My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times


27 Mar 2008
  Henry and William at Carlisle Castle

Because we had German castles for a while now, I'll give you a Norman one for a change. And no, the title doesn't imply a slashy subtext, I very much doubt Henry II of England was wired that way, just ask Rosamond de Clifford.

I've mentioned in another post about Carlisle Castle that King David of Scotland captured it in 1135. David used the unruly times of the anarchy caused by the struggles between Stephen and Maud to attempt and add Northumbria (he was Earl of Northumberland) to Scotland. He finished the stone keep begun by Henry I.

David died at Carlise in 1153, and a year later Henry II ascended to the English throne and put an end to the internal strife for good.

Carlisle Castle, Keep

David's successor was Malcolm IV 'the Maiden' and no match for Henry, who promptly recaptured Carlisle in 1157 and put and end to Scottish ambitions towards Northumbria as well, or so he thought. He added a second curtain wall and the outer gatehouse to the castle.

Malcolm swore an oath of fealty for Northumberland to King Henry, thus further muddling up an already complicated pattern, because Malcom was king in his own right of Scotland and vassal of Henry II for Northumberland, while Henry II, King of England in his own right, was vassal of the King of France for the duchy of Normandy, and the possessions of his wife Eleanore, Aquitaine and Poitou. As Duke of Normandy, he was also liegelord to the Duke of Brittany, a relation not much liked by the ruling house of Brittany.

As Henry's vassal, Malcolm accompanied him on the siege of Toulouse in southern France, where Henry fished in the waters of the French king and proved a very disobedient vassal in his turn. Malcolm, on the other side, much as he called himself King of Scotland, had a bunch of Northmen sitting in Caithness and a bunch of Gaelic clans on the westcoast who didn't accept him as king; the latter were led by Somarled or Somhairle of Argyll. Somarled got killed in the battle of Renfrew and the west was a bit calmer for some time after that, but since Malcolm died shortly thereafter, it was of use only to his brother William 'the Lion' who succeeded him.

Outer Gatehouse

William was a very different character and a lot less willing than Malcolm to swear oaths to Henry, or leave one of the biggest castles in his earldom of Northumberland to him, claiming Northumbria to be part of Scotland.

Henry II over time managed to estrange his wife and antagonise his older sons - or maybe they were simply born a dysfunctional lot - so in 1173, William took his chance with Henry's eldest son, another Henry, who rebelled against daddy, and invaded Northumbria, laying siege to Carlisle while Henry the Son was busy causing troubles in the south.

The garrison of Carlisle was led by Robert de Vaux, who, confronted with diminishing supplies, unwilling soldiers and the aspect of being hanged outside the castle in chains (doesn't that remind us of someone? lol) considered surrender, but William's Scottish army left before they achieved their goal. I wonder if there were fresh problems on the westcoast and/or in Caithness that William abandoned the siege, because he laid siege to Alnwick castle only a few months later. But maybe his army was understrength then.

Battlements on the outer curtain wall

In 1174, William was captured at Alnwick, and any Scottish ambitions to Northumbria ended with an oath of fealty not only for the earldom but for Scotland itself that King William had to swear to King Henry II; result of the treaty of Falaise. Yes, that's another Norman castle, this time in Normandy proper. Those kings got around a lot. (It's also the seat of Roderic's uncle in Kings and Rebels because I'm going to use the conflict between William and Henry as model for the conflict between Villembaud and Robert.)

Henry came once more to Carlisle in 1186 and ordered a room for his private use to be established in the castle. He obviously liked the place. Or maybe he liked the idea that his presence so near to Scotland would have riled William and made him uneasy.

Inner gatehouse with inner curtain wall, and keep in the background

After Henry's death in 1189, Carlisle didn't see a king for a decade because Richard was off to the Holy Land, Germany, and other places more southerly, but John visited Carlisle several times. He wasn't very welcome, because he always raised the taxes. William's son Allexander II joined the rebellious barons in 1216, and it was his men who undermined the outer curtain and managed to win the inner gate, damaging the gatehouse in the process. There was hand to hand fighting in the keep itself until the castle finally fell to the rebels.

