English Castles

The Mighty Dartmouth Castle: An Impregnable Fortress at the Mouth of the River Dart

I have devoted part of my career to studying and analyzing a vast array of fortresses. Throughout my extensive research, there has always been one castle that has stood out to me: Dartmouth Castle. This imposing fortress is located in the town of Dartmouth in Devon, England, and played a significant role in protecting the town and its harbor from invaders during the Middle Ages.

Constructed in the 14th century, Dartmouth Castle was strategically positioned at the mouth of the River Dart, giving it a critical advantage in monitoring traffic and launching surprise attacks against enemy ships. Its unique design is not a single large structure but a series of smaller buildings and towers that are interconnected by walls and walkways. This feature made it more easily defensible by creating a complex maze of corridors and obstacles that attackers would have to navigate to breach the castle walls.

The centerpiece of Dartmouth Castle is its towering keep, providing a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. Designed to be both imposing and functional, the keep’s thick walls and narrow staircases made it difficult for any attackers to reach the top. It was also equipped with various defensive features, including arrow slits, murder holes, and a drawbridge, making it almost impregnable and requiring a significant force to breach the castle defenses.

Aside from its defensive capabilities, Dartmouth Castle also provided a comfortable residence for its occupants. The castle was equipped with a range of amenities, including a kitchen, a great hall, and living quarters. Its impressive great hall featured a large fireplace and a high vaulted ceiling, creating an imposing space for feasting and entertainment.

Despite its imposing defenses and comfortable living conditions, Dartmouth Castle was never attacked during its time as an active fortress, thanks to its strategic location and strength of its defenses. However, the castle did see action during the English Civil War, when it was used as a garrison by Royalist troops.

After the Civil War, Dartmouth Castle fell into disrepair and was eventually restored in the 19th century, now serving as a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the castle’s many features and learn about its rich history, including a collection of historical artifacts and a display about the castle’s role in the Civil War.

A climb to the top of the keep is a highlight of a visit to Dartmouth Castle, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the River Dart estuary. The castle’s artillery tower is also a popular attraction, added in the 16th century to house cannons and other artillery pieces strategically placed at the end of the castle’s walls to cover both the estuary and the castle’s approach from land.

Dartmouth Castle is a remarkable example of how a fortress can evolve over time. Starting as a small fortress, it expanded and improved upon by different owners, resulting in a fascinating blend of different architectural styles and historical periods. Its impressive and commanding silhouette at the mouth of the River Dart make it a memorable sight and an important cultural landmark.

Dartmouth Castle remains a favorite of mine. Its unique design, impressive defenses, fascinating history, and commanding position make it a true treasure of the English countryside. Whether you are a history buff, a lover of architecture, or someone who appreciates the beauty of old buildings, Dartmouth Castle is a must-visit destination.

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Preserving Original Stone Work in Castle and Chateau Renovation

Castles and chateaus are symbols of history, architecture, and power that have been present in human culture for centuries. They are majestic structures that hold a special place in the hearts of many people around the world. As times change, however, these structures may fall into disrepair, and renovation becomes necessary. When it comes to castle and chateau renovation, preserving the original stone work is one of the most important considerations. In this essay, we will explore the importance of preserving original stone work in castle and chateau renovation, including the benefits of doing so, the challenges that can arise, and some strategies for achieving success.

Benefits of Preserving Original Stone Work The first benefit of preserving original stone work is that it helps maintain the historical integrity of the structure. Castles and chateaus are an important part of history and culture. They serve as a physical manifestation of the past, and the preservation of the original stone work helps to tell the story of the structure and the people who lived there. For example, the Tower of London, one of the most iconic castles in the world, was built in the 11th century, and its stone work has been preserved throughout the centuries. This has allowed visitors to see the structure as it was built and to experience the history and culture that it represents.

Preserving the original stone work also helps to maintain the value of the structure. Castles and chateaus are often valuable not just in terms of their historical and cultural significance, but also in terms of their monetary value. Renovations that preserve the original stone work can help to maintain or even increase the value of the structure. For example, the Chateau de Versailles, one of the most famous chateaus in the world, has undergone numerous renovations throughout its history, and the preservation of the original stone work has helped to maintain its value as a cultural and historical icon.

