Nottingham - The Castle
w/e 26 September 2004
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490


Nottingham Castle stands on top of a 130 foot high sandstone outcrop above the River Trent, near to the city centre and was one of the foremost castles in Norman England. Originally built as a wooden structure after the Battle of Hastings (1066) the typical Norman motte and bailey design was added to in the 12th century when it is thought the stone walls were added. The gatehouse, although extensively restored in Victorian times, dates mostly from the 14th century and is now home the castle shop.
Information Board

The castle has had something of a chequered history and visitors passing through the gatehouse will be surprised if they are expecting to see the castle of Robin Hood and the Hollywood film makers. An information board just inside the entrance provides a potted history and the image above has been stitched together from three pictures. To view a larger image (249kb) and read the history, click here or the image above.

The Middle Bailey Bridge

The history of the castle reveals that it was in a state of "dekay and ruyne" during the 16th century and that it was demolished to be replaced by a mansion built for the Duke of Newcastle towards the end of the 17th. Gutted by fire in the 1830s, the shell remains today and is seen here above the earlier middle bailey bridge. Originally there was a wooden drawbridge here that could be let down between stone piers. but this has now been replaced by the stone arch.
400 Year Old Steps

There are several ways up to the present castle, one of them by these steps. This picture was taken from half way up between the two flights where words painted on the stone slabs tell us that the steps are 400 years old. There are a number of these painted messages all around the castle with little gems of information aimed mainly I suspect, at the many children who visit.
Terrace To Mortimer's Hole

Mortimer's HoleThe steps lead to this terrace - this is looking back towards the top of the steps. Around the corner from here, another of those painted messages states "Mortimer's Hole awaits below" which can be seen over the iron railings (right). This is an ancient 300 foot passageway leading down through the sandstone to Brewhouse Yard below the castle. It is through this tunnel in 1330 that supporters of the young King Edward III gained access to the castle to seize Roger Mortimer, lover of his mother Queen Isabella, and murderer of his father Edward II. Mortimer was hanged, drawn and quartered in London and his remains left on the traitors gate at Tyburn but his name lives on for posterity in the tunnel beneath the castle.
Museum and Art Gallery

At one time it was possible to walk around the end of the building to the other side but this is now barricaded probably due to the state of the sandstone cliff so to reach the other side of the building we have to retrace our steps to reach the other side. Here we find the entrance to the Castle Museum and Art Gallery and also to the Sherwood Foresters Regimental Collection. The building was acquired in 1875 and restored to become the country's first provincial museum of fine art.
Two Castles

An annual Robin Hood Pageant is held at the castle where jousting, real ale, a hog roast, comic re-enactments, workshops, live music, minstrels, jesters and jugglers are just a few of the attractions on the green. All year round attractions for children include this slide in the shape of a castle so in this view we get two castles for the price of one. And talking of price, admission to the castle and museum is free on weekdays but a charge is made at weekends.

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