But Alexander was not able to earn any lasting fruits from this, and the relationship between Scotland and England remained strained and unruly. And then came Edward I.
 


22 Mar 2008
  Happy Easter

I wish everyone a Happy Easter. May there be lots of delicious food, yummy chocolate eggs, and a warm spring breeze.

The latter I won't get this year; we have snow. In March instead of January.

Lambs at Housesteads

Didn't see any bunnies in England though they are a plague in some areas. Hiding in the bushes when I walked past them, I bet. Plot bunnies, now they were another matter.
 


20 Mar 2008
  The Architecture of York Minster

You can imagine that it isn't easy to capture pictures of the outside of York Minster that do the magnificient building even a shade of justice. But I tried.

West façade

Processions in the Middle ages would have entered in the west and passed the length of the building, but today, the south transept gate with the rosette window serves as main entrance.

East nave

The east nave shows an additional, shorter transept; that's the place where the quire is located inside.

Crossing tower

Part of the main tower situated atop the crossing, seen from the west in the evening sun.

West nave

The Minster of York is the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps. Its ground plan is a bit different from the German churches I've visited. Their structure usually is a main nave plus side naves in either basilica or hall design, with a choir and apsis on the eastern end. Most of them have a transept that cuts the nave into a larger main and shorter choir segment, much like a cross. While the crossing sometimes has a tower, the main tower(s) are on part of the westwork.

Western nave (decorated style)

York Minster, which shows several stages of Gothic architecture, has two west-east running naves of the same length (the east nave holding the quire), the western one in basilica, the eastern in hall style, cut by a transept in the middle, and the crossing tower is the largest tower of the building.

North transept (early English style)

The different stages of architecture are visible in the different parts of the minster. The transept is Early English (1220-1260) which responds to the German Frühgotik, the western nave is Decorated (12-80-1350) and the eastern nave, the youngest, Perpendicular (built 1362-1472).

View from the crossing, facing south-west

I don't know if Katherine Kurtz visualised a particular church when she wrote the coronation scene in Deryni Rising, but I see York in that scene - with some additions like the sigils on the marble flagstones, of course.

Another exterior view of the west side

As usual, older buildings preceeded the minster, but in this case the first church probably stood at a different place in York. It was built for the baptism of Edwin of Northumbria on Easter Sunday 627, who then ordered the small wooden church to be rebuilt in stone.

The stone church was enlarged over time. It survived the times of Viking settlement but was badly damaged by fire when the Normans conquered the city in 1069. Poor Normans, nobody really wanted them around, and York aka Jorvik had enough of the Nord-men since they sent Erik Bloodaxe packing in 954. But the Normans stayed, and eventually archbishop Thomas of Bayeux built a new church in 1080

View towards the quire

During the mid twelfth century the cathedral was enlarged, and in 1215, the transepts were added under the reign of archbishop Walter Gray. His successor extended the western nave which was completed as late as 1360. The quire was completed in 1405, the central tower replaced after it had collapsed, and as last step, the western towers were erected between 1433 - 1472. Thus it took about 250 years to build the Minster we know today.

View towards the south entrance and the rosette window

After that, York Minster has changed but little. In 1984, a fire caused by lightning destroyed part of the south transept which has been restored. Renovations are going on on a regular basis since the 1970ies, and it was in course of the ongoing renovations that the remains of the preatorium of the Roman fort have been found under the minster.
 


6 Mar 2008
  Rebels, Scots and Jews - The History of the Clifford Tower in York

William the Conqueror had a motte and bailey castle built on the site in 1069. Since William and his Normans weren't the most popular guys in the area, the first wooden keep with earth wall fortifivation saw a lot of action, and some destruction and rebuilding in the following years.

The name Clifford's Tower dates to the late 13th century.

Clifford Tower, York

The castle was still a timber construction when King Henry II received King William's homage for Scotland in 1175. The tower played a sad role during the reign of Richard I.