Challenges of Preserving Original Stone Work While there are many benefits to preserving original stone work in castle and chateau renovation, there are also some challenges that can arise. One of the main challenges is that the original stone work may be damaged or degraded. Many castles and chateaus are hundreds of years old, and the stone work may have deteriorated over time. This can make it difficult to preserve the original stone work, and it may be necessary to repair or replace some of the stone.

Another challenge is that preserving original stone work can be expensive. Stone is a durable material, but it is also heavy and difficult to work with. This can make it more expensive to preserve the original stone work than it would be to use a different material for the renovation. However, the cost of preserving the original stone work is often worth it in the long run, as it helps to maintain the historical and cultural significance of the structure.

Strategies for Preserving Original Stone Work Despite the challenges of preserving original stone work in castle and chateau renovation, there are some strategies that can help achieve success. The first strategy is to conduct a thorough assessment of the stone work before beginning any renovation work. This can help to identify any areas of the stone that are damaged or degraded and may need to be repaired or replaced. It can also help to determine the best way to preserve the original stone work.

The second strategy is to use traditional materials and techniques in the renovation. Castles and chateaus were originally constructed using traditional building methods and materials, and using these same materials and techniques in the renovation can help to preserve the historical and cultural significance of the structure. For example, if the original stone work was constructed using limestone, it may be best to use limestone in the renovation rather than a different type of stone.

The third strategy is to work with experienced stonemasons and restoration professionals.

Preserving original stone work in castle and chateau renovation requires a great deal of skill and expertise. Stonemasons and restoration professionals who specialize in historic building preservation are essential for ensuring that the renovation is done correctly. These professionals have experience working with historic materials and techniques, and they can provide valuable insights and advice on how to preserve the original stone work.

The fourth strategy is to use modern technologies to enhance the preservation of the original stone work. Modern techniques such as laser scanning and 3D modeling can be used to create accurate digital models of the original stone work. These models can then be used to guide the renovation work and ensure that the new stone work matches the original as closely as possible. This can be particularly useful in cases where the original stone work is severely damaged or degraded.

The fifth strategy is to create a detailed preservation plan that includes regular maintenance and care for the stone work. This plan should include regular inspections of the stone work, as well as a schedule for cleaning and repairs. Regular maintenance can help to prevent further damage to the stone work and ensure that it remains in good condition for future generations to enjoy.

Examples of Successful Preservation of Original Stone Work There are many examples of successful preservation of original stone work in castle and chateau renovation. One such example is the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. The castle has undergone numerous renovations throughout its history, and the original stone work has been carefully preserved. The castle is now a popular tourist attraction and an important part of Scotland’s cultural heritage.

Summary Preserving original stone work in castle and chateau renovation is essential for maintaining the historical and cultural significance of these structures. While there are challenges to preserving original stone work, there are also strategies that can help achieve success. These include conducting a thorough assessment of the stone work, using traditional materials and techniques, working with experienced professionals, using modern technologies, and creating a detailed preservation plan. There are many examples of successful preservation of original stone work, and these examples serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving our cultural heritage for future generations.

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Visit 9 Impressive Castles in Wales

Wales is one of the smallest countries in Europe, but it still has its own rich history and culture. There are castles all over Wales that date back centuries ago- 400 to be exact! Castles can be found by you if they’re on your radar screen while travelling through this fascinating country. The density (400) of these medieval structures outnumbers any other place with a comparable amount land mass which means there’s something for everyone within these walls; whether you enjoy exploring or learning about Welsh heritage firsthand from those who know best.

The Welsh countryside is dotted with imposing and magnificent castles, many of which were built in the 13th century by victorious English King Edward I following his conquest. With these new fortresses came an overwhelming sense of power over their conquered nation; not only did they protect against invasion from other countries, but also to keep Wales obedient to English rule. Here are 9 beautiful medieval structures that will leave you feeling a little intimidated!

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle in Wales

Located along the northern coast of Wales, Conwy Castle dates back to King Edward I. It was built during his conquest and it is an excellent example of medieval defensive architecture with iconic round towers. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site but you can also enjoy its beautiful gardens which were restored in 2010 by landscape architect David Childs who took inspiration from historic watercourses that once flowed through the ancient town walls.

