Saturday, 10 January 2009

Castles in Wensleydale (2)




Bolton Castle.


Bolton castle lies at the Western end of the single main street in the village of Castle Bolton in the heart of Wensleydale.


Wharfedale and Bishopdale run South to North and across the top of Bishopdale, running West to East, lies Wensleydale. This means that the traveller coming North through Wharfedale comes through the village of Buckden, up the Kidstones Pass and on reaching the top looks down Bishopdale. And there, at the end of Bishopdale, on the fellside in Wensleydale stands the four-square Bolton Castle. That has been the sight the traveller would see since around 1380. Now in Winter it is floodlit and as you come over the top at Kidstones it is there in the far distance like a beacon. It is a very impressive sight and there is no doubt it was built as a symbol of might.


It was built around 1379 by the first Lord Scrope (pronounced scroop), who was knighted for his part in the Battle of Crecy. All the stone used in its building was quarried from the nearby Apedale and there is still a stone quarry there today. (Apedale means the valley of the norseman Appi - that really puts the history of the area into perspective).


I suppose its most famous claim to fame is that Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there from


July 1568 until January 1569 before being taken for execution.


In the Civil War in the 1640's parliament ordered the castle to be destroyed so that it couldn't be used in war, so in 1647 it was partially destroyed.


It is now part of the Bolton Estates and is owned by Lord Bolton. Considering its age parts of it are extremely robust as you can see quite clearly in the close-up photograph. The room where Mary was kept under house arrest is in the left hand tower and is still in very good condition (you can now get married in that room if you want to!) As you can see the right hand tower is just a ruin - as is most of the rear of the building. But I think you will agree that it is in a fine state consiering it is getting on for seven hundred years old. In recent years Lord Bolton has restored some of the garden in front of the castle, making it as authentic to its heyday as is possible.


It is a magnificent structure and still dominates much of the dale. The long distance photograph is taken from a Western approach, through Wensleydale.

23 comments:

jinksy said...

I enjoyed this bit of history, thanks - but I enjoyed even more, the fact that today our minds were almost working in tandem! Of all the subjects we each could have chosen today, historical castles seem to be IT! More ESP, or what?

Mistlethrush said...

There's something special about old ruins - a tangible slice of the past. They make you want to touch the stones, hold your breath and listen deep....

Leslie said...

I have learned a lot since I started following you blog. I love the pictures and stories ! It would be wonderful to see these things in person and touch the stones, too. Thanks, for sharing !

Dominic Rivron said...

Will you be covering Polly Peachum's tower at some point? It's a bit small for a castle, I suppose...

Sal said...

Fascinating stuff..I really enjoy your snippets of history ;-)

Reader Wil said...

Well this is what I like : a piece of history in the United Kingdom! I like castles and their history.
You asked about our winter. Yes it has come, but we don't know how long the ice will stay. It's been 10 years now since skating on natural ice was possible. The younger children had to buy skates and learn skating, unless they had learnt it in indoor skating rinks.

Crafty Green Poet said...

interesting bit of history and nice photos too, I love ruined castles.

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

I just posted on my blog about watching Season 2 of The Tudors. I enjoy everything about history, particularly the English monarchy. How grand it would be to go back in time for a day or two. I would dearly love to visit a castle. Ireland has several castles that are now bed-and-breakfast inns. Dear Weaver, thank you for your inspiring posts. I rarely miss a day when I don't drop by for a visit.

Bdogs said...

I'm glad you mentioned the Mary Queen of Scots connection, as I was wondering why the name seemed familiar. It's good that Lord Bolton is taking care of it, and I would love to see the garden he's working on. I have no idea what an English garden circa 1400 would look like.

Elizabeth said...

Nothing so ancient as that around here.......

patteran said...

I remember Bolton Castle from school visits decades ago. Good memories.

Your title pic is wonderful, Pat. Like a hand-tinted Victorian steel engraving.

Dick

The Weaver of Grass said...

Not sure about the esp jinksy!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Like the "listen deep" mistlethrush

The Weaver of Grass said...

Glad you are enjoying my blog leslie.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Bit small for a castle Dom but interesting - thank you I shall certainly put it on when I have done a bit of research.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Sal.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Glad you enjoyed it reader wil. Interesting that you haven't had an icy winter for ten years - I always thought of your low-lying country as being one which had very cold weather every year. I expect the skaters are jubilant to see some ice at last.

The Weaver of Grass said...

We have quite a few in our area, crafty green poet - so shall post some more. If you get really excited about them I suppose you are almost near enough to visit.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Debra - my blogs seem to fit in with your interests, don't they?

The Weaver of Grass said...

In the right season, Bdogs, I shall photograph that garden for you.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Masses of ancient things round here, Elizabeth - including this blogger!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Those were the days, Dick, school visits!
Shall pass your compliment about my header on to the farmer, who took the photo on his morning walk. He will be very chuffed.

BT said...

Is Bolton Castle anything to do with Bolton Abbey? Or is that miles away? Excuse my ignorance weaver, my granddad used to take us to Bolton Abbey when we visited them in Keighley.