Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bolton Castle Part II--Private Quarters

Having seen most of Bolton Castle's public rooms, we now look into the private rooms of the Lord and Lady of the castle. The decor still follows the medieval style. The first room we come into is the Solar. This was the family's private sitting room. It faces south and thus benefited from the warmth of the sun (hence its name). It also overlooks the gardens and has a nice view of the countryside. The room was also used by Mary, Queen of Scots, when she was kept under close watch by Queen Elizabeth's allies. Their intent was to prevent Mary from taking over the English throne. She stayed at Bolton Castle in the 1568 and 1569.

Solar furnishings

Also heated by a fireplace

Ye olde entertainments

The door just next to the fireplace leads up to the nursery, where the children would have slept. The nursery probably was used by Mary's ladies in waiting during her stay. The room also has the only original ceiling (original meaning dating back to the 1300s), with oak beams and rafters. It is furnished with many of the practical and play things the children would have had. A writing desk allows visitors to try their skill with a quill. Some costumes are available for children to try.

The nursery

Bed and Dress (a good name for a pub?)

The writing desk

Jacob the knight

Autumn tries quilling

The other doorway off the Solar leads to the Great Chamber, where the family would have entertained relatives or important guests. Also, they would have taken their regular meals here. The room has both east and west windows, so it would have been well lit throughout the day. The furnishing would have been sparse as it is now. The tapestry on the south wall is quite ornate and very old, dating from the 1600s.

Great Hall west wall

Great Hall east wall

Tapestry from Brussels circa 1600

A spiral stair case from the Solar leads up to Lady Scrope's Bed Chamber. Mary's retinue used this room while the Queen used Lord Scrope's room upstairs.

The Lady's Bed Chamber

Fireplace and writing desk with arms of Crawford and Paulet above

Some embroideries

Up another flight of stairs is Lord Scrope's Bed Chamber. Only the principle occupant of the room would use the bed. Any servants or attendants would sleep on the floor, wrapped in blankets and probably as near to the fireplace as possible for warmth. This room is the farthest from all the kitchens and smithies below, so any noise or smoke or smells would be far removed. The upper class couldn't get more upper than this.

Putting the "bed" in bed chamber

The desk

Another staircase from here leads up to the battlements, where visitors can take in the remarkable views from the top of the house.

I can see my car from here

Climbing even higher!

View of the castle courtyard and chapel

View from the top with English flag

More of the countryside

After touring the castle, we headed back down to the tea room for a snack. From their we went outside to check out the gardens, which will be yet another blog entry.

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