"All good things are wild and free." --Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Arundel Castle


Special posting by Tiki Stew: DJ, father and all around good bloke

Tiki Stew in the middle with his son
Arundel Castle is the perfect castle because it has all the elements of a good castle, and it wasn't a complete ruin with a small museum, like a lot of castles are. (And there was Michael Jackson there, eh? She was a woman in her sixties with a large Afro. She seemed to be white but had a very high voltage sunburn, and her jacket had loads of zips. She had orange lipstick and loads of phones.) My daughter was reluctant to go upstairs at the Keep because it was quite high but when we saw one of the guards (aka Michael Jackson), her fear turned to laughter. (I think Michael twigged, but rather than lose her job she kept schtunned, and we beat it.)

  • The room with all the swords--the Armory room. 
  • In the dungeon there was a dummy that my kids liked because my son said he had no clothes on and green feet. I said the moss had made his feet go green. 
  • Picnic on the castle grounds
  • In the chapel there was a monk, and I took his habit off and he had the proper monk haircut. And there was a dummy behind him who had no face. 
The castle had the best toilets ever, with hot and cold running water. The thing I liked about it, was the toilets, the cafe, the gift shop was all still in the castle. And the kids loved the chocolate cake. 


Special posting by SARA KERRY

The view of the northeast from the Keep
It is a proper castle with proper turrets and amazing gardens [note from Tiki Stew: not "Tourette's" that is, but "turrets"]. I think it is a great for anyone who wants a day out in Sussex because it has brilliant landscaped, ornamental gardens. We actually ran out of time---it closed before we were finished. There is also some impressive fine art because they had Canaletto and Gainsborough landscapes and portraits. I liked the juxtaposition of the old and new, including the family history with new family photos along with the old shit.  


Special posting by Marshall Dow Hahn-Taylor, rock solid spouse 
Descending the stairs in the Keep
In the distance Arundel Castle looks absolutely fairy tale, almost unreal.  That one family would inhabit such a place seems ridiculously posh.  Apparently they open it up to the public tours to help maintain the vast property.  There must be a square mile of furniture, flooring and fittings to dust, sweep and polish.  Just living there would cause one to get the recommended daily allowance of walking.  Just popping down for a little snooker in the billiards room from any of the bedrooms is a several minute stroll.  It's beautifully appointed, but I can't imagine living there.  Maybe it's just my proletariat blood, but there's little about the place that says `cozy'.  It's a bit like living in vast museum devoted to the decorative arts.

The original Keep, built in 1067 by Earl Roger


Special posting by Laura Jane Waters, 
authentic British lady and history geek

The castle was founded in 1067 by Roger de Montgomery, one of William the Conqueror's most loyal supporters. He had been rewarded for his support during the successful Norman invasion of 1066 with lands covering a third of the county of Sussex and the Earldom of Arundel, with the stipulation that he built a castle close to the mouth of the River Arun to protect the coast from attack. The original castle was a motte and bailey (mound and courtyard) with a wooden keep (tower) built high up on the motte.
Walking towards the castle Keep

Earl Roger's son Robert inherited the castle and Earldom and fought against the next king, Henry I. The king retook Arundel Castle and banished the Earl to Normandy. When Henry I died, his wife remarried and the castle passed into the Albini family. They rebuilt the Keep in stone in 1138. On her death Henry II inherited the estate and built the main castle.  Arundel remained in the Albini family until the 13th century when it passed through marriage to the Fitzalan family. In the 16th century Henry Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel, was the last of his line and when his daughter married Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, Arundel Castle passed to the Howard family where it has since remained.

The Fitzalan Chapel and Barbican (gatehouse) can be found in the castle grounds - they were built in the 1380s.  During the English Civil War (1640s) cannons were placed on the roof of the chapel by the parliamentarian forces (supporters of the government against the Royalists, who were loyal to the King). The barbican was damaged by cannon balls. The castle was eventually taken and parts of it were blown up when the troops left in 1653. Massive restoration was undertaken in the 19th century.

  • The Armoury - including a rare 15th century jousting saddle and the 14th century Mongley sword that formerly belonged to the Castle Warden.
  • An amazing collection of paintings by artists including Canaletto, Gainsborough and Van Dyck plus family portraits - look out for the 3rd and 4th Earl of Norfolk who plotted and schemed their way through Tudor and Elizabethan England.
  • The magnificent Victorian Gothic interiors, considered to be some of the finest in England. The house was almost completely rebuilt between the 1870s and 1890s. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Arundel and you can see furniture made specially for them in the Queen Victoria's Bedroom. In 2009 Arundel was used as a location for the film YOUNG VICTORIA.
  • The spectacular Collector Earl's Garden, a formal garden opened in 2008 and inspired by Jacobean garden design, particularly those which may have existed at Arundel House in London in the early 1600s.  
  • Outside of Fitzalen Chapel, where the ancestors are interred
Climbing a garden tree

Castle gardens with the cathedral in the background

Arundel Castle 
At the playground just down the street from Arundel Castle

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Consider the following points of interest for Hill Babies in the area:
Hard to leave the castle

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