Sunday, 13 February 2011

In Which There Is a Castle, A Floor, and Family

My younger sister came to visit this weekend, partlly in order to see me, and partly in order to collect some wood flooring from my other sister's nearly-in-laws, which  they no longer want but which my sister does. As I live about 40 minutes from their home, it's easier for E to visit me & make a trip to pick up the flooring, than to come all the way from her home.
 She arrived on Friday evening, and we did some catching up. On Saturday it came a nice bright sunny morning, so we went out to visit Farleigh Hungerford Castle, which is a ruined castle a few miles from here - I pass it on my journey to work every morning.

The castle was originallly built in the 14th century, althugh there were considerabe changes and additions in the 15th century, and the place fell into ruins after the civil war.

The Hungerford family had their share of dodgy ancestors - including a charming lady in the 16th Century, who murdered her 1st husband in order to marry the lord, and was eventually tried and executed after her 2nd husband died, and her step-son inherited the title.

The son apparently later went mad,, and kepy his own wofe imprisoned in one of the towers, where she was fed by baskets of food sent up by local villagers!

Within the castle is a small chapel where there is a surviving medieval wall painting of St George, which was preserved by having been plastered over  (also another painting of the Hungerford's coat of arms, which was apparently painted about 100 years after they lost the title and the right to the coat of arms. Obviously they weren't finding it easy to accept!)

There is also a crypt, which has some rather grim lead coffins, dating to the 1600's, with death-masks over the heads. however, you cannot go right up to them because there is an iron gate in the way. Tnis was apparently put in in the early 1800's becuae visitors were poking sticks through a ghole in one of the lead coffins in order to (And I am not making this up) TASTE the gloop inside.

I mean, what kind of person stirs the contents of an old sarcophagus with a stick and then thinks, "y'know, I really wonder what this tastes like"?!?

After leaving the castle, we were going to visit a Barrow which is supposed to be near by, but we were not able to find it, aand decided not to risk taking the car up the very narrow, very steep & very muddy lane which seemed the only one ging in the right direction. Instead, we headed over to Bradford on Avon for lunch and cakes, then down to Dorset to pick up the flooring.

Today, we had had thoughts of going to Bath, but as it turne out to be a miserable grey, rainy day we ended up having a lazy morning & brunch, then E headed home, and I turned by attention to fun stuff such as laundry, housework, and blogging.

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