Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire

click photo to enlarge
Tattershall Castle was built by Ralph Cromwell in 1434-5 and was completed around 1450. Ralph held the title of Lord Comwell, was a Privy Councillor, and from 1433 to 1443 was Lord High Treasurer of England under Henry VI. His castle replaced an earlier structure dating from 1231 that was built by Sir Robert de Tateshall. The bases of two of this building's towers can still be seen.

Tattershall Castle was originally a much more extensive structure than we see today. As well as the remaining imposing keep and tall guardhouse it had an outer moat, outer bailey, inner moat, inner bailey, stables, gatehouse and kitchens. The area of the baileys and the moat ditches remain today, but little can be seen of the other buildings. There are not many brick castles in England - stone was much preferred - and people have speculated whether, towards the close of the castle building period, in an age of canon, the keep was designed for defence or simply to impress. Whatever the reason, and given Cromwell's unpopularity it was probably both, 700,000 bricks were used on the structure, with dressed stone reserved for window and door surrounds and certain other constructional and decorative details. Despite the expense and care taken in building the castle it didn't have a very long life, falling into disrepair soon after Cromwell's death. That we can see it today is largely due to Lord Curzon who responded to public dismay at the state of the castle by buying it in 1911 and restoring it. On Curzon's death Tattershall passed into the ownership of the National Trust who continue to maintain it today.

I took my photograph on a clear January morning. The castle was closed to the public, but this view was available by looking over a hedge on the track that leads to the adjacent Holy Trinity church, a building also funded by Ralph Cromwell.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 32mm
F No: 7.1 Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On