Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

Alnwick castle is the historical and current seat of the Percy family, who were given the property in 1309. The castle now includes a lovely set of gardens and the state rooms all included in a rather expensive ticket price. The set up is very similar to warwick castle but in my opinion not quite upto their standards, having said that it was a very nice day.
I wish a bit more could have been made of the sieges and history involved with the castle and Percys. i did struggle to find information on how the castle had evolved over time and the role of differnet lords in the events of their times. The castle was besieged by the scots in 1093 and 1174 which resulted in the death and capture of the scottish king respectively! a further attack by scottish raiders did partially cature the castle and lead to the rescue of prisoners in 1577.
The difficulty with some of the acces to history may have something to do with the Percys always being on the wrong side of the crown whether it be because of assisting the dethronement of Richard II and the crowning of Henry IV, Henry Hotspur rebelling and dying at Shrewsbury 1403, supporting the lancastrian cause and losing two heads of the family at 1st St. Albans (second earl) and Towton (third earl), followed by a third (the fourth earl) killed by peasants about tax collection (following his standing idle during Bosworth and not supporting Richard III) or conspiring with the gunpowder plotters.
They do have a good area for kids where you can dress as a knight or lady etc overlooked by a rather dramaic statue of Henry (Hotspur) Percy. I have always suspected that Hotspur was an arrogant aggressive probably not very likeable man and this model does seem to get some of this over.
Anyway not a bad day out and i suppose any cost is fair when you think how much these places must cost to run.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

warkworth castle, northumberland

this is the first post from my recent holiday in Northumberland which for those of you who havent been there is absolutely gorgeous. we stayed about 30 miles north of newcastle, just north of the old county capital of alnwick. our little trip was helped by some fantastic weather that led to me getting burnt, although we did take especial care of little izzy, whose now 7 months.
My lovely wife was kind enough to allow me to drag her around several castles and i will post them up over time in amongst models as and when they are done.
Warkworth castle was built in the mid 12th century probably on the site of a previous anglo-saxon estate, and then a wooden norman castle.
the castle was initially described as 'feeble' leadint o the population of the town being massacred during a scottish raid in 1174. later robert fitz roger took over and rebuilt the core of the present castle between 1199 and 1214 leading to the later description of a 'noble castle'. robert was acptured at stirling in 1297 leading to the castle being taken into the crown control.
Edward III granted the castle to Henry Percy, second lord Percy, a main land owner in Northumberland. The percy family became the major leaders in the North of England and became so powerful that they challenged to king on a variety of occasions

The wars of the roses
instead of covering everything about the castle, which i strongly advise you to visit, i will instead focus the next part on the wars of the roses, which since growing up near Bosworth battlefield in leicestershire have always held a special place for me.
By now we are onto Henry, the second earl of Northumberland, who was killed at 1st St. Albans 1455. he was swiftly followed by his son, also Henry, the third earl, who was killed at Towton 1461
in 1462 the Percy/lancastrian stonghold of Northumberland was subdued by Edward IVs kingmaker Richard Neville, earl of Warwick. he used Warkworth as his headquarters whilst undertaking sieges of the Lancestrian castles of Alnwick, Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh (all of which i will cover another time). The castle was later given to Richard Nevilles brother John, lord Montagu but then returned to Henry Percy, the fourth earl in 1471.

the castle
this castle has so many interesting faetures it is difficult to list them all but the spectacular layout of the keep with its home comforts such as a central light well, more serving areas, sluices and garderobes than most castles suggest the main role was influence rather than military.
the bailey is also amazing in that it has some beutifully preserved stonework showing the Percy lion which is hugely ornate. having said that there is no doubting the fact that like all castles the main effect is to intimidate by showing off the wealth and power of the owner

Sunday, June 6, 2010

i have not posted or some time which is partly due to my being so busy with work and homelife but also an element of lethargy on my own part both with painting and then posting the results of this work.
here i have posted a collection of 3 small units of charging rebel infantry from the american civil war. these are a mixture of foundry and perry miniatures
the great thing about painting rebs is that you dont have to follow any particular dress code as the supply of these troops was so haphazard that pretty much anything goes. having said that i have painted them with the idea of representing Hoods division at gettysburg. the 3 regiments shown are the 3rd arkansas, 15th alabama and 4th texas
i have decided rather than painting random models and units of the civil war to focus on a particular battle or part of a battle and as such have picked the fighting for little round top on day 2 of the battle of gettysburg. the reasoning for this is that i have an affinity for this battle due to my being for several years a memeber of a reenactment society portraying the 20th maine regiment. anyway as usual with this conflict painting models for a particular battle does not preclude you from using them in any other battle that takes your fancy

finally the next post will be 2 continental regts from the AWI, wars of the roses infnatry, ACW artillery for the union and rebs and some holiday snaps of castles i intend to visit in northumbria next week, if the wife lets me :)