In the 1170ies, a Jewish community had been established in York. Not only was there an increasing demand for credit among the lords, gentry, and even the Church, York also offered a castle - still a timber construction - where the Jews could find shelter in times of danger, or so they hoped.

The crusades (one of which started in 1187) inflamed feelings of antisemitism. It came to a riot during Richard Lionheart's coronation in Westminster Abbey in July 1189. Richard let some of the leaders hang and made it clear that the Jews were not to be molested in his realm. But after he went off to join Philippe Auguste on the crusade, new riots broke out in several English towns.

One victim of the West-minster massacre was Benedict of York, member of a deputation to the king. Troubles were not over for his family, though, because in March 1190, a band of men broke into his house in York, killied his widow and children, set the house on fire, and carried away Benedict's money chests and valuables. The riot soon spread and more houses were plundered and destroyed. The Jews, under their leader Josce of York, sought shelter in the castle keep, with an angry mob milling around outside.

Things got worse when the Warden of the Castle was denied admission because the Jews were afraid he might hand them over to their enemies. The warden returned with armed men led by the sheriff Richard de Malebys who happened to be deeply in debt to the Jews and laid siege to the castle. Facing torture and forced baptizm, many committed suicide, while others died in the flames of the wooden tower which the mob had managed to set afire, the few survivors were killed. About 150 Jews died in the inferno.

When the king's Chancellor learned about the incident, he dismissed the sheriff and the warden for failing to prevent the massacre and imposed a heavy fine on York's citizens.

Since the mob had also destroyed the records of debts due to Jews which were kept in the cathedral, Richard, upon his return from the Holy Land and captivity in Germany, introduced a system of duplicate records. It was not gratitude towards the Jews who paid the major share of his ransom, or any feelings of political correctness, but he wanted to ensure the Jews' fortunes were correctly listed so he could tax them.

A model of the tower, displayed inside the keep

When a big bunch of Scots were milling at the borders (again) in 1244, King Henry III visited the castle and ordered it to be rebuilt in stone. It took some 20 years to accomplish; the bailey received a curtain wall and two gateways, and the motte was crowned with a stone keep, then called King's Tower.

King Edward I used the castle to keep his treasury while campaigning against the Scots in 1298, and so did his son Edward II in 1322. But Edward II had problems not only with the Scots but with assorted rebels in his own realm. He defeated some of them at the Battle of Boroughbridge and had them executed at York. One, a Sir Roger Clifford, was hanged in chains outside the King's Tower which then was named Clifford's Tower. It's not clear whether he was hanged and the body displayed that way, or whether he was hanged there by his wrists to slowly die and rot. Whatever way, it was a demeaning punishment for a nobleman. Maybe Kathryn knows more about the incident.

Clifford Tower, inside view

Edward's wife Queen Isabella had been to York, as did her daughter-in-law Philippa who married Edward III in York Minster in 1328. During those times, the castle served as administrative seat, but already in 1358 the heavy stone keep was damaged because the ground gave way.

Another shot of the tower, this time against the sun

In 1484 the castle was in such poor repair that King Richard III ordered parts to be replaced, but since he didn't find a horse in the battle at Bosworth, his orders were never executed.


Another view of Clifford Tower

York Castle also played a role in the Civil War that broke out in 1642. The Royalists under Henry Clifford Earl of Cumberland took possession of castle and city of York and garrisoned them. The castle was repaired and the walls strengthened so they would support cannons. In April 1644, anti-Roaylist forces marched in from three sides: a Scottish army under Alexander Leslie Earl of Leven from the south, Parliamentary troops under Lord Fairfax from the east, and somewhat later, Edward Montagu Earl of Manchester added a third contingent, bringing the forces that besieged York up to 30,000.

(Left: Model of castle and motte with tower)

The city was commanded by William Cavendish Duke of Newcastle, the caste garrison of about 200 men by Sir John Cobb. Despite bombardement, attacks on the gates and undermining (unsuccessfully, it seems), York held out throughout May and June. Then news came that Prince Rupert was on his way to relieve the city. Rupert did indeed manage to lift the siege, but the day after his forces were defeated by the Parliamentary troops in the battle of Marton Moor six miles west of York. It was the largest and most bloody battle of the Civil War.

