There are multitudes of beautiful manors, gardens, historic forts, castles and priories all over Great Britain – it’s hard to choose which ones to visit and which to pass over, but one can’t see them all!
English Heritage is the custodian of over 400 historic monuments, buildings, and sites and we purchased a 2-person £60 Visitors Pass with 16 days of unlimited access. It became a Scavenger Hunt for us to visit as many of the various sites near us. All of the sites mentioned in today’s post plus the Hadrian’s Wall sites of Birdoswald and Homesteads, the York Cold War Bunker and Clifford’s Tower in York (from last week’s post) are under the English Heritage custodianship. The entrance fees for 2 to these sites would have cost £107.60 so we’re content that we got our money’s worth!
Once upon a time…
Burgh Castle aka “Gariannonum”
Upon arriving at Burgh Castle I was surprised to find the ruins of a “fort of the Saxon Shore” – one of the many 3rd and 4th century forts the Romans constructed along the southeast coast of Britannia and the coasts of Belgium and France for protection from the raiders and piracy.
“Gariannonum” is considered the best preserved Roman monument in all of England!
King Henry II built this castle when he realized that his land barons were more powerful than him and needed to guard his eastern port against foreign mercenaries coming to their aid against him. He also seized castles from his opponents.
The main halls are only 30′ across making it feel, in my humble opinion, homey and cozy – as far as castles go. In the 1330s it was passed to Robert Orford.
Hugh Bigod, the 1st Earl of Norfolk, built the first stone castle at Framlingham which King Henry II confiscated in the 1150s to punish him. Back in favor with the King, the castle was rebuilt by Hugh Bigod’s son only to be unsuccessfully besieged against by King John seeking revenge on his Barons after being forced to sign the Magna Carta. John Howard inherited the castle and became the 1st Howard Duke of Norfolk.
The colorful cast of characters stepping into England’s dramatic story make repeated appearances. One of these is the powerful Howard Family. (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were of the Howard Family, both married to and ultimately beheaded by, King Henry VIII.)
Inherited by Mary Tudor (“Bloody Mary” daughter of King Henry VIII), Framlingham is where she mustered her supporters in 1533 after the death of her half brother King Edward VI in her claim for the crown against Queen Jane Gray (who ruled only 9 days). As Queen, Mary restored Framlingham to the Howards. Later, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk was executed by his cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, (another of King Henry VIII’s daughters) because he plotted to wed Mary, Queen of the Scots and make her Queen of England and Scotland. Framlingham was returned to the Howards by King James I (the son of Mary, Queen of Scots) but they had to sell it to pay their many debts.
Audley End House and Gardens
King Henry VIII confiscated (surprise!) the land from the Church and gave it to his Lord Chancellor, Thomas Audley. Eventually it was inherited by his grandson Thomas Howard (Oh! We’ve heard about ths guy before) who was Lord Treasurer to King James I (Remember? Mary, Queen of Scots’ boy) who rebuilt the house on a massive scale in the early 1600s in hopes that he could entice the King to visit. A very expensive bed was purchased for the princely sum of $40,000 in today’s money, in which the King never slept.
I love learning about how things are done the behind-the-scenes. Visiting the Coal Room I learned how the footmen would fill coal buckets in order to lay a fire in each room of the house and where hot water was heated to be hand carried to the rooms for bathing.
In 1668, King Charles II bought the home, but never completely paid for it. When it was in need of repairs he gave it back to the original family whose heirs lived in it until 1948.
When Your Home is Not a Castle
And like all good stories, we know, they lived happily ever after.
Dear friends, the last 10 days we have been enjoying swimming, siestas, and sunny skies near Granada, Spain. Next time I’ll Meet You en la Mañana.