A Castle, A Chapel, And A Dinosaur!
Alfie the Campervan and I were off on another adventure today! I am camping just south of Bath near the village of Norton St Philip. Tomorrow we have a family birthday party nearby so I decided to make a weekend of it.
Just a mile or two from the campsite is this lovely 14th century castle ruin! It is Farleigh Hungerford Castle (English Heritage), originally built as the luxurious home for the Hungerford family. Over several generations the family and the castle were caught up in the War of the Roses, when several of the family were executed, and later the English Civil War. The family mostly supported Parliament during the Civil War, except for one brother who helped capture the castle for the Royalists. The castle was eventually returned to the family where it remained for 41 years before being sold (1686) to pay the debts of Sir Edward Hungerford the ‘Spendthrift’. It was then sold for salvage (1705) and it eventually became the ruin that it is today.
The castle is a quadrangular castle - a central courtyard with a tower at each corner. The chapel is the best preserved part of the castle - a mortuary chapel used over 3 centuries by the family. (See Extra photo). It is best known for the 15th century wall-paintings, including the large painting of St George, the patron saint of England (top right of the Extra photo). There are monuments and tombs, both elaborate and modest, inside the chapel (bottom middle of the Extra). Below the chapel is a vault with eight anthropoid lead coffins, some with moulded faces (bottom right of the Extra). These types of coffins are considered the best collection in Britain and the only ones regularly on public view. See 4 more images here.
I wandering around the castle and the chapel for an hour or so while listening to the audio tour, and was soon ready to sit and enjoy an ice-cream in the sunshine! There was no cafe, but the small gift-shop sold ice-creams and I chose the Dig-A-Saurus, with it’s very own chocolate dinosaur! I’ve never eaten a dinosaur before, but he was very tasty!
I left Farleigh castle shortly before it closed and made my way to the campsite just a little further along the same road, stopping at a farm shop on the way. Once set up, I enjoyed some late afternoon sun before cooking dinner which was also eaten outside. The whole day was a perfect start to a weekend away!