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle in Wales

The Caernarfon Castle, originally designed by King Edward I in the 13th century stands over 200 feet tall. The views from its towers are breathtaking and have been seen as a vantage point for many centuries of Welsh people to watch their country go about it’s daily life below them on this ancient land that they call home. This castle has played an intricate role not only with Wales but also throughout Europe since medieval times when these kinds of castles were used both offensively against other rulers and defensively as fortresses in case conflict arose within one’s own borders.

Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle in Wales

Edward I built a series of castles, the last being Harlech Castle. There are many wild Welsh landscapes and this castle is no exception. Edward’s wars changed its fate as it was besieged in 1468 during the Wars of Roses but just three years later at Arrowe Hill (known as “The Battle Of The Red Dragon”) when Owen Tudor killed Henry VI with his battle axe; thus leading to Richard III taking over after winning Yorktown on October 2nd, 1485 against Lancastrian forces led by Margaret Beaufort from her stronghold Pembroke Castle. This lead to intermittent sieges for more than 200 years until Oliver Cromwell took down Charles II following England’s Civil War.

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle in Wales

You will find one of the most iconic landmarks in Wales, Cardiff Castle. Originally built as a third-century Roman fort and then rebuilt by Normans in 11th century before being given its 19th Century Gothic design makeover from Bute family who were Lords at that time.

The castle is now open to visitors where you can explore it’s history through impressive collections, beautiful gardens with stunning views or visit what remains of 3rd century Rome including an Amphitheatre and garrison buildings for Legionaries!

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle in Wales

Pembroke Castle is famous for being the birthplace of Henry VII in 1457. Originally a Norman fort built in 1093, it was fortified and expanded during 12th century periods. The castle is located near Wogan Cave which has been inhabited since Paleolithic and Mesolithic period with evidence dating back to 2800 BCE.

The earliest known people here were hunter-gatherers who lived off fish from the nearby River Severn’s estuary as well as game hunted on land using tools such stones or those fashioned out of antler found locally at sites like Pibwrlwyd Farm, Stradey Park House and Redhill Woodlands.

Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle in Wales

Caerphilly Castle is the largest castle in Wales, and the second-largest in all of Europe. Constructed from 1268 to 1283 by Norman nobleman Gilbert de Clare for his new Welsh wife Maud Plantagenet, it’s known as one of England’s most well-preserved medieval fortresses with its concentric defences that are unparalleled anywhere else on Earth. Its gatehouses resemble those at Windsor Castle – but taller! And don’t forget about Caerphilly’s trademark artificial lakes which were originally used as a defence against attackers during times when water was scarce or couldn’t be easily sourced elsewhere.

Penrhyn Castle

Penrhyn Castle in Wales

Unlike so many castles in Wales, Penrhyn Castle is a medieval fortified manor house. Built more than 500 years ago, it underwent reconstruction by King Charles II and later Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom as a result of fire damage sustained during World War I. The picturesque castle sits right on Bangor Bay between Snowdonia National Park to the north-west and Menai Strait to its south; you’ll find this spot just over an hour from London or Bristol airports!

Gwrych Castle

Gwrych Castle in Wales

Much like Castell Coch, Gwrych Castle is actually a more modern structure that was erected between 1819 and 1825 for Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh. Later it became home to the Earls of Dundonald who used its walls as refuge during World War II when 200 Jewish refugees found shelter inside its halls.

Roch Castle

Roch Castle in Wales

The Roch Castle is a 12th century Norman knight’s defensive structure to protect Flemish settlers from the Welsh. Built atop the Landsker, or “Little England,” it was also used as a royalist stronghold during the English Civil War and now functions as luxury hotel for visitors looking for historical charm in Wales.

There are lots of other castles in Wales, so if we’ve missed any of your favorites, be sure to share them in the comments below.

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Inside Dominic West’s Castle Home

In this episode of ‘Open Door,’ Dominic West takes us on a tour of Glin Castle, the Irish ancestral home of his wife Catherine FitzGerald’s family. The castle maintains its various period aesthetics, but with all the accoutrement of modern life. From the 10,000 year old Irish elk skull and antlers to the resident spirits and ghosts, Dominic and Catherine show us everything.


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Arundel Castle reopens to visitors as restrictions ease

ARUNDEL Castle has welcomed visitors back through its historic gates amid the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The building, which had remained closed over winter to carry out essential restoration work, reopened its doors today for the first time this year. Dating back to the 11th century, many of the castle’s original features, including the Norman keep, medieval gatehouse and barbican, remain today.