On July 14, city and castle surrendered after a re-newed siege. The conditions seem to have been rather favourable, since the Royalists were allowed to march out with full honours. The castle was then razed.

Some rebuilding was going on after the restoration of Charles II, but York Castle never regained its former splendour and role in history. One of the heralidic panels over the gate displays the arms of Henry Clifford Earl of Cumberland (last of that line), and it's argued that Clifford Tower was named for him.

Since the Civil War is too late for me to have better information than what I could find online, I'm not sure about Earl Henry's role in the siege; he seems to have been strangely absent, leaving command to Cavendish and Cobb. I also got the impression the name Clifford Tower was in use before the Civil War and thus the theory that it came into being because of Roger's execution still is valid to me until I can find sure proof in favour of one or the other.

Clifford Tower, another inside view

A final little curiosity about the tower: One of the keepers in the 16th century was one Robert Redhead who became famous for having sold some of the stonework. Ten layers were already gone until anyone noticed the battlements were disappearing. Robert was hanged for that.
 


4 Mar 2008
  Squirrels and a Tower

That little guy is up to no good, I'm sure. If it's not covering up for Constance's gnomes, it's squirreling away a plot. Or the bones of a Roman. After all, I found the fluffy tailed critter near the Roman multiangular tower.

Grey squirrel in the Museum Gardens

Eboracum was built as legionary fort - that is, larger than the auxiliary forts at the Hadrian's Wall and the Limes - in 70 AD. A town soon developed around the fort and was protected by a wall. The Roman walls formed the basis of the Mediaeval town defenses.

Roman multiangular tower

The multiangular tower was erected during the time the Emperor Septimius Severus spent in York in 209-211 AD. Severus strengthened the walls and added a number of towers. One can't blame him; he had a lot of troubles with the tribes.

The tower that once stood in the west corner of the fortress has ten sides and rises to 30ft. The upper part with the different stones and archer slits is Mediaeval, but the lower rows of stones are Roman.

Another shot of the tower

It kept the tribes out, but not the Danes in 867. The Danes restored the walls and towers and added another layer of finds to the York soil some of which can be seen in the Jorvik Museum. During the Middle Ages, the town walls were fortified several times, and gates added, like Monk Bar Gate.

More would be left of the town walls if not part of them had been dismantled in 1800. Which proves that George II had less power than some of his Mediaeval predecessors who'd have put the heads of the members of that Let's Tear Them Walls Down They Cost Money-coporation on spikes to display on the walls.


Look, squirrel brought a friend. Notice the gleeful grin - he's just hidden a plot about Septimius Severus and his dysfunctional sons, plus assorted other characters and a battle or two. I bet the wee rascal has a red squirreled friend or two in Germany. But whatever comes out of it; the idea is shelved for now.
 




The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and central / eastern Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, geologically themed hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.

This blog is non-commercial.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Goettingen, Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Otto of Northeim
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

Counts and Local Lords
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Counts of Everstein
The Counts of Hohnstein
The Lords of Plesse
The Counts of Reichenbach
The Counts of Winzenburg

Famous Feuds

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg

Local Feuds
The Lüneburg Succession War
The Thuringian Succession War - Introduction
The Star Wars


England

Royal Biographies

King Henry IV
King Henry's Lithuanian Crusade

Normans, Britons, Angevins

Great Fiefs - The Honour of Richmond
The Dukes of Brittany and the Honour of Richmond
The Earldom of Richmond and the Duchy of Brittany

Contested Borders

Northumbria
King Stephen's Troubles with King David of Scots


Scotland

Kings of Scots

House Dunkeld
Malcolm III and Northumbria
Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
King David and the Civil War, Part 1
King David and the Civil War, Part 2

Houses Bruce and Stewart
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle
The Early Stewart Kings

Scottish Nobles and their Quarrels

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding


Wales

Welsh Princes

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

Rebels

A History of Rebellion
From Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Norway

