Friday, October 28, 2011

Spofforth Castle and All Saints Church

After the deep, theological post about Spofforth Castle a few days ago, I thought I'd add some more about the castle and some of the lighter parts of our visit.
The castle was first built in the 11th century after the Norman conquest and it became the seat of the Percy family. They remained until the castle was burned down in 1461 during the War of the Roses. Another Percy restored it in 1559 only to have it reduced to ruins during the Civil War in the mid-1600s. In the 1900s it was gifted to the state and welcomes visitors year round.

We wandered in from the street down a nice dirt path. Descending one stair case brought us to the base of the ruins. Jacob and Lucy found an entrance on the side and went in immediately.

Racing to the ruins!

At least one of them was looking at the camera!

Jacob almost immediately discovered the one remaining tower which was blocked off at the base. He immediately speculated that one or more birds lived in it, like the tower in Whitby Abbey. We listened for a while. Eventually we did hear some birds calling, though I am not sure it was from the tower. Jacob could immediately tell a difference and was keen to explain it to me. This bird went "tweet, tweet." The Whitby bird went "coo, coo."

It looks like a fun climb, if it wasn't for the meddling wall blocking the stairs!

We went looking for another way to get up. Lucy found another staircase with the same disappointing results.

Look, Daddy, look!

The stairs were another dead end.

We found another stairway carved out of the rock in which the castle was built. It led to the exterior front of the castle, though there was still no access to the bird's tower.

There's no danger if you can't see the sign, right?

Who put this fence in our way?

We did run into a workman there who was raking out leaves and generally tidying up the place. We had a nice chat and he confirmed the lack of access to the upper levels of the tower. Jacob was a little disappointed but soon distracted with the need to pee, which we covered in the previous blog.

We also visited All Saints Church in town, which dates back a thousand years though it was mostly rebuilt quite recently (the 1850s). Like many ancient churches in England, it's now run by the Church of England (commonly abbreviated "COE" which I am finally getting used to). The interior is quite nice. Unfortunately, the lady there said they are selling off the pipes for the organ since it was not in working order. They plan to put a kitchen and indoor plumbing in its place, which seems like a mistake to me.

Pulpit of All Saints, Spofforth

The main altar with some nice stained glass

Pews with doors and a spot to hang your kneeling cushion!

Looking at their web site, I realized "Blind Jack" Metcalfe, famous local road builder who has a statue in the Knaresborough town square, is buried here. We should have checked the grave out before leaving. If only we'd known. Maybe we'll go back with visitors in the future. It was a nice short trip from home and we all had fun. And the castle is free!

Roadbuilder and Jacob in Knaresborough

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