Thursday, February 06, 2014

Lincolnshire castles

click photo to enlarge
Lincolnshire, though a large county, has relatively few castles, and even fewer if we only include those that today look like the castles of our imagining. Lincoln Castle is the most complete with extensive Norman walls, a keep, part of a tower, a thirteenth century tower and the exterior of a gateway of fourteenth century date. At Old Bolingbroke, once a large castle, only the mound, ditches and some low walling remains. Grimsthorpe Castle is a country house but one built around earlier remains of which only King John's Tower still stands. The often overlooked Somerton Castle near Boothby Graffoe has vaulted rooms in round angle towers. There are quite a few Norman motte and baileys, but most, such as those at Castle Bytham and Sleaford, remain only as grassy mounds, though Stamford does rather better with some walling still standing. Elsewhere a few towers and fortified houses can still be found, such as those at South Kyme, and Boston (the Hussey Tower and the Rochford Tower).

That short list sums up the major fortified remains of Lincolnshire. So, you may be thinking, why hasn't Tattershall Castle (above) been included. Well, as I noted in my earlier post about this brick-built castle, it was never built as a mainly defensive structure in the way that most other castles were. It has the form of a castle - a tall, embattled keep with machicolations, a moated bailey with a defensible bridging point, etc - but it was made of brick at a time (1434-1450) when canons were capable of reducing it to rubble in quite short order. It could not have lasted long as a stronghold against even a moderately large, well-equipped attacking force. The raison d'etre for Tattershall seems to have been impressing the locals and building up the standing of its owner, Ralph Cromwell, Lord High Treasurer of England under Henry VI.

The castle is in the care the National Trust and closed for the winter until March. So, on the day when we went to see the nearby church I was restricted in the locations from which I could photograph the adjoining castle tower. This shot was taken from the outer wall of the moat.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On