Like other attractions around Sussex, the castle has been forced to adapt to accommodate social distancing measures.

There is now a modified route that includes the Barons’ Hall, the library and the grand staircase where a recently restored 18th century tapestry can be seen.

Castle manager Stephen Manion said the historic keep will open once the restrictions are fully lifted.

He said: “Arundel Castle is delighted to open its doors to visitors as part of the steps out of lockdown.

“The fabulous rooms, art and furniture are all beautifully displayed within the magnificent castle building, parts of which date back to the 11th century.

“Due to social distancing, there is a modified route which includes the great Barons’ Hall, the amazing library and the grand staircase on which hangs the recently restored 18th century Gobelin tapestry, leading to the bedrooms.

“The historic keep will open later, when the restrictions are lifted, but can be admired from outside.

“The exciting medieval event from 29 May to 31 May will have falconry, the clash of steel and cries of victory from fearsome sword fighting displays.

“Aromas of cooking and the sound of the blacksmith will be accompanied by the pipe and drum of our musicians.

“For the young and young at heart, have-a-go archery will test their skills.”

Over the winter, a helicopter was used to carry materials in and out of the grounds, over the castle’s imposing walls. One highlight currently open to visitors is the Regency library, which contains 10,000 books. The staff remove and clean them individually each year when the castle closes.

The library is 122ft long and entirely fitted in Honduras mahogany and the oldest printed book is the Augsburg Bible, 1477. The grand Barons’ Hall, a view of the grand staircase and the dining room and drawing room are all also open until November 1.

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Culdees Castle Estate Now Undergoing Renovations

A RUINED castle that was left in a state of disrepair for over 50 years is undergoing renovations that will transform it into a new luxury venue, giving future guests the chance to holiday, wine and dine.  

Culdees Castle Estate, designed and built in 1810 for Charles Drummond, whose clan was rewarded for fighting with Robert the Bruce, has not been lived in since 1968, the new owners said. After gaining extensive experience in renovating properties and stumbling across the castle on a family holiday, Tracey Horton and Rob Beaton bought Culdees in the summer of 2019 and are “determined to restore the site to its former glory”.  

Ms Horton has extensive experience in property development and events management, and the pair have a long-term plan of restoring the whole castle. 

Following the purchase, the venture accessed a suite of Business Gateway’s start-up support services including advice on their business plan, marketing, and funding.

A dedicated adviser also provided guidance through regular virtual meetings and was able to signpost the couple to a business loan, helping them secure enough funding to turn their vision of turning the castle into a fully functioning venue into a reality.

After receiving Business Gateway’s support, the first phase of renovations is “making significant progress, and the estate now boasts a luxury glamping site with three cosy cabins, each named after previous custodians of the castle”.

Visitors to the site can enjoy hot tubs, fire pits and BBQs with direct views of the backlit castle. The couple hope to continue renovating the main body of the castle next year, and future plans include revamping the commercial kitchen and chapel, as well as designing a cosy whisky bothy. Ms Horton also hopes to develop a luxury champagne bar where guests can enjoy afternoon teas.

Ms Horton, managing director, Culdees Castle Estate, said: “We knew renovating Culdees Castle would be a big project, but we really appreciated the beauty of the building and were determined to transform it into something special. Perthshire has a great reputation for tourism, so we really needed to make Culdees stand out from the crowd.

“I have no doubt that the castle will give people something to look forward to as restrictions ease further, and I’m confident the venue will make a beautiful backdrop for the weddings that have been booked for later this year. We will continue to support Tracey and Rob as they continue their renovations and I look forward to seeing what they do next.” 

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Welcome to Saving Castles

Saving Castles is a revolutionary platform that empowers collective funding for foundations, associations, individuals or government agencies who need help in financing their projects. Saving Castles connects directly with project holders to engage them collaboratively and financially on preserving European heritage.

With Saving Castles you can easily find other project holders willing to contribute funds all while connecting with like-minded people in the process.

The Saving Castles team has been working for years to preserve our cultural heritage. With the help of crowdfunding, they can work with project developers and patrons so that these projects get off the ground. They take care of all financial exchanges in order to ensure success for all parties involved!

The people at Saving Castles want you – yes YOU-to be a part of preserving your culture’s history through their platform which helps promote successful transactions between fundraisers and donors or borrowers/investors who are interested in supporting them financially.

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