close enough to take this picture!

We explored the Herb garden of The Jenner Museum but did not go into the house itself, and wandered round the grave yard of the lovely St Mary's Church where there were many very old and interesting tomb stones, including a gentleman who had been Mayor of Berkeley 5 times in the 1700's. 
Well that's it for this post I'll be back soon for a tour around another of Britain's Stately homes which we enjoyed today, and which is probably well known to you all!

Interesting Facts taken from the website ...

The murder of King Edward II notoriously took place here in 1327.

The Barons of the West gathered at Berkeley before setting out to the momentous meeting with King John at Runnymede at which the Magna Carta was signed.

During the English Civil War, the Royalists surrendered the Castle to the Parliamentarians after a siege.

The very first American Thanksgiving was held by Berkeley men.

Yale and the University of California both benefited from the legacy of Bishop George Berkeley of Cloyne in the 18th Century.

Edward Jenner, son of the vicar of Berkeley, developed the smallpox vaccination.

The last court jester in England died here in the Castle when he tumbled from the minstrel's gallery in the Great Hall (did he fall, or was he pushed?).

The Castle has many links with the monarchs of England: most notably King John, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, Charles I, George I, the Prince Regent - to name but a few.

Francis Drake, Queen Elizabeth's most famous sea captain, was a regular visitor to Berkeley.

Berkeley Connections All Over The World

Having been such a long-living and prolific family means that there are Berkeley connections all over the world, from Berkeley Square in London, to the North of America and Australia in the South.

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