Thursday, January 19, 2017

England 2016: Farleigh Hungerford Castle

And now, finally, I'm at the end of our September 2016 trip to England!  Some things just take time, you know.  And all good things must come to an end, except in our memories.

"In a beautiful valley of the river Frome, on the border between Wiltshire and Somerset and only nine miles from Bath, stands the remains of Farleigh Hungerford Castle."

And so it was that Lisl drove me the 9 miles from her home to visit an English castle.
The drive itself was worth the trip, along with the cream tea (with scones) we ate along the way.

Sir Thomas Hungerford, first Speaker of the House of Commons,
 fortified the manor house between 1370-1380.
His family then lived there for 200 years.

Two towers and curtain walls, plus the chapel and crypt, remain.

As we entered the castle gate, we immediately discovered a wedding photo-shoot happening.
So we took a quick walk-about, playing Peeping Toms both in and out of wee drizzles.

Then off we went to the museum to get the lay of the land.
The areal view (bottom-left) gives the gist of the space we walked.

From the museum we walked first to the 17th century crypt below the Chapel of St. Anne.
It contains the lead coffins of 6 adults and 2 children, 4 with faces molded onto them.
"This is probably the best collection of 16th-17th century anthropomorphic coffins in the country."

Castles and their own wee chapels!  I have grown to love them.
It was originally the parish church of St. Leonard, later made the castle chapel (St. Anne's Chapel).
Look at those medieval wall paintings...the font and the pulpit!
It's still used for local weddings?

The burial tombs are off to the side of the nave,
including Sirs Thomas and Edward Hungerford with their wives.
Notice the coats of arms on the walls.

I was particularly drawn to the ornate flat-topped tombs.
Lisl says the right-center tomb depicts the entire family, with children.

Back outside, we walked the outer courtyards with the remains of 2 towers.
The SW tallest tower, called the Lady Tower, is reputed to be where Hungerford 
imprisoned his wife, Lady Elizabeth, in the 1530's.
If these walls could talk!

Yes, I really was there (thanks to Lisl).

As we left the historic site, the sun, which had played with us all day, came out.

Just one of England's castles, of course, but in Lisl's own backyard

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Possibly a bit antithetically, these are the weathervanes we found that day.
Even Lisl is now on the lookout for me, she says.  :)


  1. I cannot imagine what the lives of women of that time were like. A beautiful place but an imprisoned wife? Imagine the lives of the peasant women!

    Beautiful photos, as always!

    1. I'm glad I didn't know about the imprisoned wife while I was there, Marie. I was quite shocked when I read about it later. To realize that even in this day and age we still need Women's Marches for women's rights is astounding, isn't it. (sigh)

      Thank you.

  2. I've never been to a crypt and even though I'm scare-d-cat I would love to experience it. There's fish in the vane and still no cat :(

    1. The crypts I have visited elsewhere are nothing like this, Maria, and are actually quite soulful...kinda like wee chapels underground. This one was one we couldn't enter...just able to peek in and take the shots.

      I DID find a cat vane awhile back and posted it somewhere. Maybe you missed it? But for sure, we don't see many of them!

  3. It is really a pleasure to visit your site Ginnie because you show very beautiful things and I did not know this castle nor these villages. And nevertheless I went in England twice but I went especially very often in Scotland a few years ago. Thank you.

    1. You are such a delightful, encouraging visitor here, Marie, for which I thank you. We LOVE England but also want to visit Scotland. I've been once but am eager to go with Astrid one day.

  4. Wow wow wow! Gorgeous place and details. And yikes about the lady tower.

    1. I know, Ruth. Some details are better left unknown. (sigh) But thanks!

  5. I often go and make myself a cup of hot cocoa to sit and look at your page of photos!! They are always so beautiful and interesting... Maybe I feel like I take a little trip with you :) there was something about that castle that seemed familiar, and I wondered if you had been there before on other trips... lots of dead people locked up inside, brrr!!!

    1. You honor me, Elaine, for which I thank you. This is what I do for Astrid and me, to keep on top of what we see. Otherwise I'm afraid it would all swirl around in a black hole somewhere. I'm so glad you feel you've come along for the ride because that's part of the point!

  6. Sorry that you will no longer be taking me to England. Though I suspect I have a few saved up that I haven’t yet looked at. Your delicious looking breakfast (?) reminds me of how we suffered for a good breakfast when we were in England. It was not to be had. The worst was the first morning when we were jet-lagged and starving. We found a likely breakfast restaurant in London and ordered what I hoped would be eggs, bacon (no sausage available) and English muffins. The eggs were dry and nasty, the bacon was (well you know what they call bacon), and the “English muffins” were hard, dry, tasteless scones. Understand, I find all scones hard, dry and tasteless. It appears things have improved. We went to Bach, and I’m not much fond of Miss Lunn either.

    The town north of where we live is Torrington, and the hospital is Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. She was the wife of a brass industry exec. There must be a connection.

    1. Well, Ted, I'm done with THIS trip but will be back to Cornwall in May, so more really will come. For how close England is to us, we often say it would be a sin not to go every year. We are so lucky.

      I love me a good scone with clotted cream! Too bad you had such a bad experience because I have had nothing but GOOD!

  7. Always enjoy seeing more of England! And just adore the pig weathervane! So cute!

    1. You know how much we love England, Robin. Can't get enough of it (kinda like the Netherlands for me). And yes, that pig vane was just so...timely! :)

  8. What a fabulous place the two of you visited. I would have loved to see it with my own eyes. I am so happy you experienced this and you took great pictures. England has so many of these 'hidden' treasures. Those weather-vanes are a delight. The pictures tell, you had a great day..... IHVJ.

    1. I still don't know how I feel that we were split up on two different days. I usually think of YOU as my Partner-In-Crime. Lisl did a fantastic job of filling in, but maybe next time you and I can be together to see the same things. I also missed what YOU saw while with Chris, so it went both ways.

      Anyway, we are both lucky. THIS is what we love.

  9. When Mr C and I visited Farleigh Hungerford Castle many years ago, the place was deserted. We were able to explore the place and its history without being disturbed by others.

    When I entered the chapel my spine tingled and a felt a presence which caused me to linger there :-)

    I feel a little uncomfortable with places such as this being used 'commercially' as wedding venues. The spiritual feel of the place is overshadowed...

    I would love to visit this place with you and Astrid (and Mr C) on a day that no-one else was present :-)

    The chapel is a special place :-)

    1. The place was deserted for us, too, Cherry, after the wedding party left. And yes, that chapel was really special. I wonder if they do, in fact, hold weddings there? Maybe they don't. I wonder. I love the fact that we've both been to the same place(s), even if not at the same time!