The Kings of Norway

Foreign Relations
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages
King Håkon V's Swedish Politics
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

A Time of Feuds

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Sweden

Troubles and Alliances

Scandinavian Unity
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union


Russia

The History of St.Petersburg
(to come)


Lithuania

The Teutonic Knights in Lithuania

The Northern Crusades
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

Lithuanian Princes

The Geminid Dynasty
Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas


Poland

The Teutonic Knights in Poland

The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
The Conquest of Danzig

Royal Dynasties

The Jagiełłonian Kings
Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union


Bohemia
(Including Silesia and Moravia)

The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
(to come)


Luxembourg

The Counts of Luxembourg
(to come)


Other Times

Neolithicum to Iron Age

Germany

European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Scandinavia and Orkney

Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae

Scandinavia
Ship Setting on Gotland

Post-Mediaeval History

Discoveries
Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)

Explorers
Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole

European Nobility
Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus


Miscellanea

History in Literature and Music

History in Literature

Biographies of German Poets and Writers
Theodor Fontane

Historical Ballads by Theodor Fontane (my translation)
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

History in Opera

Belcanto and Historicism
Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Not so Serious History

Romans
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Mediaeval Times
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Other
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


- Geological Landscapes
-
Germany
- United Kingdom
- Scandinavia
- Baltic Sea


Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit
Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
Flint Fields on Rugia

The Harz
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
Karst Formations in the Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa

Stones and Bones
Fossilized Ammonites
The Loket Meteorite


Beautiful Germany

The Baltic Sea Coast
The Flensburg Firth
Rugia - Jasmund Peninsula and Kap Arkona
Rugia - Seaside Ressort Binz
A Tour on the Wakenitz River

Harz National Park
Arboretum (Bad Grund)
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
Ilse Valley and Ilse's Rock
Oderteich Reservoir
Rappbode Reservoir
Views from Harz mountains

Nature Park Meissner-Kaufunger Wald
Hessian Switzerland

Nature Park Solling-Vogler
The Hutewald Forest
The Raised Bog Mecklenbruch

Thuringian Forests
Oberderdorla and Hainich National Park

Rivers and Lakes
The Danube in Spring
Edersee Reservoir
A Rainy Rhine Cruise
The Moselle
Vineyards at Saale and Unstrut
Weser River Ferry
Weser Skywalk

Parks and Palaces
Botanical Garden Göttingen
Hardenberg Castle Gardens
Wilhelmsthal Palace and Gardens

Wildlife
Harz Falcon Park
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The Baltic Sea Life
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The North Sea Life

Seasons
Spring at the 'Kiessee' Lake
Spring in the Rossbach Heath (Meissner)
Memories of Summer
Summer Hiking Tours 2016
Autumn in the Meissner
Autumn at Werra and Weser
Winter at the 'Kiessee' Lake
Winter Wonderland - Views from my Balcony


Across the Channel - United Kingdom

Mountains and Valleys
West Highland Railway

The East Coast
By Ferry to Newcastle
Highland Mountains - Inverness to John o'Groats
Some Photos from the East Coast

Scottish Sea Shores
Crossing to Mull
Mull - Craignure to Fionnphort
Pentland Firth
Castles Seen from Afar (Dunollie and Kilchurn)
Staffa
Summer Days in Oban
Summer Nights in Oban

Wild Wales - With Castles
Views of Snowdownia
Views from Castle Battlements

Wildlife
Sea Gulls


Land of Light and Darkness - Scandinavia

The Hurtigruten-Tour / Norway
A Voyage into Winter
Along the Coast of Norway - Light and Darkness
Along the Coast of Norway - North of the Polar Circle

Norway by Train
From Oslo to Bergen
From Trondheim to Oslo

Wildlife
Bearded Seals
Dog Sledding With Huskies
Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord


Shores of History -
The Baltic Sea


A Baltic Sea Cruise

The Curonian Spit in Lithuania
Beaches at the Curonian Spit
Geology of the Curonian Spit



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